The idea to build an opera house dates back to 1820, but the construction was carried out between 1862 and 1875 by the architect Charles Garnier. He was chosen among 171 candidates, relatively unknown for his time and only 35 years old. Immediately after they began, the construction activities were stopped, as an underground lake and a spring were discovered when the foundations were excavated. Although this problem has been overcome, the lake still exists. A huge building was built with an area of 11,000 square meters, a stage for over 450 participants and 2,200 seats, lavishly decorated outside and inside with friezes, columns, statues, velvet, gilding, nymphs and cherubs. The central chandelier in the great hall weighs more than 6 tons, and the ceiling was painted by Marc Chagall in 1964.