The Opera Garnier, also known as the Palais Garnier, was commissioned by Napoleon III during the Parisian reconstruction of the Second Empire, under the direction of architect Charles Garnier. Construction began in 1862, following the laying of the foundation stone in the previous year. But numerous setbacks befell the construction, including the onset of the Franco-Prussian War and subsequent fall of the Second Empire, as well as the discovery of an underground lake. This lake, incidentally, would playa pivotal role in a literary work based on the Opera Garnier, Gaston Leroux’ 1910 work “The Phantom of the Opera.” In 1873, the construction effort was spurred on by a fire, which destroyed the city’s primary opera and ballet venue, the Paris Opera. Today, tourists visit the Opera Garnier as much for its architectural details as for its performances. Elaborately decorated with multicolored marble friezes and statuary, the front facade boasts bronze busts of great composers, including Mozart, Rozzini, Beethoven, and Phillipe Quinault. Works by Aime Millet, Charles Gumery, Francois Jouffroy, and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux are here, and visitors can also see the famed and sometimes criticized ceiling painting completed in 1964 by artist Marc Chagall. Many critics felt the painting, which was applied directly over the original mural, was inconsistent with the design of the rest of the building.