Although western Opera wasn't born in France, in Italy, many pages of its history have been written in Paris, where lyrical art and the art of dance have been developed simultaneously, following Louis XIV's creation of the Royal Academy of Dance and Royal Academy of Music.
In 1858, Napoleon III launched a competition for the construction of an 'Imperial Academy of Music and Dance'. This is how the Garnier Opera House came about and became the central element to the new Haussmannian Paris. In 1982, President François Mitterrand decided to build a new Opera house, the Opera Bastille.
Having become internationally renowned temples of lyricism and dance, Paris's opera houses have witnessed the creation of major theatre works such as Henry VIII by Camille Saint-Saëns or Saint François d'Assise by Olivier Messiaen. They can be found in the heart of particularly lively quarters: that of Garnier, with its intense commercial activity, a selection of huge department stores and theatres, and that of Bastille, with its trendy bars and multicultural night-life.