Monte-Carlo Casino and Opera House
Monte Carlo Casino was established in the 19th century to save the Grimaldi family from bankruptcy. At that time, Monte Carlo was poor with little infrastructure to support tourism. The plan worked. The Monte Carlo Casino today lures gamblers to Monte Carlo, with games of chance, including roulette, Baccarat, craps and slot machines; even James Bond tried his luck here. The casino has a dress code and charges admission; foreign visitors need to show passports or other ID as Monte Carlo residents are not allowed inside.
Charles Garnier, the architect of the opera house in Paris, built the Casino in 1878. The "atrium," paved in marble, is surrounded by 28 Ionic columns in onyx. It leads into the auditorium of the opera, called the "Salle Garnier," which is decorated in red and gold, with a profusion of bas-reliefs, frescoes and sculptures. Here, for more than a century, outstanding international performances of opera, ballet and concerts have been staged. The "gaming rooms" comprise a succession of numerous rooms featuring stained glass windows, admirable decorations and sculptures, allegorical paintings and bronze lamps.
By the end of the nineteenth century, Charles Garnier was hired to build Monte Carlo's Opera House. The famous architect had gained recognition from his work for the Paris Opera House.
Sarah Bernhard inaugurated the new Salle Garnier in 1879. Between 1893 and 1951, Raoul Gunsbourg directed the Opera and built fame and prestige for Monte Carlo's Opera House. Among the best internationally, Monte Carlo's Opera hosted great voices such as Patti, Tamagno, Melba, Caruso, Chaliapine, Garden, Schipa, Dalla Rizza, Gigli, Lubin, Muzio, Thill, and Pons.