With the lack of cultural diversions available in Monaco in the 1870s, Prince Charles III, along with the Société des bains de mer, decided to include a concert hall as part of the casino. It opened in 1879 and became known as the Salle Garnier, after the architect Charles Garnier, who designed it.
The Salle Garnier has a capacity of about 520 seats. His elaborate style was greatly influenced by that of the Palais Garnier in Paris and many of the same artists worked in both theaters. Although the Monte Carlo Theater which was inaugurated in 1866, was not originally intended for opera, it was soon used frequently for this purpose and was renovated in 1898–99 by Henri Schmit, mainly on stage, to make it more suitable for opera.