SOPHIE is a new fiber-fed echelle spectrograph in operation since October 2006 at the 1.93-m telescope of Observatoire de Haute-Provence. Benefiting from experience acquired on HARPS (3.6-m ESO), SOPHIE was designed to obtain accurate radial velocities (~3 m/s over several months) with much higher optical throughput than ELODIE (by a factor of 10). These enhanced capabilities have actually been achieved and have proved invaluable in asteroseismology and exoplanetology. We present here the optical concept, a double-pass Schmidt echelle spectrograph associated with a high efficiency coupling fiber system, and including simultaneous wavelength calibration. Stability of the projected spectrum has been obtained by the encapsulation of the dispersive components in a constant pressure tank. The main characteristics of the instrument are described. We also give some technical details used in reaching this high level of performance.© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.