Sunday, October 20, 2013

36. The Paris Opera House

Another day and another great Paris icon to visit - The Palais GarnierParis Opera House - is an astonishingly opulent 2000-seat theatre that covers over an hectare of land - it was designed as part of the great reconstruction of Paris during the Second Empire initiated by Emperor Napoleon III and was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera.

up out of the Metro - turn around - and there it is ...
 
 
 
 
 
This is probably the most famous opera house in the world and is a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

The foyer as you walk in the main entrance !

then the grand staircase ...
 
 
 
 
When you walk in the main entrance into the Grand Foyer you do get a bit of a hint as to what lies ahead - but nothing prepares you for the shock that hits you at the top of the stairs ...

 
Gallery after gallery of the most extraordinary Baroque 'bling' ...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unfortunately there was a rehearsal in progress when I visited, so I was unable to go into the auditorium to check out the grand “6 ton” chandelier ( remember the scene in the Phantom of the Opera !!!! ) ... but this little fellow was quite impressive, though a lot lighter I dare say ...



 
 

And have I already mentioned the word “opulent” ? – probably the only word – other than extravagant - to describe this building. It is decorated with very elaborate multi coloured marble friezes, columns, and lavish statuary, many of which portray deities of Greek mythology. And outside, gilded bronze busts of many of the great composers are located between the columns of the theatre's front fa├žade.

 
 


The interior consists of interweaving corridors, stairwells, alcoves and landings allowing the movement of those 2000 people and space for socializing during intermission. Rich with velvet, gold leaf, and cherubim and nymphs, the interior is real Baroque sumptuousness and certainly has the WOW factor.
 

 
 


The Palais Garnier also houses the Bibliotheque-Musee de l'Opera de Paris (Paris Opera Library-Museum) - a vast collection of opera, ballet and music scores.


After suffering near-blindness from all that bling and a sore neck from looking up at the ceilings in room after room, the Metro home + a cuppa of hot tea and a good lie down was the only choice.

don't know what he was saying to me - ( probably "look out for the bus behind you !!! " ) - but he was in the way for my final picture  ...

Tomorrow we might climb some more stairs for another view of Paris ...
 
 
Funny little observation – totally unrelated to the Opera House ... a lot of the hip young black boys in Paris are wearing very elaborate plastic glasses frames minus the lenses !!! … it looks so hysterically funny – especially for me as a someone who does wear glasses – and lenses - not worrying about hip-hop fashion, but just to be able to see !!! …