Opera Garnier in Paris (my favorite!!!)

Ben and I were lucky enough to score a tour of my FAVORITE building in Paris, the Opera Garnier. They only run two tours, two days a week and when we discovered it last time we were in Paris, they were the day before and wouldn't run again until after we left. :(
 So, we were on a mission and when we left our hotel, the Opera house was in our sights. Literally, this was the view when you stepped out of our hotel. How awesome is that?!
 After a short walk, we arrived and got in line for the tour. We got into the last spot available for the first tour! It was fate, I tell ya!
 So, we started in the lower level of the building where there is this amazing ceiling...
 And these amazing mosaic floors...
 And beneath the grand staircase is this... Wish I could've gotten more pictures, but I was on the move. Didn't want to miss the tour.
 We started out sitting in the lower floor area of the auditorium... Oh, and this was all designed to be minimal and simple... Yeah...
 The chandelier is HUGE and when this was built they would lower it to light the gas lamps and it would take 3 hours!!! The chandelier weights about 7 tons if I remember correctly... HUGE!!! The mural behind it is one of the only changes made to the building. It was a huge scandal at the time, but a big payoff. Many people came to shows just to see the new mural.

 And while we were sitting there, an ACTUAL BALLERINA was practicing for the performance later that night. I was on Cloud 9... She was amazing!
 Outside the main attraction wasn't the show... It was the main staircase and the scandals of who wore what, who tripped going up the stairs, he brought who with him?! That kinda stuff. There are so many balconies and areas to view everyone as they arrived to the show.
 There is sooooo much marble in this building. About 31 different varieties I think. There are the most gorgeous colors you could imagine. Actually, the mosaic floors were made with the pieces parts left over from making the stairs and columns and other features. It was very modern at the time, mosaics weren't found much outside of Italy when this building was designed.
 This is a replica of what the original mural in the auditorium looked like. A very far cry from the painting there now. But, every other domed ceiling in Paris has a similar painting and this Opera house needed to stand out (not like it's completely encased in gold and red velvet and precious marbles.
 Then we went up to view the auditorium from one of the bathtubs. These box seats were called bathtubs because when you sit in one, all people can see is your head, like a tub.
 This stage is huge!!! If you look up how the curtains look when they're closed, it's crazy. It looks like a hot mess, they don't hang straight down, but it's gorgeous and fits with the building perfectly.
 Now this room was cool. There are two that are similar. This isn't an effect or filter. The domed ceiling spikes from black at the base to silver in the center. This one has the bats to indicate night, the other room has something for morning (I can't remember what) but the walls also have mirrors that are angled just so and they give the impression of an endless room. It's really cool, but these ceilings were so striking!
 Then, that brought us to the hallway were everyone gathered at intermission. It's also quite simple like the rest of the building... NOT! The murals and gold and more chandeliers... It's beautiful. Charles Garnier actually put himself and his wife as gods in some of the designs. He's the only known architect to do that and include his wife. Most architects put their own personal touches here or there, but this was a bold statement, and still is. Oh, and when he designed this building, he was only 34. This is his masterpiece and was his first major undertaking...

 Here's a better view of the main staircase from one of the balconies.
 This is the porch area (I guess you could call it). There's even more marble and gold and details here too.
The tour was amazing and lasted a couple hours. Then afterwards you have free reign to roam in some of the areas of the Opera house we didn't tour, like this porch. Oh, and there it is, at the end of this avenue is our hotel... It was really neat to see the view from this angle.

If you ever get the chance, definitely take the tour of the Opera Garnier. Hence why it took me an entire post for this one building. Oh, and I have sooooo many more photos I didn't show you. But, anywho I will be back soon with a couple more Paris posts. Like i said, I took too many photos. It's been too hard narrowing them all down. I hope you enjoy the tour!

1 comment:

  1. Three Musketeers Fun Sized Minis, really good after a night in the freezer first :) !!!


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