December 05, 2014

French Friday: Opéra Garnier

The first time I visited the Opera Garnier was the first time I visited Paris. In fact, since I was staying near the palais, Opéra was my Métro stop. I landed at Charles de Gaulle on a warm day in June 1994, took the RER B into Paris, transferred to the Métro, and emerged in front of this magnificent façade. It was my very first impression of this enchanting city -- and it was love at first sight! I hadn't even seen the Eiffel Tower yet, but I couldn't resist the allure of the opulent and mysterious Opéra. As soon as I settled in, I returned to the Palais Garnier for a tour. 

The last time I visited the Opéra was a snowy day in January 2013. It was cold and gray outside, but inside, it was warm and mysterious -- almost deserted because of the unusual Paris snowstorm. 

I almost felt as though I were trespassing. 
Perhaps, I've seen The Phantom of the Opera too many times!

This grate protects the entrance to the REAL underground lake.

You can't go down below, 
but you can go up the grand staircase.

If you're lucky, you may be allowed inside 
one of the private boxes (maybe even Box 5).

Peer out into the magnificent theatre.

Marvel at the stunning Chagall ceiling.

Enjoy the juxtaposition of Garnier's beaux-arts architecture
and the quirkly modern details.

Channel your inner Christine Daaé...

or your inner Audrey (Funny Face)!
L'Opéra est magnifique!