Archive for September 30th, 2019

September 30, 2019

Royal Opera of Versailles!!

So here I am back in France, and need to tell you about the  wonderful country of mine and my beloved Versailles a city I lived and won’t stop mentioning it lol!  However, with all the numerours posts I have in my blog on this immense royal city and de facto capital of France I have missed some important elements. Indeed , the beautiful Royal Opera of the Domaine de Versailles! I like to tell you now a bit on it ok

The Opéra Royal or Royal Opera of the Palace/museum of Versailles is an opera house built under king Louis XV located at the end of the north wing of the Palace. This is by rue des reservoirs on the outside and avenue du N or Bassin de la pyramide on the inside. And of course in Versailles, capital of dept 78 Yvelines in the region of Ïle de France!

Versailles

Under king Louis XIV, the little theater of the court des Princes was inconvenient and no longer suited to new fashions. To distract the king, Madame de Pompadour mounted a small troupe of comedians chosen from among her friends; the Marquise herself held her place. The little troop had two successive theaters at its disposal, temporary and dismountable theaters installed first in the Petite Galerie (little gallery) and then in the l’escalier des Ambassadeurs (stairwell of the Ambassadors). These small halls had very few spectators and were not considered court theaters.

In building the northern wing, king Louis XIV had thought of building an opera, the bad finances of the end of his reign prevented him from doing so. King Louis XV took over the project on the occasion of the marriage of his grandson (future king Louis XVI) with the Archduchess Marie Antoinette. The construction was begun in 1768 under the order of the king by the anticipation of the marriages of his grandchildren, the construction lasted two years and the Royal Opera was inaugurated on May 16, 1770 at the marriage of Louis XVI of France and Marie-Antoinette of Austria.

Versailles

The Royal Opera, which Louis-Philippe was painted in red and which, in 1871, had been transformed into a meeting room for the National Assembly and then occupied by the Senate after 1875, was scrupulously restored from 1952 to 1956 and returned to was once again one of the most beautiful theaters in the world, uniting the graces of the Rococo style with the triumphant neoclassicism. It was meant to give an idea of the progress made in the arts under the reign of king Louis XV

This work of Ange-Jacques Gabriel first architect of the king, had made this Royal Opera one of the classic architectural style, with some Baroque reminiscences. Two stone galleries lead to the opera: it was through the gallery on the first floor that the king went there, either by directly gaining his own private box, or by going down the staircase, now destroyed, which led to the Guards Hall, and from there to the foyer and the amphitheater. The floor plan, new for the time, has the shape of a truncated oval, and the traditional boxes are replaced by simple balconies, set back on top of each other, with separations at the support. The proportions are perfect, and one can only admire the elegant colonnade of the third boxes; as for the mirrors that lurk the bottom in which the half-chandeliers are reflected, thus giving the illusion of full luster, they accentuate the lightness of this architecture they seem to launch you to infinity.

The decoration is particularly refined as was usually the case in the court theaters, the Royal Opera could be transformed in twenty-four hours into a large room for the ballroom. A system of winches raised the floor of the parterre to bring it to the level of the amphitheater and the stage, on which was built a second room surrounded by walkable colonnades and adorned with a ceiling. The scene stage of the Royal Opera has exceptional dimensions of 12.70 meters of opening, 29 meters of depth, 31 meters of width and 18 meters of height; make one of the largest of France, thus allowed the representation of operas with great show, requiring a large number of figurations and changes of scenery.

Versailles

Behind the pit is the amphitheater, in the front row of which are the armchairs of the royal family and the stools of the princes and princesses of blood and duchesses. On the floor of the second lodges, there are three small private lodges that allowed the King to attend the show in a semi-incognito: closed gilt bronze grilles and decorated with exquisite arabesques, they communicate through a small oval living room with the gallery leading to the Grand Apartments. The hall once held more than a thousand seats, and today it has a little over seven hundred; the orchestra pit can accommodate eighty musicians. The foyer, which gives access to the amphitheater, is decorated with statues Apollo, Venus, Abundance and Peace, Youth and Health, Poems lyric, pastoral, epic and dramatic scenes

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The stage cage and the technical installations of the Royal Opera have been restored back on September 2009 after two years of work. Concerts and shows have since been regularly scheduled by Château de Versailles Spectacles, the private subsidiary of the Palace/Museum of Versailles, which operates the Royal Opera as well as the Royal Chapel and the Big water musicals   day and night times. Hope you can see this beauty and historical jewel of France.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Chateau de Versailles on the Royal Opera

Official Chateau de Versailles Spectacles on the Royal Opera

And there you go, I did justice to this jewel of the most beautiful palace in the world, a must to see while in France. I just had luck to lived nearby and use it even as my jogging and walking trails on weekends, every by the region I stop by memories forever. Hope you enjoy the Royal Opera and everything in it and around it, all worth your time and money. Pictures are from May 2019.

And remember, happy travels good health, and many cheers to all!!!

ps. disclaimer, the first photo is mine showing the location of the Opera Royal, the others are from and by the Royal Opera not mine as photos are not allowed. Cheers

 

 

September 30, 2019

Cine Aragon, Madrid!

Ok so I am back from a wonderful trip to my beloved Madrid. And started reminicents of my old times there and the things I saw change. Well it has not impacted me much as lucky enough to visit the city several times after i left it from four beautiful years living there. However, even without pictures today one spot impacted me to see it empty and like to tell you about it. To know, the Cine Aragon is closed since 2005. Promise last post on Madrid ::)

When my stay in Madrid, my mother would scrap some money ,pesetas, to take me to the movies. We did not have much money then in the old regime, and were very happy to go to the movies once a month. As we live off metro Quintana line 5 exit on Calle de Alcalà 331, the closest to us even on foot was the Cine Aragon at Calle de Alcalà 334!

This was a very modern cinema for the times , and we were very happy to be there. I went in several times and was able to bring in my girlfriend then dear late wife Martine. They close early so no time to bring my sons once in France. The memories will lingered forever as one of the warmest nicest places that attach me forever to my beloved Madrid, Cine Aragon it was!

A bit of history I like

On February 8, 1954, another cinema with the name of Cine Aragon opened in the Ctra. De Aragon 124 ; it will become Calle de Alcalà 334 in honor of its location, with the program in continuous session “Al diablo la celebridad” (to hell the celebrity), and   Mundos Opuestos (opposite worlds). It was inserted in a residential building and had a wide facade where they placed their billboards. The entrance was preceded by steps that gave way to a high hall with two stairs, one at each end, under one of which were the lockers. Four entrances gave way to the cinema room, with a slope towards the screen and a high plaster ceiling. It was decorated in reddish tones and had a capacity of 1500 seats distributed between the patio and the amphitheater. In the upper part a large lounge and the bar, next to which the toilets were installed, in front of these, two corridors led us to the amphitheater that developed vertiginously until reaching the projection windows.

In 1997, during the screening of the movie “Rescate” (Rescue) a fire filled the cinema room with smoke and caused it to be evicted. The material damages were substantial. The place remained closed until August 1998, when it reopened completely renovated with a single room with capacity for 550 spectators, with several seats convertible into a single special for couples. In August of 2005 after the screening of “Ninnete” the Cine Aragon closed forever. Then came the decomposition and this time the El Corte Inglés, at the head with Sfera store left us orphaned of the cinema. Today there are Poly toys store last check.

This is a sad trend in Madrid and Spain in general. The last 50 years shows the gradual decline of cinemas. In this period it has fallen from the peak of 161 cinemas in 1969 to the current 31, in Madrid , the lowest figure, reached in 2015 and currently maintained. After the Cine Ideal, the oldest still open are the Doré (1923), Callao (1926), Palacio de la Prensa (1929), Capitol (1931) and Projecciones (1931) (I have posted on the cinemas highlighter in my blog) . Today, 31 are still cinemas, 30 are dedicated to catering, 24 are currently unused stores, 17 are supermarkets, 17 are other stores (11 of them clothing), 16 are theaters and another 16 are gyms. And we call that advancement in the future world, so sad!

No webpage and no photos, just a souvenir of mine that I wanted to establish forever in my blog , I hope. Cine Aragon was a happy humble small moment for me but a huge impact in my life and on Madrid itself forever. From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it everyday! Hope you enjoy the old story!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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September 30, 2019

Restaurant: El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, Madrid!

So, therefore, after posting about the monuments and sights of my beloved Madrid will go into the places of shopping and restaurant with a series Restaurant: XXX Madrid or Shopping: XXX Madrid. Hope you enjoy them and do try them when visiting Madrid the food and shopping is an experience to behold in lovely Madrid. For lack of creativity ,I will copy this first paragraph into the subsequents posts! ::)

And sadly, this will be my last post of the new series from my August 2019 visit to my beloved Madrid. I am back but already planning to be back at the latest next year lol! thank you for following me along this most personal series.  From Madrid to heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day!!!

The first time I ran into the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos was back in 1972! I was a poor young teen then but was taken by an older gentlemen of a group of friends who was trying to impress us with his knowledge and purchasing power. He did!

I was fascinated by it and promise one day to come back here. Well it took me a while until 1990 on a visit that came here for tapas and a glass of wine. Afterward and on my married life came here several times usually for a quick drink and tapas. Until this year , when came with my young men sons on a nostalgic trip this time without our dear mom and wife Martine. We were strolling the town and were coming back from the Jardines de Sabatini and the Campo del Moro and it was time to eat.

I made it a point to hold on the hunger until we reach the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos, which is very close to the Almudena Cathedral and a few steps from the Royal Palace on Calle de Bailén. It is one of those bars full of grandparents and people from the neighborhood, and it has been there since 1909. Red facade , colored tiles, high ceilings, carved columns, centuries-old lamps and a mirror rescued from an old tavern on Calle de Trafalgar, today it is still the decoration of this typical Madrid tavern.

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The EL Anciano Rey de los Vinos is a classic tapas bar in Madrid. As you enter, there are large plates full of skewers in addition to a list of wines, tapas and portions. Vermouth is made with white wine macerated with herbs and spices that give it its characteristic caramel color. The tradition of the vermouth of grifo takes centuries in the culture of Madrid and lately it has become fashionable again. Served with its olive and a slice of orange, it is refreshing and the perfect drink for the appetizer. And in the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos they put it with a tapa!

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There is the option of sitting at one of the restaurant’s tables and ordering portions such as chicken strips in cabrales, broken egg skillet, ham croquettes or sirloin with goat cheese. The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos has all the classic tapas and some others that you will like. The most typical of this tasca is sweet wine, more specifically bottled wine and labeled with the name El Anciano (the elder). They usually serve it with a round cookie made with egg yolk!

In 2009, on the occasion of the centenary, el regalito del torito (the gift of the bull) was created, a traditional dish but with a renewed recipe, and is today the star dish of the house. This is oxtail wrapped in phyllo dough with sauce and piquillo pepper.

As for the decoration, they have not changed much in the more than one hundred years they have been. The walls are painted yellow and have white and green tiles. Behind the bar is a mirror surrounded by blackboards with prices and variety of wines. The tables are white marble and iron and the bar has high wooden stools. There is nothing too sophisticated, but it does have very nice lamps and some images of old Madrid.  It is an authentic experience that has not changed, although the vermouth has become fashionable or people have learned of its status as a Madrid classic. The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is everything you can ask for from your tapas experience. There is even a terrace for good weather, although it is often full and I personally prefer the bar noise. There is something special about the noise of people chatting with friends with enthusiasm!

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The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos is always located at Calle de Bailén, 19, hours from Wednesdays to Mondays from 9h to 00h; the closest metro is Opera line 2.

The building dates from 1886, the year in which the Casa Pedro Martínez house is installed, where coffee was sold, pumkin and tea .. There was, at that time, a botillería ( bakery) whose name was the same as that of its owner, Casa Pedro Martínez, who was famous for its pout coffee, brandy and his tea. That Don Pedro gave his business to Luis Montón who would be in charge of it until 1942. The new owner was called Abilio Manzanar Ortega, it was he who hired a young man of fifteen to work in the tavern. This young man, Constancio Cortés, would be its next owner. Currently, it is the daughter of him, María Belén Cortés who is in charge of the business.

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Being in such an emblematic neighborhood, there are many public figures and personalities who parade through this tavern. It is said that king Alfonso XIII escaped through the tunnels of the palace to come here. When Franco died, the tavern was closed for three days, even at night for all the hustle and bustle that was experienced. They were equally entertained during the days before and after the royal marriage, that of the then Princes of Asturias but before and after a lot of movement was noticed, such as the coronation day of Felipe VI.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must are

Official El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

Tourist office of Madrid on the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

And my Yelp review fav site on them here: Yelp reviews of the El Anciano Rey de los Vinos

The El Anciano Rey de los Vinos forever! A Madrid institution to be visited and savored and enjoy the views of Royal status. Hope you like this entry and thank you again for reading my series on my beloved Madrid

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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