Paris: Avenue de l’Opéra et al!!

So maybe its time due to the times we live in that it would be good to bring about these nice streets of my eternal Paris that I love to walk so much rather than one big post on a monument. The work will be endless of course, but its worth the try , after Paris is a movable feast. Therefore, here is my take on one nice chic Avenue de l’Opéra and its sidekick the Place de l’Opéra.

The Avenue de l’Opéra is a street in the 1éme and 2éme arrondissements . It is so named because it leads to the National Theater of the Opera. It departs from Place André-Malraux, in front of the Comédie-Française theater and joins Boulevard des Capucines at the Opéra Garnier, Place de l’Opéra. Unique case among the avenues of Paris, this artery does not have a tree in order to provide the best possible perspective on the main facade of the Opera. It is a radial route which, coming from the quartier Salle Garnier, to approach the center of Paris or to cross in the direction of the left bank by the Pont du Carrousel. This site is served by the metro stops Opéra, Pyramides and Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre.

Paris

A bit of history I like

Originally, the mounts of Moulins and Saint-Roch represented a height located at the current rue Thérèse and rue des Pyramides. Jeanne d’Arc had installed culverins there to support the attack on the Saint-Honoré gate and had been seriously injured here. The hillock had been leveled in half in 1615, covered with small streets and mills, but it remained a serious obstacle. The whole district, between the Louvre and the Grands Boulevards, was occupied by islets with narrow streets considered insanitary and ill-famed. The enormous spoil served to fill the excavations on the Champ-de-Mars. To get an idea of the importance of this mound in a district that is now completely level, it is enough to see the entrance to the Saint-Roch Church where one climbs thirteen steps. Before the leveling of the mound, it was necessary to descend seven!

A first project plans to create an avenue Napoléon (in honor of Napoleon III) from the Louvre to the square where rue de la Paix joins the boulevards. The avenue Napoléon was first renamed avenue de la Nation, then avenue de l’Opéra in 1873. In the 1950s, the avenue was profoundly transformed by the widening of its roadway, from 15 to 20 meters wide, at the expense of sidewalks.

Some interesting buildings of today on Avenue de l’Opéra ; that I used to walked every day for work ! My favorites are at No 10: art critic Félix Fénéon lived there from 1931 to 1941. No 19: location of the premises of the tea house Compagnie Coloniale. During WWI, the city of Reims, in exile, held its first municipal council there on April 19, 1918. A plaque pays tribute to this event. No 22: location of the former Hôtel des Deux Mondes, which closed in 1940 and was the headquarters of the American secret services after the war. No 23: location of a former department store Au gagne petit, now replaced by a Monoprix store. An exterior decoration remains. At No 37 Brentano’s bookstore; founded in 1895, was one of the oldest English-language booksellers in Paris. It had some problems with the bank BNP Paribas and after it re opened it is not the same, mostly touristic stuff. Some things never returned too bad I used to walked into it each passing time!

You keep walking and reach the Place de l’Opéra a square located in the 9éme arrondissement. This square owes its name to the National Opera Theater, located in the Palais Garnier and at the crossroads of boulevard des Italiens, boulevard des Capucines, avenue de l’Opéra, rue Auber, rue Halévy, rue de la Paix and rue de Quatre-Septembre at the meeting point of the busy metro lines 3, 7 and 8. At the time of its creation, at the same time as that of the Charles Garnier Opera House, this square had the major advantage of giving the pedestrian sufficient distance to admire the main facade of the Opéra Garnier. This square was formed in 2 phases: the part located north of boulevard des Capucines, by decree of July 16, 1862; the part located north of boulevard des Capucines, by decree of August 24, 1864.

paris opera garnier front nov19

Some of my favorite buildings here and from my office I could see the Opéra Garnier every day !!! At No. 5 is the Grand Hotel or InterContinental Paris Le Grand, on the ground floor there is the Café de la Paix   (Hint !!!) At No. 6 were the offices of the newspaper L’Écho de Paris. Under the Third Republic, a sign announcing the results on election night attracted a crowd that clapped or whistled according to his political opinion. It is the ancestor of televised election evenings.

Paris

You are in chic Paris even if very much touristic of course. The architecture of the walk is very interesting looking carefully and the history of it very intriguing much more for a single blog post. I love this area for the memories it brings me and good cheers and friendship, times of yesteryear always in my heart, Paris is well we will always have Paris.

Hope you enjoy the walk, and plenty more in my blog. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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