Archive for August 15th, 2022

August 15, 2022

The Café l’Imperial of Paris !!!

Another soft spot for me in my eternal Paris and really only have briefs in other posts. It deserves a post of its own for the memories of always. This Café l’Imperial is on rue de Rivoli facing the Jardin des Tuileries and it was lunch home for a couple of years while working in Paris. Lately, it has gone thru a slight management change and name to Imperial Rivoli but the same as before stays. For me it will always be the Café L’Imperial. Let me tell you a bit about it ok; hope you enjoy the post as I.


As said, happy to have worked in Paris for about 9 years. Over 2 years were at the fame Intercontinental Hotel (today Westin Vendôme), which we called the l’Inter as part of upper management, where  I was base in charge of all own properties of the Intercontinental Hotels Group in France. Own needs a definition, in the hotel business many properties carries the name of the hotel chain but are actually only managed or franchise facilities. When we say own means the group owns the real estate, the real owner of it all. The short story is that the hotel was sold to a retirement pension group from Singapore who in turns gave the management of it to the Starwood hotels group and we management left with a nice package, indeed. Later, it has been passed on as part of the Marriott International group.


Well, we had a nice restaurant cafeteria for employees in the basement of great food and unbelievable prices but it was very tight, and several times in the week the collegues will go out for lunch, just a cup of coffee or an apéritif drink before going to our homes. This was the fun part and you guess it, the place chosen was the Café l’Imperial which is just next to the hotel!

Paris cafe L'Imperiale side rue de rivoli et mont thabor apr09

A wonderful walk that in between had the sublime sensation of having lunch at my old work hangouts Café l’Imperial  on the corner with Rue Roget de Lisle! (our employees entrance to the L’Inter) . Metro Concorde lines 1,8,and 12. However, I did the walk from Gare Saint Lazare same time and wonderful Paris above ground !! This was and is my stop for a quick meal, coffee or a drink with a magnificent location across from the Jardin des Tuileries. A wonderful group of people with the frame old saying by Gustave Flaubert in 1913 ” Imperialists are wonderful people, very honest plausible and intelligents people” ! Well I am glad was part of it . 

paris cafe l'imperial side from rivoli nov19

Needless to say, I have stopped by and had my lunch and dinners there afterward on several occasion with the family and visiting friends for a taste of laid back Paris. The black and white decor with red sofas and French cuisine is tops. The homely atmosphere of this restaurant allows guests to relax after a hard working day.  A number of reviewers find the staff terrific. Service at  Café L’Impérial (oh a slight change of name to Imperial Rivoli ) is something one can name fine. Prices are found fair here. Many clients highlight that the beautiful decor inside is enjoyable. Bits from several review places. Mind you,this is not your fancy overprice Parisien place but a simple meal presentation, good food,and good prices always with a smile. You notice do not do posts on single restos but this one is worth the detour me think. My Dad in the picture !great !!!

Paris L'Imperiale cafe rue de rivoli 15apr09

The official Café L’Imperial

There you go folks, another soft spot in my eternal Paris, the Café l’Imperial or Imperial Rivoli is a worth a detour and on a grand spot for sights of the most beautiful city in the world, Paris. Again, hope you enjoy the post and thanks for making me remember all these wonderful places of always.

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

August 15, 2022

The Opéra Garnier of Paris, part II

I found some old pictures not included in my blog, and they should been one of my fav areas of my eternal Paris. Therefore will write a follow up post on the Opéra Garnier of Paris as i like to call it.I was by here for several years, and up and down and around it as worked across the street ! This is one of the most emblematic icons of Paris! It stuck on you, like anything in Paris does.


For the uninitiated or newby, the Opéra Garnier of Paris is located at Place de l’Opéra, at the north end of Avenue de l’Opéra (see posts) and at the crossroads of numerous streets. It is accessible by metro Opéra station, lines 3, 7 and 8, and  by RER line A, Auber station and by bus lines  22, 52, 53, 66, and Roissybus (aiport CDG). Parking  Q-Park Edouard VII  and Rue Bruno Coquatrix facing 23 Rue de Caumartin.

The Paris Opera has had several names including “Royal Academy of Music and Dance” at its birth, then “Imperial Academy” and its activities took place in at least fifteen different rooms , After the fire at the Palais Royal theater in 1763, the Opera stayed in a large number of halls in Paris, including the Salle Montansier, located at the current location of Square Louvois. The Opera took up residence in the Salle Favart, abandoned by the Opéra-Comique. It moved again pending the completion of the Palais Garnier in 1874, which was part of Haussmann’s urban plan. The history of its construction, which spanned fourteen years, from 1861 to 1875, is closely intertwined with that of the Second Empire and the beginnings of the Third Republic. The facade alone inaugurated in 1867 , for the Universal Exhibition of 1867. The rest of the construction was delayed due to the war of 1870. The inauguration of the opera was finally made in 1875, after the abdication of Napoleon III in 1870. Napoleon III, at the origin of its construction, will never see its completion , and the unfinished Fumoir gallery will never be finished, The Grand hotel (Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental-fyi my old job) , at the corner of Boulevard des Capucines, was built in 1867 for the Exposition Universal, at the same time as the facade of the Opera.


During the excavations, intended for the construction of the foundation blocks, the work must be abruptly interrupted because the level of the water table has been reached. Steam pumps operating day and night are installed to pour a large concrete casing, temporarily filled with water to allow the construction of the infrastructure above. It also allows the distribution of loads on poor quality ground and the stabilization of the building. Today it still serves as a water reserve used by the Paris firefighters.

The inauguration took place on January 5, 1875 in the presence of the President of the Republic Mac Mahon, the Lord Mayor of London, the Mayor of Amsterdam, the Royal Family of Spain and nearly two thousand guests from all over Europe. The program included works by Auber, Havely, Rossini (Guillaume Tell) Myerbeer and the ballet La Source by Léo Delibes , On February 7 , 1875, the famous masked and transvestite ball of the Opera was organized, created in 1715. Principal chic annual event of the Carnival of Paris, it took place in the hall of the Nouvel-Opéra. It gathered eight thousand participants and was perpetuated until 1903. Since, the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille form the Opéra de Paris which in 1994 becomes the Opéra national de Paris.

From my books let me expand on my previous post on its history, by given you a brief description of the exterior of the Opera Garnier of Paris.

The main facade to the south,gives to the Place de l’Opéra , and the point west facade you can see the rue Auber and rue Scribe., The entrance to this facade is indicated by a series of green marble columns, two of which are surmounted by a large bronze imperial eagle, a symbol miraculously preserved after the Second Empire. The Emperor’s Pavilion, which was never completed, provides direct access to a front stage box on the garden side. These rooms, which were not finished by Napoleon III, were then fitted out to house a library of 600,000 documents related to the theatre, autograph manuscript scores by Rameau, Gluck, Rossini, Wagner, Massenet, Charpentier, Hahn, Poulenc, etc. These rooms also house a museum of approximately 8,500 objects, 2,500 stage models, 3,000 various works including 500 paintings, 3,000 stage jewellery, etc. On this west facade was erected in 1903 a monument to the glory of Charles Garnier who died in 1898. The East facade is visible from rue Halévy and rue Gluck as well as from place Jacques Rouché. It is preceded by a series of green marble columns to enter the Subscribers’ Pavilion . In 2007, a restaurant project finally came to fruition in 2009 with the opening of the Opéra Restaurant, 2 Michelin stars, accessible to everyone without going through the ticket office. On the côté nord or north side, Charles Garnier has set up a courtyard to facilitate the entry of the various employees, to receive sets and accessories and to bring them directly to the goods lift leading to the level of the stage.

paris opera garnier left side nov19

Now again from my books, brief, let me bring you inside of the Opéra Garnier of Paris :

I will mention the Grand Vestibule Control ,Vestibule Subscribers’, the Rotunda Glacier, Rotunda Fore-Foyer or Mosaics Foyer, the Grand Foyer and its Lounges Moon and Sun Lounges, the Grand Staircase , Main Theater ; the Hall Parterre and Balconies. Continue with the two domes of the ceiling: The first dome of the ceiling of the great hall , and the new ceiling. The large chandelier ; the height of the chandelier of 8 meters is that of a small house ; it is in gilt bronze and crystal, and bears on five crowns 340 gas burners, which became electric bulbs from 1881. The design is by Charles Garnier himself, The Stage and backstage, where the orchestra pit precedes the proscenium. The opening of the stage is such that it once allowed the arrival of galloping horses within the width of its 16 meters. The 1,350 m2 stage set, built of oak planks, can accommodate up to four hundred and fifty artists, singers, dancers and extras. The Under floor and hangers ; from the deepest to the top of the opening of the stage, the set reaches a record height of 60 meters. There are several sets of bells used during performances. The great organ built by the famous organbuilder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll has been out of service for decades.  An organ at the Opera was used in some lyrical works, starting with the most famous between them, Faust, by Charles Gounod but also La Juive by Jacques-Fromental Halévy, Werther by Jules Massenet and many others. The Foyer de la Danse ; this foyer, used for rehearsals by the corps de ballet, has an inclined floor identical to that of the stage, but whose slope is reversed. Hidden you have the Administration offices. The domes are covered in copper, which when oxidized takes on a greenish color. The rest of the building is now covered with zinc, like the majority of roofs in Paris. The set and costume making workshops are are not in the Opera but on Boulevard Berthier, in the 17éme arrondissement of Paris.

paris opera garnier back side corner jun15

The Paris tourist office on the Opéra Garnier :

For programming ,hours, prices etc, see the official Opéra Garnier :

As in Paris, all is sublime, the Opéra Garnier is a masterpiece of France, and the world. To think I worked across it for two years in my eternal Paris !! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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August 15, 2022

The old Forum Les Halles of Paris !

Let me tell you a bit of old history on one of the new icons of Paris, I first passed by it in 1991 on my visits to France from the USA, Eventually I came with the family in 2004 to see the old Forum Les Halles of Paris, This is a bit of the history after this date ; as I found me an old picture ; hope you enjoy it as I.

By 2004 an architectural competition was launched by the city/town hall of Paris for a total renovation of the Halles quartier or neighborhood. The first works were to start in 2009, The project architectural firm was decided in July 2007 on the future “Carreau des Halles”, with the Canopée, a symbolic heightening of the current Forum des Halles. By April 2010, the work was finally started for the redevelopment of the Halles, and including the reorganization of surface public spaces, the construction of the Canopy, the new garden, the reorganization of underground roads and the redevelopment of the Châtelet-Les-Halles trains station with the Forum and their accesses. The wonderful Canopy was inaugurated in 2016. Going back, way back, this “belly of Paris”, referred to by Emile Zola in the days of the wholesale markets, has become one of the main centers of activity in the city, close to the geographical center of Paris, and at the crossroads of the main lines of the public transport network of the region.

paris les forum halles old entr c2010

In the older days, going back way back they have different markets here such as the Fish market ; installed since the Middle Ages in a triangle to the Saint-Eustache Church near the pillory, the market was rebuilt in the same location in 1822 and transferred in 1857 to Baltard pavilions 9 and 11 at the corner of rue Rambuteau and rue Pierre Lescot, The Cheese market , established to the south of the fish market is installed in a hall built at this location in 1823, also housing a butter and egg market, then transferred in 1857 to Baltard pavilion No. 12 at the corner of rue Berger and rue Pierre Lescot, close to its original location, The meat market was established on the site of the old wheat market when it was installed in 1770 in the building which will be that of the stock exchange (bourse), transferred to the Prouvaires market opened in 1818, then in the Baltard pavilion n° 3 rue Rambuteau south of the Saint-Eustache Church in 1860, The Halle au Blé et aux Flours  was located between rue de la Tonnellerie and rue de la Fromagerie on Place des Halles. This market having become too small, the City decided in 1762 to move the market to a building erected on the site of the Hotel de Soissons, purchased by the city a few years earlier, of which there remains the astronomical column of Catherine de Medici, This Wheat and Flour hall built from 1763 to 1767 was inaugurated in 1770 with its center in the open air, covered by a wooden dome in 1782. This was destroyed by fire in 1802 and replaced by a new structure in iron, first covered with sheets of lead, then with glass, which suffered another fire in 1854. Again renovated, the building became the headquarters of the Stock Exchange (bourse). The meat market is installed on the site of the old wheat market which in 1818 becomes that of the herb market. The Halle aux Herbes was installed in 1818, on the site of the former meat hall which was itself that of the former corn hall before its transfer in 1770 to the building constructed for this purpose which will be by the stock exchange. The herb hall was installed in 1858 in the Baltard no. 7 and no. 8 fruit and vegetable pavilions. The Textile Hall had been established since the 15C between rue de la Poterie and rue de la Petite-Friperie to the south of the carreau des halles square. It was rebuilt under the name Halle aux draps et toiles in 1786. The building was burned down in 1855. Of all the above only two pavilions were saved and reinstalled, one in Nogent-sur-Marne (94 Val de Marne ) and another transported to Yokohama in Japan.

The new Forum Les Halles (see posts) is France’s third busiest shopping center with 26 cinemas ,the busiest swimming pool; a garden of more than four hectares; a network of roads, mainly underground. three media libraries of the City of Paris, two musical ones (one reserved for conservatories, the other open to all audiences), one specialized in cinema, This Forum les Halles and neighborhood are served by the trains station Châtelet – Les Halles metro lines 1, 4 ,7, 11, and 14, as well as by RER A, B, and D lines, The city’s largest station with three RER, five metro, 15 bus and 13 Noctilien lines ! A laberynth to avoid as possible.

The Halles neighborhood or quartier is the 2nd and located in the 1éme arrondissement of Paris. It takes its name from the Halles de Paris, a wholesale market for fresh food products, which was once established in its center. These halls were demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Forum des Halles, with a mainly pedestrian environment, which houses the largest urban station in Europe, Gare de Châtelet – Les Halles.  The limits of the district were fixed in 1859 at the time of the extension of Paris. The boundaries are: Rue de Rivoli to the south; Rue de Marengo and Rue Croix-des-Petits-Champs to the west; rue Étienne-Marcel to the north; and Boulevard Sevastopol to the east. The area was originally made up of swamps crossed by the road from Paris to Saint-Denis. In Merovingian times, a cemetery, later called the Cemetery of the Innocents, was established along this road. A chapel, later transformed into a church by Louis VI le Gros around 1130, was founded there. In 1780, the cemetery of the Innocents was closed for hygienic reasons and the bones were exhumed and transported to the catacombs. The halles closed in 1969. The buildings were destroyed in the 1970s and the Forum des Halles opened in 1979. Much renovated later as above,

Main things to see here are the Saint-Eustache Church, Fountain of the Innocents, Bourse de commerce (Pinault museum) , and the Forum des Halles. All must sees in Paris, me think.

The official Westfield Forum des Halles :

The city of Paris on the old Halles

There you go folks, a dandy spot in gorgeous eternal Paris, one of the places to see while in the city me think. The neighborhood is totally different from my first time there,and better. The Forum des Halles of Paris an icon that lives on in the most beautiful city in the world…

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

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