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.

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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.

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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 :https://en.parisinfo.com/what-to-do-in-paris/info/guides/a-visit-to-the-palais-garnier

For programming ,hours, prices etc, see the official Opéra Garnier : https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/programme-and-tickets?season=22-23

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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2 Comments to “The Opéra Garnier of Paris, part II”

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