I’m always on the look to find an attraction that defines a city, every time I travel. Paris has always been about the Eiffel, museums and its cafe scene. But how many of us out there had ventured out slightly out of that path to find a different gem great enough to define a great city?
on the tourist trail but often overlooked
Some of you might think that the Opera is not really out of the tourist trail. I have to agree. But for me, it seems that this place is often overlooked to the more global icons of the Eiffel, The Louvre and Arch De Triomphe. I would consider myself lucky to stumble upon the knowledge of this great ‘palace’ also known as Palais Garnier whilst visiting Musee d’Orsay.
There was a huge sectional scale model adorning one of the main exhibit space of this museum which really captured my attention. The model was elaborate, showing not only the grand theatre space but also the magnificent entrance and the foyer. I was even more captivated by the scale of the back of house which overwhelms the already grand theatre space.
From that moment onwards I knew that I had to pay an homage to this marvellous piece of architecture on my short stay to the French capital.
An architectural masterpiece
Built in 1862, Palais Garnier was built as the home of the great Paris Opera – the company formed in 1669 by Louis XIV to manage the world-renowned opera and ballet companies. Constructed as part on an architectural competition, the Opera is part of a larger project to reconstruct Paris. The competition was won by Charles Garnier who ultimately constructed the masterpiece.
Enough about history, the Opera really lived up beyond my expectations. Maybe it’s due to my lacklustre knowledge about Opera’s or me getting myself trapped into the realm of modern architecture while working at an international architectural office.
I remembered being mesmerised the first time I’ve stepped on the main staircase of the grand lobby space. The decoration was intricate and I love the dark mysterious entrance that opens up to a grand lavish space. The black chandeliers gives a romantic age-old feeling of the space. I’ve managed to pull a number of shots before moving on to the next space which is the grand foyer.
I would’ve never expected this..
For the second time, I was gobsmacked. I thought the interiors of the famous Albertina Museum in Vienna was spectacular enough but this was on a different planet. Nearly everything was coated in gold finishes. The painting on the walls and ceilings were heavenly.
All of this captivation instantly brought me to one question. Where did all of this gold comes from and how did it make its way to Paris? I guess that’s a post for another day.
After mesmerizing in this space for approximately 20 minutes, I’ve made my way to the final room, the jam-packed room with photographers the world over – the grand theatre . Like the other sections of the building, this space is nothing short of breath-taking. The grandeur of this interior space alone is memorable enough that it doesn’t need any productions to be played. Imagine being there when there’s a play, let alone a world-famous one.
This trip to the Opera summarises up the different Paris I used to know. One which is rich in history and in this case cash too.
Have you been to the Opera before? Let me know what you think