Friday, April 24, 2015

U = Underground Paris and Urban Explorers, French Faves - A to Z Challenge

Deep beneath the city, in caverns and connecting tunnels, you may see the intrepid Cataphiles, urban underground explorers of a different Paris, one many of us will never see.



A partially flooded section of rue de la Voie Verte, CC* by Thomas Baselius in Jan 2006



U = Underground and Urban Explorers

Cataphiles tour the former 'mines of Paris', albeit illegally. These underground tunnels connect a network of unused caverns or former mines.  The Catacombs of Paris is only one subset of the whole system, which spans 170 miles (280 kilometers) in length.

Entrance to the Catacombs is restricted. The tunnel system is complex, and it's easy to get lost. Some tunnels have plaques indicating the name of the street above, but some do not. Some passages are low, narrow and at times, partially flooded. Aging telephone wires, pipes, and other detritus can make the trek dangerous. Cave-ins do happen, but they are rare. 

Paris monitors some of the caverns and the E.R.I.C. special police patrol the catacombs. A good guide is indispensible and even they occasionally refer to a map. Due to the possible dangers, accessing the catacombs without official escort has been illegal since November 1955. Those caught are fined 60 Euros, or $77. 

How do they get into these off limits mines? 
Secret entrances exist throughout Paris, and sometimes it is possible to enter the catacombs via the sewers, the metro and certain manholes. Some unofficial visitors hold keys to certain official entrances. On rare occasions, people use these access points for meetings with others, to hold exclusive parties or simply to explore.

The term Catacombs refers to a small part of the underground network where the remains of several million Parisians were transferred in the 1780s from the overflowing city cemeteries. That ossuary is open to the public and is visited by many tourists.

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Refer to DG's previous post:
Underground Crypt under Notre Dame and the Catacombs


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Would you go exploring underground in Paris, with a guide? Have you see the Catacombs of Paris, which is open to the public? Does the idea of being underground bother you?

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

***

The A to Z Blog Challenge is the brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!




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References:

View of Rue de la Voie Verte, Underground, (today called rue du Père Corentin) at a partially flooded section
 Picture taken by Thomas Baselius in January 2006
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataphile Cataphile

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/21/world/europe/for-paris-cataphiles-the-secret-is-out-on-their-cherished-underground.html?_r=0 NY Times article on cataphiles

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/02/paris-underground/shea-text Nat'l Geographic article on Paris Underground

 Paris Underground
http://www.npr.org/2011/01/30/133308592/parisunderground

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

T = Tea and Tea Shops in Paris, French Faves - A to Z Challenge

A cup of Tea. . .join me for tea. . .how do you like your tea. . .tea for two. . .

TEA, even the word conjures the exotic, the fragrant, and the relaxing aromas of tea. How do I love thee? Well, let me see. . . there is Chinese tea, English Tea, French Tea, and Japanese Tea. We are discussing hot tea in this post, not iced tea,


Antique Bavarian Teacup, by DG Hudson

T = Tea and Tea Shops
A hot drink served in a porcelain or ceramic cup

The tea trade in France began to boom in the middle of the 17th Century. King Louis XIV, the Sun King, and the French East India Company searched distant lands for exotic goods, as did other countries. It was a time for exploration, a time to search for routes to the East. They wanted sources of tea, spices, silk and other goods.


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Following are a two well-known tea shops in Paris. The tea cups featured in this post are from my own collection.


Mariage Frères


30-32 rue du Bourg-Tibourg
75004 Paris
France, Marais, 4th Arr.

"Mariage Frères ** is a French gourmet tea company, based in Paris. It was founded on June 1, 1854 by brothers Henri and Edouard Mariage.

For over 130 years the company was managed by four generations of Mariage tea merchants who maintained a wholesale-only business from the Parisian warehouse.  The first tea emporium and tea salon, located on rue du Bourg-Tibourg, opened in the same building where Henri Mariage had his offices over 150 years ago.

Today, the company operates over 30 Mariage Frères points-of-sale within France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.  There are four Mariage Frères tearooms in Paris."

(This) **Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License


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Real Old Willow and Chinese Motif Tea Cups, by DG Hudson


A Proper Cup of Tea. . .

My first cup of hot tea was from a Canadian friend, when I was new to Canada. She was born here. The next time, a couple of Scottish ladies I worked with told me exactly how to make the perfect cup of tea and what to have with it. I've had tea at the Empress in Victoria, BC, with crumpets and genteel white-haired British ladies dressed to the nines. 

I soon discovered that nearly everyone has their own way of having tea. Some like it steeped a little, some like it steeped a lot. There are delicate teas, smoky teas, fragrant teas, green teas and black teas. There are blends, and there are different ways to drink it - with cream or milk, plain, with lemon, and evaporated milk or condensed milk.  And now there are special varieties of tea at coffee/tea shops which don't even taste like tea (more like spice).



Porcelain Antique Teacup, by DG Hudson


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Angelina


Angelina, Tea Salon, WC


Founded in 1903 by Austrian confectioner, Antoine Rumpelmayer (1832-1914), Angelina has been a Parisian institution for more than a century. Located beneath the arcades of the busy rue de rivoli, across from the Tuileries gardens, this tearoom is most famous for its African Hot Chocolate, a thick, luscious concoction that has been compared to a melted chocolate bar.


Elegant service in a Belle Epoque decor, designed by architect Edouard-Jean Niermans, make Angelina a popular destination among tourists and locals.  Sundays are especially busy and there's often a line-up at the door.

Note: Marcel Proust and Coco Chanel were regulars here. 

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Do you like hot tea? Have you had tea in Paris or London? Can you get a hot tea where you live? Would you like a drink that tastes like a melted chocolate bar?


Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.


***

The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!



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Mariage Freres

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariage_Fr%C3%A8res

http://www.mariagefreres.com/

Angelina
http://www.chocoparis.com/angelina/


A list of more Tea Rooms in Paris



History of Tea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_tea


France's silent tea revolution

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26962095

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S = Seurat, Georges-Pierre - Artist, French Faves - A to Z Challenge

An Artist who was point-on in his painting of an era. . .


A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte - WC*  by Georges-Pierre Seurat

S = Seurat, Georges-Pierre


Born December 2, 1859 - March 1891, George-Pierre Seurat was a French Post-Impressionist painter and a draftsman. He is known for his innovative use of drawing media and for devising the painting techniques known as Chromoluminarism
and Pointillism.


His large scale work, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, was painted between 1884 - 1886. This painting altered the direction of modern art by initiating Neo-impressionism. It is one of the icons of late 19th Century painting.


Artist Georges Seurat (1859-1891) WC*PD

In 1878, he moved on the Ecole des Beaux-Arts but his formal artistic education came to an end in November 1879, when he left to serve a year of military service.  Seurat's first exhibited work, at the Salon of 1883, was a Conte' crayon drawing of Aman-Jean. 

Georges-Pierre also studied the works of Eugene Delacroix, and his use of colour. He departed from the Impressionist style by preparing for the work with a number of drawings and sketches, before starting on the canvas. Impressionists preferred to work 'in the moment' creating their paintings in the field all in one session, without sketches or previous studies of the subject.



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Cirque
English: The Circus

Georges Seurat,  Le Cirque, WC-PD *


Disillusioned, Seurat and some of the other artists he had met set up a new organization, the Societe des Artistes Independants. His ideas on pointillism influenced his fellow painters, Charles Angrand, Henri-Edmond Cross, Albert Dubois-Pillet and especially Paul Signac.

So, it seems there were Indies in art at the end of the 19th Century, just as there are in writing.

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Have you heard of Seurat? Do you like the pointillism style? 


Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

***

The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!




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References and Image Credits:

Georges Seurat Wiki
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Georges_Seurat_019.jpg

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Portrait of Georges Seurat
This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years

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A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte  by Georges-Pierre Seurat, Wikipedia Commons

This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art.
This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.

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Cirque


This work is in the 
public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R=Rue de Rivoli, French Faves - A to Z Challenge

On this street . . .there is much to do and see: shops, bistros, historical places, and arcades. In one section, the tourist shops, in another the high end hotels. 


Rue de Rivoli street sign - CC

R = Rue de Rivoli

The Rue de Rivoli is one of the most famous streets of Paris. It was named for the Battle of Rivoli, one of Napoleon's early victories against the Austrian army in 1797. A Paris municipal building is shown below, in the Marais section of the street.



A Marais section of the rue de Rivoli, Creative Commons, PD

Beneath the rue de Rivoli, runs one of the main brick-vaulted oval sections of the sewers of Paris. Above the street, you will see 18th century houses which have survived and are still used as apartment residences, short-term rental apartments or boutique hotels. 


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Closeup of the Details on Louvre building by DG Hudson

North of the rue de Rivoli is the Opera Garnier, also called the Paris Opera. See the A to Z letter 'O' for Operas of Paris.

East along the rue de Rivoli in the gilded statue of  Joan of Arc, She sits astride her steed, never daunted, facing the oncoming traffic. In the image below the Louvre Museum is on the right, the Hotel Regina, with arcades at the street level, is behind the statue.


Joan of Arc, Place des Pyramides, Paris by DG Hudson

The new street that Napoleon Bonaparte pierced through the heart of Paris took for one side the north wing of the Louvre Palace (before it became the Louvre Museum) and included the Tuileries Gardens.

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Do you know the history behind the rue de Rivoli? Have you heard of this famous street, or the older part of it, the Marais?


Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

***

The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!





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References:

Wiki - Rue de Rivoli
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rue_de_Rivoli 


Rue de Rivoli -  DG's post A to Z Challenge 2012 

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Image Credit: Rue de Rivoli, in the Marais - Paris

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
This licensing tag was added to this file as part of the GFDL licensing update. I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Image Credit: Rue de Rivoli street sign

Author: Edal Anton Lefterov
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Q = Quarters-Latin and Bastille, French Faves - A to Z Challenge


Paris is divided into districts or boroughs known as arrondissements. Some of the older parts of Paris are also called quarters. Two of these are featured here: the Latin Quarter and the Bastille Quarter.


The Latin Quarter

Literary Café de Flore, Paris, by DG Hudson

Café de Flore

The Café de Flore, at the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue St. Benoit, in the 6th arrondissement, is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris. It opened in 1885, and is celebrated today for its famous clientele and the memories of times gone by. 

In spite of its gentrification and the loss of its former identity, the Latin quarter continues to attract tourists and Parisians. Those who come hope to find or resurrect the atmosphere and air of change that existed in the writings of Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and others.

The Latin Quarter of Paris is an area in the 5th and 6th arrondissements. Situated on the left bank of the Seine, it includes the Sorbonne. The name of 'Latin Quarter' comes from the language spoken in the Middle Ages, when Latin was the international language of learning.

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Les Deux Magots


Les Deux Magots, Paris, by DG Hudson


Another famous café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, Les Deux Magots, was the place to find the literary and intellectual elite of Paris. Its reputation is due to the patronage of intellectuals Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Surrealist artists and writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce and others. Today, it is mostly a tourist destination and a great people-watching location.

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Student Protests, Latin Quarter

In the legendary riots of 1968 students protested against the De Gaulle government and police brutality. Police were using tear gas and clubs; students were using cobblestones. The workers rallied to the same cause by instigating mass strikes in support. This type of student revolt was also taking place in the USA at colleges and universities.(The infamous Kent State shooting of students by National Guardsmen took place two years later in 1970.)

A Literary Note
Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

The current edition of Shakespeare and Company Bookstore is an update of the original bookstore founded by Sylvia Beach. Read more here. In the 1920s, this bookstore became a focal point for expat Americans Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound and James Joyce. It was also frequently visited by members of the Beat Generation in later decades.

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The Bastille Quarter  


The Place de la Bastille is a square in Paris, where the Bastille Prison stood until the Storming of the Bastille, and its eventual destruction between July 14, 1789 and July 14, 1790 during the French Revolution. No vestige of it remains today. As a result of its historical significance, the square is often the site or departure point for political demonstrations.

Place de la Bastille square straddles three arrondissements: 4th (Marais), the 11th and the 12th. The Bastille name has endured. Also in the square are the Bastille Opera, the Bastille subway station, and a section of the Canal Saint Martin. A railway station which existed before 1984 was removed to make way for the new opera house.


The Bastille Prison
Model at the Louvre


Model of the Bastille Prison, at the Louvre, by DG Hudson

The Bastille, built between 1370 and 1383 was converted to a state prison in the 17th century by Cardinal Richelieu, and housed primarily political prisoners, religious prisoners, seditious writers, and young rakes held at the request of their families. After the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, the use of the infamous cachots (dungeons) and the vermin-infested subterranean cells were abolished. 


The July Column

The July Column, via Creative Commons*, Place de la Bastille  

The July Column (Colonne de Juillet) at the center of the Place de la Bastille square commemorates the events of the July Revolution of 1830

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Have you been to the Latin Quarter or the Bastille Quarter in Paris? Do you know of an equivalent in another city? If so, please let me know. 

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

***

The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!






Place de la Bastille

*Image: Place de la Bastille with July Column
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. 
Author: JSquish

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

P = Père Lachaise Cemetery, French Faves - A to Z Challenge 2015

Walk softly here, many are resting. . .

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, by DG Hudson


P = Père Lachaise Cemetery
Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

In the city of Paris, Père Lachaise Cemetery occupies 44 hectares or 110 acres. Located in the 20th arrondissement, it was the first municipal cemetery in Paris. It also contains many well-known personalities, a venerable list of the famous.



Family Tomb at Père Lachaise, Paris, by DG Hudson

The cemetery was bought by the city in 1804 and established by Napoleon the same year. As the graveyards of Paris filled, several other large cemeteries were established outside the precincts of the capital. Montmartre Cemetery in the north joined Père Lachaise in the east, with Montparnasse Cemetery in the south, and Passy Cemetery in the west, at the heart of the city.


Père Lachaise Cemetery had few occupants at first, but by arranging to bury a few notable citizens there, the area became more desirable as a final resting place. Some of the noteworthy citizens now are: Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Stephane Grappelli, Isadora Duncan, Chopin, and Camille Pissarro. There are many more on this list of those interred or cremated.  Scroll down the Wikipedia page to locate the list.

The rules for being buried in a Paris cemetery are rather strict: to be buried here a person must die in the French capital, or they must have lived in Paris.



Edith Piaf, Pere Lachaise, Paris, by DG Hudson

In order to gain more visibility for the cemetery, in 1817, the remains of Pierre Abelard and Heloise d'Argenteuil were transferred to the cemetery with their monuments canopy made from fragments of the abbey of Nogent-sur-Seine. By tradition, so it is said, lovers or lovelorn singles, leave letters at the crypt in tribute to the couple or in hope of finding true love for themselves. Ah, romance. . in Paris, it touches everything.

Today over one million bodies are buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery and many more in the Columbarium, which holds the remains of those who requested cremation (see below). Family tombs contain multiple burials to make the best use of limited space.



Isadora Duncan, Pere Lachaise, in Paris, by DG Hudson

The Communards' Wall (Mur des Fédérés) is also located in the cemetery. This is where 147 Communards, the last defenders of the workers' district of Belleville, were shot on May 28, 1871. The Paris commune was crushed on the last day of "Bloody Week".


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American singer/songwriter Jim Morrison's (The Doors) gravesite has been subject to crowds and some vandalism (as has Oscar Wilde's). According to Wikipedia, the lease of the gravesite was upgraded to perpetual by Morrison's parents, and is guarded to protect the site itself and others tombs nearby from ardent fans.



 Jim Morrison, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France - CC*

NOTE: As we made our way through the cemetery, looking for and locating those gravesites we wanted to pay respects to, we were approached by a man who offered to show us around the cemetery and claimed to be an expert in helping those who couldn't find the sites they sought. We declined. My imagination ran rampant afterwards though. What if he was a descendant of the communards who were finished off here?  Or a ghost of the cemetery? Or could he have been trying to lure unsuspecting tourists to another location?  We'll never know, but I can live with that. He gave us no trouble, and we went out the main entrance and down the hill.


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Have you heard of Père Lachaise Cemetery? Or have you visited other famous cemeteries to pay homage to a particular person? Do you find cemeteries interesting or creepy? 


Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

***

The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!




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References:

DG's previous post on Père Lachaise Cemetery
http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2012/01/paris-pere-lachaise-cemetery.html

Wiki on Père Lachaise Cemetery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A8re_Lachaise_Cemetery


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IMAGE: Grave of Jim Morrison, Paris, France*CC = Creative Commons
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  By SuzanneGW

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Pierre Abelard and Heloise d'Argenteuil - the story

http://sacred-texts.com/chr/aah/index.htm The story of love between a nun and her teacher, a noble lecturer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%A9lo%C3%AFse_d'Argenteuil Wiki

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Friday, April 17, 2015

O = Opéra Houses of Paris, French Faves - A to Z Challenge


The Paris Opéra
aka Opéra Garnier


Opéra Garnier, or Paris Opera, by Green Eye, prop DG Hudson


O = Opéra de Paris

The Opéra Garnier, formerly Palais Garnier, was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. The theatre historically was known as the Opéra de Paris. It soon became known as the Palais Garnier in recognition of its architect, Charles Garnier. The names may change, but the beauty remains, featuring busts of musicians / composers (Mozart, Beethoven, etc) in the front mid-section.



Opéra de Paris, or  Opéra Garnier, Paris, by DG Hudson



The Opéra Garnier, as the Paris Opéra, was the setting for the 1910 novel, The Phantom of the Opéra, by Gaston Leroux, and also the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1986. 

"Construction of the opera building started in 1862, but it wasn't completed until 1875, partly because an underground lake was discovered during the Palais Garnier construction.  The small lake still exists under the opera building.  It was the hiding place of the Phantom of the Opera, in Leroux's play.

This opera house is another meeting spot for many, as they sit on the steps to relax and people watch. A mixture of opera and ballet performances are featured in the lush interior and tours are available at various times.

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And now for something totally different in design,

The Bastille Opera

Opéra de la Bastille, Paris, WC-CC*


We were on our way to walk up the hill to Pere Lachaise Cemetery when we passed by the Opéra de la Bastille, a modern design in the location and neighbourhood of the former Bastille prison. It has become the main facility of the Paris National Opera, France's principal opera company, in conjunction with the older Opera Garnier. Some symphony concerts are held here, along with most opera performances and some ballet.

Designed by architect Carlos Ott, and located at the Place de la Bastille, this theatre can seat 3,309, and has a smaller concert hall and studio. The opera house was opened by François Mitterrand on July 13,1989, on the eve of the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, to an audience that included thirty-three foreign heads of state or heads of government.

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Have you seen either of these opera buildings? Have you seen any operas? (La Boheme, Carmen, or the Barber of Seville? )

Note: I'm not an opera expert; I have, however, read the script to 'La Boheme', and listened to the two mentioned above. I like the Opera Garnier architecture and its association with the 'Phantom of the Opera'. . .

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by, and if you are part of the A to Z Challenge. I'll be sure to check your blog, and reciprocate. If you're not in the challenge, thanks for stopping by to visit! I try to reply to all comments.

***

The A to Z Blog Challenge is brainchild of Lee, at Tossing It Out.  Please visit the A to Z blog site to find out more information and the participant list.  There are also Twitter and Facebook presences if you want to check those!



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References

More info on Palais Garnier http://visitepalaisgarnier.fr/en

Wiki on Palais Garnier
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palais_Garnier

A view on Cities
http://www.aviewoncities.com/paris/operagarnier.htm

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Opéra Bastille, Paris - Image of the building
Wikipedia Commons, 2012
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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