“I tore off my mask so as not to lose one of her tears... and she did not run away!...and she did not die!... She remained alive, weeping over me, weeping with me. We cried together! I have tasted all the happiness the world can offer.” – Gaston Leroux The Phantom of the Opera
The cultural landmarks in Paris are almost too many to count, and definitely too many to fit into a 4 day trip. One that might fall in the shadow of the great museums and galleries it the Palais (l’opéra) Garnier, indeed, I myself who have been to Paris more times than I can count, have always chosen to admire the building from outside.
But on this particular day I left the hotel early for a morning stroll through the Tuileries. Just walking through those gardens calm me down. I can’t believe how lucky you Parisians are for having the chance of doing this everyday! I made a turn and continued up l’avenue de l’opéra where you can see the opera perfectly centered from afar. I figured I would get my daily fix of caffeine and chausson aux pommes and sit on the stairs in front of the opera like so many others do, but once I was there looked up and saw people taking pictures from the balcony. How is it, that I have never been up there? It turns out, like so many cultural activities here, the price is severely reduced (often free) if you are under 26 years old.
This Opera (Palais Garnier) was inaugurated in 1875 and was the primary home of the Paris Opera and the Paris Opera Ballet until The Opéra Bastille opened in 1989, although it’s still frequently used for ballet. With the opera house in Sydney and La Scala in Milan, Palais Garnier is part of the most famous opera houses in the world, and surely Gaston Leorux’s Phantom of the opera and later Andrew Lloyd Webbers musical, played a part in that.
It was a very casual visit, where the visitors, mostly just walked around freely in the different rooms. I would say the highlights are in the balcony with its royal view, the golden grand foyer and the salon de la lune.
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