Sunday, 11 December 2016

Palais Garnier

The Dance - Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
The Paris Opera House was commissioned by Napoleon lll in 1861 and designed by Charles Garnier, but its inauguration in 1875 was too late for Napoleon who had died two years previously 
In the frieze E for Emperor N for Napoleon
Designed in the very popular Beaux Arts style of the time, it symbolised the opulence of the Second Empire. The exterior is one of the impressive landmarks in Paris with an interior of grand chandeliers, sweeping marble staircases and gilt decoration. 
Garnier designed a private turnaround carriageway at the back of the building for Napoleon. He could have arrive securely, leave his carriage to await his return, and come and go as he wished.
 The 'Bassin de la Pythie' is situated below the Grand Staircase. Pythia was a high priestess at the Temple of Apollo, Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus - this theatrical entrance flanked on each side by a grand sweeping stairway gives a taste of things to come
The double sided Grand Staircase is made from white Cararra marble with a red and green marble balustrade leading up to the Auditorium and the Grand Foyer
At the top of the stairs is a beautiful marble arcade which has some exquisite Venetian mosaic work within the arches
At the centre is a vaulted ceiling showing paintings by artist Isadore Pils of Apollo, Minerva, and Orpheus.
two images courtesy wiki 

 
The inauguration in 1875
This sumptuous, breath taking, gilded Grand Foyer, was modelled on the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. The domed ceiling was painted by Paul Baudry to represent various moments in the history of music
A close up of the fine details at the bases of the gilt columns
All of the small side foyers are individually decorated and also have striking ceilings


With the opening of Opéra Bastille in 1989 the Palais Garnier lost its role as the main opera house in Paris. It is now the principal home of ballet although it still does host some opera 
In 1960 the French Minister of Cultural Affairs, André Malraux controversially commissioned Marc Chagall to repaint the ceiling in the auditorium. Rather than destroy the original painting by Jules-Eugène Lenepveu, Chagall painted his canvass on a removable frame. Twenty years later, however, the original painting by Lenepveu was removed to the Musée d'Orsay where it is now on display.
Chagall's painting celebrates the music of both opera and ballet by 14 different composers. At its centre is the grand chandelier made of bronze and weighing a staggering 7 tonnes.

47 comments:

  1. I always reccommend a tour of this luxurious Opera house when someone visits Paris. Your pictures are just breathtakining Rosemary. A fun note. Did you know they have a honey producing beehive on the roof?

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    1. Yes, I had heard about the beehive on the roof - it is a wonderful place to visit as you say

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  2. Hello Rosemary, It's funny, but most of the photos I have seen of the Paris Opera are old black and white ones, which can't equal the splendor of your vivid color shots. I can certainly see why the building inspired Gaston Leroux's classic story. I am going to look for my copy of Phantom of the Opera, and this time I'll enjoy the atmosphere even more after seeing your photos. (I wonder if they have behind-the-scenes tours at the Palais Garnier.)
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - there are private tours and behind the scene tours that can be booked. There is also water under the building but just a pool, not quite the lake of the Phantom of the Opera.
      It would be wonderful if one day my granddaughter who is a soprano, and is studying at a conservatoire, had the chance to sing there.

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  3. Such a rich decorated building with so much to see. You showed the treassures in a great way.

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    1. That is very kind of you to say Marianne - thank you

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  4. What an incredible place, I'm sure I'd find it a distraction and never even notice what the performance was.

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    1. The Auditorium itself is relatively simply in comparison - much like any other grand theatre.

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  5. Dear Rosemary, How does one remove an entire painted ceiling?

    You brought back many beautiful photos from your Paris trip. There is so much material for a decorative painter...even the smallest designs, when viewed close up, provide inspiration.

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    1. Dear Gina - sorry but I don't have the answer to your question, I only know that it can now be seen in the Musée d'Orsay.
      I could have spent far longer at the Palais Garnier, there was just so much to see and absorb.

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  6. What a magnificent place. Your photos are just beautiful too. I will be sure to visit there should I ever get the chance.

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    1. If you do get to Paris Catherine then the Palais Garnier is not to be missed.

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  7. I am overwhelmed by all the opulence. However the ballerina lighting is understated and lovely. Once again thanks for the guided tour of a place I shall never visit.

    Ms Soup

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    1. Your eye is overwhelmed there is so much details to try and absorb

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  8. Magnificent, we don't have such things down here so it's lovely to see.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing it Margaret

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  9. So fantastic to see. I am always amazed how they planed to bild things like this, and how many years it's taken to finish it.
    Have a lovely monday.

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    1. I have been planning to visit Palais Garnier for years and it did not disappoint at all

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  10. The opulence and grandeur of the place is really eye opening !

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  11. A lovely selection of photos of such an opulent and detailed building. It's definitely been built for a grand entrance on a special occasion! I like the birds and bats on one of the ceilings and of course the gold everywhere must shine brilliantly with all those lights.

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    1. The ceiling with the birds and bats was a small foyer where the men smoked, when smoking was acceptable. It is a stunning building Wendy.

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  12. Your pictures are spectacular. Would you know if the ballerina lights can be purchased somewhere? Love your blog -- Laura

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    1. Thank you for your visit and generous comment - the lights can be purchased from the shop inside the Palais Garnier. I think that they were fairly expensive, may be a trip to Paris could be on the cards for you!!!!

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  13. You don't see that many unrestrained happy statues.(photo one) Something I never thought about before until now. Beautiful interiors and real craft evident there but a bit too over the top for modern tastes, including mine.

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    1. That particular statue was very influential at the time as it broke the traditional classical mould that everyone was used to seeing.

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  14. I've seen the outside, but not the inside of this magnificent and opulent building. Wow! Can you imagine the gaping mouths of those who first saw it?

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    1. I can imagine it Lorrie, because I felt the same myself - as you proceed up and through the building it just gets more and more overwhelming.

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  15. Dear Rosemary,

    Have also seen the grand and magnificent Palais Garnier from the outside so was wonderful to see your photos taken on the inside.
    Really wonderful to see all the gold, amazing paintings and the chandeliers. The ballerina lights are beautiful.
    Hope you are enjoying the week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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    1. Dear Carolyn - I knew that it was splendid and that Chagall had painted the auditorium ceiling, but I had no idea just how magnificent it really is - hope that your lead up to Christmas is going well.

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  16. The place I like the best at Palais Garnier is the marble Grand Staircase but I’m overwhelmed by the gilded Grand Foyer, which is too dazzling to look at. It’s interesting to know the integration of modern painting by Chagall with such historical Paris landmark. I feel so privileged to see all the beauties and grandeurs of Palais Garnier in your blog, thanks for sharing, Rosemary.

    Yoko

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing Palais Garnier Yoko - I could never have envisaged just how opulent and grand this opera house was before my visit.

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  17. No need for Christmas decorations here,

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    1. You are right they would be completely lost

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  18. Every time we went to Paris, my husband would try to get tickets for something ... we saw the Ballet and one concert. it is mind boggling, how beautiful the place is !

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    1. Lucky you - to see the ballet and a concert there must have been wonderful

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  19. Beautiful interior beautifully decorated. We are watching the pictures, and enters captivated me. Regards.

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    1. Thank you Giga - so delighted that you enjoyed seeing Palais Garnier.

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  20. Oh my Goodness, I missed this wonderful post last week - and I am so glad to find it now! (Let us blame the business of having two little boys running about in the house). I have seen only the outside of this building, so was thrilled to see what is inside, and it is just so gorgeous in every detail. But I think I love the ballerina lights best of all. Thank you for sharing it Rosemary.

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  21. It's a fabulous building Patricia - the ballerina lights though you could own, they are for sale in the Palais Garnier shop - at a price!!!

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  22. I love these beautiful interior photos, Rosemary. Thank you for sharing them.

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  23. A gorgeous post, Rosemary. I shared it on my Facebook page. I feel as if I've been to the Palais Garnier though I never left my apartment. Thanks for that.

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    1. My pleasure Yvette - so pleased that you enjoyed it sufficiently to want to share it

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