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 grandsweepingstairway 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 withinthe 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,gildedGrand 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, each one having a different but verystriking ceiling.
With the opening of Opéra Bastille in 1989 the Palais Garnier lost its role as the main opera house inParis. It is now the principal home ofballet 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 operaand ballet by 14 different composers. At its centre is the grand chandelier made of bronze and weighing a staggering 7 tonnes.
We have just been away for a few days escapingthehurly burly that is Christmas
toa hotel that holds a special affection for us, and is just a short coastal headland walkto St. Ives Alternatively you can take a little train that trundles along below the footpathevery hour to
Silvanus Trevail was the architect of The Carbis Bay Hotel built in 1894. He was a prominent Cornish architect who rose to become Mayor of Truro and nationally, President of the architects' professional body, the Society of Architects. The hotel was immortalised by the author Rosamunde Pilcher when it was featured
as The Sands Hotel in her novels 'The Shell Seekers' and 'Winter
Solstice'. Although the hotel has changed over the years it still retains much of its character and houses a wonderful very large original oil painting by Sir Claude Francis Barry - as a young painter he studied first with the Newlyn School of realist painters and then under Alfred Bastwith the St. Ives group of painters
St. Ives - painted in 1910 - Claude Francis Barry He was known for his great love of colour and for developing his style continuouslyduring his lifetime
We left home in typically December weather only to discoverwarmer, sunnier climes had blown in to Cornwall from the continent. It is this special light that attracted the colonies of famous painters to Newlyn and St.Ives at the end of the c19th.
The late afternoon sun is slipping away rapidly - time to hasten backover the headland foroureagerly anticipated evening meal
This is not an advert or recommendation for the hotel, it is simply a place that we know and love
A Christmas thought
Why have we allowed ourselves to be manipulated into thinking that Christmas needs weeks of preparation and shopping?
When I was smallChristmas arrived hardly more than a week before the event. On the morning of Christmas Eve our turkey would be delivered from the farm along with a box of fruit and vegetables, and father would go out into the garden with his spade and dig up our Christmas tree. Myself and siblings would spend the afternoon decorating the tree, and then just before we climbed the stairs to bed,the lights would be ceremoniously switched on,filling us all with great excitement and anticipation.
via wiki Looking from the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Elysées in a westerly direction La Grande Arche de la Défense is clearly visible from the city
The Grande Arche and esplanade stand at the heart of La Défense whichis Europe's largest built business district filled with acres of glass and steel buildings.
Charles de Gaulle was responsible for leading an effort to level this area and concentrate skyscrappers in a single district rather than altering the character of downtown Paris by filling it with large commercial properties.
Eachof the buildings tells a story about the architectural trends that were in vogue at the time of their construction. La Défense now gives us an interesting overview of this most recent period in our history of architecture
La Défense is considered a good and very much cheaper option for a place to stay in Paris. It has wonderful views acrossParis which are particularly dramatic at night - there are lots of very good quality restaurants selling food from around the globe - a huge shopping mall - cinema - museum - church;it also has excellent quick train links that will whisk you straight into the city center,easily take you out to the interesting suburbs of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, or even take you for a day outto Versailles
Visited La Fayette toview their Christmas Tree suspended from the shops magnificent central glass dome. The glass was done by master stained glass designer Jacques Gruber at the turn of the C20th in a Neo-byzantine style, but our ultimate destination wasto visit some Paris Passages.
A distant glimpse of Sacré Coeur on ourway to the first arcade
Passage des Princes
There are around 20unique and charming covered passageways in Paris mostly built between the turn of the C18th and the mid C19th. Were these arcades an early precursor to the shopping malls we know today?They were created by linking some of the grand boulevard buildingswith a covered glass walkway, andhave typically Belle Epoque Parisian architectural features-each passage hostingit's own unique character. Some have very upmarket boutiques and food shops selling deliciouspatisseries;others are filled with interesting ethnic shops and restaurants. There are beautiful antique and jewellery shops, and even shops filled with all kinds of things that you didn't realise you wanted until youpeered into their enticing windows.
Passage Jouffroy kept us busy for at least twohours. It houses Musée Grévin with its famous waxwork models, the Hôtel Chopin - an original and reasonably priced place to spend the night, and lots of very quirky shops.
Gourmets can enjoy eating in the unmissable tea rooms of Valentin, but we found a memorable Thai restaurant which served us all a beautifully presented and delicious lunch.
In the elegant passageway Galerie Vivienne we came across a bridal couple dancing
Special thanks to our lovely DiL for taking us to the passageways and sharing her knowledge, and a big thank you to our eldest son for treating us to a memorable meal