It’s day six of my adventure in Paris with my ten-year-old grandson and we have a big day planned! Our first stop…the Opéra Garnier of Phantom of the Opera fame!
We go around to the side to enter…and pass its huge, elegant lamp posts!
Once inside, we pause to photograph ourselves in the massive mirror! It’s hard to get pictures of the two of us together so we take advantage of this opportunity! We head up the staircase…
…and are amazed at the beautiful ceiling…a rotunda filled with fabulous artwork! It surrounds a skylight that allows natural light to spotlight the staircase below.
Built for Napoleon III and finished in 1875, it was the place to be seen for fashionable Parisians of the Belle Epoque…and is still the ultimate in opulence among Parisian landmarks for me!
We even got to peek at a rehearsal that was underway from one of the upper balconies! Have you ever seen anything so elegant? Amazing!
And overhead is the grand eight ton chandelier surrounded by the controversial mural painted by Marc Chagall in 1964. Some feel that his work clashes with the elegance of the Opéra, but I find it delightful! Once again, here’s an example of the French love of the juxtaposition of the old and the new…which always seems to work somehow!
Of course, we make a photo stop in the Grand Foyer…which reminds me of the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. This is where opera-goers mingle while sipping their champagne during the entre-acte. However, this is not what we came to see! We are looking for…
…the Phantom of the Opera…and there he is! I might also add that I asked if there really is a subterranean lake and was told that it’s true…but it’s closed to the public. Too bad! You can take a virtual tour of the Opéra by clicking here.
Next stop, the Centre Georges Pompidou, named for the former President of France who commissioned it. That’s it in the background, housing a huge library and museum of modern art among other things. We have come to see its crazy Stravinsky Fountain created by Niki de Saint Phalle and Tinguely…which, unfortunately, is being renovated so its sixteen whimsical sculptures are not moving today. However, I did manage to find a video of the fountain in action, with Stravinsky’s Firebird playing in the background. To see it, click here.
I am disappointed, but I find that each time I visit Paris, at least one of the sights is being renovated. That’s just the way it is! However, you can see another example of the ultra-modern and very old coexisting peacefully side by side as the fountain is located right next to a Gothic church!
Our final stop of the day is the Carnavalet Museum…which houses a fabulous collection of treasures from the history of France…and it is free to the public! We wander through a maze of rooms in a wonderful old mansion in the Marais district of Paris and pass by a collection of incredible French antiques. Ahhh! This is sure to cause heart palpitations for any fan of frenchy chairs like me…and it’s the real deal! The duchesse brisée in the upper left is sure to be a favorite for my friend Vanna at Delusions of Grandeur! Me, I’ll take the bergère chair in the lower right! lol Somehow, I don’t think I can get it on the plane!
I linger over a collection of beautiful blue and white porcelain…sigh…and then we head to the part of the museum that my grandson is looking forward to…
…where even beautiful bowls and lidded jars require a second look! It’s the French revolution collection! The top two photos show commemorative pieces depicting the beheading of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette and date from the time period! Lovely souvenirs, huh? That gorgeous ink well reads…Live free or die! And the pretty, unusually-shaped bowl is not broken…it’s a shaving bowl and the cut-out went around the neck. However, its owner…Robespierre…didn’t need it for long since his head was eventually separated from his neck by the guillotine as well!
Another victim of the guillotine is also remembered here. This beautiful fork and spoon once belonged to Danton. Note the crest on the back of the flatware…customary in France even today…thus explaining their custom of turning the flatware down when setting the table.
My grandson enjoyed seeing the miniature models of the guillotine and the ancient weapons. Among the most amazing in this bizarre collection of memorabilia is pictured in the upper right…the actual safe that was taken from the Bastille when it was stormed in 1789! I have to say I could have stayed longer because there is so much to see and so many fabulous little pieces of French history! But it’s time to head back to our little hotel and our headquarters in Rue Cler!
We have an early dinner at one of the sidewalk cafés on Rue Cler…a BLT for my grandson (a surprise for me to find them there!) and a salade au chèvre chaud for me…a salad topped by warm goat cheese on toast points…yum!
Finally, we make a quick stop at the little store near our hotel where I indulge in one of my frenchy favorites…Monster Munch! Yes, I admit it, I am addicted to this stuff and have to have some whenever I am there because there is nothing here to even begin to compare! My grandson agrees with me and scarfs up the whole bag before I can get a taste! lol I think I have a convert! Our only problem..if we want more, it’s a loooong way to the store! Sounds like we need to make another trip to Paris, huh?!
Be sure to stay tuned…there’s one more day left in our seven day adventure!
Missed any Paris posts?
Back from Paris…or...My Grandson’s Favorites! Listing the must-see spots for a ten year old boy!
My Favorite Street in Paris…Rue Cler Great little street to use as your headquarters
In case you want to follow along, here is my plan for visiting Paris in seven days! I am linking each of the seven days as I complete the posts.
Day One…All about Eiffel! Eiffel Tower/ Champ de Mars park and play area
Day Two…Sightseeing by Subway! Arc de Triomphe/ Montmarte/ Sacré-Coeur
Day Three…Monsieur Monet, I Presume (and a lot of Louis)! Giverny/ Versailles minibus tour
Day Four…The Cradle of Paris! La Sainte Chapelle/ la Conciergerie/ Notre Dame/ Latin Quarter/ the book stalls/ ice cream on Ile St. Louis/ the bâteau mouche on the Seine
Day Five…Art Museum Madness…Plus Play in the Park! Louvre/ Tuileries Garden/ l’Orangerie/ Musée d’Orsay
Day Six…A Phantom, a Fountain and Some History! Opéra Garnier/ Pompidou Center/ Carnavalet Museum
Day Seven…A Tomb, a Tank and a Tower! Napoleon’s Tomb and the Musée de l’Armée at les Invalides/ Eiffel Tower at night
Thanks so much for stopping by! See you next time! A la prochaine!