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30 July, 2011

Paris in Seven Days: A Phantom, a Fountain and Some History!

273 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!

242 We go around to the side to enter…and pass its huge, elegant lamp posts!

246Once 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…

262 …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.

261 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!

258We even got to peek at a rehearsal that was underway from one of the upper balconies! Have you ever seen anything so elegant? Amazing!

253 - Copy 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!

268 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…

250 - Copy…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.
 274 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.

275 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!

chairs 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!

290 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…

page …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!

306 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.

page1My 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!

314 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!

monster munchFinally, 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 TwoSightseeing by Subway! Arc de Triomphe/ Montmarte/ Sacré-Coeur
Day ThreeMonsieur Monet, I Presume (and a lot of Louis)! Giverny/ Versailles minibus tour
Day FourThe 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 FiveArt Museum Madness…Plus Play in the Park! Louvre/ Tuileries Garden/ l’Orangerie/ Musée d’Orsay
Day SixA 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!


  1. If I ever get to Paris I'm using you as my tour guide! Oh and the Monster Munch...priceless! Thanks so much...only one more day left...oh no! hugs, Linda

  2. I sure wish we had gone inside of the Opera House when we were there. I absolutely loved the outside of it. They sure did love their opulence back then. I can just picture the people in their finery milling about. I will definitely tour it next time I'm there along with the museum you talked about. How fascinating!! My sis and I ate at that very cafe in the Rue Cler district...had a cute waiter too! Thanks for the fascinating tour, Debbie.

  3. thanks for taking me down memory lane. Thought the opera was gorgeous! Funny, I just took the pic of my 1st trip to Paris in 1992 to work for them to see. Now my pic are all digital and not in alblums!
    What a grand time with your grandson. I will have to check out those monster munch! we love going to local market.

  4. Another beautiful day in Paris and we travel with you. I looked at that ceiling in the grand foyer and oh my how beautifulthat is. And that chandelier, wow, Isn't it great that you can have your dinner on the sidewalk and oh dear warm goat cheese salad on toast, delicuous.Thank you for sharing another beautiful day.

  5. Wow that opera house, amazing. I have french silver and I always place it upside down. It is more detailed on the back than the front.

  6. Now I wish we had gone inside the Opera House. It looks beautiful and I will put it on the list for next time. Debbie, I have so enjoyed visiting Paris with you and your grandson.

  7. Oh Debbie I'm eating this post up!! I actually have the Paris Opera as my screen saver and it never fails to wow me! I had no idea about the subterranean lake....How cool is that?!! I really wish they'd do a little guided tour of it, don't you? Must add I had no idea the phantom was so young? *winks* you knew it heart skipped a beat when I spotted that beautiful duchesse brisee!! Awww thanks for the shout out. One of these days girlfriend I'm going to have one durn it!! Cuz I've put that intention out in the universe for a while now *winks* so by golly it's going to happen!
    Now you've got me wanting to try the Monster Munch...Just what I need another addiction to something I can never get ahold of! *winks* Vanna

  8. Oh, Debbie - great tour! Love it all. Honestly, though, the ceilings of the old buildings are just as pretty as the vertical walls. And, yes, the lobby looks like the Hall of Mirrors - très belle! And I ditto what you said about Monster Munch. I have eaten a whole bag at a time myself! Linda

  9. What a wonderful tour! Your grandson won't realize how lucky he is until he is grown. xo Diana

  10. What a wonderful time for you and your grandson! I love the mirror picture :) The monster much looks like a fun treat!

  11. What a super educational trip for your grandson, Debbie. he will never forget this...Christine

  12. I am really enjoying your travelogue with your grandson. My husband is going to take a leave of absence next year, and we are dreaming of trips in faraway places. Paris is certainly on the agenda, since it has been so many years since I was there.

  13. Debbie, I'm still enjoying your trip and looked back to "visit" the shops on Rue Cler.
    I got a giggle at your grandson pretending to be the Phantom.

  14. Hi Debbie, such fun, such history! I noticed something that tickled my funny that you in Paris with flip flops!!!

    Imagine there really is a subterrean lake under the opera house!

    xo, Bonnie

  15. I am catching up in the land of blog, in the wee small hours of the morning and so happy I stopped by.

    Debbie, this has been an amazing series of posts! The photos are fabulous. I have tried to put myself in the shoes of your grandson who will never forget this trip with his grandmother.

  16. Oh my, I wish that the lake was open to tourists, would have loved to have seen some photos of that. But all these pics are so great, looks like it was a great trip!

  17. Debbie,
    We've been away ourselves, so I've missed the Paris trip. I shall enjoy perusing the posts, though!
    Sounds like a wonderful, wonderful trip. Your grandson will remember it forever.
    When we attended dear Baby Kitty's par-tay, I forgot to become a follower! That has been remedied.
    Wonderful to find your blog and someone else besotted with cats!

  18. Debbie, you sure are bringing up sweet memories from my trips by reading your Paris Posts and all the great photographs. Awwww, i know it was sad on your last day, a trip like this is so special. I'm sure your next one will be just as much fun with your grandson. I hope to do this with mine when he is older, he just turned three. I want to show him Paris.........
    I've enjoyed these posts tremendously!

    The French Hutch

  19. Oh, I'm sad to see these posts come to an end. Each one has brought back sweet memories for me. I'm so glad you and A had this experience together. What a lucky little guy! I'm going to retrace your steps next visit. ~ Sarah


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie