After visiting the Rodin Gardens I hop on the Metro and take it north to the Opera Garnier stop. The Opera Garnier is located 2/3 of a mile north of the Lourve. It's construction was completed in 1875 and though no longer the principle theater used by the Paris Opera it is still used for opera and ballet performances. It is the theater that "The Phantom of the Opera" takes place at.
The outside of the building is pretty simple yet there are very interesting heads along the top that I think are supposed to be the happy and sad theater faces. There are also dramatic statues adordning the corners. I don't know if the entrance is left or right so I guess right and end up walking 7/8ths around the building to find the entrance. Woops. But in doing so I see these really cool lamp posts designed like a front of a ship.
I make it to the entrance and get a student priced ticket without having to show ID. Woot! The grand staircase to the place is really spectacular. None of my pictures do it justice and I'm not good at describing things, but there were just tons of statues and lights that were very old fashioned looking. Really gorgeous. I go up the stairs and though we are not allowed to enter the thater, the doors that audience members go to for their seats are really cute. They're not very big and have little porthole windows.
I then proceed through the mini-museum they have set up. There's a library that looks like a mini-mini-mini Beauty and the Beast one and has those cute ladders. They also have these dioramas of different opera sets. I really liked the Otello one but that's only because I had just finished working on Lend Me A Tenor which is about the behind the scenes shenanigans of Otello.
After the museum I then go and look at this side hall/lobby area which is decorated beautifully. There's an abundance of gold and carvings and paintings and its all perfectly symmetrical. I really like these lamps on posts that look like people. Each end of the hall have fireplaces with large vases on top. The ceiling consists of multiple frescoes/paintings that have angels all flying about and chandeliers hang on both sides of the space every 10 feet or so. The curtains adorning the entrance ways are also made from gold fabric and have large tassles hanging from them.
There is an outer area you can also go onto where you overlook the Place de'l Opera. It's not the most exciting view but you can watch Paris traffic go by. The ceiling has the theater faces carved in all the panels, each alternating happy and sad, which I thought was really cool. The building was really designed specifically for the theater and nothing else.
As most places were in Paris, the Opera Garnier was very impressive. The detail and the application of gold was so outstanding and pretty and being a theater geek, I just loved the atmostphere. I wish I could have seen a show and been inside the theater, but no, I was on a budget and I don't even know if there was a show in production.
I leave the theater as the sun is close to hitting the horizon and think about how my first day was fairly successful. A few frustrations, but so far I was not dissapointed in anything I'd seen. I head back to the Metro to go back to the hostel and rest a little. It's around 345pm now and I have to leave at 5ish to go back to the Eiffel Tower for a night bike tour of the city. Can't wait!