Paris Opéra : a complete work of art
Categories : Exhibitions and Museums, published on : 4/14/15
When you stay as a guest of The Chess Hotel, you will be just a stone’s throw from the Paris Opera. It’s a unique opportunity to visit the Palais Garnier, with its opulent gold and velvet, Second Empire and Beaux Arts architecture, superb theatrical facade, its friezes, columns and statuary, and its ceiling painted by Marc Chagall.
Enter the temple dedicated to music and dance
Here you stand before the main façade of the Palais Garnier, the building’s elaborate roofline dominated by Aimé Millet’s statue of Apollo, who rises like the Sun and brandishes his seven-stringed lyre, as though holding sway like a paternal ruler. Here is Apollo, god of the arts, Apollonmusagète, ‘leader of the muses’, and you are at the temple of dance and song. The main façade of the building was designed to be a spectacle in itself. The loggia rises above you, and located between the monumental columns are gilded, bronze busts of some of the greatest composers. Gazing from left to right you see Rossini, Auber, Beethoven, Mozart, Spontini, Meyerbeer and Halévy. Below these, the bases of the avant-corps bear sculptures of multi-figure groups, of which The Dance by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, located on the right, especially seems to quiver with life and movement. Inside, everything is auspicious and rich with a Baroque majesty, from the golds of the stucco work, to the ornate chandeliers, the onyx, the red and white marble of the grand staircase and railings, and the polychromatic mosaic floors. All offer a feast for the eye, mind and spirit. The grand staircase that extends from either side of the statue of the Pythia, Oracle of Delphi, leads you to the auditorium, a place that was designed as a showcase to see and be seen in. The five floors suggest a hive and its cells, with the parterre, the balcony, the boxes and the amphitheatre, and then the crowning glory; the circular ceiling pulsing with the animated colours of Chagall’s lyrical painting.
A harmonious eclecticism
A visit to the Palais Garnier will envelop you in spectacle. It is an exhilarating blend of classical antiquity, Louis XIV era ceremonial pomp and grandeur, and grace notes from the Second Empire. It was built during the reign of the Emperor Napoleon III, at a time when the fashion was for a certain eclecticism which sought inspiration in the art of the past. It was the architect Charles Garnier who, in 1861, won a competition organised by Napoleon III for the honour of constructing a new home for the Opéra de Paristo replace the old Salle Le Pelletier. It was all part of Baron Haussmann’s reconfiguration of Paris. The construction, interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, lasted more than 14 years, and it wasn’t until January 5th, 1875, that the new Opera House was finally opened, to great acclaim. The sumptuous colours, the theatrical monumentality and the symmetrical plan that develops on both sides of an axis all lead the visitor’s eye to give the impression of a ceremonial building.
When you stay at The Chess Hotel on the rue du Helder, you must not miss the splendour of this temple consecrated to the glories of architecture, music and dance; the wonderful Palais Garnier.
8 rue Scribe - 75009 Paris
01 71 25 24 23
Metro: Line 7 or 9 Chausséed'Antin - La Fayette
Picture credits : Wikipédia - Degrémont Anthony
The Chess Hotel, a chic 4 * hotel close to the Opera Garnier