So finally, the last trip of this week arrived and we were headed to the Opera! I was excited to go to the Opera for 3 reasons: 1. It’s located in a really cool area next to lots of fun shops and perfect for people watching. 2. I got to use my metro card! (I bought my September metro card, which makes me feel much more like a legit Parisian) 3. It was the shortest field trip scheduled (Our trips get super tiring, as we have class and then have to stand/walk for a long time)
Since visiting the Opera, I have decided that when I build my first house (with what money you ask? well we will cross that bridge when we get to it), I’m going to have a french architect build it. Because all of these monuments and “houses” are insanely opulent and luxurious. Can you imagine the INSANE game of hide and go seek that we could play? I think I could raise several families and keep them secret from each other if I lived in one of these places.
This is a view from the front. It has two side entrances: one that was intended for Napoleon III to enter by carriage safely and the other for the bourgeoisie who owned box seats and wanted a direct entrance. On the building there are the letters N and E, which represent that the building was built under Napoleon III’s rule. Although the building was finished 2 years after Napoleon died in exile. The Opera is often referred to as the Palais du Garnier because of the luxury that the Opera exudes. Garnier is often the one people use to describe Napoleon’s lavish style and tastes.
To explain why the Opera was built, we have to go back in history a bit. Italy was beginning to feel unity as a country and realize that it was and could be a country. Italy looked to France to support them and found none. So, a person put 3 bombs at the older Opera house, which blew up right before Napoleon entered. Paris decided it was time to build a more modern and safe Opera. So they once again held a contest (lot of contests going on, maybe that’s how I can find my future husband? Send in your app now!!) and out of 170ish people, a young (3o yrs old) architect, Garnier, won. Now this guy…he’s pretty brilliant and I will explain to you why.
First of all, he decided that unlike all the other previous opera houses or social areas, he would make people entering a spectacle. So he built a central staircase that everyone would be filtered through and so that everyone was on display. On the interior carvings and decorations, he put various sculptures and inscriptions to give people historical information and information in general. For example, there are sculptures to show the development of light through the years. He used new technology, helping the Opera to run on electricity, so that it wouldn’t burn down (Apparently this was a common occurrence, average life span? 5 years). And the most interesting thing he did? Well when France ran out of money and the project remained incomplete, he wagered a deal with the head of the casino world. That man would allow Garnier to spend as much money as he needed and when he completed the project, he was to design and build a new casino in Monte Carlo. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
This shows the side entrance where Napoleon was to drive into the Opera house in his carriage and directly to his private box.
My camera doesn’t really do the interior justice whatsoever. It was simply magnificent.
The view from my new house…I mean, Opera.
Some of the headpieces worn in various shows.
So once our field trip commenced, we had lots of time to do as we pleased. And did I explore the area more? Well, no. I did what I’ve been trying to do for a couple of days: go to two different baking stores! The first store I went to, G.Detou (which if you pronounce it correctly, sounds like “J’ai tout,” which means I have everything). It’s an adorable tiny little store filled with various baking specialties- oils, nuts, dried fruits, spices, mass quantities of chocolate, you name it, they probably have it. Actually, they have a door in the back which clearly shows that they have a HUGE amount of stock in several rooms bigger than the one I was standing in. I guess I’ll have to become a frequent flier to figure that one out.
After I left G.Detou, I walked to my next location. One of the cool things about Paris is that all the clothing stores have to show the prices of the clothing displayed in their window. Which takes window shopping to a whole new level. I think it’s brilliant because then you know exactly what you’re looking to spend before you go inside. I arrived at my second location, which I know all of you will laugh at. The store was called Thanksgiving and it is a shop that carries all the American classics. Classics such as Lucky Charms, bbq sauce, pumpkin puree, Heinz ketchup. You know, the quality shit. I was there for baking soda and then to just observe at what American people are presumed to miss when they are abroad. Well people, looks y’all crave a lot of high fructose corn syrup and food coloring.
My walk was great, I got to see more of the city and found some cool places to return to. Once I got home, Diana and I took turns making dinner (yes, our kitchen is that small). I inadvertently tried to burn the apartment down. We have really crappy pans (correction: one pan, one skillet and then we have one pot) and all of the sudden one thing started to burn and the apartment was pretty smoky. Wait, you don’t like to smell like you just sat on the grill for 3 hours on a Friday night? Oh, that’s weird. I call it eau du rib.