Sans compter qu'il se voit de loin, lorsqu'on est en bas de l'avenue qui porte son nom, juste au pied de la Comédie Française.C'est d'ailleurs non loin de là que se trouvait le bâtiment original, au XVIIIème siècle, avant que les travaux du Second Empire ne bouleversent le quartier avec le percement de l'avenue de l'Opéra.
This is certainly one of the most imressive buildings, for a stranger to Paris when discovering the city, even if he/she is French. What a massive and impressive piece of architecture, this Paris Opera, with its green dome and its golden statues. Add to this that it can be seen from far below, from the beginning of the avenue that is named from it, when standing nearby the Comédie Française, which is the French National Theater. The original building, moreover, was located here, in the XVIIIth century, before the reconstructions of the Second Empire period changed the area and the building of the Opera avenue.
Once inside, after crossing the entrance hall, the wide and open space of the inner volume makes immediate and strong impression. This is an enormous room where marble is the main material, reflecting the light of the ceiling lamps, and where music lovers, from the steps, admire the decorum ever and ever.
No doubt we are standing into a temple of music and dance, where faithful subscribers pay regular visits, from Autumn up to Summer. Some call them also "afficionados" to mean that they will attend the show, at any cost and whatever happens, and many of them have developed, given the years, a wide knowledge of the works, artists and screenplayers. But it's time to move up, as the bell is already ringing.
This is the large Opera hall. Behing the orchestra pit is the so-called "parterre" ("on the ground", the seats that are the closer to the scene, and hence the costliest). On both sides, level 0, are the "baths" (because of the shape of the lodges), and over there 4 levels of balconies. The traditional knickname for the last one is "henhouse".
The ceiling of the main hall is an immense painting of Marc Chagall. Some say that the former river, denominated "Grange Batelière", flows under the Opera, but it's a legend whose origin is that the groudwater is not very deep underground, which has made the building works more difficult.
A few melodious songs of tenori and soprani later, the night has already begun, and everyone goes back home with some dream remaining in one's hearth. The Opera is going to close, and it's now the hour when the ghost that is haunting the place every night is going to move out of its secret hideaway. Nobody ever saw it, but some heard him sighing with melancholy through the deserted stairs, the empty backstage and the silent lodges.