We decided today would be a good one to take a tour of the Paris Opera House—part of our ParisPass package but also something we had missed during our 2004 trip. After taking the Metro to the Opera stop, we had a couple of hours before our tour time, so we walked over to Galleries Lafayette, one of the two famous department stores in Paris (the other is Printemps).
It was lunch time so we decided to check out Galleries’ options. We made a great discovery: they have a rooftop, open air restaurant with awesome views—we could see a lot of the downtown on one side and as far as the Basilique Sacre Coear on the other. The food was good also. I had a really good Nicoise salad and Bob enjoyed a Mediterranean plate.
From there we went to the Opera House for our tour. Not sure what we expected, but we got a whole lot in just about two hours—from the architecture to the story of the Phantom of the Opera (including a peek at Box Number 5, the one he reserved for his use only in the story), to the history of the art from floor to ceiling, to visiting the Grand Foyer to which only the artistocracy had access in the day, to seeing the secret entrance that the emporer had built to assure his security. The only area we did not vist was the performance space, which surprised and disappointed us. There were ballet practices in progress, which is probably why. Fortunately, we attended the opera during out 2004 visit, so we know first hand how magnificent the space is.
Afterwards, we were parched so we stopped for a quick drink at a non-descript sidewalk cafe. I didn’t want to leave without going into Printemps, the other major department store. However, it was so crowded that we abandoned that effort and headed to the Metro.
Walking back over Pont Marie back onto Ile Saint Louis, we were greeted by the most amazing sunset, the picture of which I will end this blog.