A six-minute walk takes you from the Madeleine to the Paris Opéra—aka Palais Garnier, Opéra de Paris, and Académie Nationale de Musique (not to be mistaken with l’Opéra Bastille, place de la Bastille).
L’Opéra Garnier in Paris
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This spectacular Neo-Baroque confection designed by Charles Garnier—dramatically set smack in the middle of a confluence of cross roads, almost waiting for applause from passersby—was plagued with operatic-style troubles during the 15 years it took to build.
There was the subterranean lake beneath it (made famous by Gaston Leroux’s novel Phantom of the Opera), the Franco-Prussian War, and the collapse of Napoleon’s empire to name a few…
Still, velvet was gathered, marble and gold were assembled, cherubs and nymphs got carved, and a marvelous grand staircase was installed in time for the 1875 inauguration.
Paris Opera Honey?
On a sweeter note there is Opera Honey: When an employee in the props department was given a beehive in 1983 he decided to keep it in his apartment until he could bring it to his country home.
But that didn’t work out, so he brought the hive to work and—at the suggestion of the Opera fireman who was breeding fish in the subterranean lake—put it on the roof.
A week later he returned to find the hive overflowing with honey.
This is not a joke! For a taste of Opera Honey stop by the opera’s gift shop or pop into the nearby luxury food shop Fauchon (24-26 place de la Madeleine).
More articles in this series:
The Monuments of Paris — L’Arc de Triomphe
The Monuments of Paris — L’Avenue des Champs-Elysées
The Monuments of Paris — L’Obélisque de Luxor
The Monuments of Paris — La Madeleine
The Monuments of Paris — L’Opéra
The Monuments of Paris — Le Moulin Rouge
The Monuments of Paris — Le Sacré-Coeur
The Monuments of Paris — Le Louvre
The Monuments of Paris — Notre Dame
The Monuments of Paris — La Tour Eiffel
The Monuments of Paris — Père Lachaise Cemetery