Friday, March 21, 2008

If It's Friday - It Must Be Paris

I just arrived this morning to work in one of my favorite European cities. The day dawned cold and wet and thick and gray - not unusual for March. Soon enough the clouds began to roll away leaving the sky above the Paris Opera House washed in a mother-of-pearl decadence; beautiful - put fleeting - the rain has returned. Below my window cars and people slosh about, bundled in jackets and scarves and surely wondering when spring will come. All this, and I haven't even left the room yet. Not a bad view for a working stiff.

The opulent Opéra de Paris Garnier was designed by Charles Garnier for Emperor Napoleon III. It is the most important symbol of the 19th century Second Empire baroque style.

Construction of the opera building started in 1862, but it wasn't completed until 1875, partly because an underground lake was discovered during construction. The small lake still exists under the opera building. It was the hiding place of the 'Phantom of the Opera' in Paul Leroux's famous play.

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