You're not alone. We've all wanted to stroll the streets of a movie-like Paris, with that accordion soundtrack and a croissant always in hand. If you want to live this experience, the Opera district is your perfect stage. This neighborhood encapsulates that collective image the world has of the French capital, like a microcosm of Parisian elegance and splendor.
The district gets its name for housing the impressive Opera Garnier, a 19th-century architectural gem, standing with its opulent facade and interior adorned with marble, gold, and velvet. It's not only a temple for the performing arts but also a testament to Paris's taste for grandeur and aesthetics. Around this emblem, there extends a network of streets and boulevards where you can find the most exclusive shops, the most delicious restaurants, and the most authentic hotels, like Pulitzer Paris.
Just a few steps away from this wonderful operatic extravagance, you'll come across the Madeleine Church, which with its appearance of a Greek temple, seems to have been lost in time and space. Is it a church or a relic from the Acropolis?
In this neighborhood, even food is haute couture. Place de la Madeleine is the catwalk for delicacies, where gourmet shops like Fauchon and Hédiard compete in the art of flavor. The Ópera and Madeleine districts claim the spirit of Paris, a place where history, architecture, art, and the art of living coexist in harmony. Today, we'll tell you ten interesting facts that you might not know, and that will make you want to wander its streets even more.
1. A Palace for Music
The Ópera Garnier, designed by Charles Garnier, isn't just a theater; it's a palace for music and dance. Did you know it has an underground lake? It was created to solve groundwater issues during its construction and is said to have inspired "The Phantom of the Opera."
2. A Temple of Gourmet
At the heart of the neighborhood, Galeries Lafayette Gourmet awaits with delicacies from around the world. A culinary temple where you can taste everything from the most exquisite chocolate to the most aromatic cheese.
3. A Statue with Bad Luck
Beware! It's said that the equestrian statue of Joan of Arc in the Place des Pyramides brings bad luck to actors, and it's common for them to avoid looking at it when heading towards the Opera.
4. The Madeleine: A Church or a Greek Temple?
With its neoclassical architecture inspired by Greek temples, it defies traditional expectations of a religious building. It's not just a place of worship; it also serves as a venue for prestigious classical music concerts. Originally, it was designed to be a temple dedicated to the glory of Napoleon's army.
5. Buy a Perfume in the Style of Marie Antoinette
On Rue de la Paix, you'll find the M.Micallef perfumery, where it's said that perfumers still use techniques reminiscent of Marie Antoinette's era.
6. Subterranean Secrets
Beneath the streets of the neighborhood lies the Musée des Égouts, Paris' sewer museum. Here, you can explore the tunnels that have kept the city clean for centuries.
7. The Architecture of a Dream
The Place Vendôme, renowned for its luxury shops and its stunning column, was designed as a monument to the power of Louis XIV. The Sun King desired a place that reflected his greatness, and he certainly achieved it.
8. A Green Oasis
Amidst the concrete jungle, the Tuileries Garden offers a respite from urban life. It was Paris's first public garden, and even today, its ponds and sculptures remain an oasis of peace.
9. The Secret of Vanity
At Place de la Madeleine, you'll find Maison Guerlain, one of the oldest perfume houses in the world. Legend has it that the first lipstick was created here, forever changing the beauty industry.
10. Opera Ghosts
Beyond the famous "Phantom of the Opera," rumors persist that the Opéra Garnier is inhabited by several ghosts, including Garnier's own spirit. It's said that his ghost still lingers, ensuring that his masterpiece remains perfect.