Last week I had the pleasure of receiving a private escorted tour of the Royal Opera House of Versailles.
The opera house was a lifelong dream of Louis XIV but was not fulfilled during his reign. King Louis XV continued with the ambitious project, appointing Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Vigarani to draw up plans for a ballet theater. Delays ensued because of intermittent wars and financial difficulties. Eventually the king commissioned his first architect Ange Jacques Gabriel, who studied at length the leading Italian theaters in Vicenza, Bologna, Parma, Modena and Turin to design the opera house. Work finally commenced in 1768 and was completed in only 23 months. The inauguration celebrated the marriage of the Dauphin (soon to be King Louis XVI) and his bride the Archduchess Marie Antoinette.
Although it’s the largest private opera house in the world, it’s quite intimate with only 702 seats but the stage and backstage are larger than the major theatres in Paris, Chatelet and the Opera Garnier. The interior was designed by Augustin Pajou and made entirely of wood, using faux marble or tromp l’oeil. It’s one of the finest examples of neo-classical architecture with excellent acoustics and the theme of the décor is Apollo and the Olympian deities.
I was shown the private royal box, which was on the mezzanine. I was curious as to why there was an open grated iron gate in front of it and was told that the king didn’t always want others to know he was attending the theater, so the gates gave him privacy. There was a small private salon on the side of the royal box for Champagne and food for during and after the performances.
The king liked to party after the performances and the design of the theater incorporated a complicated process of having the floor of the opera house raised to the level of the stage to transform it into a dance floor.
The 2016-2017 season features a series of classical concerts and opera concerts such as Handel: The Messiah, Bach: Christmas Oratorio, Vivaldi: Venetian Splendors, Ravel: Bolero, Rossini: Elizabeth, Queen of England and Salieri: Les Horaces. There will also be two ballets, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo: Cinderella and Preljocaj: The Painting on the Wall, The Extraordinary Adventure.
I was also given access to the Royal Chapel, and felt like such a VIP, when I was personally escorted past the velvet ropes in front, with tourist clamoring to follow me.
I’ve been invited to attend a performance when the opera opens again in September, so I can’t wait to put on a suit and tie so I can hear and see it in all of its musical glory.
My Paris Apartment for Rent October 29 to November 11
I am renting my fabulous Paris apartment in the heart of the Marais near St. Paul metro, from October 29 to November 11, a total of 14 nights. It's a spacious one-bedroom 750 sq. ft. loft style apartment with 12 ft. ceilings, decorated in chic Mid-Century Modern furniture and sleeps one or two people in a Queen size bed. Amenities include washer/dryer, 16" flat screen TV, dishwasher, internet connection/Wifi and free long distance calls to the U.S. The apartment is located on the second floor with an elevator.
The price is $225 a night with a minimum rental 7 nights. Price is negotiable if staying more than 7 nights. Photos upon request. Please email me at email@example.com if you are interested. Dates are flexible by two to three days on each end but please do not email me with other dates.
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $30 for a 3-month subscription plus shipping or
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
Click here to order a 3-month subscription from my Etsy store
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 195 euros per person (about $210)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.