We were fortunate to obtain tickets to see Ludmila Pagliero and Florian Magnenet perform La Sylphide on July 3, 2013. The world knows La Sylphide mainly through August Bournonville’s 1836 ballet, carefully preserved in Denmark and in the repertoire of companies from Covent Garden to St Petersburg. The original Sylphide, however, was French: a showcase for Marie Taglioni that was choreographed by her father Filippo to a different score and soon lost to the vagaries of history. Forty years ago, choreographer Pierre Lacotte set out to recreate it using limited archive material. It is a pastiche of classical ballet in the Paris Opera Ballet repertoire, an elaborate variation on the Romantic style, and it has made a return to the company’s stage after a nine-year gap to close the season.
The Montparnasse Tower (Tour Montparnasse), built in 1973, was one of the first skyscrapers in Paris. A visit to the tower's observation deck is rewarded with a magnificent view over the city. Constructed from 1969 to 1972, it was the tallest skyscraper in France until 2011, when it was surpassed by the 231 m (758 ft) Tour First. The project started as a redevelopment scheme of the Montparnasse and Maine railway stations in 1958 and had strong support from the new government. The tower's simple architecture, large proportions and monolithic appearance have been often criticized for being out of place in Paris's urban landscape. Two years after its completion, the construction of skyscrapers in the city center was banned. All that having been said, it is a great place to see Paris from above, without the long lines at the Eiffel Tower. It stays open until 10:30 PM so you can see the lights. From the top of the Tour Montparnasse you can see the Eiffel Tower against the semicircular Palais de Chaillot and the Paris skyline as seen in the photo above.
In 1895, Théophile Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn opened a fashion store in a small haberdasher's shop at the corner of rue La Fayette and the Chaussée d'Antin, in Paris. In 1896, their company purchased the entire building at n°1 rue La Fayette; in 1905 they acquired the buildings at n°38, 40 and 42, boulevard Haussmann and n°15 rue de la Chaussée d'Antin. Bader commissioned the architect Georges Chedanne and his pupil Ferdinand Chanut to design the store at the Haussmann location, where a glass and steel dome and Art Nouveau staircases were finished in 1912. This place is the most extravagant store we have ever seen, in 2009, Galeries Lafayette recorded earnings of over one billion euro.
The Palais Garnier is probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame cathedral, the Louvre, or the Eiffel tower. It is an elegant 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 by Napoleon III for the Paris Opera. This is the thirteenth building to house the Paris Opera since it's founding in 1669 by Louis IV. The Opera has now relocated to L’Opera de la Bastille as of 1989 and the Garnier is used mostly for ballet. The new opera house has had some issues with appearance and acoustics but both “opera houses” are sold out for every performance.
The selection of the architect was the subject of an architectural design competition in 1861, a competition which was won by the architect Charles Garnier (1825–1898).