The Opéra was inaugurated under the Third Republic, following fifteen years of setbacks including a nightmarish discovery by the architect Charles Garnier, of an underground expanse of water. This rather deep lake, the stage for executions during the Commune, was the inspiration for writer Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera.
Did you know that fish, fed by the scene shifters, glide through the underground waters of the Opera House and bees, from two hives on the roof, collect their nectar in the nearby Tuileries gardens?
It’s a easy walk to the Louvre and the Tuileries from there. But also to the big shopping icons like Galerie Lafayette on Blvd. Haussmann and the Left Bank. Those were closed, however, on a Sunday.
The Left Bank was famous for its bohemian and liberal life style.” Ernest Hemmingway and Gertrude Stein poured drinks here as fast as prose. Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir chain-smoked their way to existentialism here, but the arrival of chic shops like Ralph Lauren’s last year dispelled any notions of lingering antiestablishment.” Delta’s Sky magazine sings the praises of a hip new area for boutique and ethnic shopping as well as antiques near Rue Oberkampf and Blvd. Beaumarchais.