Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
February 29, 2004
Inside there is lavish décor in the 18th -century style. Every room has a different color: Chamber of the conjoint chief of staff has yellow color drapes with Chinese scenes, yellow fabric on the bed and chairs that date back to the times of Louis XV, Chamber of the chief of staff seems to all be covered in gold flowers on silver silk, Salon Rouge has as the name suggests very red furniture fabric and drapes offset by the crystal chandeliers, and beautiful tapestries on the walls, Galerie Bleue boasts a very inspiring blue plafond in renaissance style with a replica of one of the paintings from the Louvre collection. This was a much nicer visit than Palais de l’Elysees without all the crowds in the rooms and everybody pushing everybody to move ahead.
Next, we were off to the Assemblee Nationale.
From journal Paris in September - Part II
February 14, 2004
Since both Palais Royal and Opera were closed, I decided to visit Palais de l’Elysées, which is an official residence of the Prime Minister and is the ultimate pilgrimage site in Paris during Journées du Patrimoine. The Palais was supposed to be open from 10am to 7pm on Saturday and from 9am to 6pm on Sunday. I was in line at 9:15am along Avenue Gabriel, we turned at 10:40am on Rue de l’Elysées. At this point, there was a sign that from this point there was 2 more hours to the entrance. The whole Rue de l’Elysées was full of people behind the barred pickets all the way to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré with "Sotheby’s" sign across the street. On the righthand side inside the gendarmerie building, there were public toilets and water fountains, since you will spend a long time in line. At 11:55am, we passed the 1-hour mark. "Match TV" crew came about 12:20 to interview people in the line asking them what they were expecting to see inside. "I don’t know and I think it’s a stupid question to ask," was most common answer. In the meantime, I had a chance to study the building of the Palais from one side. From the outside, the building is not very attractive, with tall first-floor windows and much shorter second. Windows of the first floor have balconies with iron wreaths along the frames. Between the windows of the second floor you can see stucco with rifles, knives, helmets and coats of arms.
After a wait that seemed like an eternity, at 12:50 we reached a gate for handicapped access; next, we had to turn the corner and yet another corner around the building, which seemed to shrink - the two floors facing Rue du Faubourg seemed much smaller with bars on the windows of the first floor. Finally, at 1:30pm, we were near the columns with the arched entrance and French flag above it. The building across Rue de l’Elysées was creating enough shade, so at least we weren’t suffering from the heat. But once we went through the luggage check and very slowly were moving in a straight line in the open sun along the carpet in the middle of the pebbled courtyard to the entrance of a three-story building with unimpressive architecture, the brochures about Palais given out at the entrance came in very useful to fight with the sun. The first-floor entrance has glass between the columns, and through it you can see Vestibule d’Honneur with a crystal chandelier and a modern monument to the French Revolution – white stone with golden arrows sticking out of it.
Continued in Part IV
Palais Royal (which houses the offices of the Ministry of Culture – the organizer of this event) this year decided at the last minute not to open to the public on both days and claimed that the cancellation notice was in the papers, but how was I, along with a lot of other foreigners, supposed to find that out? So there I was at 8:30am on Saturday morning waiting for them to open at 9:30am and expecting a long line. By 9am, one of the people working there showed up and explained that the opening was cancelled.
Opera Garnier was absolutely impossible to get into. For two days in the second week of September, I was trying to get in to see Chagall’s ceiling, but every day it was closed because of the rehearsals. Then it was supposed to be open during Journées du Patrimoine and they cancelled again. A lot of people were very disappointed. I wanted to see a ballet or an opera at the Opera, but during the time that I was in Paris, there were no interesting performances at the Opera Garnier, but at the Opera Bastille they were putting on "Tosca." The tickets for September went on sale online in July and the prices were outrageous - only the most expensive tickets that cost 97-114 euros were on sale. However, when I called one of the ticketmaster reps in the US, they quoted $250 per ticket to the same performance. They rip you off fundamentally. If you want to check out the schedule of performances, go to www.opera-de-paris.fr. To get tickets for the evening performance without buying tickets in advance is almost impossible - I was a witness to a crowd of people who wrote down their numbers on their hands from the evening before and were lining up to see if there are any tickets left. It was worse than the line in NYC on Times Square. If you do manage to visit Opera Garnier, it costs 6 euros, and it’s open from 10am to 4:30pm. Last time I was in Paris was 3 years ago, and the façade of the Opera was in scaffolding. Now the façade is newly restored and looks great.
Continued in Part III
Continued in Part II