The Palais Garnier was built between 1861 and 1874, during Emperor Napoleon III's reign. The construction was supervised by prefect Baron Haussmann. This Baroque jewel is one of the most famous Parisian landmark's.
Built over a surface of 11.000 m², the Opera remained the world's largest building until 1970.
Loggias, galleries, hidden staircases and statues. Due to all this interior entanglement, the Opera has only one thousand seats. However the Grand Auditorium, with it's Italian style, 8 tons chandelier and ceiling painted by Chagall, remains one of the most visited monuments of Paris.
There is a legend in Paris among tourists and Parisians alike, one speaking of an underground lake beneath the Opera. While its not exactly true, the legend remains.
The truth is, the water simply appeared during the construction of the foundations. The plan was to use this water in case of fires, as such, they built walls to contain it, effectively turning it into a reservoir.
Today, the underground reservoir is still accessible through a staircase and allows maintenance engineers to inspect the foundations and the stability of the building.
Along the many interviews I've done following the publishing of my second book, one question, the ultimate question, came up again and again:
« If you had to name one, just one, what would be your favourite exploration ? »
It's a question that's hard to answer. After all these years, the countless trips, memories and adventures. Sometimes there is discovery, adrenaline and shivers. Beauty, adventure and even sometimes, believe it or not, the exploration itself.
« L'Opéra » , I often replied.
A beautiful discovery, full of adrenaline and adventure that sent shivers of excitement throughout my body ! My fellow explorers had left me earlier in the night, after a little tour in the sewers – a trip that would be later reported on this site. It's not every day that you get to turn off the Fontaine du Châtelet! They left me, but not before giving me a little tip on the classiest way to spend the final hours of this Parisian night. The ingredients: a credit card, a bit of daring and self-control: check !
Four exhilarating hours wandering around, playing hide and seek, looking for the hidden light switches and discovering the deepest corners of the Palais de Paris.
Seeing without being seen, then disappearing.
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