A fabulous evening and night

I guess you can imagine what’s hiding behind this golden "frame". Yes, we are once more back to Versailles (see previous posts, here, here and here).

There was again a special event a couple of evenings ago, a triple concert by Jordi Savall, “Les Concerts des Nations” and “La Capella Real de Catalunya”, devoted to music by Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759).

I was in a privileged group (had of course  paid for it), which first met for some champagne drinking in the “Vestibule”, overlooking the gardens and the open doors to the “Royal Chapel”. I had the pleasure to meet and talk to Jean-Pierre Marielle, a now 82 year old very popular actor, here photographed by his wife and actress Agathe Natanson. We talked for quite a while and I can confirm that he is as nice a person as you may imagine before you meet. I will revert to him further down as his name is quite linked to Jordi Savall.

It was then time to go to the “Royal Opera”. We were not allowed to take photos (or videos) during the concert, but here are at least some photos from the beautiful theatre. We got good seats and listened to “Water Music” and “Guilio Vesare in Egitto”.

Time for champagne again, before going to the “Royal Chapel” and listen to “Alexander’s Feast” and “Concerto Grosso in Re major”.

Then a walk through the drawing-rooms “Hercules”, “Of Plenty”, “Venus”, “Diana”, “Mars”, “Mercury”, “Apollo”…

… before reaching the corner “War” drawing-room and enter the fabulous “Hall of Mirrors”.

Here we listened to “Il Parnasso in Festa”, followed by “Music for the Royal Fireworks”…

… and when the music reached the final “La Réjouissance” part, all the audience turned their heads to the right to watch the fireworks outside!

Let’s listen to the “Fireworks” as played at a previous Jordi Savall concert.
The final part, “La Réjouissance” is not played in this video - here it is played by another orchestra. So, this was the music which accompanied the real fireworks we saw.
Time for thanks and a standing ovation!

Then, it was time for the little extra surprise, Jordi Savall making a solo gamba performance on the balcony of Louis XIV’s bedchamber.

After all this, time to go back to the “Vestibule” for some more champagne, again overlooking the “Royal Chapel”, now in the dark,  and meet the musicians and singers. Jordi Savall was there and I could even exchange a few words with him … and he met Jean-Pierre Marielle, a surprise.

This brings us to the link between them both, the wonderful movie “Tous les Matins du Monde” (“All the mornings of the World”) by Alain Corneau, from 1991, which starred Gerard Depardieu and Jean-Pierre Marielle… and where the musical part, so important for this film, was done by Jordi Savall. Let’s watch Jean-Pierre Marielle - in the role of Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe (1640-1700) - pretending to play what Jordi Savall is playing for real!  

I would finally suggest that you listen to Jordi Savall and friends playing and improvising "Folias de España" by Marin Marais (1656-1728), role held by Gerard Depardieu in the movie.



Pantheon's new face(s)

Long-lasting renovations of the Pantheon have started. They will continue during some ten years, but the dome should obviously be visible again in about two years. The budget is of some 100 million Euros, some 80 percent covered by sponsoring. If you are interested, you can find out more about it here.

It was decided that no publicity should appear on the dome; instead “JR”, a photographer known for giant street art operations, has prepared a temporary decoration consisting of thousands of portraits, collected worldwide. The portraits can be found as well outside as inside.

Here we can see what the Pantheon dome looks like today … and how it looked before being covered...

… and here is the same comparison of the inside of the dome.

Also a large part of the floors are covered by portraits.

The Pantheon is of course basically a mausoleum where leading French personalities are buried, but it is (was) also known for the Foucault’s Pendulum, which will not be there again for demonstration of the earth rotation until the renovation of the dome is finished. (See more on my previous post about the Pantheon.)


The perfect day for "Fête de la Musique"

I already showed the dusk hour top photo on Facebook, but I have a few more…

It’s obvious that the “Fête de la Musique”, celebrated June 21, the first day of summer, is a great success, having started in France in 1982 and now celebrated in some 110 countries. I have posted on it several times, sometimes about great concerts in the Paris city centre. This year I had a good reason to go to Montmartre and was surprised by the crowds. It was of course a perfect day – the weather couldn’t have been better, it was a Saturday, the French team had won their first two Soccer World Cup matches… and people were really in good mood.   

Before going to Montmartre I took a walk in my immediate neighbourhood, including the close-by parks.

I then took the direction of Montmartre and found this on my way.

You often meet crowds at Montmartre, but…  


The making of a movie

I was surprised when I found that one of my favourite restaurants, just round the corner from where I live, “La Bonne Heure”, suddenly had changed name to “Chez Bilou”. I soon realised that it was a temporary change.

It was first the number of trucks that could be found in the neighbour streets which gave me the explanation. The temporary change was due to the making of a movie, which I learnt will be called “On voulait tout casser” (We wanted to smash it all) which will be out in the beginning of 2015.

It’s amazing to see the number of people and the amount of equipment which are needed to shoot a few scenes. 

The director’s name is Philippe Guillard. He has rather a background as a rugby player and co-creator of the fashion brand “Eden Park”, has so far only directed one movie, “Le fils à Joe” (Joe’s son), but has co-written scenarios for a number of successful – popular comedy – films (“Camping”, “Camping 2”, “Disco”…)

I saw some of the scenes involving actors like Charles Berling, Vincent Moscato and Benoit Magimel but did not see Kad Merad, who also is part of the cast.

The neighbour street had also got a fake grocery shop, a fake open market…

As said, now everything is back to “normal” and I can again enjoy a nice meal at “La Bonne Heure”.     


Grand Palais "Monumenta" exhibition

There is a more or less annual event, referred to as “Monumenta” (suspended last year) at the Grand Palais. I went there for the 2011 and 2012 events (see posts here and here). This year the space under the fabulous glass roof has been “offered” to the Russian-born couple Ilya and Emilia Kabakov.

They have created what is supposed to be a dream world, the Strange City (“L’Etrange Cité”). My personal feeling is that the basic idea should be to use this fantastic space for something more “monumental”. Here we are invited to different “chapels” of white, dark, music, cosmic energy… . There are references to some ancient civilisations, to the Soviet regime…

The only large object is the "the dome", supposed to rotate and to change colours, which probably would be more spectacular during evening hours (open until midnight Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays). The exposition closes June 22.

Another entrance to the Grand Palais looks a bit distorted, especially decorated for an exhibition on Augustus, Emperor of Rome.


Opera Garnier - further refreshing

I, of course, already posted about the “Opéra Garnier” (e.g. here) and then also gave a bit of history of the building and its architect, Charles Garnier, so I will not repeat all this. Maybe just, as a reminder, some illustrations from previous posts.

The facade was renovated some five or six years ago. Now one of the sides has also been seriously refreshed. This is where you can find the special entrance built for the Emperor, Napoleon III, maybe a reason to give some more historical information. 

There had been different opera houses in Paris. The precursor to “Opéra Garnier” was “Salle le Peletier”, built 1821. In 1858, on their way there to watch Rossini’s “WilliamTell”, the Emperor and the Empress, Napoléon III and Eugénie, were attacked by an Italian revolutionary, Felice Orsini. The Emperor and the Empress escaped, but eight people were killed and some 142 were wounded. This may have been one of the major reasons to build another opera house… and to prepare a safer access. The same year, the decision was taken. The construction of “Opéra Garnier” started in 1861. Revolution and war delayed the work. The opera was ready for official inauguration in 1875 and the wide “Avenue de l’Opéra”, another Haussmann creation, was ready slightly later – all the narrow and “dangerous” streets to accede the opera had disappeared. A special entrance for the Emperor and the Empress had been added…. In the meantime Napoléon III had be forced to capitulate, in 1870.  

Here we can see the “Salle de Peletier”, before and after it burnt – in 1873 – probably due to gas lighting….

… and here we can see where the previous opera was to be found and where we find the “Opéra Garnier”…

… and here we can see what the area between the Louvre (the home of the Emperor and the Empress) and the opera looked like in 1860 and today.

Sorry…, the idea was actually to show you what the renovated western side of the “Opéra Garnier” now looks like, after renovation. You may especially notice the ramps leading to the “safe” entrance.

Here (to the left) is how the pillars, lights, statues… were kept standing before the restoration (photos from the not yet renovated eastern side of the building) and how they today (to the right) are able to “stand” by themselves! A nice job! There still remains the refreshing of the other side and the back side of the building.