~ Opera Garnier ~
L'Opera Garnier
I know it as the stomping grounds for the Phantom of the Opera, but in reality, it's the thirteenth theater to house the Paris Opera since it was founded by Louis XIV in 1669.
The actual construction began in 1857 and finished in 1874.
The opera house is incredibly ornate!  It seems as if everything is gilded. 
This is the Grand Staircase.
Everywhere you looked, literally around every corner,
were these stunning chandeliers!!!  Here are just a few of them.
Prior to the ballet, we ate at the Le Grand Hotel's Cafe de la Paix.
It was just as one would imagine when thinking of Paris... rich, elegant decor.  Gold leafing on just about everything, plush velvet seating, heavy brocade and tapestry curtains, shining silver utensils, crisp white tablecloths, delicate fine china...  Everything was so beautiful!
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We also had our very own little box...  and it was tiny!  It sat six people and because it was so "cozy", it was a bit hot.  We had front row seats with no obstructions!  Scott, in this picture, is sitting in the back row, waiting for our boxmates to arrive.  We were the first to get there, so we snapped a few photos of the inside, since this was a first for us!  While the box was small, it also had a couch in it to recline in, which is the red velvet cushion you see in the bottom left corner.  The box also had a locking door, so no one else could enter and a beautiful etched window so you could see who was knocking at your door.  What an experience!  It's hard to say what was more incredible... the ballet or the opera house itself...
We saw our very first ballet here on November 8,2005
George Balanchine' "Joyaux"
It is based on gemstones, and it was reflected in both the costumes and dance style.  The three gemstone colors were Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds. The Emeralds were soft and flowing, the Rubies were more of a hard jazz-like impression, and the Diamonds were the typical white, sparkling, starched, stiff tutu's.  It was incredible!