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Nanarina in Paris July 2008

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:wink::) I am very pleased to tell you all about my recent trip to Paris, it was very enjoyable, not only the visits to the Ballet and Opera, but also the sightseeing coach trip, cruise up the Seine etc.

My friend & I travelled from our local airport at Norwich in Norfolk, in the East Anglia region of the United Kingdom. The flight went via Jersey, and we were in Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport, in just over 2 hours. After a taxi journey we reached our hotel, perhaps a little further out than we had imagined in Area 17. But still within fairly easy reach by Bus, Taxi or Metro from central Paris.

The first performance we had choosen to see, was Gustave Charpentier's Opera Louise, a modern adaption of the original, which tells the story of a working class family in Monmarte. Louise falls in love with their neighbour a Bohemein Artist, to which her parents object. After trials and tribulations love wins, and the couple are re-united. The music and choral aspect was really good, and the stage set very impressive. It opens with the two lovers meeting on a high metal staircase which goes from the full height of the stage, crossing from one side to the other. until it reaches the ground. To take part the Artiste's certainly needed a head for heights, to stand up almost in the "flys"on level with the Proscenium arch, without flinching was amazing!!! And to sing their Aria's was truly remarkable. It had been years since I had attended an Opera, and I enjoyed it very much.

The next couple of days, were spent shopping and sightseeing, I even managed to spoil myself, with some Givenchy perfume. The weather was also quite good, it rained a little, but not enough to spoil things. It was then time for a visit to the Ballet.

We decided to go to the Garnier earlier, so we could spend time looking at it's wonders. However, this proved to be a disapointment for me, it was very dark inside, with atmospheric lighting, just on the edges of the corridors, rather than in the middle.

As I suffer from very poor eyesight, it made it very difficult for me to see. Had I known I would have taken a torch, as it proved very dangerous to attempt to go on the stairs, so I had to wait while my friend went to the different area's of interest. I was able to see the lovely large blown-up pictures of the Dancers on the first level, which I enjoyed very much. We left in time to find a restuarant, to get a meal before the performance. We discovered a very nice place, just a short distance from the Theatre, where they served a excellent two course meal for 14e they called "The Garnier Express". It was very stylish and comfortable, and good value for money, considering it was in the centre of Paris.

No sooner than we had finished our meal, than it was time to go back to the theatre. Being in rush hour, and very busy, the traffic was horrific, and we took our chance with other people to cross the busy converging roads, climbed the stone steps at the front, then up into the foyer to collect our tickets, and take our seats. These were in the front row, a position I have to sit, to be able to see. Although they were on the end of the row, it was excellent for me. A wide platform extended each end of the orchestra pit, where some of the action took place. At times we could have touched the Dancers. It made it very intimate, almost as if we were in the scene with them.

I had waited to see the Ballet for two years, and my original choice of cast had been Aurelie Dupont, but this was not to be, as she was on Maternity leave. The Stars of the evening were, Agnes Letestu as Marguerite , who I am sorry to say is not my favourite dancer, she was to have been partenered by Herve Moreau, but he was replaced by Stephane Bullion. a tall dark haired young Man, who played the role of Armand, with feeling and an excellent technique. His expression showed a depth of feeling, and his exececution of the choreography was clean and precise. In the beautiful Pas de deux that John Neumeier has created, with their spectacular lifts, and demonstration of affection, he excelled as a supportive and emotional partner. I was quite surprised by Agnes Letescu, in her role as Marguerite, her portrayal was somewhat different to Aurelie Dupont, with the choreography appearing different in places, the steps and movements seemed different, but at the end of the day I went away having enjoyed the performance.

The rest of the cast, included, Dorothee Gilbert, (Prudence ) Beatrice Martel(Nanine) Delphine Moussin (Manon) Jose Martinez (Le Grieux)

Eve Grinsztajn (Olympia) Karl Paquette (Gaston Rieux) Laurent Novis (Le Duc) Simon Valastro Le Comte de N) Michael Denard(Monsieur Duval)

It was very interesting to see all these different Artiste's, many of who I had only seen on DVD, plus of course the Corp de ballet. One person who I admire very much as a Dancer is Karl Paquette, and I was very pleased to see him live. He has such an amazing presence and command on stage, plus a wonderful technique and style of his own. I must admit, I have a soft spot for him!!

The time went very quickly, the next evening it was back to the Opera Bastille. The journey in the taxi was a nightmare, it was in the rush hour, and we found ourselves taken advantage of, when the driver, thinking we did not know where we were going, took us a long way round, and over charged us. When I questioned the cost, he turned very abuisive, so we just paid up, and got out of the vehicle as quickly as we could. We had got to know the route, and found all the other drivers friendly helpful and fair. Luckily wer just made it in time for the performance, which was Signes, with Kader Belbarbi and Mary Agnes Gilot. This Ballet was certainly an eye opener, very modern, with bright colours and extreme stage effects, with moving scenery, and twirling shapes, which travelled across the stage. There was no orchestra, just recorded loud repetative electornic music, and not really my taste, as I am more of a Tradionalist. I like some modern Dance, but this is a learning curve. The audience certainly appreciated it, according to the curtain calls, and shouts of "Bravo". My friend hated it, so I felt a little let down, having been the person who booked the performances. But when it comes to selection you can only see what is in the Calendar for the time of your stay.

All in All, the visit was a success, and I still hope to get to see Onegin with Manuel Legris and hopefully Aurelie Dupont dancing the title Roles.!

Perhaps it will be third time lucky, and I will have another excuse to visit The Paris Opera. :bow::clapping:

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Sounds like a wonderful trip and experience! I have to admit that I had to catch my breathe and turn green for a few seconds :wink: when I read that you can get to Charles de Gaulle from Norfolk in under 2 hours. (No more sea-sick-making ferry-rides! What a joy.)

I admit that I also like, occasionally, sitting in the first row (with a raked stage). I like the closeness and feeling a part of it all, even if it means sacrificing the larger picture, patterns, etc.

I admire your advernturousness regarding Signes. Thanks for the description. For those who'd like a glimpse, there are several clips on YouTube. Here are Belarbi and Gilot, once again:


By the way, what was the name of the restaurant near the Palais Garnier?

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Hi Folks, I am so glad you liked my post about the visit to Paris. I do apologise for making some of you feel "green!, I am sure your day will come. I am sorry but I am going to make you feel even worse !! Up to early 2008 Flybe our local airline, used to fly direct to Paris, only taking 55 minutes, the route has changed due to rising fuel and airport taxes, so to ensure their aircraft are full, the company now goes via Jersey. The current travel time of just under 2 hours actually includes 25 minutes, when the plane, waits on the trmac for passengers getting off at Jersey, and the ongoing passengers for Paris to board.

so it is an excellent service. They use Jet Prop aircraft that take about 75 people, and follow a green Eco-friendly policy , using low fuel consumption planes.

I am very glad other people found the Garnier very dark in its public area's, whether it is for preservation of the fabric, or just to create an atmosphere, it still is not really appropriate for people with sight or physical dificulties. In fact, in comparison to the UK, I found France rather lacking in access to public places of interest, to be below our standards, there was a serious lack of hand rails at steps and entrances.

The restuarant we went to was very close to the Opera Garnier, but I am very sorry, I do not know what it was called. There were one or two together, but it had blue chairs outside, and notices for "The Garnier Express Menu., If you can imagine standing at the front of the Garnier the traffic approaches it round the side on your left (one way) cross the road, and walk around the side, I think you went over a crossing, and bare right, the restuarants were on the left. (the side of the theatre would be on your right. It is hard to remember now, so I hope I have not mislead you. Perhaps some of our French members may reconise the details. (There were no other places with blue chairs in the vicinity.)

It was in the Art Deco style, with blinds and the blue furniture, then an area for meals and in the back, a bar. From the middle a flight of wide steps went up to the Ladies cloakroom. Hope the information helps. :flowers::yahoo:

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We're going to Paris in December, just before Christmas and will be using FlyBe (for the first time) from Manchester. It takes about 90 minutes looking at the flight times. Despite the rising fuel costs, the flights were very reasonably priced. Last year we found a really nice hotel about 10 minutes walk from the Garnier (or at least 10 minutes if we didn't divert into the lovely little shops en route!).

I'm definitely going to be looking for Nanarina's restaurant as I haven't managed to find anywhere decent near the Garnier - I thought the places we have tried to have vastly over inflated prices and not particularly good food (although I do know somewhere really nice adjacent to the Bastille).

Nanarina, I very much enjoyed reading about your trip.

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When Ballet Talk on Tour was in Paris this spring, cygneblanc suggested Clement Restaurant, 17, Boulevard des Capucines 75002 Paris,


You can see the menu and reserve a table online.

There are several Restaurant Clement in Paris; this one is a few blocks away from Palais Garnier. If you are standing on the steps of the opera house, with the building behind you, it's a few blocks straight ahead on the right-hand side. It's on or near a corner and very close to the L'Opera metro stop.

We had a wonderful meal there.

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In the beautiful Pas de deux that John Neumeier has created, with their spectacular lifts, and demonstration of affection, he excelled as a supportive and emotional partner. I was quite surprised by Agnes Letescu, in her role as Marguerite, her portrayal was somewhat different to Aurelie Dupont, with the choreography appearing different in places, the steps and movements seemed different, but at the end of the day I went away having enjoyed the performance.

Neumeier's approach to choreography...

"The way the ballet was preserved was quite incredible. But time had not stopped for me as a choreographer, or for the ballet. And living, for me, means I'm going to see the performance tonight and if I don't like something, I'm going to try another way."

Talking about
Romeo and Juliet
in Alexandra Tomalonis's book
Henning Kronstam
. Page 488

I was wondering if this was very common among choreographers or if most try "preserve" the work in its original form.

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Helene - we tried Chez Clement on our recent trip and really enjoyed our meal there - thanks for the recommendation.

I can also say that Flybe were excellent.

We've just booked another trip for April (Onegin), using Flybe again and the flights were very reasonably priced. The problem is the plummeting £ once we get there!

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