Thursday, 10 April 2014

Face Lifted Folies

Back in February when it was still raining a lot we had a day when the skies were clear, and there was a low-in-the-sky wintery sun. It was time to go out, have a walk and soak up some vitamin D as best we could. We had no particular plan, but ended up a little off our usual beaten track in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. We turned left down a typical but unremarkable Parisian side road and suddenly came upon this magnificent sight.

The Folies Bergère is one of the most prestigious music halls in the world. It first opened in 1869 as an opera house but was initially called Les Folies Trévise. During the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71), the theatre was temporarily closed and used for political meetings instead. On reopening the theatre was renamed Les Folies Bergère. The Duc de Trévise was worried that he might be associated with the dance hall and formally requested that the name be changed. It returned to theatrical glory after the war and between 1890 and the 1920s it thrived. In 1928 the original glazed facade of the theatre was replaced with Art Déco gilded frescos, by the sculptor Maurice Picaud.

By the beginning of the 21st century Les Folies Bergère was falling into a state of disrepair. The Zinc roof needed replacing, there was leaks and resulting damage inside the building. At the end of 2011 Jean-Marc Dumontet, a business man and theatre producer, bought the lease to the theatre and instigated a huge renovation programme at a cost of about 5 million euros. The renovations included re-gilding the beautiful art Art Déco frescoes. They are stunning!

I love all the Art Déco details.

Not to mention the Art Déco font.

Inside is very elaborate. Here is the entrance.

We didn't go right into the theatre but did manage to take a peek at the secondary entrance hall. To say it is over the top is an understatement.

Here is the café across the road. I love what they do with the chairs during the winter months. 

It is the gilded frescos that I like the best. Utterly gorgeous. They even inspired me to have a play with some pattern design. What do you think?

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