GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkThe Facade of The Paris Opera
06:35:10 PM

As my 7th trip to Paris in the last 15 months draws to a close, I bring you a little mystery. At least it's a mystery to me, anyhow.

I've made many passes through the Opéra district, particularly on the last several trips. It's the most centrally located stop on the Metro line that runs through Levallois-Perret, where I am working. The big department stores, a good electronics store, and quite a few good restaurants are located close by. And it's an easy walk to many interesting places. On Sunday, some colleagues and I walked from there to Notre Dame, which is not what I would call an "easy" walk, but certainly a reasonable walk for anyone not in a hurry. I bought some very nice grapes at an open-air market along the way. And on Monday, a few of us returned to the Opéra district to a Restaurant Chinois called Opéra Mandarin where they specialize in "vapeurs" -- steamed dim sum.

Anyhow, back to the Opéra itself -- the Palais Garnier -- and its facade. I've zoomed this picture in on the mystery. The pattern of letters "N", "E", "N", "E", "N"... repeats across the very top of the facade, above the inscription "ACADEMIE NATIONALE DE MUSIQUE". What does it signify? The fellow who was posted at the front door didn't know. I've found nothing on Google.

Calling Dan Brown...!

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Comments :v

1. Bruce Perry08/23/2007 07:56:47 PM

It finally occurred to me. How about

N = Napoleon
E = Empereur

Much of the rest of the city is a monument to him in one way or another. The Wikipedia entry make it looks like

N = Napoleon III

is plausible. It was built a bit late for Napoleon I

2. Bruce Perry08/23/2007 07:57:55 PM

forgot the wikipedia link

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