Charles Garnier battled the Seine in 1862 when he broke ground on his monumental opera building and found nothing but water underneath the building site. As Garnier pumped water from the ground so he could begin the politically fraught process of building his gilded masterpiece, other ninth arrondissement icons – among them the Hotel Intercontinental, its Café de la Paix and macaroon master Laduree – opened their doors for the very first time.
These establishments turn 150 this year, and as they celebrate, they welcome L’Opera Restaurant to their midst. L’Opera, located on the ground floor of the Palais Garnier, is a stark modern addition to the performance hall, with its clay-colored mezzanine, electric red chairs and curved glass windows. I dined there on a recent night after a performance of the Royal Denmark Ballet, enjoying a glass of Sancerre and a main course of tender smoked trout and delicate mushroom ravioli. Jazz played in the background, patrons laughed, glasses clinked and my only regret was that I was too full to try chef Christophe Aribert’s desserts, among them L’Opera (bien sur), with its layers of almond sponge cake, chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream. I savored my espresso instead, knowing full well I’d be back for a command performance.
L’Opera Restaurant, Place Jacques Rouche, 9th arrondissement, 01 42 68 86 80
Smoked trout and ravioli at L’Opera restaurant.
The justly legendary Laduree macarons