Opéra Garnier, Paris
Most of us look where we're going, but it's always a good idea is a city such as Paris to look up to see the details you might miss. This is one of the gilded figures on the roof of the Opera Garnier that has benefited from the recent cleaning of the whole building.
The reason you might miss the sculpture by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux [1827-1875]entitled "La Danse" is that you are either watching the steps or looking up at some of the other amazing decorations on the Opera Garnier facade. The sculpture is, by the way, a reproduction. The original is in Musee D'Orsay!
A very interesting fact about the Opéra Garnier building is that Charles Garnier, its architect, left his signature in it.
I hadn't noticed this and probably wouldn't, if it weren't for a long TV-special about Paris I luckily saw on TV5 the night before I flew to Paris earlier this year: on the ceiling of the basement floor, there's a beautiful intricate set of letters that form the name of Charles Garnier. According to what they said, this was the first time an architect left his mark on his work, but this was copied by several others afterwards.
The Opera Garnier isn't really off the beaten track but it's not always on the top of the tourist Must See list. However, it's very elaborate with paintings by Chagall. It was built in the 1870's under the rule of Napoleon III and there is a small museum in the building that was dirt cheap and had some interesting photos, paintings, costumes and scale models. Anyone that likes Opera or theatre would probably enjoy it.
Don't forget to take a look at Paris main and ver beautiful operahouse 'L'Opera'. Maybe you even want to see a bit of theater there (though it's very expensive). The Oprahouse is to be found near Mont Martre and Moulin Rouge, the very famous nightclub of Paris!