Paris: Academie Nationale de Musique

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The Academie de Musique in Paris is also known as the Palais Garnier and is an opera house. In 1860, Napoleon III and Baron Georges-Eugene initiated a competition for architects to design a structure to be used as a new state funded opera house. The French architect Jean Louis Charles Garnier was awarded the project and construction started in 1861.

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Construction was completed at the end of 1874 and finally opened in January 1875. Garnier had travelled to Rome, Greece and Turkey and the influence of his studies is evident in the huge paired corinthian columns, symmetry and the opulent exterior ornamentation.

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Built on a framework of metal girders, the facade features highly decorated statues depicting Greek mythology and two 7.5m high gilt copper figures. The French sculptor Charles Gumery, who worked in a realist manner, designed the gilded figural groups. The huge building is considered Beaux-Arts in its architectural style.

Paris: Pont Alexandre III

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Forming the link between Esplanade des Invalides, Avenue Winston and Champs-Elysees is the Pont Alexandre III which spans the river Seine. Constructed in 1896-1900, the bridge is a single leaf arch built by engineers Jean Resal and Amedee Alby.

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The bridge is named after the Russian Tsar responsible for the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892, Alexander III.

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The bridge is rich with fine sculpture work and Art-Nouveau decorations. The bridge features four 17m high pillars with gilded statues and each stands for a specific period in the history of France. The lions along the bridge were the work of French sculptor Georges Gardet and some of his work is preserved in museums all over the world. The Pont Alexandre III is listed as a historical monument.

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