The beauty of Paris

Watching images of the terrible 24 hours of terror in Paris, I’ve been thinking of the city’s beautiful buildings, not least the Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera Ballet, and my visits to the theatre alone and with my daughter, Annie, and to watch the Australian Ballet perform at the Theatre du Chatelet, soon to be home for another season of Christopher Wheeldon’s An American in Paris.

Early in the Second World War, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein wrote The Last Time I Saw Paris, a memory of the way it was before the war.

The song ends with these lines:

I’ll think of happy hours, and people who shared them

Old women, selling flowers, in markets at dawn

Children who applauded, Punch and Judy in the park

And those who danced at night and kept our Paris bright

Till the town went dark

The video of the Australian dancer, Hannah O’Neill, recently promoted to the rank of Première Danseuse at the Paris Opera Ballet, ends with a triumphant image of her dancing on the Garnier’s roof with Germain Louvet.

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Hannah O’Neill and Germain Louvet at the Palais Garnier, photo © Jacob Sutton