Little bears love a good afternoon tea and even more so a whimsical one!
And what’s more whimsical than a Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea?
Little bears are ready to tumble down the rabbit hole and discover a tea party beyond their wildest imagination, inspired by the whimsical world of Alice in Wonderland.
From tweedledee & tweedledum roasted beef and fresh asparagus roulade on mini laugen; to caterpillar cherry, bocconcini and tomato on a fresh garden salad; to Alice in Wonderland spanner crabmeat salad on double bread wrapped in cucumber, these savoury delights are sure to tantalise their taste buds.
With the Mad Hatter Hat (dark chocolate mud cake encased in chocolate icing), the March Hare Pocket Watch (green macaroon with blueberry cream filling) and the Queen of Hearts Dodger (layers of raspberry buttercream, chocolate ganache and raspberry jelly) as sweet delights, there’s no excuse not to be late for this very important date 🙂
And for afternoon tea traditionalists, there are warm scones with clotted cream, strawberry jam and raspberry chocolate jam.
What’s so wrong with a perpetual afternoon tea time?
If you love pastry, you must know of Le Meurice pastry chef, Cédric Grolet, famous for his fascinating cakes and his fruit sculptures! His cakes were only served in Le Meurice restaurants, but in March 2018, Le Meurice opened a pastry boutique in the hotel, with Cédric Grolet’s beautiful pastries that precisely resemble fresh fruits and nuts. So now you can get take away Cédric Grolet!
Little bears didn’t take it away far, only to the comfy chairs at Le Meurice 🙂
Cherry delights first!
And more beautiful pastries that precisely resemble fresh fruits – flat peach, strawberry and apricot.
This is the beary good life 🙂
The pastry shop opens at midday, and closes when the pastries are sold out. That is anytime between two and four hours later. The menu changes on a regular basis. The fruit pastries enjoyed by little bears were the summer fruits released on 21 June.
The offerings on 12 June:
You can also place special orders for cake, if you have €170 or so to spare… Next time!
While Purcell barely managed one opera, but a really good one, La Forza del Destino is Verdi’s 22nd opera. It was commissioned by the Imperial Theater in St. Petersburg where it premiered in 1862.
The St Petersburg Imperial Theatre offered Verdi 60,000 francs plus all expenses paid for a new opera. Verdi turned to his frequent collaborator Francesco Maria Piave, and asked him to adapt the 1835 Spanish play Don Alvaro. It is the story of three people bound together by the power of fate. In order to retain his good family name, the Marchese di Calatrava forbids his daughter Leonora to marry the Latin American Don Alvaro. When the young lovers are attempting to elope, a bullet discharges from Alvaro’s pistol killing the Marchese. Leonora’s brother immediately seeks to avenge his father, and ends up killing his sister.
With the libretto in place, Verdi swiftly completed the vocal parts and he departed for St. Petersburg in December 1861. The scheduled premiere, however, had to be postponed for nine months because the soprano booked to sing Leonora became gravely ill. Verdi returned to Italy via Paris, and he made some structural changes. The premiere finally took place in St. Petersburg in November 1862, but Verdi was immediately unhappy with the audience reaction to the ending of the opera with its three violent deaths. As a critic wrote after the 1863 Madrid performance, “there would have been more applause had the public not been so displeased by the sight of so many dead people on stage, a true slaughter.” Verdi made further revisions, for a performance in Madrid in 1863, then he asked Piave to help in the search for a new ending, “to find a way to avoid so many dead bodies” (Leonora, Don Alvaro, her suitor, and Don Carlo, her brother, all die in the final scene). Over the next six years, Piave and Verdi significantly reworked the opera, and the version that has become the standard performance version premiered on 27 February 1869 at La Scala in Milan. The premiere at La Scala was a huge success and Verdi was called out thirty-two times during the evening.
When working on La Forza del Destino, Verdi called it “powerful, singular and truly vast,” a description amply borne out by the work we know today. With a libretto as absurd and improbable as that of Il Trovatore, whose overture is undoubtedly Verdi’s most famous, La Forza del Destino is a sombre, excessive and confusing work; nonetheless, sublime bel canto rules over it from start to finish. The abundance of dramatic situations and the importance assigned to several secondary characters, some of them comedic, provide Verdi with the material for a rich, contrasting and varied musical creation. The romanticism, passion, inner thoughts and despair of the characters produce magnificent examples of choral writing, as in the pilgrims’ prayer in Act II, with Leonora’s aria, and the magnificent and illustrious baritone-tenor duets that dot the work, in which the composer’s style triumphs.
The opera is vast indeed. Not only is it one of Verdi’s longest (with two intervals it is 3 hours and 50 minutes), but it has a sprawling layout, with action that takes place in the mid-18th century and moves from Spain to Italy and back.
When Leonora di Vargas’s father, the Marquis of Calatrava forces her to leave the man she loves and stay in the country, she makes a plan to escape this unfair imprisonment. But, the night her beloved Don Alvaro arrives to carry out the plan, her father hears them and tries to stop them. In a fatal accident, Alvaro puts down his weapon and it fires, shooting and killing the Marquis. Alvaro and Leonora flee into the night.
Leonora’s brother, Don Carlo, hunts them. He is certain they are responsible for murdering his father, and he wants vengeance for the crime. In several surprising coincidental meetings, and through many disguises and mistaken identities, Carlo and Alvaro actually end up saving each other’s lives, unaware that they have been aiding their sworn enemies. Through a strange twist of fate, Alvaro and Leonora both seek refuge in the same monastery at separate times, and live there unaware of each others’ presence until Carlo finally tracks Alvaro down. Their fierce fight takes them to Leonora’s door, and she runs to aid her dying brother. In his final moments he cannot forgive her crime and stabs her as she tries to care for him.
We did say the libretto is absurd and improbable!
After the opera’s 1862 St. Petersburg premiere, Verdi forbade a Paris premiere until he could redo the opera to his satisfaction. While he achieved that for La Scala in 1869, it wasn’t until 1975 when La Forza del Destino reached the Paris opera house, for the 100th anniversary of the opening of Palais Garnier with Martina Arroyo as Donna Leonora, Norman Mittelmann as Don Carlo and Placido Domingo as Don Alvaro.
Jean-Claude Auvray’s 2011 production of La Forza del Destino (Paris opera’s second production) was revived at Opera Bastille this year (revival director Stephen Taylor) for the 350th anniversary of Paris Opera. Nicola Luisotti conducted with Anja Harteros as Donna Leonora, Brian Jagde as Don Alvaro, Zeljko Lucic as Don Carlo, Varduhi Abrahamyan as Preziosilla, Rafal Siwek as Padre Guardiano and Gabriele Viviani as Fra Melitone. The production presents the 1869 text virtually as Verdi left it.
The set is rather bare throughout, Jean-Claude Auvray wants fate to have main role. When the curtain rises, we are inside of the Calatrava household with a long table dominating the center of the frame. It is the family’s last moment of normality. A “wall” features pictures of a woman in the blossom of her youth (presumably the missing mother to Leonora and Don Carlo) and another painting of Jesus Christ on the cross. It creates the sense of an old dwelling. After Leonora is joined by Alvaro in a plan to elope, they are surprised by the Marquis, who is killed in a freak accident by Alvaro’s pistol. At once the entire “wall” comes down, revealing emptiness behind it.
Auvray seems to have a fascination with painted backdrops which were allowed to drop at the end of scenes.
Little bears couldn’t attend an opera at Drottningholm Palace Theatre (the season covers summer only, not winter), but when the opportunity arose to see an opera at Opéra Royal Versailles, they couldn’t pass it up!
So here they are, at Opéra Royal Versailles, dressed appropriately as always 🙂 waiting for the performance to start. Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Didot et Énée in French) is one of the most beloved operas in the repertory. Divas flock to the title role; Dido’s final Lament is a showstopper.
This performance is by artists from the Juilliard Opera School, accompanied by Juilliard415, the School’s primary period-instrument ensemble. The performance is part of their 2018/2019 program, a fully-staged production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas first at Juilliard followed by a European tour to London, Versailles and Athens in June 2019.
On the surface the opera is just another story about a woman falling in love with a man, being abandoned, and then dying because life without him is just too difficult. Or perhaps more accurately, the gods coerce a woman to fall in love with a man she previously didn’t care for, and then capriciously take him from her, and she dies alone.
The earliest account of the story, dating back at least to Virgil’s telling of it in classical antiquity, consists of little more than that. Virgil’s Aeneid was the best known of all Latin classics. By the 1680s, however, when the twentysomething Henry Purcell sat down to collaborate with Nahum Tate, who would become England’s poet laureate in just a few years, the story had acquired many more layers of meaning.
For some of the back story, we have to go back to Virgil, who explains that Dido is not from Carthage, but from Phoenicia (present-day Lebanon), where she had been married until her husband was killed in battle. Seeing Aeneas made Dido realise that she hadn’t felt that strongly about anybody since her husband died. Virgil explains how Dido feels this shame for being in love with Aeneas. She feels she should still be in mourning for her husband. Maybe this explains her reluctance to go to Aeneas and stay with him.
Purcell and Tate didn’t just create a faithful rendition of Virgil in music and verse, they made some changes to the story. The result of the partnership between Purcell and Tate, the now-ubiquitous Dido and Aeneas, is very much a product of the Baroque era: there are witches, gods, great passions, heroic love, and, of course, a heroine who dies in the end.
In a fascinating inversion of the original story, the strongest character in the Purcell/Tate telling is Dido. Gone are the gods who smite the Queen with love, and in their place we find a woman who chooses Aeneas of her own volition.
The role of the sorceress takes the place of the gods. In Purcell’s opera, it is the sorceress who controls everything and she together with her band of witches pull the strings to bring about the tragic events that would inevitably follow. Aeneas, as portrayed by Purcell and Tate, is nothing like Virgil’s Aeneas. Virgil’s Aeneas is more brainy, while Purcell’s Aeneas is more brawny and taken in by the sorceress, who is disguised as Mercury, a god. And you never say no to a god, so he has to leave Carthage, leave Dido and continue on his journey to found Rome. When faced with Dido’s fury, Aeneas changes his mind and decides to stay. Too late!, says Dido. You even thought of leaving me, so now I reject you. Dido is clearly the character with all the agency in this case. Aeneas’ change of mind does not appear in Virgil’s Aeneid, it is Purcell and Tate’s contrition and it is very effective for an opera. This change of mind connects much more with human frailties and the 17th century man in the street.
So in the end, in Purcell’s opera, Dido and the sorceress represent the two opposing forces in the story, and are responsible for the majority of the dramatic movement. Dido and Aeneas is remarkable if for no other reason than that its women heroes and villains are at least to some degree agents of their own destinies.
The origins of the opera are decidedly murky; the only documented performance during Purcell’s short lifetime was an amateur production at an all-girls boarding school sometime in 1689. It seems likely that it was written sometime earlier, possibly for a performance in the court of Charles II, but if so, the debut came and went without praise or criticism. Opera was still something of a hard sell in England at that point, and while Purcell went on to write music for numerous plays, he never wrote a fully sung opera again. Nevertheless, thanks in no small part to Purcell’s deft ability to weave together recitative, aria, and dance in a seamless whole, and thanks to his exquisite setting of the English language, Dido and Aeneas would eventually be counted among the best-known operas of the Baroque.
How was Purcell able to turn his little opera into the greatest English opera and one of the most popular operas today? It wasn’t the libretto by Nahum Tate, which is at times weak and even vaguely silly, as can be seen in the final confrontation between the two protagonists. The Queen goes so far as to reproach her lover for shedding crocodile tears: “Thus along the fatal banks of the Nile weeps the deceitful crocodile”.. It is the originality and extraordinary quality of the score that have made Dido and Aeneas into an opera that today regularly appears on stages worldwide.
The dramatic effectiveness and the intensity of the feelings depicted with an astonishing economy of resources explain the work’s success. The conflict between duty and passion is resolved painfully by the separation of the two lovers whose fates are forever intertwined. Dido, the Queen of Carthage, abandoned by Aeneas, transcends her suffering by the beauty of her singing, before greeting the death she cannot escape after the hero leaves. Act Three remains the pinnacle of the work, culminating in the final scene in which Dido’s lament is expressed in the most moving tones. Then the chorus brings the drama to an end with an evocation full of pain and contemplation. Throughout the opera, the chorus participates in the denouement of the action, which it comments on for the audience.
Great musical and dramatic unity characterises Dido and Aeneas, which summons up a wide variety of processes in order to achieve the most perfect expressiveness without turning into a hodgepodge. This little opera, which combines a story and hero from Antiquity with the fantasy of the Elizabethan period, cannot be reduced to a catalogue of sundries. The composer takes advantage of all the resources offered him by French and Italian influences, creating a completely innovative “English” style.
There was no need to remind the audience of the time of the fall of Troy and the arrival of Aeneas and his men in Carthage. When the curtain rises, we hear the unfortunate queen singing of her painful love: « (…) I am oppressed by a torment impossible to confess. Peace has become a stranger to me”. And as soon as the curtain goes up, we see how Purcell utilises and combines different processes to achieve the greatest stage effectiveness. Chorus, recitative, arias, dance interludes, folk songs, instrumental music – the composer seems to use every available means to achieve his ends and create the greatest musical pleasure through emotion.
The young Juilliard performers were willing and able to take on everything put before them, whether the sometimes-peculiar antics by director Mary Birnbaum or choreographer Claudia Schreier, or the eloquent score under conductor Avi Stein (at the harpsichord). All of this may not have been exactly musically authentic – par for the course a work whose score was not left in a definitive performing version – but was certainly lively. In the Juilliard production, there are four additional Purcell arias inserted within the opera that generated an overall well-rounded and emotionally complete musical arrangement that further emphasized intense moments of passion and fierce pride.
The opera’s most famous for the aria, When I am laid to rest, better known as Dido’s Lament (“Remember me but forget my fate…”) was in the able hands and gorgeous voice of mezzo Shakèd Bar.
Bar also sung the first additional Purcell aria, If love’s a sweet passion from The Fairy Queen. Bar sang this while viewing a photo of Aeneas that Belinda held up for her to see. Her voice exhibited a warm and sensual tone and this piece proved to be a solid fit for this private moment between Dido and her thoughts of Aeneas.
Bar gave a lovely account of the Queen of Carthage, whether singing of her torment to Belinda [soprano Mer Wohlgemuth as her sister and handmaid] or going on a hunt with Aeneas [baritone Dominik Belavy] or walking off stage rather than throwing herself on the pyre in the finale. Bar’s captivating voice while singing Ah! Belinda, I am prest foreshadowed her final aria When I am laid as something to be highly anticipated.
Soprano Mer Wohlgemuth as Belinda displayed a crisp, clear soprano voice. Wohlgemuth’s diction was impeccable throughout her entire performance.
At the end of Act One, the second additional aria How happy the lover from King Arthur was sung by the chorus, with solo moments from various singers. While the chorus sang and moved about the stage, Dido and Aeneas imitated a shared moment between two lovers. The overall effect of adding this aria here was potent because the audience was given the chance to fully digest the passionate affair between the two characters.
The Sorceress role was a field-day for mezzo Myka Murphy, from her entrance in Act II calling out to the others of her ilk, Wayward sisters you that fright (soprano Shereen Pimentel and mezzo Olivia Cosio as the witches) as they plot their revenge. Murphy moved about on top of the table and drew all eyes to her sinister and sensual portrayal of character. Her voice was a powerhouse that drove along this aria with an abundant quality of strength.
Shereen Pimentel, as the First Witch, sang the third additional Purcell aria Urge me no more. She showcased her outstanding stamina and poise as both singer and dancer in this aria, especially when she did a triple turn at the edge of the table on stage.
Chance Jonas-O’Toole, as the sailor, sang the final additional Purcell aria See, even Night herself is here, from The Fairy Queen. His voice was transformative in this piece and he masterfully phrased each line so that his emotional connection to every word was his guide.
Aeneas’ aria Behold upon my bending spear showcased Dominik Belavy’s Baritone as he sang “a monster’s head stands bleeding, with tushes far exceeding”. Belavy also portrayed a strong character as he sang in response to the Spirit [Britt Hewitt] he encounters in the woods. The Spirit carried a case that held a neon yellow banner (similar to the neon “EMPIRE”) that read “HERO”. Hewitt gave Belavy this banner to wear as he took on the weight of Aeneas’ decision to follow the orders of the gods “to gain th’ Hesperian shore and ruined Troy restore”. This was the moment when everything changed for every character and malicious sorcery took hold of the storyline.
Act Three brought everything together with fascinating narrative drive. Come away, fellow sailors and The Sailors’ Dance, were beautifully choreographed with chorus members wearing iridescent rain coats that were both eye and ear catching as they swished-and-swooshed back and forth, imitating ocean waves in motion.
After this moment, Dido, Belinda and Aeneas enter and Belinda asks Dido to see Aeneas as truthful when he approaches her to announce his fate. As Belavy neared Bar, he lifted his neon yellow “HERO” banner from his shoulders and laid it down on the table for her to clearly see his reluctance to obey the gods. This was a powerful moment that exposed the torture felt by both Dido and Aeneas as they surrendered to a malicious demise.
One of the most beautiful highlights of the performance was when the choir sang Great minds against themselves conspire. Members of the chorus encircled Dido and gently ushered her to rest in knowing that they too understood her emotional torment and pain. Each singer’s tenderness was felt and with Dido preparing for her imminent suicide, this moment seemed to stand still in time – a remarkable pause of great artistic display.
What sets Dido’s final aria, When I am laid, apart from other famous passages outside of this opera is the access it gives listeners into the heart of a proud queen just before she commits suicide and into the soul of the singer portraying Dido. One could tell from the start of the entire performance that Bar’s voice was perfect for this role, however it was not until this final aria that one might have been aware of Bar’s ability to channel a powerfully effect spirit into the final hours of Dido’s existence.
As chorus members sang With drooping wings Cupids come, Bar lowered herself into the pyre, and all stood still to “keep watch,” just before the house lights went black and everyone lunged at the opportunity to retrieve her abandoned crown of power.
Scenic Designer Grace Laubacher and Lighting Designer Anshuman Bhatia created an atmosphere of prestige with a sophisticated modern design that used saturated lighting of pinks, blues, gold, and indigo that showcased an artistically notable stage setting. In the middle of the space was a rectangular polished stone table that had matching stools for guests of the opening dinner party to be seated. And a billboard sized neon “EMPIRE” installation was suspended above and behind the stage.
The costumes were stunning and Costume Designer Oana Botez did not hold back when using her imagination to create special pieces for each singer. Aeneas’ suit was incredibly beautiful with its metallic floral pattern that pieced together perfectly from head to toe. This suit alone was a notably tailored piece of art that was only one look within an array of other elevated designs.
The choreography by Claudia Schreier also shone at different junctures. “Cupid only throws the dart” was an aesthetically pleasing choreographed moment that illuminated a vocally rich cast and sensitive period-ensemble. Everyone did an excellent job expressing the dance-like pulse of Purcell’s music.
Altogether a beary fun night! We’ll have to do it again!
The Coronelli Globes were designed in Paris between 1681 and 1683 by the Venetian cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli and were destined to be offered to King Louis XIV by the Cardinal Duke d’Estrées. Objects of science and symbols of power, they show a synthesis representation of the Earth and the sky. Exceptional in size, these are the two most monumental pieces held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. They have been a part of the collection since the 18th century, yet remained rarely shown until their permanent installation in 2006.
Coronelli did not become rich from the commission to make the Globes. Cardinal Duke d’Estrées, the French ambassador to Rome, paid Coronelli 46,000 pounds for the Globes. It is said that Coronelli estimated their cost of production to be 100,000 pounds. However, Coronelli was able to use the new knowledge his team generated in the research and production of the great globes to produce his groundbreaking engraved world atlas which earned him enduring fame and substantial income. He was named Cosmographer of the Serenissima Republic of Venice.
Colbert, the king’s powerful adviser, devised the idea for the great Globes. Originally the Coronelli Globes were intended for installation at Versailles, but this never came to pass. Colbert died the year the Globes were completed, and instead, they were installed at the Château de Marly in Yvelines in 1704. Having been entrusted by Louis XIV to the Royal Library, and thus taken out of his palace, the globes escaped destruction at the time of the French Revolution.
Some interesting figures: The dimensions of each globe are 3.84 meters in diameter and 11.6 meters around the circumference, and each globe weighs in at a robust 1,500 kg.
The celestial globe shows all constellations known to man at the time of its design, pointing the planets at their actual positions on the day the Roi-Soleil was born, on September 5th 1638. On the azure of the sky or on the dark blue of the constellations evocative of a night sky, 1,880 stars are visible, in the form of sun-shaped gilded bronze studs. Their size varies depending on the stars’ brightness, according to a classification by Copernicus.
The celestial globe is inspired by the Ptolemaic system. At the centre of the globe, the Earth, fixed in its position, is at the heart of the Universe, while the sphere of the fixed stars rotates around it in 24 hours, moving from East to West. Seventy-two constellations appear on the globe. In addition to the forty-eight constellations described by Ptolemy (90-168), there are those introduced more recently thanks to improvements in lenses or on the basis of observations made by navigators from the Southern hemisphere, such as those observed by Mercator (1512-1594) and Petrus Plancius from 1551 to 1613.
Animals and characters cover the surface of the globe. Ursa Magna (the Great Bear), Corona Borealis (the Northern Crown), Lyra (the harp), Perseus and the head of Medusa in the North, Crux (the Southern Cross), Centauras (the centaur), Hydrus (the water snake), Argo Navis (the ship Argo) and Pavo (the peacock) in the South: all the constellations are represented by the allegorical figures corresponding to their shape in the sky. The style of the figures or the constellations, painted in different shades of blue, is attributed to Jean-Baptiste Corneille. The name of each constellation is written in four languages: French, Latin, Greek and Arabic.
The unusual placement of the constellations, with the characters full-face, transforms the perspective of the observer. The heavens are seen from the outside, although the Earth is supposed to be at the centre of the globe.
The comets are often represented with the date of their discovery and, more rarely, with the name of their discoverer. Sometimes, a golden tail indicates their direction.
The terrestrial globe gives a complete cartography of the world and its wealth as it was displayed in front of the Roi-Soleil at the height of his glory.
Like an encyclopedia, the terrestrial globe is full of information. The cartographic outlines are enriched everywhere with calligraphic texts and painted images portraying fabulous or exotic tales.
The globe retraces the sea voyages of numerous explorers. Certain texts, like the imposing Magellan inset, recount these voyages. The images echo the voyagers’ tales, attempting to elicit curiosity and a spirit of adventure.
Large and magnificent insets attract attention to the wealth of the East and West Indies: pearl-fishing, the cinnamon of Ceylon and the resources of far-off Jesso (Japan), silver, furs, bird feathers… or the mines of New Spain.
Evocative of the ease of trade, European store ships and long boats, like the Indian carracks or the Chinese snake boats, navigate the seas without danger.
César d’Estrées’ dedication to Louis XIV extols the virtues of the sovereign. The bust of the King, crowned with laurels, dominates the gilded copper dedicatory plaque. The latter is surrounded by a series of allegorical figures, among whom Geography occupies the central position.
The exhibition at the Bibliothèque nationale de France sets the Globes in their historical context, with a focus on the progress made in the geographical sciences. There is a specific area dedicated to the story of the Coronelli globes and another area dedicated to the progress made in astronomy and astrophysics presented by the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES).
Another less well known gem among the 173 museums in Paris, the Gustave Moreau museum is installed in the painter’s family home and was conceived by the painter himself. A unique house-studio in Paris, the museum has managed to retain all the magic of its original atmosphere. Really impressive is the great number of works exhibited in the house: there are 25,000 paintings in the whole house! 15,000 of them were painted by Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) himself.
The second and third floors are taken up with huge studios, containing hundreds of paintings and watercolours. The walls are covered with over four thousand drawings that give a broad perspective of the techniques and subjects of the undisputed master of French Symbolism.
The two-storey studio has high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. The second floor of the painter’s studio is reached by a magnificent spiral staircase located in the main studio. The staircase was designed by architect Albert Lafon in 1895.
The apartments on the first floor form a small sentimental museum displaying family portraits and works given to Moreau by his friends Théodore Chassériau and Edgar Degas. The two most amazing rooms are the bedroom and the boudoir located next to it. Everywhere a lot of paintings, personal items and style pieces of furniture are exhibited exactly the way Gustave Moreau arranged them and wanted them to be shown. You can see the original furniture, damask wallpaper, various curiosities and collectibles, rich textiles, and a large collection of framed drawings and prints. Clearly the painter and his family did not suffer from claustrophobia.
Musée National Gustave Moreau is in the 9th Arrondissement, in an area known as Nouvelle-Athènes (New Athens), a neighborhood with plenty of old, grand townhouses that once belonged to the intellectual and artistic elite of the 19th century. Moulin Rouge and Montmartre are within walking distance.