Technicians put the finishing touches to the restored imperial theatre at the Fontainebleau palace, some 60 kms south-east of Paris.
AFP / Christophe Archambault
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An exquisite 19th-century French theater outside Paris that fell into disuse for 1 1/2 centuries has been restored with the help of a 10 million euro ($11.2 million) donation from Abu Dhabi.During a state visit to France in 2007, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE, was reportedly entranced by the abandoned theater and offered 10 million euros on the spot for its restoration.After a project that has lasted 12 years, the theater is now being reopened. For all its ornate beauty, the theater has hardly ever been used for its original purpose, hosting only a dozen performances between 1857 and 1868, each attended by around 400 people.
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