Wondering where these were…?
Of course…we were saving the best for last!
Here are our top 3 picks of favorite sights in the city of love!
What are they?
Well…scroll down to find out!!
|The Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Visits to Paris can be daunting…
You’re certain to stumble upon places of incredible history and beauty on every street corner. It can be difficult to know where to begin and what to see first, drawn as you are into quiet little alleys or confronted with a long list of museums and monuments.
Personally, most of the city is worth seeing and exploring but I’m sure there are some Paris tourist attractions that first-time visitors in particular will want to focus on.
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|When you say Paris, the first thing that comes to most peoples mind is the Eiffel Tower
More than any other landmark, the Eiffel Tower has come to represent an elegant and contemporary Paris.
The iron tower, which was built for the 1889 World Exposition by Gustave Eiffel, was wildly unpopular with Parisians when it was unveiled, and was nearly torn down. It has since attracted over 220 million visitors, and it would be hard to imagine Paris now without it.
Built for the World Exposition of 1889, the tower is a relative newcomer to a city whose history stretches back to over a millennia.
The tower crowns the Paris night sky with its festive light, and glitters up a storm every hour. Cliché? Maybe. But essential.
Detractors will call it cliche, but few can peel their eyes away when the tower bursts into a shower of scintillating light every hour each evening.
After all…what would la ville lumière be without it?
Metro: Bir Hakeim or Trocadero (Line 6), Ecole Militaire (Line 8)
RER: Champs de Mars-Tour Eiffel (Line C)
Buses: 42, 69, 72, 82, 87
Taxi station: Quai Branly, Pilier West
Best time to visit?
The Eiffel Tower is Paris’ most-visited attraction, drawing millions of people every year. It’s easy to understand why it’s preferable to visit when crowds are likely to be a bit thinner than usual.
Low season in Paris is October to March. If you can visit during these times, you’ll be more likely to avoid long lines and overcrowded observation areas.
Visiting during weekdays rather than weekends and in the early morning or late evening is also a good idea.
Ways to ascend the tower:
|The Eiffel Tower is the ultimate icon of Paris
You can access the first and second levels of the tower by climbing 1,652 stairs. There is a small admission fee. Visitors with vertigo should abstain.
Three elevators are available to shuttle you to the first and second levels of the tower. For security reasons, only one or two will be operating on a given day.
From there, an additional elevator must then be taken from the second level to get to the top of the tower.
Since the Eiffel Tower has gained such iconic status around the world, becoming an object of endless fascination as well as the cliche of choice for representing Paris, it can be easy to gloss the surface when visiting it and overlook its fascinating and tumultuous history.
The tower’s remarkable construction is also something that tourists often fail to appreciate, so I suggest reading up on this marvelous monument before you go up to the top and look out– you’ll no doubt get a much richer appreciation for it.
Key Dates in the Tower’s History
- March 1889: The tower is unveiled at the Paris World Exposition of 1889. French engineer Gustave Eiffel manages to see his project through despite impassioned protest.
- The tower was constructed from 18,038 separate pieces (mostly iron) and weights a total of 10.1 tons. Nonetheless, it remains relatively lightweight.
- 1909-1910: The tower is nearly torn down, but is salvaged due to its usefulness as a radio tower. Some of the world’s first radio transmissions are broadcast here.
- 1916: The first transatlantic telephone transmissions are realized from the tower.
Seen from a distance, the tower bursts into a shimmering display of light every hour after nightfall, until 2 a.m. in the summer.
This display is made possible by 335 projectors, each equipped with high-wattage sodium lamps.
The intense sparkling effect is created by the beams shooting upward through the tower’s structure.
————- Please cut along the dotted line. ————-
…of the Eiffel Tower!
L’Hôtel national des Invalides
This vast complex was built as a hospital and convalescent home for injured soldiers under the reign of Louis XIV.
Part of Les Invalides maintains this role today, but it’s most famous for housing the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. The onsite Musée de l’Armée (Army Museum) boasts a vast collection of military artifacts.
In 1670, King Louis XIV decided to build the “Hôtel Royal des Invalides” for wounded homeless soldiers of its different wars.
It was built between 1671 and 1676 by Libéral Bruant, and then by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte.
Les Invalides is one of the most prestigious monument in Paris.
The most significant event in the history of Les Invalides is unquestionably the return of the body of Napoléon in 1840, from St. Helena. On 8 October 1840 – 19 years after the death of the Emperor – the coffin was exhumed.
Nowadays, it still maintains its initial purpose but the building also houses three museums.
They are respectively: The Army museum, “Plans-Reliefs” museum and Liberation Order museum. There are also two churches in the area. They are: The Dôme church and Saint-Louis-des-Invalides church.
Address: 129 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, France
Architectural style: French Baroque architecture
Arc de Triomphe
|Did you know that the Arc de Triomphe sits right in the middle of Paris, and that the city spreads out from it in the shape a star
The 164-foot Arc de Triomphe commissioned by Emperor Napoléon I does exactly what it was made to do: evoke sheer military power and triumph.
It was built in an age when leaders erected monuments in their own honor, and scaled to their egos.
The arch’s beautiful sculptures and reliefs commemorate Napoléon’s generals and soldiers.
Visit the Arc de Triomphe to begin or culminate a walk down the equally grandiose Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Over here, you can’t help but feel grand yourself.
The Arc de Triomphe is recognized as a symbol of Parisian pomp and elegance around the globe.
Erected by the Emperor Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate France’s military prowess, the 50 meter/164 foot tall arch crowns the west end of the Champs-Elysées, the city’s most famous avenue.
The arch stands at the juncture known as the Etoile: “the star”, where 12 prestigious avenues radiate out from the arch.
Because of its significant place in Paris history – evoking both joyful and dark historical memories – and its iconic status, the Arc de Triomphe is found on any list of Paris’ top tourist attractions.
The celebrated arch is located at the west end of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, on the Place Charles de Gaulle (often also referred to as the Place de l’Etoile).
|The Arc de Triomphe is a beautiful and grand structure – a true symbol of France
Metro: Charles de Gaulle Etoile (Line 1, 2 or 6)
RER: Charles de Gaulle Etoile (Line A)
Best time to visit?
The best time to visit is after 6:30 p.m., when the flame of the unknown soldier is lit and the Champs-Elysées is bathed in shimmering lights.
From the observation deck at the top of the arch, breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré Coeur, and the Louvre are also in store.
Key Dates and Interesting Facts About the Arc de Triomphe:
- 1806: Emperor Napoleon I orders the construction of the Arc de Triomphe in commemoration of France’s soldiers. The arch is completed in 1836, under the rule of King Louis Philippe. Napoleon would never see its completion.
- The base of the arch is decorated with four groups of elaborate allegorical sculptures. The most famous is Francois Rude’s “La Marseillaise”, which shows the iconic French woman, “Marianne”, urging the people to battle.
- The inside walls display the names of over 500 French soldiers from the Napoleonic wars; the names of those who perished are underlined.
- 1840: The ashes of Napoleon I are transferred to the Arc de Triomphe.
- 1885: Celebrated French writer Victor Hugo’s funeral is celebrated under the arch.
- 1920: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is inaugurated under the Arch, just two years after the close of WWI and in tandem with a similar monument unveiled in London for the occasion of Armistice Day. The eternal flame is lit for the first time on November 11th, 1923, keeping vigil over the tomb each evening.
- 1940: Adolph Hitler and Nazi forces march on the Champs Elysées around the arch and down the Champs-Elysees, dramatically marking the beginning of a four-year occupation.
- 1944: Allied forces and civilians celebrate the liberation of Paris, in a joyful event captured in photographs by iconic Parisian photographer Robert Doisneau.
- 1961: American President John F. Kennedy pays a visit to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After her husband’s assassination in 1963, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis requested that an eternal flame be lit for JFK at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
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