Paris city in France
Paris is such a wonderful city that we will dedicate an entire section to it. The “City of Lights” is ideal for tourism, and it offers a wide variety of places worthy of a visit. Our proposal is that you accompany us in this journey along some of them.
The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
The Eiffel Tower is a must if you are in Paris. It is a splendid monument designed by the French engineer Gustave Eiffel for the International Exhibition of Paris (1889).
18,000 forged iron pieces weighing 7,300 tons were used for its construction. When it was inaugurated, it was severely criticized by the artists of the time; nowadays, over a hundred years later, it is considered an emblem of France, and it is the most visited sight in the whole world. It is 300 meters high, and it has restaurants, stores and even a museum. You can see the whole city from its cupola, including those neighborhoods in which architecture has remained intact for over 150 years. Even more, a telescope has been installed in order to get a better view of the city.
It is not difficult at all to get to the Eiffel Tower. You can do it on foot, by car, by Batobus (boats plying the Seine), by Metro (although it is a bit far from the station), or by suburban train (RER).
The tower has three floors. You can use either the elevator or the stairs to them, although you cannot reach the cupola on foot. Depending on what you want, you must choose between one of the two on-foot entries or one of the two elevator entries. Prices vary according to what you choose: using the elevator will cost you 10 euros, whereas going on foot will cost you 5 euros. Elevators are fast and reliable, so you can feel safe in them.
As we have mentioned above, the only way to reach the cupola is by elevator; therefore, if you decide to go up on foot, you must remember to get a ticket on the second floor (long lines of people waiting for the central elevator are not unusual here). Apart from getting the ticket, you can visit the luxurious restaurant and the splendid balcony.
Even in summer, it is advisable to take some warm clothes with you, as temperature can lower considerably 300 meters high.
Triumphal Arch (Arc de Triomphe)
Located in l´Étoile Square, at the end of Champs Elysees Avenue. It was designed in 1806 by architect Jean Chalgrin by order of Napoleon Bonaparte, who, on the occasion of the Battle of Austerlitz (1805), promised his soldiers: “You will return home under triumphal arches.” Construction finished in 1936. It is 50 meters high and 45 meters wide. It has a statue on each one of its four pillars; the names of the 558 generals of the French Empire are engraved on their inner sides and the names of the great revolutionaries, as well as the military victories of Napoleon I, on their outer sides. At its foot, there is the tomb of the WWI Unknown Soldier, on which a commemorative flame burns and the following inscription can be read: “Here lies a French soldier who died for his motherland 1914-18.” (“Ici repose un soldat français mort pour la patrie 1914-18.”) Within the arch, there is a museum providing information about its history and construction. From its top, there is a beautiful panoramic view of Paris.
Most sights of Paris are easy to get to, and the Triumphal Arch is not the exception. You can get to it either on foot or by car. However, there are other options. By suburban train, for instance. You have to catch line A and get off at the Charles de Gaulle-Etoile station. When you have got off the train, you have to look for the Arc de Triomphe exit – Be careful! This station has many exits. Once you are out, you will see a big square and, a bit farther, the arch itself. As you cannot cross the avenue, you must use the subterranean crossing out there. You can also take the Metro (lines 1, 2 and 6).
As going up the long stairs of the Triumphal Arch can be really exhausting, we suggest including this amazing sight at the beginning of your day-schedule, in order not to be so tired.
Anyway, if you still prefer to leave it for the end of the day, you can’t miss the beautiful view of fully-lighted Paris at night. It is a worthwhile experience.
It is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 10.30 or 11 p.m., depending on the season.
Entrance fee varies according to the age of the visitors: Adults are charged 8 euros; youngsters (18 to 25) and students, 5 euros; and minors, free. The first Sunday of each month between October and April, there is free entrance for all the public.
The Louvre (Musée du Louvre)
This museum dates back to 1793 and it is inside the Louvre Palace itself. Up to that date, the palace had been a fortress, and also had served as a residence for French Majesties. Since 1989, a huge beautiful crystal pyramid designed by architect Leoh Ming Pei has embellished its entry. Being one of the most important and ancient museums in Europe, it contains 300,000 works of art, although only 35,000 of them are on exhibition – among which Mona Lisa and the Venus of Milo stand out as the most famous –. However, temporary exhibitions encouraging new artists are constantly held. The Louvre is divided into various collections: Islamic art; Oriental antiques; Egyptian antiques; Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiques; sculptures; artistic objects; painting and graphic arts; history of the Louvre; Asian, African, Oceanian and South, Central and North American art.
To get to the Louvre, you can walk along Champs Elysees, or go by car (it has a subterranean car park) or by Metro (lines 1 and 7 to the Louvre: Royal Palace - Museum).
Pay attention to timetables, which are hard to remember. The museum is open every day except for Tuesdays and certain holidays. On Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 9.45 p.m. Tickets are available until 5.45 p.m.
Tickets cost 8.50 euros; however, there are some exceptions. On Wednesdays and Fridays after 6 p.m., there is reduced rate = 6 euros. The first Sunday of each month, there is free entrance for all the public. Minors (under-18s) enter for free.
Position of the collections: Attic: Islamic art; sculptures; Egyptian antiques; Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiques. Ground floor: sculptures; Oriental art; Egyptian antiques; Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiques; Asian, African, Oceanian and South, Central and North American art. Second floor: artistic objects; Greek antiques; Egyptian antiques; graphic arts and painting. Third floor: French painting, drawing and graphic arts; German, Dutch and Andalusian painting and drawing; Germanic, Belgian, Russian, Swiss and Scandinavian painting.
Since Dan Brown’s da Vinci Code was published, and, even more, since the successful movie based on his book was released, the number of visitors to the Louvre has been on the increase. This is partly due to the fact that one of the main scenes of the film was shot there.
Notre Dame Cathedral
This cathedral is a wonder of Gothic architecture. Construction started in 1163, during the reign of Louis VII, and finished in the fourteenth century. Nevertheless, religious services had already begun by 1182. Its name means Our Lady (Mary, mother of Jesus). Architecturally, it shows a combination of the aforementioned Gothic style – hence the vertical design – with the Norman Romanesque style. The Western facade is the most well-known and also the most beautiful of its faces; its basic and coherent architectural design reminds us of the facade of the Saint Denis Cathedral. Notre Dame is divided into three parts from top to bottom and also from side to side. It has two 69-meter-tall towers (the famous bell “Emmanuel” is in the South Tower).
The cathedral is located in Notre Dame Square, Paris.
It is open to the public every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Entrance is free, but you will have to be patient: there are usually crowds of people waiting.
Other marvelous places to visit in Paris are: St. Denis Cathedral, Basilica of Sacré Coeur de Montmartre, Vosges Square and, for those who love Disney, EuroDisney.
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