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Friday, September 14, 2012

[Four Representative Architectures in Paris] The most visited edifices in Europe - Part I

I think I wrote bofore, but let me reiterate it. This blog is, in a way, my open diary not only to share my recipes, but also to record my family life including my kids' activities and our family trips so that my kids would reminisce about these precious moments. Kids of my kids may be interested in their fathers' childhood, too. Also, my kids and grandkids will be able to check my recipes when I will not be available anymore.
 Today's posting is about the buildings and structures that are probably the best known architectures on earth. As we have traveled in France several times and I have studied in France, Mr. D and I have been to these 'oh, so popular' places a few times already,
but we couldn't skip these famous spots since Remi and Pablo haven't seen them in the flesh.
I guess these four buildings aren't new to you either.
I'll go from the west to the east :)
1. L'Arc-de-Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe ("Triumphal Arch") honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars.
(L'Arc de Triomphe from the Avenue des Champs-Elysees)
The construction started 1806 by the commision of Napoleon I, but inaugurated only in 1836.
When brought back to France from Saint Helena in 1840, Napoleon's remains passed under the Arc on the way to Les Invalides which became the Emperor's final resting place.
 The design of the arch wasin the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture.
The main sculptures were finished by the most academic French sculptors such as  Jean-Pierre Cortot, François Rude, Antoine Étex, James Pradier and Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire.
There is a tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I beneath the Arc de Triomphe.
There also is an eternal flame. It burns in memory of the dead who were never identified, first in World War I, and now in both wars. 
If you want to see the majestic view of Paris, from the top of l'arc de Triomphe, be ready to climb up 284 stairs. It's neither easy, nor cheap. But, believe me, your sweat will be rewarded by the amazing view.
Well, Pablo did not know what was expected on the top, so he (kind of) refused to climb up those stairs. Guess what the solution was?
Yes. Mr. D volunteered, as I didn't, to hold Pablo who weighed 41 pounds to climb to the top. Mr. D was sweating like hell and his face was as pale as a ghost.
On top of the arc, you can see the cathedral Sacré-Cœur
on the Monmartre hill on the north-east side.
You can see better here with the telephoto lens :)
One of the most famous road on earth, The Avenue des Champs-Élysées
Les Invalides, Napoleon I's final resting place, and the Montparnasse Tower in the direction of south.
La Grande Arche de la Défense from the west of L'Arc de Triomphe.
L'Arche has roughly the shape of a hollow cube, its center being 112 m long, 106.9 m wide, with a height of 110.9 m. The hollow hole would house the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
La Tour Eiffel in the south-east direction of the arc.
 Notre-Dame de Paris in the south-east direction.
The brothers were fascinated by the Eiffel tower.
Remi and his daddy.
(Remi is now too heavy for me - He is 4'4" and weighs 58 pounds.)
Pablo and his mommy
Both of them closed their eyes :(
 We came down and walked down L'avenue des Champs-Elysees.
This photo was taken in the middle of the crosswalk at green light.
2. La Tour Eiffel
The Eiffel Tower (French: La Tour Eiffel, [tuʁ ɛfɛl]) is an iron tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris The tower is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.
The tower stands 320 metres (1,050 ft) tall, which is equivalent of the height of an 81-storey building.

La Tour Eiffel was built from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 Exposition Universelle("1889 World's Fair") which was held to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution of 1789.
Since then, the tower became the most remarkable symbol of both Paris and France
It is the most-visited paid monument in the world. 7.1 million people ascended it in 2011, which means, on average, about 19,500 visitors took the elevators of the Eiffel tower everyday. And as you might guess, visitors are concentrated especially in summer. So, here let's say the number of visitors would be 150% of the average on a day in August.
Then it would make 30,000 people ascending the tower on a summer day.
The tower is open from 9 a.m. to midnight, i.e. 15 hours a day.
In other words, 30000 people ÷ 15 hours = 2000 people/ hour.
Can you quite believe this number?
That is exactly why we didn't line up for 2 hours to go up to the top of the Eiffel tower.
Don't get me wrong. The view from the observatory's upper platform of the Eiffel tower is striking.
(I will add photos from the observatory we took in 2005)
But, with two young kids, we decided not to stand for two hours(or 1 and half hour) outside on a hot summer day.
Well, of course, there is another reason we didn't ascend the tower.
These guys had italian soft ice cream before we entered the Aquarium de Paris located at the ex-palace of Trocadero just at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
That was the most expensive soft ice cream I had ever bought. :(
Here I have to tell you a famous story I really like to tell.
It is well known that the famous French writer Guy de Maupassant(1850 - 1893), one of the father of the modern short story, had protested against the construction of the tower.
Once it was built, Guy de Maupassant ate lunch in the Tower's restaurant every day. When asked why, Maupassant answered that it was the only place in Paris where one could not see the structure.)
Because of the exactly opposite reason to Maupassant's, we didn't go in the tower.
You cannot admire the majestic beauty of La tour Eiffel when you are inside the tower.
You can see the tower only from the outside.
Kids will have another chance in the future, if they want, to go up to the top platform of La Tour Eiffel.
The size is not very convincing in this photo, but the tower is huge so that it is not really exaggerating to say that the tower is seen anywhere in Paris.

How about this?
You can lock the Eiffel tower between your fiingers :)
The grandeur of the tower is not well shown in the photos.
You must see the Eiffel tower both at daylight and when it is lit at night.
 Especaily Remi was amazed by the transformation of the tower at night.
 Hopefully, my kids would remember these visits they enjoyed, for a long time.
L'Arc de Triomphe & La Tour Eiffel


  1. When I saw the Eiffel Tower, I was especially surprised by how big it was! I also was the one who thought people were making little too much fuss about a giant metalic structure, but seeing in person, I had to admit that it was rather beautiful:) However, the tower wasn't exactly being nice to us.. my friend and I had to wait more than 3 hours in a chilly night just to find out that the top platform was closed only 5 minutes before we went up :( We waited a couple more times later, but never had a chance to go up, so I guess it just wasn't meant to be..? I'm definately booking the tickets next time.

    Have to agree that everything is twice more expensive around the tower! I was craving for a hotdog, but had to stick to my crackers since it was almost 7 euros for a sausage in a demi-baguette D:

    The lit up tower at night truly was a spectacle. While the tower was grand during the day, the 'night tower' seemed somewhat romantic to me. Seeing it 3 nights in a row wasn't enough for me:)

    Thanks for the nice posting!

    1. Hi Julia,
      I'm sorry to hear that you couldn't make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, even after a few attempts.
      But, believe me. The towercan be properly admired from the outside, not from the inside! :)
      Mr. D and I also went to see the tower every night in Paris when there were only two of us. Now, it's not an option, with two young kids. Maybe in a few years~
      Thanks for the comment.
      Have a nice day.