Paris is located in North-central France.
On this map, our home in Germany is located on the right edge of the map just past the “g” in Luxembourg.
Paris, population 10 million, is located in north-central France. Although a manufacturing center for France (including automobiles, chemicals, and electronic equipment), Paris is perhaps best known as a cultural, artistic and fashion center, particularly for jewelry and clothing. It is an international city, with many immigrants from France’s former colonies, including Vietnam and North Africa. This has also created some undesirable economic and social tensions in the region.
Paris is a very congested city. Until recently, there was a ban on any buildings over 20 meters (66 feet) high. Thus, the city has a low skyline except in newly developed areas. It has also resulted in very little park space within the city.
The area of Paris was first settled around the 3rd century BC by the Parisii, a tribe of Celtic peoples, who abandoned the area to invading Romans in 52BC. The Romans built baths, a forum, and laid the grid for many of the streets. Invading Germanic tribes ended Rome’s control of Paris in 508 AD. Control of the area has switched hands many times since then, including English control from 1422-1439. Paris was a Roman Catholic stronghold, and there was a great deal of strife between them and the Protestants (Huguenots) during the 16th century. Not until Henry III entered Paris in 1594 did peace return. Paris grew again until the French Revolution in 1789. The city remained politically turbulent throughout the 19th century. During the 20th century, a growing population strained city services throughout Paris. There were severe housing shortages. Then, during WW II (1939-1945), the Germans controlled the city. Paris endured scarcity of supplies and food, but little war damage was incurred.
One thing noticeable while walking around Paris today is that all buildings and monuments are clean. There is a long-standing law on the books that requires all monuments and buildings to be periodically cleaned. NICE!
WELCOME TO PARIS!!
Traffic is a nightmare. There are numerous traffic circles with no lines painted.
So, 5-6 lanes of cars are trying to jockey for position while motor scooters zip between cars,
oblivious to the danger of 2000 pounds of car hitting a 150-pound scooter.
The Arc de Triomphe. Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, it was modeled after the Arch of Constantine in Rome.
But with Napoleon’s love of grandeur, the Arc de Triomphe ended up twice the size of its Italian counterpart – 164 feet high.
It was completed in 1835 to commemorate Napoleon’s victories. (Obviously, this was BW – Before Waterloo!)
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lies under this imposing monument. It is surrounded by a large traffic circle in which 12 main Avenues converge.
Here, Beth and Spencer wonder why I dragged them out into the middle of a busy street to take a picture.
Here’s a view of the Arc de Triomphe you normally don’t see. It’s the view from underneath.
From the top of the Arc de Triomphe, there is an unobstructed view of the Avenue des Champs Elysees.
The Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Alexander Eiffel for the Paris World Fair of 1889.
A nighttime view of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River.
Looking down at the Seine River from atop the Eiffel Tower.
Spencer on the Eiffel Tower. To the right, the Arc de Triomphe is visible to the right.
Beth, Spencer I rode the Paris Metro (subway) around town to a couple of spots.
Quick, efficient, and cheap – about $1.25 to ride anywhere in the city.
The Louvre art museum. Opened in 1793, it houses 225 galleries with over 400,000 items.
The Louvre itself is a long, skinny building. This is the front – the “skinny” side.
The building is probably close to ¾ mile long. It’s HUGE!!!
Getting into the Louvre requires waiting in a long line, like most things in Paris.
This is the lobby area under the glass pyramid.
Once inside the Louvre, there are endless hallways lined with paintings and other artwork.
The Mona Lisa, perhaps the most-visited item in the Louvre.
If you look closely at the bottom of the picture, you can see Spencer’s reflection.
He is the kid in the white shirt taking a picture.
You can also see my reflection in Mona Lisa’s hands as I take this picture.
In the Louvre, there are paintings large and small.
Venus de Milo and I watching all the tourists going by.
Winged Victory, another famous statue in the Louvre.
I guess even in the old days, kids will be kids.
As we left the Louvre, there was a large Ferris Wheel set up on the lawn.
We took the opportunity to get a bird’s-eye view of the Louvre and the glass pyramid.
Notre Dame. Perhaps one of Paris’ most famous landmarks (along with the Eiffel Tower).
Construction was begun in 1163, and finished in 1250, although some additions have been added since then.
The West front (pictured above) is a classic example of French Gothic style with 3 doorways.
The church was vandalized during the French Revolution (1789-1799), but restored during the 19th Century.
Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned here in 1804. A young Quasimodo (that could be the “Q” in Spencer Q. Elyard – instead of Quentin) poses.
The sanctuary of Notre Dame measures 115 feet from floor to ceiling.
This is a view from the rear of the church.
The alter of Notre Dame.
We toured the bell tower and spires above Notre Dame. This is one of the tower bells.
Here, Spencer poses with one the gargoyles featured on the remake of “Hunchback of Notre Dame”.
A gargoyle watches out over Paris and the Eiffel Tower.
Paris is well known for its breads. This is one of many bakeries we indulged in.
Olive bread at the bakery.
Not just breads at this bakery – lots of goodies!!
A spice store near the bakery.
What trip to Paris would be complete without Euro Disney?
Spencer and Mother in one of the racecars at Euro Disney. How did they get in front of me?!!
After an evening rain shower, a nice view of the Arc de Triomphe on the walk back to the hotel.
The Paris train station. Just a 4-hour ride home to Germany.
Inside of the Paris train station.
Spencer, the world traveler, waiting for the train in Paris.
Hope you enjoyed