Europe, France, Paris

Tour Eiffel

The Eiffel Tower, named after engineer Gustave Eiffel, was built towards the end of the 1800s. For years, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world, towering at 1,063 feet (comparable to an 81-story building). Almost 7 million people go up the Eiffel Tower annually. It is the most visited paid monument in the world.

 

The Eiffel Tower is three stories. I was able to go up to the second floor, and trust me, that was high enough up for me! It is about 377 feet tall. We were then able to stop down at the first level, about 187 feet tall, where you have a good view of the square base of the Tower and also can stand on a glass floor!

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photo courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.com with arrows added 

The views were absolutely beautiful, especially from Level 2 looking over Paris. It was a little disorienting and scary being so high up, so I can’t imagine going all the way to the top! It was a great and surreal experience.

 

From Level 1

 

From Level 2

There are people wild enough to take the stairs up the Eiffel Tower (hundreds and hundreds to get to each floor), but we, along with most guests, took the elevator. The elevator was actually a little spooky and cramped, but thankfully it was only about a minute and a half in there! What’s interesting is that the elevator goes at an angle up the base of the Tower. I took a few short videos, one going up the Tower, one going from Level 2 to Level 1, and one at Level 1 looking over the base and the glass floor.

 

After visiting the Eiffel Tower, we had some time to explore and walk around, get some souveiners, check out some street vendors, and so forth. We couldn’t find our tour guide at the time we were supposed to meet, and he was very mad! I was hanging out with a mother and a daughter, they were the only other two on the trip so we bonded and did a lot together, structured and during the small amount of free time we had towards the end. I can’t remember where they were from, but they were very kind. The mother didn’t speak English so there was a lot of translating, but we made it work! We ended up getting back to Paris Nord around 6:00 PM. At that point, I separated from the two women and we went on our ways back to our respective home countries. Our train ticket provided was for 8:00 PM. I was exhausted and had been walking all day, so I decided to risk it and sneak onto the 7:00 PM train. Somehow I made it without them realizing I was in at the wrong time and wrong seat, but who cares! I got back around three hours later and headed home for a long night’s sleep to prepare for our last day in Europe!

Europe, France, Paris

The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

The Triumphal Arch of the Star is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I, which is highly respected. Annual military parades march around the arch rather than under it. Even Adolf Hitler and Charles de Gaulle in the 1940s respected this practice and avoided going through the arch when they were at the monument out of respect for the Tomb. A ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every November 11 on the anniversary of the armistice with Germany. The eternal flame burns honor the memory of soldiers never identified in from the world wars. A coffin with unknown remains is buried beneath the arc with a French inscription that states “Here lies a French soldier who died for the fatherland 1914–1918.”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get great photos of it! But here is what I have and below the two is a more official photo that I found online.

 

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

We also saw the Roue de Paris, which is a transportable 200-foot tall Ferris wheel!

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Europe, France, Paris

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Next we went to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris or simply the Notre-Dame, which is is a medieval Catholic cathedral completed in the year 1260. With 12 million visitors annually, it is the most visited monument in Paris. The line was so long, but with our day pass trip, we were able to skip the line – won’t complain about that!

 

 

On our way over there, we got to walk across a bridge and view the Seine River, which was nice!

Europe, France, Paris

Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and a central landmark in Paris with 10.2 million visitors a year and 380,000 objects and 35,000 works of art. Many people just attend to see the Mona Lisa, but there is so much more! Because my trip was only a day and there was a lot to see, they only allocated us an hour to visit and explore! I was able to see the Mona Lisa, as well as a lot of other pieces of art. You could spend years there looking at every object!

 

 

 

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Photo courtesy of http://www.viator.com

You enter down below (under the triangle) and can travel up multiple floors. To give you an idea of just how large this museum is, check out this slideshow which is an image version of their PDF map.

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Europe, France, Paris

Un Jour à Paris

Being so close to other European countries, I decided to seize the opportunity to go to Paris! I purchased a package from Viator that included a Eurostar ticket, a day-long tour, and admission to various sites.

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I started my day super early by arriving at St. Pancras International to collect my ticket for the trip and board the Eurostar, a large train system that operates throughout Europe.

Riding on the Eurostar was really cool! It goes very fast, like up to almost 200mph. The slowest it went was 100mph, and that was only when it was under the English Channel in what is referred to as the Channel Tunnel or the “Chunnel.” It was so weird to know that for 30+ miles, we were underwater!

It took about two and a half hours to arrive from London to Paris. We arrived early in the morning at Paris-Nord, and it was time to begin our jour à Paris (day in Paris)!