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Top Attractions of Paris By Gabrielle Brown
Un tour de Paris Today we are going to go on a tour of Paris… Bonjour, my name is Gabrielle! …starting with the Eiffel Tower!
Le Tour d’Eiffel At 984 ft tall (300 meters), the tower was known as the world‘s tallest structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in 1930. The Eiffel Tower was built for the World Exhibition in 1889, held in celebration of the French Revolution in 1789. Each one of the about 12,000 iron pieces were designed separately to give them exactly the shape needed.
Notre Dame Because the design was enlarged during construction, the cathedral was completed in 1345. The resulting, overwhelming building is 420 ft long (128m) with two 226 ft tall towers (69 meter). The spire, which reaches 295 ft (90m), was added in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc. The frontal west facade features 3 wide portals; above the portals is the Gallery of Kings - 28 statues of Judean Kings - and higher up are the famous gargoyles & grotesques. The magnificent eastern flying buttresses at the east side of the building are 15m wide. The Notre Dame Cathedral has several large rose windows, the northern 13th century window is the most impressive. The massive window has a diameter of 13.1 meter.
Le Louvre The most recent addition to the Louvre was the Louvre Pyramid, a glass pyramid, built in 1989 by renowned American architect I.M. Pei. It functions as the museum's main entrance and allows the sunlight to come in on the underground floor. There are about 35,000 objects on display, spread out over three wings of the former palace. The museum has a diverse collection ranging from the antiquity up to the mid 19th century. Originally a royal palace, the Louvre became a public museum at the end of the 18th century.
Musée d’Orsay When it opened the museum contained some 2300 paintings, 1500 sculptures and 1000 other objects and over time the collection has expanded significantly, mainly due to acquisitions and gifts. It is home to many sculptures and impressionist paintings, covering a period from the mid-19th century up to 1914. The museum is housed in a grand railway station that was built in 1900, the Gare d'Orsay.
Arc de Triomphe The arch was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate his victories. The Arc de Triomphe is engraved with names of generals who commanded French troops during Napoleon's regime. There is no elevator in the arch, so be prepared to walk up 234 steps. The Arc de Triomphe is based on the Arch of Titus in Rome; it is much higher (50m versus 15m), but it has exactly the same proportions.
Champs-Elysées This avenue is used for all the major celebrations of France. From New Year's Eve, for Parisians to the military parades on the 14th of July & the Liberation at the end of the WWII to the victory in the World Cup football were celebrations on this avenue. The Champs-Elysées, translated as Elysian Fields in English, is derived from Greek mythology where 'Elusia' is a place where heroes come to relax. Today, cars can only occupy half the width of this grand avenue
Jardin de Luxembourg At the center of the approx. 55 acres that make up the Jardin de Luxembourg is an octagonal pond, known as the Grand Bassin, which is surrounded by lawns and alleys that are all laid out in a geometrical pattern. In the 19th century when the private park opened to the public, it was redesigned in a more French style but the original layout has been preserved. The gardens were laid out in Italian style on request of Marie de' Medici as she was of Italian descent.
Sacré Coeur… The two-fold reasons for building this monument were : a group of influential people” had pledged to build a church if Paris escaped unscathed from the war with the Prussians & the defeat of the French at the hands of the Prussian army in 1870 was seen as a moral condemnation of the sins of Paris. Translated in English as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Sacré-Coeur was authorized by the National Assembly in 1873, and a competition was organized. The goal was to build an imposing basilica true to Christian traditions. The Savoyarde clock installed here is 272 ft (83 meter) tall, making it one of the world's largest clock tower.
Montmartre Sacré Coeur’s everlasting, lustrous white color can be attributed to the Château-Landon stones which were used for the construction of the Basilica. When it rains, the stones react to the water and secrete calcite, which acts like a bleacher. Until 1873, when the Sacré-Coeur was built on top of the hill, and Montmartre was a small village, inhabited by a mostly farming community. The name Montmartre is said to be derived from either Mount of Martyrs or from Mount of Mars.
Grand Palais This palace with the Belle Epoque-style pinnacle boasts 9,400 tons of steel framework, 162,000 square feet of glass, and about 5,400 sq square feet of galvanized iron/zinc roofing. This is why said building currently has the largest existing ironwork and glass structure in the world. The Grand Palais was built for the World Fair of 1900, which was hosted in Paris. The building is best known for its enormous glass roof. The exterior however, is made of stone and features beautiful colored mosaics and intricately sculpted statues.
Grand Palais For more than 100 years, the Grand Palais has been a public exhibition hall and host to a variety of grand events; you'll see everything here from antique car shows to fashion extravaganzas from some of Paris's top designers. There are actually three different areas in the Grand Palais, each with a different entrance: the Palais de la Découverte (a science museum) is at the Avenue Franklin Roosevelt… … the Galeries National du Grand Palais (an exposition hall) has an entrance at the Clémenceau Square and the entrance to the Nef du Grand Palais (an event hall) is at the Avenue Winston Churchill.
La Défense However, as most companies started to press for taller office towers the result of this development is a mix of mostly cheap towers of different heights. The tallest of them, the GAN tower, measured 589 ft (179 meters). In 1951, the Défense site was chosen as an office center and in 1964, a plan was approved to have 20 office towers of 25 stories each. The name défense originates from the monument 'La Défense de Paris', which was erected at this site in 1883 to commemorate the war of 1870.
Grande Arche de la Défense It is a 348 ft (106 meters tall and the sides of the cube contain offices. You can take an elevator to the top of the Arche de la Défense, from where there is a nice view on the city center which is only 4 km further. The project to build the 'Grande Arche' (Great Arch) was initiated by the French president Mitterrand because wanted a XXth century version of the Arc de Triomphe, however, it looks more like a cube-shaped building than a triumphal arch. At the entrance of the Défense is a counterweight for the Arc de Triomphe: The Tête Défense , also known as the Grande Arche de la Défense.
Pont Alexandre III Because of one of the requirements that the bridge should not obstruct the view on the Invalides and Champs-Elysées, it was a very low 132 ft (40 meters) wide bridge with a single 353 ft (107.5 meters) long span and a height of only 20 ft (6 meters). Undeniably, Pont Alexandre III, which connects the Grand and Petit Palais on the right bank with the Hôtel des Invalides on the left bank, is the city's most opulently decorated bridge. The bridge - which was to symbolize Russian-French friendship - was named after Tsar Alexander III, the father of, Tsar Nicolas II, who laid the first stone in October 1896.
Le Bibliographique • http://www.aviewoncities.com/paris/parisattractions.htm • http://www.offrench.net/photos/gallery-5.php