Places to go and things to see – Paris

SO MUCH TO DO. Honestly, I was actually not that excited to go to Paris before my trip, but I was able to spend three weeks (1 week at the beginning of the trip & 2 at the end) doing EVERYTHING possible. From taking the metro to a random neighborhood, drinking wine under the Eiffel Tower, picnicking in the Luxembourg gardens, getting pooped on by pigeons, cruising on a boat down the Seine, or having a night out in the Latin Quarter. Those were just a few things about Paris that I saw and loved. Too much to write but here are a few key places:

The Eiffel Tower

Seriously, this thing is WAAAAAY taller and more amazing than I ever imagined. Grab some wine, cheese, bread and stay for the sparkling lights at night. Have a picnic during the day. Walk around Paris anywhere anytime and basically just see this icon hovering constantly.

  • La dame de fer – the iron lady
  • Built in 1889 and is a global icon of France
    • Centennial of the French Revolution
    • 300 workers put together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron and only one man died
    • During the time there were many angry letters written by the art community of Paris – but today it is a striking peice of structural art
  • Designer: Gustave Eiffel created the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair
  • 1,063 feet (324 meters) tall and was the tallest man-made structure in the world upon its completion
  • The most visited paid monument in the world – 200 million + visitors since the construction

Notre Dame

  • One of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe
  • The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture
  • First period of construction from 1163 into the 1240’s coincided with the musical experiments of the Notre Dame school 
  • The official chair of the archbishop of Paris – Andre Vingt-Trois
  • First building in the world to use flying buttress – arched exterior supports 
  • The cathedral was completed by 1345 
  • Suffered from desecration during the French Revolution in the 1790’s and much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed
  • An extensive restoration by Eugene Viollet le Duc removed remaining decoration, returning the cathedral to an “original” Gothic state 
  • Jean de Jandun recognized the cathedral as one of Paris’ three most important buildings in his 1323 “Treatise on the Praises of Paris”
  • December 2, 1804: the coronation ceremony of Napoleon I and his wife Josephine, with Pope Pius VII officiating 
  • May 16, 1920: Joan of Arc was canonized 

Arc de Triomphe

  • One of the most famous monuments in Paris designed in 1806
  • Honors those who fought and died in France during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars
  • Beneath is the tomb of the unknown soldier from WWI
  • It became the rallying point for French troops parading after successful military campaigns

**I loved going to the top during sunset and being able to see the city from all different viewpoints.**

Sacre Coeur Basilica

  • Located at the summit of Montmartre – the highest point in Paris
  • It’s a political and cultural monument that is featured in many films 
  • My favorite view of Paris was seen from here – OK lots of places in Paris were my favorite view, but still I REALLY liked this one, too.

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