The other day, we decided to be totally touristy and get tickets on a double decker bus. It's a little pricey, but a great way to see all the major attractions. To get to Paris, we had to brave our way through the subway since Flo was at work and we weren't going to drive there. It wasn't too bad at all even though we were a little intimidated and worried that we'd get lost. It's actually the largest underground city/station in Europe.
I really liked the bus company because they have buses in constant rotation which allows you to get off at any tourist site and walk around, but if you're ready to jump on the bus again, you can get on the next one. So we took the subway and exited at Notre Dame!
The Seine behind Michael. There are 37 bridges in Paris that go over the almost 500 mile long river. You won't go far in Paris without seeing a boat tour on the river. It eventually flows into the English Channel. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431 and her ashes were scattered into the Seine. She was also beatified and canonized in the Notre Dame Cathedral.
The cathedral is gothic architecture and Catholic. Construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345. It was damaged during the French Revolution, but later restored to its original gothic state. Kings have been crowned here (Henry VI of England), weddings took place here, and Heraclius of Caesarea called for the Third Crusade from the incomplete cathedral. It is also the setting of the novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
It is MASSIVE inside.
The stained glass was so pretty.
On the double decker! Excited!
The Madeleine Church (above) is a Roman Catholic church designed to glorify Napoleon's army.
The Opera (above) was constructed from 1861 to 1875. Today, it's mostly used for ballet and is considered an architectural masterpiece.
The bus company we used that day!
Amazing view at the Concorde - one of the largest squares in the city. The view includes The Fountain of River Commerce and Navigation, the Egyptian obelisk and the Eiffel Tower. Not bad!
The Egyptian obelisk which is decorated with hieroglyphics exalting the reign of pharaoh Ramses II. The obelisk is 3,300 years old and arrived in Paris in 1833.
Arc de Triomphe!
Other than the Eiffel Tower, I'd say the Arc de Triomphe is the most famous monument in Paris. And for good reason - it's gorgeous and HUGE (164 feet tall). There's no way you can miss it while sitting in traffic on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
The arc honors soldiers who died for France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. The names of French generals and victories are engraved on the outside. Napoleon ordered its construction but died before it was complete. Below is a photo of the arc in 1940 with German troops on parade after the surrender of Paris.
The French flag.
When looking through the Arc de Triomphe, you can see the other huge structure on Avenue des Champs-Élysées - the Grande Arch. It's hard to see in the photo, but it's a lot more modern looking.
The view of traffic from the Arc de Triomphe on Avenue des Champs-Élysées - one of the most famous and recognizable streets in the entire world. It's also one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world, boasting luxurious cafes, boutiques, and restaurants.
The Grand Palaise.
And the grand finale!!!
The Eiffel Tower!
The Eiffel Tower has to be the most famous icon of France. It was built in 1889, but apparently, they almost didn't put it in Paris. Many people complained that it was an eye sore when it was raised. I can't imagine Paris without it. Also, Hitler ordered it's demolition during WWII, but the person ordered to do so disobeyed.
It seems so cliché to go to Paris and take a bunch of photos under the Eiffel Tower, but once you see it for yourself, you really can't help it! It's arguably the most recognizable structure in the whole world, but seeing it up close in person for the first time really makes it feel foreign. It's so massive and breathtaking! It's one of those places you seen in photos a million times, but to see it in person is totally different. You can't help but to be one of those typical tourists. I mean, tourist spots are touristy for a reason --- because they're amazing!
It's getting dark... time to light it up!
Sparkling as we leave at 6:00... it glitters at the change of every hour.