"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on July 23, 2016 by Sioux under General
2 Comments

 

Back on the bus we travelled through the streets of Paris, passing by so many landmarks that I again gave up trying to keep track of names.

 

Driving down the Champs-Elysees and seeing the Arc de Triomphe at the end, I was struck by the fact that not even 100 years ago, Hitler and 1,000’s of German, then Allied soldiers drove or marched down this exact road! That thought gave me

spine tingles!

And then there it was – one of the most famous landmarks in the world. The engineering marvel that is the Eiffel Tower! Originally intended for Barcelona in Spain, that project was scrapped and it was built for the 1889 Paris Exposition, at a cost of 7.79million gold French Francs. It was never supposed to be a permanent structure, but it has since become synonymous with Paris and France. And yet, I felt more of a reaction when I saw Big Ben than when I saw the Eiffel Tower.

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The Arc de Triomphe was built between 1806 – 1836 at a cost of 9.3million French Francs – a massive amount of money even now! It was commissioned by Napoleon to honour the French Army as they were considered invincible at the time.

Image courtesy of Google 

Image courtesy of Google 

I headed first to the Military Museum, and then the stunning Luxembourg Gardens or Jardin du Luxembourg.

 

The gardens were created in early 1612 by Marie de Medici, Henry IV’s widow, as her new residence.

The tower was going to be demolished in 1909 but was spared as it was said it

could be used as a giant radio antenna. It was even sold to a scrap metal dealer

by a con-artist! There are 2,500,000 rivets and 18,038 iron parts holding the

tower together. The 300m high tower can vary in height by 15cm at a time due

to temperature changes! To light the tower at night requires a total of 20,000

light bulbs.

 

With an average of 7 million people a year, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited

paid-for attraction in the world. Hitler himself visited during the WW2 years, but the

French Resistance cut the cables of the lifts saying that if Hitler wanted to see Paris from the top, he could do it the hard way and climb the 1,665 steps to the top! I had wanted to go up but the cost and a wait of more than 2 hours put paid to that. I headed off on a walkabout.

Image courtesy of Google 

Same wall, different tourists.

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Today the gardens and palace are owned by the French Senate. The area coves 23 hectares and is well known for its carefully manicured lawns, tree-lined promenades and the picturesque Medici Fountain, which was built in 1620.

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2 responses to “Paris – part 3 – engineering marvel”

  1. Pauline Smith says:

    AS usual, stunning photos and history lesson…

  2. Ursula Evans says:

    I love reading the stories. You make it all so interesting and the pics always beautiful

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