PARISMontmartreAbove all, Montmartre is known for its many artists who have been omnipresent since 1880. The nameMontmartre is said to be derived from either Mount of Martyrs or from Mount of Mars. Until 1873, when theSacré-Coeur was built on top of the hill, Montmartre was a small village, inhabited by a mostly farmingcommunity.The Basilica ProjectThe project to build the Sacré-Coeur Basilica (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) was initiated by a group ofinfluential people. Their reasons to build this monument was two-fold:King Louis IXthey had pledged to build a church if Paris escaped unscathed from the war with the Prussians and they sawthe defeat of the French at the hands of the Prussian army in 1870 as a moral condemnation of the sins ofParis.The project was authorized by the National Assembly in 1873, and a competition was organized. The goalwas to build an imposing basilica true to Christian traditions.The BuildingThe winner of the competition was Paul Abadie, who had already restored two cathedrals in France. Hedesigned an immense basilica in a Roman-Byzantyne style. This architectural style stands in sharp contrastwith other contemporary buildings in France,View from the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont which were mostly built in a Romanesque style.Construction of the Basilica started in 1876 with Abadie as the lead architect. When Paul Abadie died in1884, he was succeeded by Lucien Magne, who added an 83 meter (272 ft) tall clock tower. The Savoyardeclock installed here is one of the worlds largest.Due to its location on the Montmartre hill, the basilica towers over the city; its highest point is even higherthan the top of the Eiffel Tower.
White StonesThe Sacré-Coeur Basilica has managed to keep its beaming white color even in the polluted air of a big citylike Paris. This can be attributed to the Château-Landon stones which were used for the construction of theSacré-Coeur. When it rains, the stones react to the water and secrete calcite, which acts like a bleacher.Montmartre artistsIn the mid-19th century, artists such as Johan Jongkind and Camille Pissarro came to inhabit Montmartre.But only at the end of the century did the district become the principal artistic center of Paris. A restaurantopened near the old windmill near the top, the Moulin de la Galette.Artists associations such as Les Nabis and the Incoherents were formed and individuals including Vincentvan Gogh, Pierre Brissaud, Alfred Jarry, Gen Paul, Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, HenriMatisse, André Derain, Suzanne Valadon, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Maurice Utrillo, Henri deToulouse-Lautrec, Théophile Steinlen, and African-American expatriates such as Langston Hughes workedin Montmartre and drew some of their inspiration from the area.Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and other impoverished artists lived and worked in a commune, abuilding called Le Bateau-Lavoir, during the years 1904–1909. Composers, including Satie (who was apianist at Le Chat Noir), also lived in the area.Éric Alfred Leslie Satie (1866 – 1925) was a French composer and pianist. Satie was a colourful figure inthe early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. His work was a precursor to later artistic movements such asminimalism, repetitive music, and the Theatre of the Absurd. An eccentric,Satie was introduced as a"gymnopedist" in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopédies. In additionto his body of music, Satie also left a remarkable set of writings, having contributed work for a range ofpublications, from the dadaist 391 to the American culture chronicle Vanity Fair. After years of heavydrinking (including consumption of absinthe),Satie died on 1 July 1925 from cirrhosis of the liver. He isburied in the cemetery in Arcueil. There is a tiny stone monument designating a grassy area in front of anapartment building – Parc Erik Satie. Over the course of his 27 years in residence at Arcueil, no one hadever visited his room.Montmartre sightsThe Place du Tertre, known for the artists who paint tourists for pleasure (and also money)
The Espace Dali, a museum dedicated to several of the surrealists masterpiecesSalvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol ( 1904 – 1989),known as Salvador Dalí was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres, Spain. Dalí was askilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skillsare often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters.His best-known work, The Persistence ofMemory, was completed in 1931. Dalís expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, andphotography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media. Dalí was expelled from theAcademia in 1926, shortly before his final exams when he was accused of starting an unrest. Dalí grew aflamboyant moustache, influenced by 17th-century Spanish master painter Diego Velázquez. The moustachebecame an iconic trademark of his appearance for the rest of his life.the Dalida house in rue dOrchamptShe died at her Montmartre mansion at "11bis Rue dOrchampt".Dalida (1933 – 1987), born with the Italian name Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti, was a famous singer andactress born in Egypt to Italian parents but naturalised French. She spent her early years in Egypt amongstthe Italian Egyptian community, but she lived most of her adult life in France. She received 55 gold recordsand was the first singer to receive a diamond disc. Dalida performed and recorded in more than 10 languagesincluding: French, Arabic, Italian, Greek, German, English, Japanese, Hebrew, Dutch and Spanish. In 1954,at the age of 20, Dalida competed in and won the Miss Egypt pageant, and was crowned Miss Egypt. Despiteenormous career success, Dalida’s private life was marred by a series of failed relationships and personalproblems. In 1967, Dalida took part to the San Remo Festival with her new lover, an Italian singer,songwriter and actor Luigi Tenco. Tenco allegedly committed suicide after learning that his song had beeneliminated from the final competition. Tenco was found in his hotel room with a bullet wound in his lefttemple and a note announcing that his gesture was against the jury and publics choices during thecompetition. It was Dalida who discovered his body. One month later, Dalida attempted to commit suicideby drug overdose at the Prince of Wales hotel in Paris. She spent 5 days in a coma and several monthsconvalescing, only going back to the stage the following October. In December 1967, just after her firstsuicide attempt, she became pregnant by an 18-year-old Italian student, Lucio. She decided to abort but thesurgery left her infertile. In September 1970, her pygmalion, lover from 1956 to 1961 and former husbandLucien Morisse, with whom she was still on very good terms, committed suicide by shooting himself in the
head. In July 1983, her lover from 1972 to 1981, Richard Chanfray, committed suicide by inhaling theexhaust gas of his Renault R25 car. On Saturday, 2 May 1987, Dalida decided to end her life with anoverdose of barbiturates. At the time of her death, Dalida was preparing a new single with two songs. Sheleft a suicide note which read "La vie mest insupportable... Pardonnez-moi." ("Life is unbearable for me...Forgive me.")The place Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge in the south. Pigalle is a well known spot for tourists who want toexperience "Paris by night".Edith PiafAfter her birth, Édiths parents soon abandoned her, and she lived for a short time with her maternalgrandmother, Emma (Aïcha). Before he enlisted with the French Army in 1916 to fight in World War I, herfather took her to his mother, who ran a brothel in Normandy. There, prostitutes helped look after Piaf. Fromthe age of three to seven, Piaf was allegedly blind as a result of keratitis. According to one of herbiographies, she recovered her sight after her grandmothers prostitutes pooled money to send her on apilgrimage honoring Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, which the author claims resulted in a miraculous healing. In1929, at 14, she joined her father in his acrobatic street performances all over France, where she first sang inpublic.She took a room at Grand Hôtel de Clermont (18 rue Veron, Paris 18ème) and separated from him, going herown way as a street singer in Pigalle, Ménilmontant, and the Paris suburbs (cf. the song "Elle fréquentait laRue Pigalle"). She joined her good friend Simone Berteaut ("Mômone")in this endeavor, and the twobecame lifelong partners in mischief. She was about 16 when she fell in love with Louis Dupont, a deliveryboy. At 17, she had her only child, a girl named Marcelle, who died of meningitis at age two. Like hermother, Piaf found it difficult to care for a child while living a life of the streets, so she often left Marcellebehind while she was away, and Dupont raised her until her death.The marché Saint-Pierre, area of the cloth sellers, in the south-eastThe working class districts with immigrant communities: Barbès (Maghreb) in the southeast, ChâteauRouge in the eastThe Boulevard de Rochechouart (metro stations: Anvers and Pigalle) for its concert halls (La Cigale,LElysée-Montmartre
Open in 1807, the Élysée Montmartre is a music venue, at 72 Boulevard de Rochechouart, in Paris, France.It has a capacity of 1,200 patrons. The nearest métro station is Anvers. In 1900, the venue was damaged byfire, and was re-decorated. The concert hall suffered another fire on March 22, 2011, and is currently closedto the public. It is one of the most famous music venues in the city. The venue can also host boxing matches.Le Trianon, La Boule Noire) inspired by the 19th century cabaretsThe cimetière de Montmartre (Emile Zola)The famous and often sung rue Lepic with its Les Deux Moulins café, made famous by the movie LeFabuleux Destin dAmélie Poulain. Amelie was filmed here.Erik Saties housethe Musée de Montmartre
Rue Saint-Vincent, the vigne de Montmartre, the most famous of the Parisian vineyards (there are someothers, in particular in the parc Georges Brassens, wine is quite expensive; the earnings are used to helpsocial institutions. It is overhung by beautiful buildings from the 20sLe Chat noir and the Lapin Agile cabarets whose clientele at the beginning of the 20th century was mainlyFrench artistsPicasso at the Lapin Agile is a play written by Steve Martin in 1993. It features the characters of AlbertEinstein and Pablo Picasso, who meet at a bar called the Lapin Agile (Nimble Rabbit). It is set on October8, 1904, and both men are on the verge of an amazing idea (Einstein will publish his special theory ofrelativity in 1905 and Picasso will paint Les Demoiselles dAvignon in 1907) when they find themselves atthe Lapin Agile, where they have a lengthy debate about the value of genius and talent while interacting witha host of other characters.Moulin de la GaletteOf the 14 windmills (moulins) that used to sit atop this hill, only two remain. Theyre known collectively asMoulin de la Galette—the name being taken from the bread that the owners used to produce. The morestoried of the two is Le Blute-fin. In the late 1800s there was a dance hall on the site, famously captured byRenoir (you can see the painting in the Musée dOrsay).A facelift recently restored the windmill to its 19th-century glory; however, it is on private land and cant bevisited. Down the street is the other moulin, Le Radet.
Address: Le Blute-fin, corner of Rue Lepic and Rue Tholozé,The Montmartre funicular was opened on 13 July 1900 and was entirely rebuilt in 1935 and again in 1991.The funicular carries passengers between the foot of the butte (outlier) of Montmartre and its summit, nearthe foot of the Sacré-Cœur basilica. It provides an alternative to the multiple stairways of more than 300steps that lead to the top of the Butte Montmartre. At 108 m (354 ft) long, the funicular climbs and drops the36 m (118 ft) in under a minute and a half. It carries two million passengers a year.the place Émile-Goudeau, where the Bateau-Lavoir welcomes great paintersPlace Jean-MaraisJean-Alfred Villain-Marais ( 1913 – 1998), was a French actor and director. France, Marais starred inseveral movies directed by Jean Cocteau, for a time his lover and a lifelong friend, most famously Beautyand the Beast (1946) and Orphée (1949). Marais played over 100 roles in film and on television, and alsowas known for work in other areas of artistic expression, such as writing, painting and sculpture. Though hewas married during World War II to the actress Mila Parély, the couple were divorced after around twoyears. Marais, who was homosexual, was the muse and lover of Jean Cocteau until Cocteaus death.
The LouvreThis is the worlds greatest art museum—and the largest, with 675,000 square feet of works from almostevery civilization on earth. The three most popular pieces here are, of course, the Mona Lisa, the Venus deMilo, and Winged Victory.The marble Escalier Daru to discover the sublime Winged Victory of Samothrace , a statue found on a tinyGreek island that was carved in 305 BC to commemorate the naval victory of Demetrius Poliocretes over theTurks.Bear in mind that the Louvre is much more than a museum—it represents a saga that started centuries ago,having been a fortress at the turn of the 13th century, and later a royal residence. It was not until the 16thcentury, under François I, that todays Louvre began to take shape, and through the years Henry IV, LouisXIII, Louis XV, Napoléon I, and Napoléon III all contributed to its construction. Napoléon Bonapartesmilitary campaigns at the turn of the 19th century brought a new influx of holdings, as his soldiers carriedoff treasures from each invaded country. During World War II the most precious artworks were hidden,while the remainder was looted. Most of the stolen pieces were recovered, though, after the liberation ofParis. No large-scale changes were made until François Mitterrand was elected president in 1981, when hekicked off the Grand Louvre project to expand and modernize the museum.Mitterrand commissioned I.M. Peis Pyramide, the giant glass pyramid surrounded by three smaller pyramidsthat opened in 1989 over the new entrance in the Cour Napoléon. In 2012, the Louvres newest architecturalwonder opened—the 30,000-square-foot Arts of Islam wing. Built into the Cour Visconti in the Denonwing and topped with an undulating golden roof evoking a veil blowing in the wind, the two-level gallerieshouse one of the worlds largest collections of art from all corners of the Islamic world.The ground floor and underground rooms in this wing contain 5th- to 19th-century French sculpture, and theNear East Antiquities Collection, including the Lamassu, carved 8th-century winged beasts.
On the first floor of this wing youll find the Royal Apartments of Napoléon III, a dozen elaboratelydecorated reception rooms. Continue to the second floor for the French and Northern School paintings,including Vermeers The Lacemaker.The entrance to the Sully wing is the most impressive, as you can walk around the 12th-century foundationsand vestiges of the original medieval moat. Below ground is also the largest display of Egyptian antiques inthe world after that of the Cairo museum, featuring such artifacts as Ramses II, a beautifully proportionedstatue from the site of Tanis.Upstairs in Salle 16 is the armless Venus de Milo , a 2nd-century representation of the goddess Aphrodite.She was cleaned and restored over six months in 2010, the work taking place after hours and on Tuesday,when the museum is closed. The first and second floors of the Sully Wing boast decorative arts from all overEurope, as well as 17th-century French paintings, including the Turkish Bath by Jean-August-DominiqueIngres.In the paintings section of the Denon Wing, youll find three by Leonardo da Vinci, including the mostfamous painting in the world: the Mona Lisa , located in Salle 7. Head across to Salle 75 for the Coronationof Napoléon, or to Salle 77 for the graphic 1819 Raft of the Medusa, the first work of art based on a realnews event, in this case the survivors of the wreck of a French ship.
Église de la MadeleineWith its rows of uncompromising columns, this enormous neoclassical edifice in the center of the Place de laMadeleine was consecrated as a church in 1842, nearly 78 years after construction began. Initially plannedas a Baroque building, it was later razed and begun anew by an architect who had the Roman Pantheon inmind. Interrupted by the Revolution, the site was razed yet again when Napoléon decided to make it into aGreek temple dedicated to the glory of his army. Those plans changed when the army was defeated and theemperor deposed. Other ideas for the building included making it into a train station, a market, and a library.Finally, Louis XVIII decided to make it a church, which it still is today. Free classical concerts are held heresome Sundays.Église St-Germain-lAuxerroisAcross from the Louvres Cour Carée, this church, founded in 500 AD, is one of the citys oldest. The currentbuilding dates from the 13th century, and the bell, from 1529, still tolls weekly masses. Address: Rue St-Germain-lAuxerrois, Louvre/TuileriesGalerie Véro-DodatA lovely 19th-century passage, gorgeously restored, the Véro-Dodat has a dozen artsy boutiques sellingobjets dart, textiles, furniture, and accessories. The headliner tenant is Christian Louboutin, at Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose red-soled stilettos are favored by Angelina, Madonna and other members of thered-carpet set. On the opposite end, at the Rue du Bouloi entrance, star cosmetics maker Terry De Gunzburghas a boutique, By Terry. Address: 19 rue Jean-Jacques
Galerie VivienneConsidered the grande dame of Pariss 19th-century passages couverts—the worlds first shopping malls—this graceful covered arcade evokes an age of gaslights and horse-drawn carriages. Once Parisians came topassages like this one to tred tiled floors instead of muddy streets, and to see and be seen browsing boutiquesunder the glass-and-iron roofs. Today, the Galerie Vivienne still attracts top-flight retailers such as Jean-PaulGaultier (6 rue Vivienne) and the high-quality secondhand clothes seller La Marelle (No. 21), as well asshops selling accessories, housewares, and fine wine. The Place des Victoires, a few steps away, is one ofPariss most picturesque squares. In the center is a statue of an outsized Louis XIV (1643-1715), the SunKing, who appears almost as large as his horse. Address: Main entrance at, 4 rue des Petits-Champs,Jardin des TuileriesThe quintessential French garden, with its verdant lawns, manicured rows of trees, and gravel paths, wasdesigned by André Le Nôtre for Louis XIV. After the king moved his court to Versailles, in 1682, theTuileries became the place for stylish Parisians to stroll. (Ironically, the name derives from the decidedlyunstylish factories which once occupied this area: they produced tuiles, or roof tiles, fired in kilns calledtuileries.) Monet and Renoir captured the garden with paint and brush, and its no wonder the Impressionistsloved it—the gray, austere light of Pariss famously overcast days make the green trees appear even greener.
HIGHLIGHTSThe garden still serves as a setting for one of Pariss loveliest walks. Laid out before you is a vista of must-see monuments, with the Louvre at one end and the Place de la Concorde at the other. The Tour Eiffel is onthe Seine side, along with the Musée dOrsay, reachable across a footbridge in the center of the garden.A good place to begin is at the Louvre end, at the Arc du Carrousel, a stone-and-marble arch ordered byNapoléon to showcase the bronze horses he stole from St. Marks Cathedral in Venice. The horses wereeventually returned and replaced here with a statue of a quadriga, a four-horse chariot. On the Place de laConcorde end, twin buildings bookend the garden.On the Seine side, the former royal greenhouse is now the exceptional Musée de lOrangerie, home to thelargest display of Monets lovely Water Lilies series, as well as a sizable collection of early-20th-centurypaintings. On the opposite end is the Musée du Jeu de Paume, which has some of the citys best temporaryphotography exhibits.Address: Bordered by Quai des Tuileries, Pl. de la Concorde, Rue de Rivoli, and the Louvre,Arc de TriompheThe Arc de Triomphe de lÉtoile stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally namedPlace de lÉtoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It should not be confused with a smaller arch,the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe (in English:"Triumphal Arch") honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and theNapoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outersurfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nudeFrench youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, withtriumphant patriotic messages. The monument stands 50 metres in height, 45 m wide and 22 m deep. It wasthe largest triumphal arch in existence until the construction of the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, in 1982.Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeksafter the Paris victory parade in 1919, (marking the end of hostilities in World War I), Charles Godefroyflew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.Place de la ConcordeThe Place was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel in 1755 as a moat-skirted octagon between the Champs-Élysées to the west and the Tuileries Garden to the east. Decorated with statues and fountains, the area wasnamed Place Louis XV to honor the king at that time. The square showcased an equestrian statue of theking. The chemical compounds have let it survive for so long under acid rain.During the French Revolution the statue of Louis XV of France was torn down and the area renamed "Placede la Révolution". The new revolutionary government erected the guillotine in the square, and it was herethat King Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793. Other important figures guillotined on the site, oftenin front of cheering crowds, were Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Élisabeth of France, Charlotte Corday,Madame du Barry, Georges Danton, Camille Desmoulins, Antoine Lavoisier, Maximilien Robespierre,Louis de Saint-Just and Olympe de Gouges.The guillotine was most active during the "Reign of Terror", in the summer of 1794, when in a single monthmore than 1,300 people were executed. A year later, when the revolution was taking a more moderatecourse, the guillotine was removed from the square.The old plaque, for "Place Louis XVI", and replacement plaque at the corner of Hôtel de Crillon.
Execution of Louis XVI in the then Place de la Révolution. The empty pedestal in front of him hadsupported a statue of his grandfather, Louis XV, torn down during one of the many revolutionary riots.Under the Directory the square was renamed Place de la Concorde as a gesture of reconciliation after theturmoil of the French Revolution. After the Bourbon Restoration of 1814, the name was changed back toPlace Louis XV, and in 1826 the square was renamed Place Louis XVI. After the July Revolution of 1830 thename was returned to Place de la Concorde and has remained since.The Luxor Obelisk (French: Obélisque de Louxor) is a 23 metres (75 ft) high Egyptian obelisk standing atthe center of the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. It was originally located at the entrance to LuxorTemple, in Egypt.Champs ElyseesThe avenue is also the setting for the last leg of the Tour de France bicycle race (the third or fourth Sundayin July), as well as Bastille Day (July 14) and Armistice Day (November 11) ceremonies. The Champs-Élysées, which translates as "Elysian Fields" (the resting place of the blessed in Greek mythology), beganlife as a cow pasture and in 1666 was transformed into a park by the royal landscape architect André LeNôtre. Traces of its green origins are visible near Concorde, where elegant 19th-century park pavilions housethe historic restaurants Ledoyen, Laurent, and Le Pavillon Élysées Lenôtre.
Grand PalaisWith its curved-glass roof and gorgeously restored Belle Époque ornamentation, you cant miss the GrandPalais whether youre approaching from the Seine or the Champs-Élysées. It forms an elegant duo with thePetit Palais across Avenue Winston Churchill: both stone buildings, adorned with mosaics and sculptedfriezes, were built for the 1900 Worlds Fair, and, like the Eiffel Tower, were not intended to be permanent.The exquisite main exhibition space called le Nef (or nave) plays host to large-scale shows that might focuson anything from jewelry to cars. The art-oriented shows staged here are some of the hottest tickets in town.Previous must-sees included an Edward Hopper retrospective, "Marie Antoinette," and "Picasso and theMasters." To skip the long lines, it pays to book an advance ticket online, which will cost you an extra euro.Address: Av. Winston Churchill, Champs-Élysées, Paris, 75008 |Palais-RoyalThe quietest, most romantic Parisian garden is enclosed within the former home of Cardinal Richelieu(1585-1642). Its an ideal spot to while away an afternoon, cuddling with your sweetheart on a bench underthe trees, soaking up the sunshine beside the fountain, or browsing the 400-year-old arcades that are nowhome to boutiques ranging from retro quirky (picture toy soldiers and music boxes) to modern chic (thinkStella McCartney and Marc Jacobs). One of the citys oldest restaurants is here, the haute-cuisine Le GrandVéfour, where brass plaques recall regulars like Napoléon and Victor Hugo. Built in 1629, the palais becameroyal when Richelieu bequeathed it to Louis XIII. Other famous residents include Jean Cocteau and Colette,who wrote of her pleasurable "country" view of the province à Paris. Today, the garden often plays host togiant-size temporary art installations sponsored by another tenant, the Ministry of Culture. The courtyard offPlace Colette is outfitted with an unusual collection of short black-and-white columns created in 1986 byartist Daniel Buren.Address: Pl. du Palais-Royal, Louvre/Palais-Royal, Paris,
EiffeEiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)The Eiffel Tower is to Paris what the Statue of Liberty is to New York and what Big Ben is London: theultimate civic emblem. French engineer Gustave Eiffel—already famous for building viaducts and bridges—spent two years working to erect this monument for the World Exhibition of 1889.Because its colossal bulk exudes a feeling of mighty permanence, you may have trouble believing that itnearly became 7,000 tons of scrap metal (the 1,063-foot tour contains 12,000 pieces of metal and 2,500,000rivets) when its concession expired in 1909. At first many Parisians hated the structure, agreeing withdesigner William Morris, who, explaining why he had been spending so much time at the tower, said "Whyon earth have I come here? Because its the only place I cant see it from." Only its potential use as a radioantenna saved the day (it still bristles with a forest of radio and television transmitters). Gradually, though,the Tour Eiffel became part of the Parisian landscape, entering the hearts and souls of Parisians and visitorsalike. Today it is most breathtaking at night, when every girder is highlighted in a sparkling displayoriginally conceived to celebrate the turn of the millennium. The glittering light show was so popular thatthe 20,000 lights were reinstalled for permanent use in 2003. The tower does its electric shimmy for fiveminutes every hour on the hour until 1 am.You can stride up the stairs as far as the third floor, but if you want to go to the top youll have to take theelevator. (Be sure to take a close look at the fantastic ironwork.) Although the view of the flat sweep of Parisat 1,000 feet may not beat the one from the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper, the setting makes it considerablymore romantic—especially if you come in the late evening, after the crowds have dispersed. Beat thecrushing lines by reserving your ticket online. You can also book a guided tour.The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 7.1 millionpeople ascended it in 2011. The third level observatorys upper platform is at 279.11 m the highest accessibleto public in the European Union and the highest in Europe as long as the platform of the Ostankino Tower, at360 m, remains closed as a result of the fire of August 2000. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in2010.The tower stands 320 metres tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, theEiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure inthe world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930.However, because of the addition, in 1957, of the antenna atop the Eiffel Tower, it is now taller than theChrysler Building. Not including broadcast antennas, it is the second-tallest structure in France, after theMillau Viaduct.The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by stairs or lift (elevator), to thefirst and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk fromthe first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift - stairs exist but they are notusually open for public use. Both the first and second levels feature restaurants.The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France, often in the establishing shot offilms set in the city.
Hôtel des InvalidesThe Baroque complex known as Les Invalides is the eternal home of Napoléon Bonaparte (1769-1821) or,more precisely, the little dictators remains, which lie entombed under the towering golden dome.Louis XIV ordered the facility built in 1670 to house disabled soldiers (hence the name), and at one time4,000 military men lived here. Today, a portion of it still serves as a veterans residence and hospital. TheMusée de lArmée, containing an exhaustive collection of military artifacts from antique armor to weapons,is also here as is the World Wars Department, which chronicles the great wars that ravaged Europe.If you see only a single sight, make it the Église du Dome (one of Les Invalides two churches) at the back ofthe complex. Napoléons tomb was moved here in 1840 from the island of Saint Helena, where he died inforced exile. The emperors body is protected by a series of no fewer than six coffins—one set inside thenext, sort of like a Russian nesting doll—which is then encased in a sarcophagus of red quartzite. Thebombastic tribute is ringed by statues symbolizing Napoléons campaigns of conquest. To see moreNapoléoniana, check out the collection in the Musée de lArmée featuring his trademark gray frock coat andhuge bicorne hat. Look for the figurines reenacting the famous coronation scene when Napoléon crowns hisempress, Josephine. (Notice the heavily rouged cheeks; Napoléon hated pale skin.) You can see a granderversion of this scene hanging in the Louvre by the painter David.The Esplanade des Invalides, the great lawns in front of the building, are favorite spots for pickup soccer,Frisbee games, sunbathing, and dog walking—despite signs asking you to stay off the grass. The bestentrance to use is at the southern end, on Place Vauban (Avenue de Tourville). The ticket office is here, as isNapoléons Tomb. There are automatic ticket machines at the main entrance on the Place des Invalides.