Saturday, 25 May 2013

Around Champs Elysees

Some of you may remember that my first trip abroad was to France. Unfortunately, I have then spent only a few hours in Paris. I regretted it so deeply that I have decided to go there for a bit longer to appreciate its full beauty. So ladies and gentlemen - welcome to the capital of love and fashion.

To repeat a bit the way I went last time, I went down the Champs Elysees, starting at the Arc de Triomphe, standing in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (called also l'Étoile - the Star).

After a nice walk, I went to the right, to see from close the palaces I only glimpsed at last time. First came the Big Palace (or Grand Palais), built for the Universal Exhibition held in 1900. It houses today numerous expositions of art. But not only art, the fashion house Chanel annually hosts many of its fashion shows here.

On the other side of the street you will see the Little Palace (or Petit Palais), housing the Museum of Fine Arts of Paris. No surprisingly, it was also built for the 1900 Exhibition.

If you go further the Avenue Winston Churchill you will arrive to the Bridge of Alexander III that connects the Champs-Élysées district and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower district. It was meant to commemorate the Franco-Russian Alliance concluded in 1892.

You can see the byzantine style with the golden figures ...

... and the inscriptions.

What I liked most were the old-fashioned lanterns.

Now let's go back and see what lies on the left of Champs Elysees. First of all, we cannot miss the Opera Garnier. It was built in the second half of 19th century and today welcomes mostly ballet spectacles. The operas are shown in the new Opera Bastille that I will show you on some other day.

Later on, let's have a look at La Madelaine.

Do not get fooled, we did not jump to Greece or to Rome in the meantime. The church was initially designed as a temple to the glory of Napoleon's army, based on forms typical for antique temples. After the fall of Napoleon the building was turned into a catholic church.

To the East, you will find the Place Vendôme. In the center stands the Vendôme Column. It was originally erected by Napoleon to commemorate the battle of Austerlitz. Destroyed by a decree of the Paris Commune it was subsequently rebuilt.

To the South of La Madelaine you will see another tall structure - the obelisk. It used to guard for over 3,000 years the entrance to the Luxor Temple in Egypt until Napoleon brought it to France. Now it stands in the middle of the largest square in Paris - the Place de la Concorde. Its twin still remains in Luxor.

On the right hand we have again the Champs Elysees. On our left hand we have the Tuileries Garden. But I will show it to you next time.

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