Saturday, 29 June 2013

Eiffel Tower

I am sure that since I came to Paris you were all waiting to see the most famous landmark of Paris - the Eiffel Tower. But to get there, we will take an unusual way - the river Seine. So let's jump on a Batobus (ship-bus).

Safety first! Everybody puts on the life jacket.

The river is calm, even the flag does not move.

We pass under the Alexander III bridge that I have already shown you when we were strolling down the Champs Elysees.

Finally, we arrive to the Tower. It was constructed in 1889 as preparation for the World Exhibiion (I am sure that you rememebr the Big and Small Palace built for the same purpose) by the company of the engineer Gustave Eiffel. By the way, I discovered that his original name was Bönickhausen. Just imagine "La Tour Bönickhausen".

The Eiffel Tower is located on the Fields of Mars, a public garden that starts next to the Military School. You will not be surprised that one of the cadets there was Napoleon.

 The queue to the entry is enourmous. You can hear all the languages.

Finally I got to the lift. It uses huge hydraulic pumps that go up and down as the lift moves throught the pillars.

Finally we get to the top. 280 meteres my friends. The tower used to be the tallest building in the world from 1889 to 1930 when GE Building and then the Empire State Building were constructed.

Obviously, the biggest attraction of the Eiffel Tower is the view. So let's tick off the most important landmarks of the city. First the river we came here by.

Then, turning clock-wise, the Grand Palace and the Alexander III bridge.

The left bank of the river next to the Tower.

The Invalides and far in the back Pantheon.

The Fields of Mars. Really impressive seen from the top.

The far distant financial district of la Defense.

Finally, the Trocadero with Palais de Chaillot, that houses museums and a theater, just on the other side of the river.

Did you know that the Eiffel Towe created lots of controversies? Many people considered that it is simply very ugly. Personally I believe it is beautiful. But everyone has to judge by himself.

Saturday, 22 June 2013


Montmartre is a district of Paris located on a hill of the same name. To spare a bit my four legs, we will get there with a funicular train.

There are 2 little green trains, going up and down all day long.

They take normally 35 persons each. Plus a horse of course.

If you believe that a funicalr train is just for the lazy ones, you can always take the steps - be my guest.

Montmartre is best known for the white basilica of Sacred Heart (Sacré-Cœur ). It is relatively new (for Paris standards), since its construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914.

From the terrace next to the basilica you can have a great view of the city - the hill is 130 meters high.

And another look on the other side.

Unfortunately it is not allowed to take pictures inside the basilica so I can only show you the front.

Montmarte is also famous for being the house of many artists, both those with a worldwide reputation and those that are only known to themselves. You can meet the latter on the vibrant Tertre Square.

Personally, my prefered artist linked to Montmartre is the Marquis of Dalí de Púbol.

The Espace Dalí is a permanent exhibition of his sculptures and engravings, accomodating around 300 original artworks.

My favourite one is probably the space elephant.

Though for obvious reasons I appreciate a lot also Saint George killing the dragon. We horses are so brave!

Some nice ladies are present too.

Dali as you know had his own sense of the right time.

I hope you have enjoyed the trip to Montmartre. Time to move down then.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Île de la Cité

Today we will visit one of the oldest places in Paris - Île de la Cité. Literally translated, it means "the City Island" - it is indeed a natural island on the river Seine. The most magnificent and best known building is the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. All road distances in France are calculated from the 0 km point located in the Place du Parvis de Notre-Dame, the square facing Notre-Dame's pair of western towers.

The cathedral was celebrating its 850 birthday this year. It was founded in 1163 by the bishop of Paris, Maurice. To this aim, he has order to demolish the previous church of Saint-Étienne (St Stephen's), which had been founded in the 4th century. What an act of vandalism.

Let's then approach the porch with the reliefs representing saints.

What amazed me most was the fact that inside there is really a lot of light. You cannot always count on it in gothic cathedrals.

The side naves include little chapels ...

... and more reliefs.

One of the main sources of light are the majestic stained-glass windows.

On the outside of the cathedral you cannot miss the gargoyles. They say the gargoyles are deisgned to convey water from the roof. But I always have the feeling they are here to watch if the visitors do not throw bubble gum on the floor.

And just in front of the cathedral we need to pass a hello to Charlemagne (and his horse of course). You probably know that his first name was the origin of the word "king" in most European languages.

Of course Notre Dame cathedral is not the only building on the island. We have here La Conciergerie, a former royal prison. It was then taken over by the French Revolution to become known as the "antechamber to the guillotine". The most famous prisoner was the Queen Marie Antoinette.

Today La Conciergerie is still used for the Paris law courts, being part of the Palace of Justice. Behind this high fence you will find amoung others the highest court level in france (la Cour de cassation).

Yes, of course, I will show you the building itself. It is however guarded by the police, you cannot enter it without a valid pass.

Let's now walk by the quai de l'Horloge out of the island to look for new adventures.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Liebster Blog Award

Natalia has honoured us with the Liebster Blog Award.

In short, this is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers who have few followers or have been blogging for a short period of time. It is meant to be a tool to promote such blogs in the blogging community. "Liebster" translates into "dearest" (or favourite / best ) in German.

I am really touched Natalia! Really! It is so great. The award requires to nominate some others for the award as well. I do now want to repeat those chosen by Natalia so I would then choose:

1. Weronika 
2. Laura
3. Fabienne 
4. Sabine

Keep up with the good work girls!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Le Marais

Today we will take a walk on the Right Bank of Seine and visit the district called le Marais. Let's start at the Paris City Hall.

I really liked this architechtural style a lot - it is called French Renaissance.

The City Hall houses also a very nice post office - friends Postcrossers, I did not forget about you, as always.

On the square in front of the City Hall there is a nice old-fashioned carousel.

Originally I planned to visite les Halles but they are under reconstruction now. So I only glimpsed at the Fontaine des Innocents.  It was built in 1549 to commemorate the entry of King Henry II into Paris. It used to stand near an old cementary that was moved outside the city walls in the nineteenth century and today the fountain is in the middle of a square between nice residential buildings.

A few steps from the fountain you will find the Centre Georges Pompidou, the largest museum for modern art in Europe. Looking at it I am sure you have guessed it will not exhibit Roman scupltures or impressionist paintings.

Next to it there is another fountain, more modern. Unfortunately it was not working when I came there.

I am not a huge fan of modern art so I walked away to another museum in the near-by. Unfortunately it was closed as well. Definitely not my lucky day today.

Finally, I decided then to take some rest on Place des Vosges. It was opened back in 1612, to celebrate the marriage of Louis XIII. It was then called Place Royal. It was renamed in 1800 to honour the first region to pay taxes supporting a campaign of the Revolutionary army.

The king Louis XIII and his horse are commemorated here.

Many people take advantage of the nice weather and enjoy the sunlight.

Another few steps from here is the Place de la Bastille. Bastille was a royal prison. Its destruction on 14 July 1789 was the beggining of the French Revolution and ultimately the end of the French Monarchy (with a few hiccups of course).

The column in the middle is called the July Column. But it is not here to commemorate the 14 July but another revolution in 1830 during which king Charles X was replaced by king Louis-Philippe. The column is topped by the 'Spirit of Liberty' statue.

The modern building next to the column is the new Bastille Opera house. It was opened on July 14, 1989 during the bicentennial celebrations of the French revolution. Honestly, I still prefer the old Opera Garnier. But it is of course a matter of taste.