Day 2 in Paris, today we are up and ready to see Paris. We are so excited so sit back as you take a ride with us on the L Open Tour (Hop on Hop off Bus). The schedule today has us doing the green route so hang on. (For time sake, photo arrangement, and typing we will forget the drive up to the Arch of Triump and begin the tour there lol)
As we waited on our boat, I grabbed a photo of Bob as I looked through one of the anchor rings used years ago (and some today) to tie off boats. Look close and you can see the walkway next to the river. In the photo on the right, you can see that people in France find each moment to grab some sun. No need for a beach, just strip down into your undies and hit the concrete. Nothing else to do during lunch. The problem we found was look how Bob is dressed in the left photo compared to their dress. I guess I just need hotter temperatures to lay out. (and a nice comfortable chair)
As we went under the most beautiful bridge, take a look at the statues. Pont Alexandre III is an arch bridge that spans the River Seine, connecting the Champs Elysees Avenue to the Hotel Des Invalides and the Eiffel tower area. This bridge widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris. In the right photo you can see the Eiffell tower in the background, between the columns that are crowned by Fames restraining Pegasus.
Once you come from under the bridge, you will see the Grand Palais or Grand Palace. The Grand Palais is the largest existing ironwork and glass structure in the world since the Crystal Palace in suburban London was burnt down. This glorious glass-shelled turtle welcomes visitors daily. Together with the Petit Palais (the Little Palace) the Grand Palais (the Big Palace) was built for the World’s Fair, held in Paris in 1900, as was the Eiffel Tower. All three were temporary structures, but once erected there was little willingness to raze them. The Grand Palace is known for its huge globe display that was not seen for over 25 years.
As we continued down the River Seine, you come upon the golden flame monument known as the "Eternal Flame!" Some still place flowers and cards around the golden statue of the eternal flame near the tunnel-- in reality a tribute to Franco-American friendship, but adopted as the unofficial shrine to Princess Diana following her death. There have been calls for the creation of an official memorial in Paris, but nothing is in the works.
Another building that was seen from the River Seine was the Conciergerie. It was orginally built as a palace for King Phillip IV but is known as going from palace to jail. Located on the Cite island, near the Notre Dame cathedral, the Conciergerie became infamous during the French revolution. In 1793 and 1794 over 2700 men and women were sentenced to death and detained in the Conciergerie until they were publicly beheaded in Concorde square. Marie-Antoinette was among them.
As the boat ride comes to an end, we head back over to catch our green line hop on hop off. We will continue that route until we are able to transfer to the blue route to head back to our room, clean up for a night at the Eiffel Tower. So come along for the last leg of the tour.
Our final monument is very close to our hotel. It is called the Colonne de Juillet or the July Column. This column marks the celebration of France receiving their independence. It is located in the center of Place de la Bastille or Plaza Bastille. The top of the Colonne de Juillet is adorned by a gilded statue called the "Genie of Liberty". It has a star on its forehead and is carrying a torch in one hand and in the other a broken shackles chain. Inside the Colonne de Juillet are 238 steps which allowed access to the top of the column. This spiral stairway is, unfortunately, no longer available to the public.
The above picture along with the following pictures were all taken during different times of seeing and visiting the Eiffel Tower on this trip. Before we check out the many photos, here is a little history of the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower, a Paris icon, was begun in 1887 and finished for the opening of the Universal Exposition in 1889 to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The structure was the entrance arch for the Exposition. Its planning and building make for a great story in itself and its subsequent history is full of interesting tales. Although it was widely criticized at its inception, the Tower has come to be one of the most visited landmarks in the world. The Eiffel Tower is constructed of 18,000 pieces of iron and held together by 2.5 million rivets. It is equipped with eight elevators. On a windy day, the Tower sways by, at most, 7 centimeters. On a hot day, it can bend some 18 centimeters, an effect from the heat of the sun on the expanding metal. It takes fifty tons of paint to cover the Tower and is done every 7 years. Every so often, the color of the paint is changed. Currently, it is painted a shade of brown. You can climb the tower by using the 1665 stairs or go by elevator. Both require a fee. In the 1980s, an old restaurant, and its supporting iron scaffolding mid-way up the Tower, was dismantled. It was purchased and reconstructed in New Orleans, Louisiana, originally as the Tour Eiffel Restaurant, more recently known as the Red Room. But if your still looking for a scenic and romantic dining experience and are willing to pay steep prices for the setting offered by the Eiffel Tower's two restaurants they are definitely worth a try. They are the "Altitude 95" and the "Le Jules Vernes Restaurant!" Now lets take a look at the many photos.