Paris, the capital and the largest city in France, is
situated on the river Seine in northern France. Paris was the largest city in
the Western world for about 1,000 years, prior to the 19th century, and the
largest in the entire world between the 16th and 19th centuries. Two thousand years of history and seven centuries of
artistic brilliance have made Paris a city rich in architecture, ancient and
modern complement each other flawless. According to the latest survey from
Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, Paris is the world's most expensive city in
which to live. With about 42 million tourists per year, Paris is the most
visited city in the world.
Getting there ...
We decided to
rent an apartment in Paris instead of staying in a hotel for our trip.
Because we missed our connecting flight in London (due to some luggage issue by
Virgin Atlantic...), we arrived at the apartment very late at night that we
needed to pay an additional 50€ penalty. The
apartment is located in the central Paris (on boulevard Malesherbes, not far
from Champs-Elysées) with a short walk to 2
different Metro stations. There were many shops, restaurants, bakery, and
grocery stores around the apartment that made us feel like we were living like a
local Parisian for a whole week.
We stayed in Paris for total 7 nights, and continued our 2nd half of the trip to
Tanzania, Africa on July 8.
July 2 ...
Sainte-Chapelle, Ile de la Cite
Begun some time after 1239 and consecrated in
1248, Sainte-Chapelle was commissioned by King
Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the
Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom.
The most famous features of the chapel, among the
finest of their type in the world, are the great stained glass windows, for
whose benefit the stone wall surface is reduced to little more than a
delicate framework. Fifteen huge mid-13th century windows fill the nave and
apse, two-thirds of which are original, depict 1,113 scenes from the Old
Testament and the Passion of Christ.
Notre Dame de Paris ("Our Lady of Paris") is
widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in
France and in Europe. Construction began in 1163
during the reign of Louis VII, and effectively completed around 1345. Over the
construction period, numerous architects worked on the site, as is evidenced
by the differing styles at different heights of the west front and towers.
- Eiffel Tower
At 321 meters (1054 ft) high, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in
the world until Chrysler Building was constructed in New York in 1930. A
masterpiece of engineering, Gustave Eiffel's tower has become a world symbol
of Paris, and is probably one of the most photographed landmarks in the world.
The line to take the elevator up to the 2nd level of the tower was extremely
long and soon after, Iris got restless and was complaining about the long
wait. After two hours of waiting, we finally boarded the elevator. The
elevator had two levels and each level could fit about 40 people. Iris was
excited and liked the way she could see the ground getting smaller and
farther. At the second level, we looked at the view and then got on another
elevator to the top of the Eiffel tower. The top was windy and the view was
even more fascinating. We stayed up for a while to walk around the tower to
look at all different directions of Paris. When we got back down, we all
agreed that it was worth the long waiting to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
After dinner, I went back to Eiffel Tower in the evening for the night view.
It was still very crowded like in the afternoon.
July 3 ...
- Eiffel Tower in the morning
I went to the Trocadero area in the morning to take
more shots of the Eiffel Tower and its surroundings.
- Palais Garnier -- Opera National de Paris
In 1860 architect Charles Garnier was commissioned by
Napoleon III to build an opera house for the imperial capital. The
facade and exterior are covered in sculptures of great composers and
allegorical figures representing spirits of music and dance, and the marble
and gilt inside is almost oppressive in its excess.
We took the guided tour which include a general visit of the theatre with a
presentation detailing its history, its architecture and the different
activities that take place within it. The classic luxury of the golden
and red theater seats is definitely worth a visit for music lovers like us.
- Place Vendome
After lunch (we actually found a very nice Chinese
restaurant with delicious dim sum), we walked around the streets of Paris, home
of the fine foods and high fashion that make Paris the work capital of
luxury for two centuries.
Eglise de la Madeleine
The main purpose of this Paris trip was to attend the
El Camino Youth Symphony concert at Eglise de la Madeleine in Paris.
Linus was with the ECYS international tour to Spain and France, Paris
being their last stop. We arrived early to the church several hours before
the concert, and was able to watch the
orchestra rehearse. The acoustics in the church had too much echo and
was not really suitable for a symphonic performance, but the concert was
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