Mum's end to tiffin box tantrums......

Friday, 16 September 2016

Europe Diary 2016: The great landmark that calls from a thousand miles!

The next day after having a fine French breakfast we were ready for the day tour. Our coach accommodated 35 people and took 30 minutes to reach the heart of the city. We drove over the seine river; saw the famous love lock bridge and then the very sight of Eiffel tower enchanted all of us. We reached a point where we could take excellent shots of the monument.  Posing with the monument appearing like touching the heights of the highest tower, we posed in various possible ways.

The iconic Eiffel tower from Seine

Eiffel tower:  Constructed in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel, a total height of 324 meters and standing over a base of 125 meters on each side. The historic tower was built in order to celebrate 100 years of French revolution. It’s the highest tower in France and one of the most visited monuments of the world. The wonderful tower has 3 tiers.  There are restaurants and shops on the second tier of the monument and offers beautiful sight of the entire city.  The fares for an adult are 17 euros but it differs when you are in a family or a group. You may opt for a guided tour or might be getting a map for the major landmarks.

Transverse section of the monument

The first floor is magnificent and made of glass floors, walls and ceilings. The lifts are super fast and can accommodate 50 people at a time.  We were asked to be careful from  pickpocketers  as there were stories of visitors getting pick pocketed or having lost important documents and even passports. On entering the second level you may have a majestic sight of the entire city with or without the powerful binoculars.

Management warns against pickpockets at the base of Eiffel tower

An attempt to view the city

Breathtaking view from the Eiffel tower

You may even opt for a romantic dinner with your loved one in the restaurant where tables are required to be booked quite ahead.  There are places for shopping and also special attraction for the kids. It’s of course a thrill to be on the highest floor and thereby observe from one of the highest  points of  the world. The beauty is truly scintillating.

Arc de triomphe 

Arc de triomphe:  One of the notable monuments stands in the center of Place Charles de Gaulle and at the western end of champs Elyesses. Designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, the arc de triomphe is the iconic symbol and conveys patriotic messages. The monument is a reason of Napoleon Bonaparte’s dream. The famous place experienced various victory marches.

We saw the first sight of the monument while at the top of big bus. I had goosebumps at the very first sight. Those familiar chapters of history came live in front of me.  We saw the tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.  Each evening at 6:30 people laid wreath to remember his contribution to the nation.

Some immortals who sacrificed life for the country

The tomb of the unknown soldier of world war I

It stands on the west bank of river Seine.  A closer look at this historic monument aroused a feeling inside me that I  might have seen similar structure (of course not exactly) in my own country. Yes it bears resemblances with Gateway of India and India Gate. We went by the underground tunnel to the arc but were told strictly not to cross the road directly as its not permitted .Any case of death in this circle  resulting  from disobeying  traffic rules have never been given any insurance coverage so far. We observed  the majestic structure from the ground level and clicked awesome photos. The entry charge is 8 Euros but can go lesser in case of students or group tours. The guide told us that one of the best days to visit this place is 14th July, Bastille day which is followed by parade. 

Glimpse of the champs elysses

Champs de elysses: It’s the famous boulevard located between Place de la Concorde and Place Charles de Gaulle. It’s a stretch of 1.9 kilometers length and 70 meters width where the Arc de triomphe is located.  Known for the best coffee shops, luxury shops and restaurants this place has seen the best parades that make France proud to the world. Bastille Day military parade and tour de la France cycle race are the most happening events in the country. The view of the arc de triomphe from champs de elysses is truly magical and this photo can be preserved for a lifetime.
Today champs de elysses is the address to the notable retail outlets and consumer goods. A straight walk  during the evening hours along this path is almost a heavenly feeling.

Notre dame cathedral

The Notre dame: It’s a medieval catholic cathedral built in French Gothic style situated on the side of River Seine. The idea of Notre dame comes from my childhood reminisces of the book ‘’Hunch back of Notre dame’’. Perhaps many children of my age or lesser did the same to  gain some fabulous knowledge of the church and the city.  For a moment when I stood in front of the mighty 420 feet structure I was recollecting those stories and followed the queue to the church.  The cathedral has 10 bells and each hour strike was a beautiful note. It was worth sitting outside the cathedral and watching the crowd but we preferred to follow the queue inside and experience the great feel. It took nearly two centuries to construct this cathedral which engraved a permanent niche in the list of famous cathedrals of the world.

Inside the Notre dame
I collected some souvenirs in form of medals sold by the authority in exchange of a few euros.   The literal meaning of the word Notre dame is ‘Our lady’ which refers to Mother Mary. We saw some beautiful windows and antique furniture apart from the mind blowing architecture of the cathedral. The history of the cathedral was portrayed in the form of sketches thereby giving the tourists a transparent idea on how the constructions took place.

History of construction of Notre dame
We observed tough security and military parading in front of the church. Paris faces tough challenge in terms of terrorism threats. 

Where Princess Diana met her end

Tunnel du dianne:  Paris has  seen the death of Princess Diana in the year 1997. The car chase occured in a tunnel where her car dashed against the walls of a tunnel resulting her death. The French govt. renamed the tunnel as Tunnel du dianne. We saw it while going on a round about.

Love lock bridge for the life time lovers,

Lovelock bridge: It's popularly believed that if you have a love and if he ties a lock in the famous lovelock bridge besides the Seine rive, your love never dies. Seems like there are millions of locks and 'never to die' loves on the way. Anybody reading this post may take a chance to lock your love and observe your partner to be your lifetime mate.

There is lots to see in Paris. I saw the modernity and the culture. Now I wanted to see to get the essence of French history. We followed our way back to the hotel and made our minds to visit the Palace of the French kings the next day.

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