It was another day and another adventure in Paris, France. Today, our main goal was to peruse the entire Place de la Concorde, which is Paris’ most prominent square. Like any other place in Paris, the Place de la Concorde is filled with history and excessive gold decorations. I seriously wonder how authorities can monitor the thousands of people that pass by and the golden statues and accessories at the same time. The square is filled with many statues, fountains, the American Embassy , France’s parliament building, and even has a Luxor Obelisk donated by Egypt during the reign of Ramses II so it’s no wonder that the square is dedicated to King Louis XV. Ironically, what was once a place to honor a king, the Place de la Concorde was also the site where King Louis XVI and his wife marrite antoniolee were sentenced to death during the French Revolution in 1802. The Obelisk, a 75 feet tall structure with various hieroglyphics drawn all over its walls, marks the precise site of the guillotine used to kill King Louis XVI and his wife.
While we were there, we also stopped by to see the two fountains which are often called “fountains of Paris” which feature a group of naiads each holding a fish sprouting water. Not surprisingly, the fountains are decorated with gold and have an exquisite deep and rich green color, possibly from the oxidization. Right after, we walked through a beautiful park and underneath a less famous arc than the Arc de Triumph to see the outside garden of the Louvre. We missed the opportunity during the first day because of the rain, but we were able to absorb as much of its beauty today and take as many pictures as we wanted. It was actually fortunate that we went this day because the rain cleared up the sky and the sunlight was perfect for photos.
After we visited every nook and cranny in the Place de la Concorde, we headed for Place Vendome, another square in Paris dedicated to the armies of Louis XIV. During Napoleon’s rule in the early 1800s, he demanded that a green column be erected to glorify his victory in Austerlitz. The column is very similar to the column near the new Opera house, but it is easily distinguishable with the addition of Napoleon’s statue on the top.Â Â While the square itself is amazing, the stores around it are also equally amazing which include luxury stores and a Ritz Carlton Hotel. This was the Ritz Carlton Hotel that Princess Diana last stayed in before her unfortunate death due to a car crash. The driver of her car was allegedly drunk and her car crashed into the 13th column of a nearby tunnel. We got the chance to drive through that very tunnel.
Princess Diana’s death was a pity, but we weren’t about to let it distract us from our vacation. Our next destination was the Pantheon. Basically, it looked like the capital building in Washington D.C. so we mostly took pictures around the building. The view from the terrace of the building, however, was amazing. We could see the Eiffel Tower and parts of Paris from the elevated viewpoint.
We continued to the Alexander III Bridge which spans across the Seine River. The bridge was built between 1896 and 1900 and decorated with lamps, cherubs, nymphs, winged horses, and golden statues. It is also decorated with four bronze statues of Fame that look over the bridge. At the center of the bridge are two bronze statues at each side of the bridge. One is called the Nymphs of the Neva while the other is called the nymphs of the Seine. As we were driving to the bridge, we saw a miniature Statue of Liberty near one of the other bridges. Of course, this wasn’t a surprise because the French gave our Statute of Liberty as a gift for our country’s centennial.Â Both statues look exactly the same except the French version is only 1/5th of the one on Staten Island. I learned that both statues were not initially green. The copper statues were originally bronze, but oxidization from the elements gave the statues a new color. While we were near the bridge, we also relaxed at a nearby park to soak up the views. The park was very pleasant. The weather was great and everyone enjoyed themselves. We saw a couple of guys performing Frisbee tricks and many others strolled around with their dogs. From that park, we were able to see familiar buildings we passed by or went to such as the Chapel with the golden dome where Napoleon was buried and the Petite and Grand Palais that served as locations for the Universal Expedition in 1900.
Our tour guide told us that many of Paris’ tour spots are actually accumulated near the river so we decided to go on a cruise down the Seine River. We weren’t disappointed. The cruise took us to many famous landmarks. Although we already went to many of them, the cruise showed us some interesting places that can only be appreciated by boat such as antique wooden bridges. Some of the landmarks we saw were the Alexander III bridge, Notre Dame, Petite and Grand Palais, the impressionist art museum that was once a railway station, the Eiffel Tower, and much more. Since we went on the cruise at around sunset, the gorgeous hue of the sunlight and clouds made a magnificent backdrop for our photos. Fortunately for us, just as we approached the Eiffel Tower, the tower shimmered with sparking lights and presented us with a dazzling light show.
Although it was pretty late at night, some night owls still didn’t have enough so part of our group went to Nikko Hotel. Nikko hotel happens to be one of Paris’ tallest structures and is relatively the same height as the Eiffel Tower. Paris is known to be as the City of Lights so it would be a shame to miss this opportunity. It was stunning seeing the city of Paris blanketed in a glow of light under the night, starry sky. What was one of the most noticeable structures was of course the Eiffel Tower. It was even more stunning seeing the shimmering lights on the tower. Nevertheless, it was getting colder and darker by the minute so we decided to go back to the hotel.
Our tour guide told us to take cabs back to our hotel, but we were the daring type so we took the Metro Subway. Although some of the older people were initially confused, navigating through the subway system was a breeze and we got back to our hotel in no time. When we exited, all we had to was just walk a block or two to get back to our hotel and our adventure in Paris was complete.