Looking forward to the sights and sounds of Paris
ONE OF YOUR STOPS ON YOUR TOUR WITH MUSICIANS ABROAD MAY INCLUDE TIME IN FRANCE AND SPECIFICALLY, THE CITY OF PARIS.
It’s hard to think of the city without envisioning the striking silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. Stationed near the Seine River, the plan to build a tower 300 meters high was conceived as part of preparations for the World’s Fair of 1889.
The wager was to “study the possibility of erecting an iron tower on the Champ-de-Mars with a square base, 125 meters across and 300 meters tall”. Selected from among 107 projects, it was that of Gustave Eiffel, an entrepreneur, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, both engineers, and Stephen Sauvestre, an architect, that was accepted.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in the world. The name Notre Dame means “Our Lady” in French and is frequently used in the names of Catholic church buildings in Francophone countries. Within the Cathedral of Notre Dame there are vast displays of artwork, furniture and many valuable items that mirror the Nio-Gothic design. Tourists are welcomed into the cathedral to view and enjoy these pieces. They are also able to attend Mass, which is held three times a day and a popular attraction for Christian visitors.
While it’s common knowledge that Notre Dame Cathedral is the technical epicenter of Paris, the real essence of the city is captured by the river Seine.
Almost any city situated near water is changed by that relationship between the static and the constantly moving. The river Seine flows right through the heart of Paris. It was no accident that the city evolved around this gigantic avenue for commerce and transportation. The river is still the chief commercial waterway and half of the water used in Paris still comes from the Seine.
Starting in 2008, romantic couples, mostly if not all tourists, began attaching padlocks with their names to the bridge and throwing the key into the Seine as a gesture of their commitment to each other. At its peak, there were more than a million locks at which time the city officials began to be concerned that the weight might be damaging the structure of the bridge. In 2014, part of the parapet actually collapsed and the authorities began a social media campaign called Love without Locks, encouraging tourists to take selfies instead. They removed the locks which weighed around 45 tons.
Explore the former palace of the kings of France – now the largest museum in the world covering almost 10,000 years of history. The Louvre Estate includes both the Carrousel Garden and Tuileries Garden. These historical parks offer beautiful settings for a leisurely walk and seasonal activities for all to enjoy. With masterpieces including Aphrodite, known as the Venus de Milo, The Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as the Mona Lisa, you’ll spend hours marveling at these works of art.
Find a French café’ and enjoy pastries, a variety of macarons or a local favorite, escargot. You might venture into one of the many cabarets including the incomparable Moulin Rouge. Complete your journey with an evening in Montmartre, an authentic village in the heart of Paris.
With its cobbled streets, stunning Basilica, artists and bistros, Montmartre is full of charm! Perched on the top of a small hill in the 18th arrondissement, the most famous Parisian district has lost none of its village atmosphere that appealed so much to the artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. A real melting pot of art and inspiration for the cinema, Montmartre still gives as much pleasure to those who stroll through its streets.
Just one stop on your Musicians Abroad tour, Paris is truly the city of love.