Saturday, September 8, 2012

Paris Bits: Arc de Triomphe et les Champs-Élysées

Our adventure in France starts at Place de l'Étoile, with stunning views of Arc de Triomphe. Quite triumphant, I would say. We circled the square and took pictures of this huge monument from all possible angles. On a sunny, warm day like this one, Paris looks absolutely stunning.
Of all the things I love about this city, the dearest one are the trees. Linden trees, oak trees, or beech trees, they all clean and embellish the place like nothing else does. Paris is probably all about trees and facades (at the surface, but obviously there's so much more to it). Fete de la Gastronomie, already a national holiday, is just one tiny example which I look forward to. 
L'Arc de Triomphe is located at Place de l'Etoile, in the 17th arrondissement, at the top of Champs-Élysées Blvd. Open all year long, from 11 am to 11 pm (10:30 pm from October till April),   except for January 1, May 1, May 8 (in the morning), July 14 (in the morning), November 11 (in the morning) and December 25, it welcomes hundred thousands of guest every year. If you want to climb on top of it and have a breath-taking panorama over the surrounding, that's gonna cost you: adults - 9€; adult group rate - 7,50 €; school group rate - 30€/group of max. 35 students. For EU citizens under 26 and for children under 18 admission is free.
And what will you be paying for? You'll spend your money wisely, to see the monument which honor all those who fought for France, especially during the Napoleonic wars. Engraved on the inside and at the top of the arch are all of the names of the generals who sacrificed their lives for the country. There are groups, friezes, figures and bas-reliefs, but there is no question that the most celebrated sculpture is the work of Francois Rude: La Marseillaise.
How to get there: Metro: lines 1, 2 and 6, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile; RER: line A, station Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile; Bus: lines 22, 30, 31, 52, 73, 92 and Balabus; From outside Paris: exit Porte Maillot and avenue de la Grande Armée or exit Porte Dauphine and avenue Foch; From the center of Paris: drive up the Champs Elysées.
Les Champs-Élysées... Besides being (one of the most) touristy, expensive, crowded, and glitzy street in Paris, its cinemas, cafés, luxury specialty shops, and clipped chestnut trees make it the most famous avenue in the world. And not only famous, but also La plus belle avenue du monde. 

It runs for almost 2 km and hots lots of big commercial brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Disney, Hugo Boss, Guerlain, Lacoste, Cartier, and so on. Upscale shopping at its best. Bordered by Carre Marigny and Grand Palais to the East and by L'Arc de Triomphe to the West, it features a typically Haussmann boulevard architecture - wide, tree-lined boulevards and expansive gardens for which Paris is famous today. 

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