Paris

France

Eiffel Tower

From Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport we took the airport transfer bus to the metro station Opéra. There we had to change trains, first to the hotel a little bit outside, to unload the luggage. We had a hard time at the beginning with the very well developed metro network, once understood, it was for us the best means of transport here. Back from the hotel and mistakenly got off again at Opéra, we wanted as first to the Eiffel Tower and walked across the large Place de la Concorde towards the Seine. The 24 m high obelisk on the square is from Luxor. This granite monolith is a gift due to the achievements of Jean-François Champollion, who deciphered the hieroglyphics.

In Aswan I had once seen a quarry of the ancient Egyptians. They had beaten the already hard granite blocks out of even harder dolerite with stone hammers. That takes forever, what happens if it breaks shortly before completion or during transport? Unimaginable. I thought about that while we were crossing the Pont de la Concorde. After a short distance along the Seine, we stood in front of the 324 m high steel colossus of sophisticated engineering. The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 for the World exhibition, is still the tallest building in Paris. It was controversial from the beginning and was originally to be dismantled after 20 years, today it is the landmark of Paris. The most bizarre things have been done to the tower. Extreme athletes had discovered the tower for themselves.

Skydivers, climbers, pilots, even inline skaters tried their hand here. An american activist has even married the tower, object sexuality she calls it 🙂. None of this stops us from regarding the structure as a masterpiece of engineering. In the uppermost of the 3 floors you can see Eiffel's study, the wax figure of inventor Thomas Edison sits opposite him. Over stairs we came then above to the open-air platform, gigantic views over all of Paris awaited us.

Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral

The lower two floors we walked slowly down the tower in the pillars. Impressed, we settled for a while on the large lawn of the Champ de Mars. Then we set off for Notre-Dame Cathedral, part of the route running nicely down along the banks of the Seine. At the Pont des Arts, which leads to the other bank to the Louvre, we saw the many love locks on the railings. At that time still clear, the critical mass becomes meanwhile probably too high. The railings are groaning under the weight of lots of locks. Kilos of locks could fall down onto the numerous tourist boats on the river and injure people, so the critics. We had to continue past the Pont Neuf and reached the Seine island Île de la Cité via the Pont Saint-Michel.

Here we joined the long line of cathedral visitors. The early Gothic cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris was built over a predecessor building from the 6th century. Started in 1163, the church construction took about 200 years. Through the wonderful main portal of the west façade with the large colorful rose window of 12 m in diameter we entered the imposing space. Large mosaics of the windows threw colored light into the 130 m long nave. Impressive. In the course of the French Revolution some things were destroyed in here, statues beheaded and destroyed, treasures looted. Only Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame brought the beautiful building again more attention, it followed after 1844 a comprehensive restoration.

After the destructive fire in April 2019, which touched the world, the status quo in October 2021: stabilization and securing of the structure is completed. The actual restoration work can begin. Insane, if you think about how many years of fine craftsmanship went into the cathedral. Here is also the Kilomètre zéro, a reference point in the form of a bronze star, in front of the cathedral, still used today for important distance measurements. For us, the sunny day was over, we were able to take pictures of the undamaged cathedral and, moved by the beautiful impressions, we took the metro back to our accommodation.

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