When people think of France, the first thing that comes to mind is the Eiffel Tower grazing the skyline of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
It’s no wonder that the site, which sits on the stunning green space of the Champ de Mars, is the most visited paid-monument in the world! It was originally built as a magnificent archway entrance to the 1889 Exposition Universelle or World Fair. The Eiffel Tower is over 320 meters in height and, until the Chrysler building was built in New York, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world! The Eiffel Tower held that title for 41 years from its completion in 1889.
So, what makes this iconic landmark and work of art so incredible? Part of the significance in the world of architecture was that the Eiffel tower was extremely modern in both design and construction for its time. Designed by Gustave Eiffel, the tower was made out of 18,000 precisely fabricated pieces that needed to be assembled by 300 workers using 2.5 million rivets!
The French civil engineer Eiffel then went on to be part of other famous world landmarks, such as the Nice Observatory and the Statue of Liberty.
While you’re in Paris…
If you’re making the trip to Paris, you need to do more than see the Eiffel Tower! Paris is a bustling city filled with great food, great people, and great art. Here are 3 places we think you should go.
Many people think of the Louvre when considering visiting a museum in Paris, but don’t forget the well-loved Musée d’Orsay as well! The museum mostly houses French art from the 1800-1900s… what a wonderful way to truly experience French culture!
At any time, over 3,000 pieces of artwork can be viewed while visiting Musee d’Orsay—you definitely won’t get bored. A main highlight of visiting the museum is that you can expect to see over 80 impressionist paintings by renowned French painter, Claude Monet!
The Orsay can be a little overwhelming for first-time visitors… there’s so much to see! We recommend booking a guided tour so that you can really make the most out of your visit.
Take a beautiful, and free, stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens, aka the Jardin du Luxembourg! This isn’t your average garden though… Here you will see different pavilions, orchards, over 100 statues, and even the incredible Medici Fountain (yeah, that super famous one).
If you’re wondering where the Medici fountain got its name… well, it’s named after the woman who created it AND the gardens themselves! Marie de’ Medici was the widow of King Henry IV; she started creating the Jardin du Luxembourg in 1612, but she didn’t begin constructing the Medici Fountain until a few years later in 1630!
Although entrance into the garden is free, we recommend budgeting a little bit of spending money so that you can participate in activities and grab a tasty treat.
Catacombs of Paris
Okay, we get it if you are a little… put off… by the idea of visiting the Catacombs of Paris, but it really is a humbling experience! The Catacombs are an ossuary; in other words, a room for the bones of dead people to be placed. But the Catacombs of Paris are so much more than a room—they’re an entire labyrinth! The Catacombs of Paris were built out of a necessity when the cemeteries within the city were becoming too overcrowded.
Why visit? It’s said that visiting is like a timeless journey. Over 6 million Parisians are laid to rest here and visiting the Catacombs is an incredible way to connect with the history of Paris.