This is a true pearl of Gothic art, built under the orders of Saint-Louis in the mid 13th century. The first thing you see is the steep spire - 75 metres above ground - when you enter through the wonderful Law Court Gates. The Sainte Chapelle is enclosed within the Palais de Justice. After having admired the lower part you will be breathtaken by radiant stained-glass and rose windows from the 15th century in the upper chapel. Connoisseurs consideres them the most beautiful in the world. The chapel used to be meant for intimate friends of the royal family.
The Law Court and The Conciergerie
After Sainte Chapelle you must visit The Law Court. It was in this hall where Louis XIV uttered the (in)famous sentence: "I am the state". It was also from here that the Revoutionary Tribunal demanded aristocrats' heads in 1793. Built along the Seine this was once an important stronghold of Capetians and is a remarkable example of 14th century civilian architecture. Located in the Parisian law courts 'Palais de Justice' it is the oldest prison in France and is where Marie-Antoinette was held before being guillotined during the Revolution. To be visited : the splendid gothic rooms, medieval hall of the men-at-arms, the prisoners gallery, the museum, Marie-Antoinette's reconstructed prison cell, where she spent 2½ months, and the women's courtyard.
Let's have a quick view of Place d'Etoile (The square of Stars), a massive circle for a concentric intersection (instead of traffic lights) with no lanes. These are very common all over France. If you have to cross them on foot (a test of nerves), you do so slowly and let the cars drive around you, no sudden movements!! Of course there are no crosswalks here.
Place de la Concorde
Built between 1755 and 1775 by Louis XVth's architect Gabriel, in an octagonal shape, Place de la Concorde was the site of major events including the execution of Louis XVI. With the obelisk at this center (a gift from the viceroy of Egypt to Charles X) along with its statues and majestic layout, Place de la Concorde is one of the most beautiful places in Paris. On one side you have the extraordinary perspective of the magnificent road leading to the Arc de Triomphe and La Defense, while on the other side you have the great Louvre , the Madeleine and the Palais-Bourbon.
The Eiffel Tower
This is the icon of Paris. No matter where you are in this large city you will always be able to see this huge tower. The first time you come to Paris you should take the Metro to Trocadero Place and experience the tower from there. A good time of the day is late in the afternoon. The first time we visited the place we saw a japanese couple get married. There were approx. 100 wedding guests from Japan. The next time some French models (and the French girls are not particularly ugly!) being filmed for a commercial.
Built in 1889 by the engineer Gustave Eiffel for the World Exposition. (Also in celebration of the French revolution in 1789). This 318,70 meter high (formerly 312,27 meters - that was before the antennas were put on top) tower has three floors and the summit houses the capital's radio and television transmitters. Every day every year you will se painters at work. 50 tons of paint is being used every 7 years. The Eiffel Tower remained the highest monument in the world until the construction of New York's Chrysler Building in 1930.
This lift's original hydraulic mechanism can be visited, offering the visitor an awe-inspiring sight reminiscent of the world according to Jules Verne (in fact there is a Jules Verne restaurant on the 2nd floor). Let us take a closer view of the Eiffel Tower. Be prepared to stand in line for several hours for the lift (unless you come early). You buy tickets for either 1st, 2nd or 3rd floor. Birgit, who did not entirely trust the construction, bought a ticket for the 1st floor. I, who have more faith in the art of engineering, went for the 3rd floor. You see, first you go by one lift to the 1st floor. Then you have to find the other lift, which will bring you to the top. To my astonishment the second lift went down and not up!! I had entered the same lift once again (usually Birgit guides me so things like this don't happen, but this time she failed). It took some time and effort to convince the liftman, that I wanted to go up once again - but the viking blood in my vanes helped me. From the 1st floor you could send some postcards to impress your friends (they are postmarked "Paris Tour Eiffel"). On 3rd floor there is a reconstruction of Gustave Eiffel's office during a meeting with Thomas Edison. The view of Paris and its surrounding areas is impressing.
France is for the French, Paris belongs to the whole world. Montesquieu.