Adventures Abroad

Adventures Abroad
Machu Picchu

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bonjour, Paris!

Bonjour, compagnons d'aventure!

On Wednesday (Aug. 1st) I will be jetsetting to my next destination...Paris! I am really excited to finally visit the "City of Love." However, I fear that I may not understand anyone due to the lack of my french lessons. Hopefully B can remember enough french for both of us!

My Parisian birthday cake!

My excitement can be summed up by what Thomas Jefferson once said, "A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life."

So, lets explore the history of Paris!

History of Paris:

"With upwards of 12 million inhabitants, the greater metropolitan area of Paris is home to almost 19% of France’s total population (central Paris counts just under 2.2 million souls). Since before the Revolution, Paris has been what urban planners like to call a ‘hypertrophic city’ – the enlarged ‘head’ of a nation-state’s ‘body’. The urban area of the next biggest city – Marseilles – is just over a third the size of central Paris.

As the capital city, Paris is the administrative, business and cultural centre; virtually everything of importance in the republic starts, finishes or is currently taking place here. The French have always said ‘Quand Paris éternue, la France s’en rhume’ (When Paris sneezes, France catches cold) but there have been conscious efforts – going back at least four decades – by governments to decentralise Paris’ role, and during that time the population, and thus to a certain extent the city’s authority, has actually shrunk. The pivotal year was 1968, a watershed not just in France but throughout Western Europe.

Paris has a timeless quality, a condition that can often be deceiving. And while the cobbled backstreets of Montmartre, the terraced cafés of Montparnasse, the iconic structure of the Eiffel Tower and the placid waters of the Seine may all have some visitors believing that the city has been here since time immemorial, that’s hardly the case."

--Courtesy of Lonely Planet

History of the Eiffel Tower:"Originally intended as a temporary exhibit, the Eiffel Tower was almost torn down and scrapped in 1909. City officials opted to save it after recognizing its value as a radiotelegraph station. Several years later, during World War I, the Eiffel Tower intercepted enemy radio communications, relayed zeppelin alerts and was used to dispatch emergency troop reinforcements. It escaped destruction a second time during World War II: Hitler initially ordered the demolition of the city’s most cherished symbol, but the command was never carried out. Also during the German occupation of Paris, French resistance fighters famously cut the Eiffel Tower’s elevator cables so that the Nazis had to climb the stairs.

Over the years, the Eiffel Tower has been the site of numerous high-profile stunts, ceremonial events and even scientific experiments. In 1911, for instance, the German physicist Theodor Wulf used an electrometer to detect higher levels of radiation at its top than at its base, observing the effects of what are now called cosmic rays. The Eiffel Tower has also inspired more than 30 replicas and similar structures in various cities around the world.

Now one of the most recognizable structures on the planet, the Eiffel Tower underwent a major facelift in 1986 and is repainted every seven years. It welcomes more visitors than any other paid monument in the world—an estimated 7 million people per year. Some 500 employees are responsible for its daily operations, working in its restaurants, manning its elevators, ensuring its security and directing the eager crowds flocking the tower’s platforms to enjoy panoramic views of the City of Lights."

--Courtesy of History Channel

Stay tuned for more details!
Au revoir!

No comments:

Post a Comment