Paris Stories and Tips

Towers and Museums; Eiffel Tower to Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III Photo, Paris, France

The first thing you think of when you're planning a trip to Paris is the Eiffel Tower. It is visible from almost all parts of the city, but is not really in walking distance from the centre. The area around the tower is an obvious tourist trap, overflowing with over-priced cafes, people selling tacky souvenirs and queues of people. But, it is worth it to see Gustave Eiffel's controversial masterpiece.

You can go to three floors in the tower, by means of lifts in each of the four 'spokes'. Get there early though because the queues are unbelievable both to get up and come back down. When I went, I only made it to the second level because I was very conscious of the swaying of the tower! I think it's about ten Euros to go all the way to the third level and if you're feeling energetic, you can cut that amount in half by using the stairs rather than the lift!

I have only been up the tower once for two reasons. The first is the queues and the second is the fact that any photos taken from the tower obviously won't include Paris' most famous land mark.

From here you should walk through the Parc du Champ de Mars, an area of sweeping lawns that sits in front of the tower and offers a splendid photo opportunity when you look back towards the tower itself. The park is a lovely place to sit and have a quick break before heading on with the walk. There are toilets here and plenty of food stalls offering crepes and baguettes.

Afterwards, you should head to Les Invalides, but do go via the Rodin Museum. I can’t recommend this place enough. Some of his most famous sculptures are housed here in the house and gardens where he died in November 1917. You’ll see The Thinker out in the gardens and The Kiss on the upper floor of the house, these though are just a few of the many masterpieces that you will find here. The museum is beautifully laid out and even when it is busy, it is possible to feel as if you are alone as the pieces are spread well apart in the gardens especially.

Like I said, you should head to Les Invalides next, which is the national army museum that is devoted to World War Two and also houses Napoleon’s tomb. I’ve never actually been inside the museum, as it is often very busy and the entrance fee is quite steep, however the building itself is something to behold. Topped by an impressive dome, gilded with gold, it is an eye-catching building that can be spotted from many parts of Paris. It was originally built as a hospital for the war wounded by Louis XIV and part of the building still acts as a hospice.

Next, you can walk along Esplanade des Invalides, where in the summer months you’ll see many local taking advantage of the expanse of grass to have picnics, play music and fly kites. Walking through this area you’ll eventually arrive at the Seine and the impressive Pont Alexandre III, which is without a doubt the most extravagant of the many bridges that cross the river.

From here, you arrive back at the Place de Concorde and are free to head in whichever direction you please; towards the shops of Champs Elysees, to the Louvre or back to the Quartier Latin for a bite to eat.

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