Paris - City of Light
Eiffel Tower
Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower is the tallest building in Paris.  More than 200,000,000 people have visited the tower since its construction, making it the most visited paid monument in the world.  Including the 79 ft antenna, the structure is 1,063 ft high, which is equivalent to about 81 levels in a conventional building.  When the tower was completed in 1889 it was the world's tallest tower — a title it retained until 1930 when New York City's Chrysler Building was completed.  The structure was built as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World's Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Eiffel originally planned to build the tower in Barcelona, for the Universal Exposition of 1888, but those responsible at the Barcelona city hall thought it was a strange and expensive construction, which did not fit into the design of the city. After the refusal of the Consistory of Barcelona, Eiffel submitted his draft to those responsible for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, where he would build his tower a year later, in 1889. 

The tower was met with much criticism from the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore.  Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years, meaning it would have had to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiration of the permit. The military used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line during the First Battle of the Marne, and it therefore became a victory statue of that battle.





The Louvre Museum
Musée du Louvre is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (neighbourhood) of Paris. Nearly 35,000 objects from the 6th millennium BC to the 19th century AD are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet).

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are still visible. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1674, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation's masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being confiscated church and royal property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon when the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After his defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon's armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles
The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being confiscated church and royal property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon when the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After his defeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon's armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charlesdefeat at Waterloo, many works seized by Napoleon's armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic, except during the two World Wars. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; and Prints and Drawings.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées
With its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is the most prestigious avenue in Paris and one of the most famous streets in the world, and with rents as high as $1.50 million 1000 square feet of space, it remains the most expensive strip of real estate in Europe. The name is French for Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed in Greek mythology.

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is known in France as La plus belle avenue du monde ("The most beautiful avenue in the world"). The arrival of global chain stores in recent years has slightly changed its character, and in a first effort to stem these changes, the Paris City government (which has called this trend "banalisation") decided in 2007 to ban the Swedish clothing chain H&M from opening a store on the avenue. In 2008, however, American clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch was given permission to open a store.

At the entrance of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is the famous Arc de Triomphe.


Montmartre and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica
Montmartre is a hill (the butte Montmartre) which is 130 metres high, giving its name to the surrounding district, in the north of Paris in the 18th arrondissement, a part of the Right Bank. Montmartre is primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit and as a nightclub district. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmartre, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded. Many artists had studios or worked around the community of Montmartre such as Salvador Dalí, Modigliani, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh.

The "Basilica of the Sacred Heart" is a Roman Catholic basilica and popular landmark in Paris. The basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.  Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution. A mosaic in the apse, entitled Christ in Majesty, is among the largest in the world.

The basilica complex includes a garden for meditation, with a fountain. The top of the dome is open to tourists and affords a spectacular panoramic view of the city of Paris, which is mostly to the south of the basilica.



The tower was met with much criticism from the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore.  Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years, meaning it would have had to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiration of the permit. The military used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line during the First Battle of the Marne, and it therefore became a victory statue of that battle.





The Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge (French for Red Windmill) is a cabaret built in 1889 by Joseph Oller, who also owned the Paris Olympia. Close to Montmartre in the Paris red-light district of Pigalle on Boulevard de Clichy in the 18th arrondissement, it is marked by the facsimile of a red windmill on its roof.

The Moulin Rouge is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the modern form of the can-can dance. Originally introduced as a seductive dance by the courtesans who operated from the site, the can-can dance review evolved into a form of entertainment of its own and led to the introduction of cabarets across Europe. Today the Moulin Rouge is a tourist destination, offering musical dance entertainment for adult visitors from around the world. Much of the romance of turn-of-the-century France is still present in the club's decor.

Notable performers at the Moulin Rouge have included Ella Fitzgerald, Liza Minelli, Elton John, La Goulue, Josephine Baker, Frank Sinatra, Yvette Guilbert, Jane Avril, Mistinguett, Le Pétomane, Édith Piaf and others. The Moulin Rouge is also the subject of paintings by post-impressionist painter Toulouse-Lautrec.

Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame de Paris ('Our Lady of Paris' in French) is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in Paris, France, with its main entrance to the west. It is the cathedral of Paris and the seat of the Archbishop of Paris. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It was restored and saved from destruction by Viollet-le-Duc, one of France's most famous architects. The name Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French. Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture.

Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress [arched exterior supports]. The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave. After the construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral's architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued as such.

The cathedral suffered desecration during the radical phase of the French Revolution in the 1790s, when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. During the 19th century, an extensive restoration project was completed, returning the cathedral to its previous state.

The Palace of Versailles
Versailles is a royal château in Versailles, the Île-de-France region of France. In French, it is known as the Château de Versailles. When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a suburb of Paris, some twenty kilometers southwest of the French capital. From 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789, the court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.



Paris is often reffered to as the "City of Light."  Don't make the common mistake of calling it the "City of Lights" (plural.)  It is not Broadway or Las Vegas.  "Light" refers to enlightenment, as in the Age of Enlightenment.  Paris has long been a center of culture, education, philosophy, and art.

We will arrive in Paris at 6:30 pm on Wednesday March 31.  After checking into our hotel, Mercure Paris La Defense 5 you will have free time to start exploring Paris on your own.   Our hotel is in an ideal location, near the Grande Arc de la Defense.  The hotel offers free shuttle service to the Metro, which will take you anywhere in the city.  Use the site map below to get your orientation for our hotel in relation to the major landmarks.  On this map our hotel is between the Arc de la Defense and Palais des Congres.
We will arrive in Paris at 6:30 pm on Wednesday March 31.  After checking into our hotel, Mercure Paris La Defense 5 you will have free time to start exploring Paris on your own.   Our hotel is in an ideal location, near the Grande Arc de la Defense.  The hotel offers free shuttle service to the Metro, which will take you anywhere in the city.  Use the landmark map below to set your orientation for our hotel in relation to the major landmarks.  On this map our hotel is between the Arc de la Defense and Palais des Congres.  The distance from the hotel to the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysees is approximately  3 km (1.8 miles.)
WEDNESDAY
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THURSDAY
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Afternoon -

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FRIDAY
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Afternoon -

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SATURDAY


SUNDAY (EASTER)
Arrive in Paris
Explore Paris on your own
Panoramic tour of Paris
Tour of Notre Dame Cathedral
Concert at Eiffel Tower
Tour of Eiffel Tower
Dinner at hotel
Free time
Palace at Versailles
Village of Montmartre
Concert in Montmartre
Free time
Day trip to London


Free day in Paris

HOTEL
Grande Arc de la Defense.