The Tour Eiffel [Eiffel Tower] with its brown paint and stature lends itself to be one of the “must see” attractions for most people traveling to Paris. I beg to different; the Arc de Triomphe provides a breathtaking view of the city and is the second tallest building in Paris and its history is fascinating.
In 1806, Napoleon had the arc built to have his soldiers march home through as “arches of victory.” It took 30 years to build and reminds me of the Arch of Titus in Rome. At the top of the Arc one can see all of Paris and its many attractions. The visit takes about an hour; however, one must be careful because the journey to the top is made by climbing 284 steps up a narrow circular staircase (it seemed like 15 floors up!)
I stopped on numerous occasions to catch my breath, as young spirited kids passed me by on their way to the top. I was quick to note that there was neither warning nor a sign of an elevator anywhere. But it was quickly forgotten as I reached the platform roof where I inhaled the majestic beauty of Paris atop the Arc de Triomphe. I could see the stately Museum de Louvre (which houses the Mona Lisa), The Basilica Sacré Coeur (the regal building is located on top of the Montmartre hill) and the Grand Arch de La Défense. I could only image the view at night from this site.
For €1, you can use a telescope to zoom in on more sights like the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, the “Rodeo Drive” of Paris. You can also see Parisians eating on rooftop terraces and the well manicured rooftop gardens. All I could say was “Ahhh Parie!”
L’Arc de Triomphe © OliverN5 on Flickr
Stairs in Arc de Triomphe © StephenCarlile on Flickr