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Arc d' Triomphe

From the Eiffel Tower, we took the Metro up to the Arc de Triomphe.  The Arc that Napoléon intended as a celebration of his victories was not finished when the Battle of Waterloo brought his downfall. It now stands guard over the remains of an unknown solider from World War I, with the eternal flame burning under it.

We had the three-day museum pass, so with our “free admission” . . . we climbed another hundred or so stairs to the top!   This is what Europeans mean when they say “breathtaking view”!

Arc de Triomphe Sign

 

Arc d'Triomphe Mom at the Arch Arch behind Cafes
Arc d' Triomphe, viewed from the Champs d'Elysees Mom at the Arch The Arch, viewed through the Cafe's on Champs d'Elysees
Under the arch Mom on stairs
Inside the top of the arch Mom climbing all those blasted stairs in the Arch

 

Champs D'Elysees

The Arch is in a huge traffic circle known as L’Etoile (the star).  12 Streets emanate from the circle, creating what can be the most impossible, immovable, traffic jam imaginable with everyone honking in its jammed center.   (speaking of sounds - the undulating sound of a French ambulance is unmistakable!)  The Arch overlooks the Avenue des Champs d'Elysees.

Champs-Elysees Sign

The Champs Elysées was designed as part of a triumphal way out from the Tuileries and planted with elms a century before Napoléon planned his arch.  At the Place Concorde/Louvre Museum end it passes through a majestic stand of trees; by the time it reaches the Arch it is one of the busiest, most cosmopolitan grand avenues in the world - and listed as one of the grandest shopping experiences.   Both the sidewalk and the street make it one of the three widest in the world.

We liked it so much we came back a couple times – strolled the business and shopping area, watched the people, ate at the cafes, strolled through the park, ate at the cafes, …

 

Avenue des Champs d'Elysees Champs d'Elysees Mom on the Champs d'Elysees
Champs d'Elysees, looking toward the Tuileries Garden and Louvre Museum - as seen from the top of the Arc People watching on the Champs d'Elysees Mom on the Champs d'Elysees
Chestnut trees Chris holding chestnuts
Chestnut trees Picking up chestnuts in the park

 

Place de la Concorde

The Champs d'Elysees ends at Place de la Concorde (where they have free postcards at the vendor kiosk).  It is the largest square in Europe, with a 3300 year old pink granite Egyptian obelisk in the center.   The Place was also the place of over 1300 guillotinings during the French Revolution.

 

Fountain Obelisk
Fountain in the plaza The obelisk in the plaza, with the Eiffel tower in the background
 

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