Monuments and Museums

Downriver from the heart of Paris, the seventh Arondissment houses government buildings (National Assembly, Hotel Matignon), museums (Orsay, Invalides Rodin, Quai Branly) and the Eiffel Tower.

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The Eiffel Tower

Built as a temporary structure for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889, the Eiffel Tower has become the supreme symbol of the City of Paris. Derided by the arts community at the time of its construction, it is loved by Parisians and tourists alike for its grace, grandeur and airy strength. It has made Gustave Eiffel world-famous as a structural engineer for over a century.

I usually stick to still pictures since they give me a better opportunity to capture a moment, a mood, or an impression. The Eiffel Tower, as part of the millennium celebration, was fitted with 20,000 sparkly lights. Only videos can do them justice.

This video was taken looking across Paris from Montmartre. It captures the evening mood of the city. Notice the rotating beacon at the top.
This video, taken from right across the Seine in the Palais de Chaillot, captures the "Oooos" and "Ahhhs" as the sparkly lights come on at ten p.m.. They play for ten minutes every hour on the hour from dusk to 2 a.m.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled still pictures

 

Musée du Quai Branly

Just east of the Eiffel Tower (upstream) is one of Paris' newest museums: the ethnology museum on the Quai Branly. We did not visit it on this trip, but it is definitely on our list for our next trip to Paris. This time we just walked by to admire the "Green Wall" facing the Seine.

     

Hôtel Matignon

Talk about being in the right place at the right time! When Fritz was 12 he lived in Paris because his father worked for UNESCO. He went to the American Cathedral in Paris, and was an acolyte there. On this trip we went to the Cathedral on Sunday and found that they were celebrating their anniversary. Part of the celebration was a tour of the mansion where the first Episcopalian services in Paris were held in the 1830's.

Well that mansion is now the official residence of the French Prime Minister, the equivalent to 10 Downing Street, in London! Normally, it's a very busy place, off-limits to visitors. But that day Prime Minister François Fillon and his Welsh wife Peeelopeewere at dedication or celebration of some kind, and the curator of the, and the curator of the Hôtel Matignon, M. Richard Flahaut, gave us a tour of the Garden Pavilion, where those early services were held and now the meeting room of the Conseil des Ministres, and other reception rooms on the ground floor. Photography was only allowed in the front courtyard and in the garden, the largest private park in Paris.

     
 
The door where the Prime Minister greets official visitors.
   
   
We usually stay out of the pictures, but this was something special.