Paris, part two

Since we walked 10 miles in Paris today — all in the afternoon, really. We saw some great stuff, too, which is why my afternoon in Paris is being divided into several posts. Enjoy.

We had a heavy snack at Boulanger Patissier on Ave Kleber at Rue de Longchamp. We were sitting on a corner just three blocks from the Eiffel Tower and maybe four from the Arc de Triomphe.

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t think about this sort of thing in terms of “Maybe one day I’ll … ” On those odd and rare and fortuitous moments that something unusual and unique happens, they just happen. And then later in the day or week I’ll look back at this thing. “We did that.”

Perhaps it is more organic that way. If we played a day in Paris and said “And then we’ll have a snack at an outdoor cafe, and eat too much cheese and watch the locals smoke,” that would just seem contrived.

Wouldn’t it?

Anyway, most everything on Ave Kleber looks like this. Here are three photos to prove the point:

And, suddenly, there we were, at the Arc, where they’re flying the tricolour. The monument honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. There is also vault of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The monument is 164 feet tall, 148 feet wide and 72 feet deep. It was the world’s tallest triumphal arch until 1938. This is the view from Av des Champs-Elysees:

It sits on an island, a very busy piece of traffic furniture. To get to the monument you have to go underground. When you are under it you see messages like this:

Some of the work on the inside:

The next two pieces are seen on the other side of the Arc, as you’d see from Avenue de la Grande Armee.

This is La RĂ©sistance de 1814, commemorating the French resistance to the Allied armies during the War of the Sixth Coalition which finally defeated France and drove Napoleon into exile on Elba:

And this is La Paix de 1815, which commemorates the Treaty of Paris:

This one is in the attic, some 230 stairs up, which is part of the unknown soldier monument:

Nearby is this monument of World War I:

Also upstairs was a fascinating photo display of World War I uniforms. The artist, Antoine Schneck shot and produced the authentic clothes and equipment in such a way that each individual aspect is in focus. There is no blurring anywhere, so you have a terrific 2D-quality representation of the real thing. This is merely a picture of that work, so you’ll just have to go along with me here. But to see this 1918 uniform of the 2nd Battalion of the 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division (and of the 17 other multinational examples) is almost like seeing the man wearing it in front of you. The American men that wore this equipment fought in Verdun, Chateau-Thierry, Bois Belleau, Saint-Mihiel and during the Meuse-Argonne offensive.

The view from the top of the Arc:

Some of The Yankee’s students:

As we walked back through the tunnel, leaving the island the Arc is on, we met these men. The gentleman on the left is wearing the French Legion of Honor around his neck.

And here we are, leaving the Arc.

In the next, and final, post from Paris I’ll include two panoramas from atop the Arc. Be sure to come back to check those out, and much more!

Comments are closed.