Voyages-sncf.com has joined forces with Accor, Galeries Lafayette and the CRT Paris-Ile de France to offer tourists great deals on getting to and staying in Paris to celebrate the #ParisWeLoveYou campaign, promoting Paris as one of the world’s top tourist destinations with its host of attractions and sites. Offers include a 30% discount on hotel rooms with Accor Hotels, a free Seine Cruise when you spend €70 (approx £56) in Galeries Lafayette and train tickets starting at £29 one way on Eurostar all bookable via Voyages-sncf.com.
With so much going on there’s never been a better time to visit Paris this Spring and in this first newsletter of four we take a closer look at the iconic sites and some lesser known fun facts.
The three most popular sites in Paris are of course the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomple and Notre Dame and tourists visit them in their droves. There is one common thread that unites the three – they are all places from which visitors can view the city from on high. Here’s some little-known facts and figures on each.
The Eiffel Tower, named for Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer who designed it, was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Now the enduring symbol of Paris, it was originally intended to stay for just 20 years but its life was extended for telecommunications experiments.
Originally painted in a red-brown hue, today’s Tower is more bronze in tone, slightly shaded off towards the top to ensure that the colour is perceived to be the same all the way up as it stands against the Paris sky. Painted every seven years, there’s 250,000 m2 of surface to paint, 25 painters employed using 60 tonnes of paint, 50 km of safety lines, 2 hectares of safety nets, 1,500 brushes and overalls, 5,000 sanding discs, 1,000 scrapers and 1,000 pairs of leather gloves!
A mere €17 (approx £14) entrance fee will allow visitors to enjoy a 360 view over Paris and learn more about its construction. There’s also a tempting Champagne Bar at the summit – perfect for those #ParisWeLoveYou Selfies!
In the know:
- Metro: École Militaire or Bir-Hakeim
- Eat: Restaurant de la Tour – offering the best of Parisian refinement.
- Drink: Frog XVI – Microbrewery? English Pub? In Paris? It could only be the stylishly decorated FROG XVI.
- Don’t Miss: Musée du Quai Branly – Jean Nouvel’s engaging, contemporary museum dedicated to the art of indigenous people and global tribal history.
The Arc de Triomphe is often thought to be the most monumental of all the world’s triumphal arches and was built between 1806 to 1836. Commissioned by Napoleon to mark his victories, he never saw it as it opened well after his death and is three times the size of the Roman Arch of Constantine on which it was based.
It stands at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, also known as the Place de l’Etoile, and is located at the western end of possibly Europe’s most famous avenue, the Champs-Élysées.
Its costs just €8 (approx £6.50) to ascend to the top which can ONLY be reached by climbing up its 40 stairs. But before you get to the stairs, you have to get to the monument itself (which isn’t as simple as you’d think). DO NOT TRY CROSSING THE TRAFFIC CIRCLE!
In the know:
- Metro: Charles de Gaulle Étoile
- Eat: La Belle Brasserie de la Grande Armée – the only place to dine after scaling the Arc de Triomphe as the décor is inspired by Napoleonic Army.
- Drink: Sir Winston – from one Great War time general to the next.
- Don’t Miss: Paris National Opera – probably the most famous opera house in the world.
Notre-Dame with its grotesque gargoyles and gnarled chimeras has a history as long as the novel. Dating back to 1160, the cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world, especially renowned for its bells.The Emmanuel bell has been in service since 1685 and can still be heard today, surviving the Revolution unlike the great bell Marie which was melted down in 1792.
In the know:
- Metro: Saint-Michel
- Eat: Le Reminet – a hidden gem just a stones throw from the bells of Notre Dame on the famous ile de la Cite with classic French style and modern twists.
- Drink: Le Caveau de la Huchette – Paris’ most famous or should we say notorious jazz club.
- Don’t Miss: Maison de Victor Hugo – discover the origins of Jean Valjean and Javert at the home of Les Miserables’ author Victor Hugo.
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About SNCF: Present in 120 countries, SNCF is a world leader in mobility and logistics. Its total workforce of 250,000 generated revenue of €32.2 billion in 2013, with over 25% of sales from markets outside France. A public sector group dedicated to public service, SNCF builds on its foundations in rail to offer a broad range of services, delivering seamless door-to-door mobility for transport and logistics operators, passengers and the regional and local governments that are its organizing authorities. www.sncf.com