The Eiffel Tower is large iron structure built along the River Seine in France. It is the tallest landmark in Paris and one of the world’s most famous symbols. Completed in 1889, the structure rises nearly 1,000 feet from the ground. When it was built, it became the tallest structure in the world. It was originally built by architect and engineer Gustav Eiffel as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a world’s fair which celebrated the French Revolution. Believe it or not, the structure was considered an eyesore by Parisians (citizens of Paris) when it was built. In fact, for several years after its constrution, Parisian officials planned to tear it down. It was spared because it became a valuable structure for communication purposes and radio transmissions. From 1925 to 1934, it became the world’s largest billboard when the French automobile manufacturer Citroën leased it and placed its company name in vertical lights upon the tower.
Today, it is widely considered a beautiful structure of architectural art. It remains the second tallest strucutre in France. Over six million people visit the tower every year.
The Louvre is arguably the world’s most famous art museum. It was founded during the reign of King Henry IV (1589-1610) as an addition to Châteaux du Louvre called the Grande Galerie. The original structure was over a quarter of a mile in length, however, several wings were added to the museum over the next centuries, making it much larger. In 1989, the Louvre Pyramid was built and now serves as the entrance to the museum.
The Louvre is most famous for its priceless collections of art. It houses thousands of paintings including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, arguably the most famous painting in the world. The Mona Lisa is located in a climate controlled environmet behind bullet-proof glass panels. The Louvre also has exhibitions featuring the works of Rembrandt, Jean-Honoré Fragonard and others. In addition,The Louvre has a vast collection of sculptures which includes the the ancient Greek sculpture Venus de Milo.
Today, The Louvre is the most visited landmark in Paris. Over 7.3 million people visited in 2005.
The Arc D’ Triomphe is one of the famous landmarks in Paris. Stading nearly 165 feet high and 45 feet wide, the arc was commissioned in 1806 after Emporer French forces under the command of Emporer Napoleon I defeated the combined Russian and Austrian forces at the Battle of Austerlitz in the modern day Czech Republic. The battle marked the end of the Third Coalition, which was an alliance of Great Britian, Sweden, Austria, Russia, and Naples, against France in the Napoleonic Wars.
The arc was designed by Jean Chalgrin and was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. It features sculptures of various war scenes and engravings of the names of major Napoleonic victories and French generals. Beneath the arc, is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument to unidentified French soldiers killed in World Wars I and II.
Sorbonne is the name usually attributed to the University of Paris, derived from the Collège de Sorbonne, founded by Robert de Sorbon in 1257. The University of Paris,however, was founded in 1170 as a center of orthodox Catholic teaching. It is the second oldest institute of higher learning in Europe. Only the University of Bologna is older. It became a model for the construction and organization of later medieval universities, including the University of Oxford. The University of Paris is considered one of the most prestigous universities in the world. One in every three French university students attends the University of Paris.
Hundreds of famous of people attended the University of Paris including John Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, Sir Thomas Aquinas, the famous Italian Catholic philosopher, Pierre Curie, the Nobel-Prize winning physicist, Victor Hugo, the famous novelist and playwright, and dozens of other world renowned philosophers, dignitaries, world leaders, writers, and theologians.