My Life - So Far

"Unbounded ambition makes an obscure existence simply impossible for me"
Lucien de Rubempré

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Paris IV

The third day started as the second ended: Bloody cold! It was around -2°C but with a strong, icy breeze that made the felt temperature decreasing to -7°C. As we had warm clothes we didn't care and went to the westernmost extremity of Paris, to La Défense. It's the largest business district in Europe and lies on the Historical Axis, which begins at the Louvre in the centre of Paris and crosses the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe. Maybe the most important building at La Défense is La Grande Arche. It should represent a 20th century version of the Arc de Triomphe and was completey in 1990.
The Arche is almost a perfect cube and it has been suggested that the structure looks like a four dimensional hypercube projected onto the three dimensional world.

As it was that cold we had a coffee at Starbucks and wrote several postcards for our friends. As it was still sunny, we decided to take the metro to the possibly most recognized monument in the world: The Eiffel Tower. Including the 24 m antenna, the tower is 324 m high. At the time of its construction in 1889, the tower replaced the Washington Monument as the world's tallest structure, a title it retained until 1930. The queue was so unbelievable long we walked on by to see Les Invalides, a complex Louis XIV initiated in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides, the hospital for invalids. Tired of the coldness and getting hungry we took the metro to Les Galeries Lafayette, a big departement store with a beautiful dome in the middle.

As soon as it was 18'o clock, we went to the Louvre because on fridays everyone under 26 will get free entry. We only had to show our passport and in no time we were amid hundreds of paintings and sculputres. We were pretty tired, so we just wanted to see Leonard da Vinci's oil painting Mona Lisa!
In the hostel we met some Austrians as they were cooking in the hostel kitchen. Suddenly a deafening alarm siren went off. It was the fire alarm because of a pan that was was too hot. A few minutes later the fire brigade was there with three cars and the whole hostel was in trouble... :-)


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