Per Wikipedia….During the Second World War, the D Day landings on the Normandy beaches, under the code name Operation Overlord, started the lengthy Battle of Normandy and resulted in the Liberation of Paris and the restoration of the French Republic. These landings were a significant turning point in the war.
The 172 acre cemetery contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead, who were primarily killed during the invasion of Normandy. We paused to visit the grave of Theodor Roosevelt, Jr., the son of president Teddy Roosevelt. One of President’s other sons, Quenton, is also buried there. Quenton died during WWI and his remains were reburied next to his brother at Normandy.
Notre-Dame Cathedral is so grandly huge, that I found it impossible to photograph without better equipment and more time. But the church was majestic and wonderful and I was honored to be able to visit it. Besides the obvious connection to the famous book and the Disney movie, I thought the most interesting tidbit was the true Wolves of Paris story about a pack of man-eating wolves that killed 40 people in Paris in 1450. The people of Paris lured the wolves to the front of Notre-Dame and killed them there.
Disneyland Paris is actually in the town of Marne-la-Vallée, about 20 miles east of Paris. It is Europe’s most visited attraction. Since I had never been to any of the Disney locations, I found this to be the best one 😉 The complex opened in 1992 to mixed success, though it seems to be just fine now. While there I rode Space Mountain (yes, I did!) and several other, calmer rides. We stuck around for the daily parade, but left well before the nighttime fireworks.
When I learned that I was going to Paris, I began to read up and the more I read about the Eiffel Tower the more intrigued I was. It was erected in 1889 as a focal point to the 1889 World’s Fair. At 1,063 feet in height, It is the tallest structure in Paris. It is the most visited, paid monument in the world.
I was inspired by the fact that in 1940 when Germany invaded France, the French people cut the lift cables (elevator cables) so that Germans could not the structure.
Other interesting facts include that there is an ice skating rink on the first platform each winter. And that the tower is repainted a different color every so often. It is currently bronze.
The Arc de Triomphe, Paris at 162′ feet and 150′ wide is much larger than I expected. Constructed between 1806 and 1836 it is situated on the western end of the Champs-Elysees. Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Various victory parades have traveled through and later around the structure including the Germans in 1940 and the French and their allies in 1944/45. More information can be found here.
As much I was impressed with the Arc itself, I was equally impressed with the six lane traffic circle that surrounds it. There are no traffic lines and it was a thrill. Glad I wasn’t driving!
The Palace of Versailles is the most gloriously beautiful building that I have visited. This World Heritage site was a royal residence for Louis XIV to Louis XVI. The complex began in 1631 and by 1682 was essentially complete including the famous gardens. In 1789, the residing royalty was removed from the Palace by revolutionaries and since that time it has been used for government and been available for visitors. In June 1919, the Treaty of Versailles, ending the First World War, was signed here.