If you made plans to come to Paris, you would inevitably include a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower on your itinerary. The Eiffel Tower is situated on the west side of Paris, in the 15th arrondissement. It is accessible by metro line 6 (Bir-Hakeim station) or via the RER C (Champs de Mars - Tour Eiffel station). The stunning steel building was designed by the architect Gustave Eiffel for the World Exposition of 1889, which was organised as a celebration of the French Revolution that took place in 1789, a hundred years earlier. It has three floors and is 300.24 metres (about 163 ft) tall. It was even the tallest building in the world until 1930 when the Chrysler Building in New York City rose above it. However, even if the Eiffel Tower attracts all the attention in the15th arrondissement, there is much more to see and to visit. Here is a list of the most interesting things that you should not miss.
Statue of Liberty
Next to the Eiffel Tower, there is another important French monument that is worth visiting – a small replica of the famous Statue of Liberty, situated on the tiny artificial island, Île aux Cygnes. The island was created in 1827. In fact, it is one of the largest islands in Paris. A small Statue of Liberty, placed on the west end of the island, was inaugurated by the president Marie François Sadi Carnot on July 1889. It was given to Parisians by the French community of New York. As well as the Exposition Universelle, this gift aimed to mark the centennial of the French Revolution. The Statue is 22 metres (~72 ft) tall. It used to face the nearby Eiffel Tower, but in 1937 it was reoriented west, facing its big sister from New York.
Street food market under the metro viaduct
Once you’re done visiting the Parisian Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower, what about taking a break with some tasty food? Luckily, there is a big street food market called Marché de la Grenelle just nearby. The market takes place every Wednesday and Sunday, and it spreads out under the old steel metro viaduct between the stations Dupleix and La Motte Piquet-Grenelle. Similar to all of the Parisian street food markets, it has a long history and connects the classical French tradition with cultures from all over the world. Locals come here frequently to buy the freshest products. Have a small walk around and enjoy the fascinating vegetable, sausage and cheese stands, the extremely large variety of fresh fish, as well as a number of street foods. Buy a piece of grilled chicken with potatoes, or try something more exotic and opt for some Thai or Moroccan delicacy. You will be delighted.
Poilâne, the best bakery ever
Just a few steps behind the market, there is another important food stop that requires special attention – a small bakery called Poilâne situated at 49 Boulevard de Grenelle. Poilâne’s window display is really difficult to miss as it is full of tasty looking apple pies, flan and enormous loaves of bread. You can read more about French desserts here! Such a delightful view is topped with fancy net curtains and golden bars that will remind you of the Art Nouveau style. If you go inside, you’ll meet the bakery’s staff who are always smiling and offering a large scale of breads, biscuits and granolas. Buy a piece of their famous fresh rye bread and a bit of their delicious homemade flower-shaped butter biscuits. You get your purchase packed in a stylish paper bag and you’ll be checked-out with an old fashion cash box that you know only from films!
Champ de Mars – want to have a picnic?
Once you have your food, there is nothing better than to eat it in one of Paris’ beautiful parks. The best place to do such an activity is surely the famous park called Champ de Mars. This large green area occupies the space between the Eiffel Tower on one side and the Military School (Ecole Militaire) on the other. The park has a long history, dating back to the 18th century, and it is named after the Campus Martius (Mars Field) in Rome that is a tribute to the Latin name of the Roman god of war. The park is a favourite place of many locals that are coming there to play the French game called “petanque” and to jog. On sunny afternoons, you’ll find many families with small children playing at numerous playgrounds. There is also one special attraction for them – an old carrousel with models of horses and a funny game to play during the ride. At the beginning of the ride, every child receives a special spike that servers to catch metal rings hanging from the top of the carrousel. Obviously, the aim is to get as many rings as possible. The child that has the most rings at the end wins another ride for free!
Let's discover the Eiffel Tower’s surroundings!
Every Parisian district is somehow special and deserves attention. The Marais is well-known for its tiny streets and Jewish specialities, the Louvre and Opera surroundings for large boulevards with high buildings from the 18th century. This article introduced you to a small piece of this rich mosaic – the 15th arrondissement where the Eiffel Tower is located.
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