Paris Part 1

LINKS to other pages in the Annecy and Mont Blanc website and to the Travelling Days series:

1 : Introduction and Index
2 : Setting Out
3 : Beaune
4 : Annecy
5 : Mont Blanc and Mer de Glace
6 : Aix-les-Bains and Lac du Bourget
7 : Homeward Bound
8 : Paris


Following an overnight stay on the outskirts of the city our group was treated to a whistle-stop tour of central Paris.


The Trocadéro, site of the Palais de Chaillot, is an area of Paris across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The hill of the Trocadéro is also known as the hill of Chaillot, the name of a former village on this site.
For the Exposition Internationale of 1937, the old Palais du Trocadéro was demolished and replaced by the Palais de Chaillot which now tops the hill. It was designed in classicizing "moderne" style by architects Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, Jacques Carlu and Léon Azéma.

Like the old building, the Palais de Chaillot features two wings shaped to form a wide arc: indeed, the present wings were built on the foundations of those of the former building. However, unlike the old palais, the wings are independent buildings and there is no central element to connect them. Instead, a wide esplanade leaves an open view from the place du Trocadéro to the Eiffel Tower and beyond.

It was on the front terrace of the palace that Adolf Hitler was pictured with the Eiffel Tower in the background during his short tour of the conquered city in 1940. This became one of the iconic images of the Second World War. It is in the Palais de Chaillot that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.



A number of bronze statues, commissioned in 1937, are situated around the palais.
Here we see 'Les Oiseaux' by Lucien Brasseur (above and below) and 'Le Matin' by Pryas (left).


Ferdinand Foch OM GCB (2 October 1851 – 20 March 1929) was a French soldier, military theorist, and writer credited with possessing "the most original and subtle mind in the French Army" in the early 20th century.

Foch was born in Tarbes, France as the son of a civil servant from Provence. He attended school in Tarbes, Rodez, and the Jesuit College in St. Etienne.

He enlisted in the French 4th Infantry Regiment in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War and decided to stay in the army after the war. In 1871, Foch entered the École Polytechnique and received his commission as a Lieutenant in the 24th Artillery Regiment, in 1873, despite not having the time to complete his course due to the shortage of junior officers.

Foch eventually reaching the rank of Captain before entering the Staff College in 1885. In 1895, he was to return to the College as an instructor and it is for his work here that he was later acclaimed as "the most original military thinker of his generation".

Foch continued his initially slow rise through the ranks, being promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1898. Thereafter, his career accelerated and he returned to command in 1901, when he was posted to a regiment.

He was promoted to Colonel in 1903, then Brigadier General in 1907, returning to the Staff College as Commandant from 1907–1911. In 1911 he was promoted Major General and then Lieutenant General in 1913, taking command of XXe Corps at Nancy.

He served as general in the French Army during World War I and was made Marshal of France in its final year, 1918. Shortly after the start of the Spring Offensive, Germany's final attempt to win the war, Foch was chosen as supreme commander of the allied armies, a position that he held until 11 November 1918, when he accepted the German request for an armistice.

He advocated peace terms that would make Germany unable to ever pose a threat to France again. His words after the Treaty of Versailles, "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years" would prove prophetic.

The monument (above) to Marshall Foch stands in the Trocadero Square.


Views from the Trocadero Terrace : The Eiffel Tower (right and below).
More pictures and a full description of the Eiffel Tower and views of the Palais de Chaillot may be found on another 'Travelling Days' site by clicking here.


The Eiffel Tower from its base (right and below).


The Hotel des Invalides from the Trocadero Terrace (left).
More pictures of the Hotel des Invalides may be seen below and a full description with photographs can be found on another 'Travelling Days' site by clicking here.


Notre Dame Cathedral (below).
More pictures and a description of Notre Dame may be found on another 'Travelling Days' site by clicking here.


The Musee d'Orsay (left) was formerly a railway station which has now been tranformed into an important art museum.

An extensive description with pictures of the interior of the building and works of art by Monet, Degas, Van Gogh etc. contained in the Musee d'Orsay may be found on another 'Travelling Days' site by clicking here.


The Grand Palais (above right and right) and Alexandre III Bridge were both built for the 1900 World Exhibition. The single hall of the Grand Palais was later remodelled and now contains conference rooms, library and an exhibition area.
More pictures may be found on another 'Travelling Days' site by clicking here.


Emperor Napoleon III requested that a new opera house be built in Paris. A covered side entrance should be included in the design by which royalty might enter discreetly and without fear of being accosted by violent protesters. Built between 1862-1875, the architect was 35 year old Charles Garnier who had been chosen from among 171 contestants.

The promulgation of a new opera house can be traced back as far as 1820. When construction was finally started, it became temporarily halted due to the discovery of an underground lake and spring. Although this problem was eventually overcome the lake still lies beneath the cellars of the building.

More pictures and further details of the Opera House may be found on another 'Travelling Days' site by clicking here.



The front of the Opera House(above and right).....

......and the aforementioned covered side entrance (below).



'Our Paris tour continues on the next page!'