Paris - The City of Light

(source: wikipedia)

Architecture

 

Much of contemporary Paris is the result of the vast mid-nineteenth century urban remodelling. For centuries, the city had been a labyrinth of narrow streets and half-timber houses, but, beginning with Haussman's advent, entire quarters were leveled to make way for wide avenues lined with neo-classical stone buildings of bourgeoisie standing. Most of this 'new' Paris is the Paris we see today. The building code has seen few changes since, and the Second Empire plans are in many cases still followed. The "alignement" law is still in place, which regulates building facades of new constructions according to a pre-defined street width. A building's height is limited according to the width of the streets it lines, and under the regulation, it is difficult to get an approval to build a taller building.

 

Monuments and landmarks

 

Three of the most famous Parisian landmarks are the 12th-century cathedral Notre Dame de Paris on the Île de la Cité, the Napoleonic Arc de Triomphe and the 19th-century Eiffel Tower.

The Eiffel Tower was a "temporary" construction by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Universal Exposition, but the tower was never dismantled and is now an enduring symbol of Paris. The Historical axis is a line of monuments, buildings, and thoroughfares that run in a roughly straight line from the city-centre westwards: The line of monuments begins with the Louvre and continues through the Tuileries Gardens, the Champs-Élysées, and the Arc de Triomphe, centred in the Place de l'Étoile circus. From the 1960s, the line was prolonged even further west to the La Défense business district dominated by square-shaped triumphal Grande Arche of its own; this district hosts most of the tallest skyscrapers in the Paris urban area. The Invalides museum is the burial place for many great French soldiers, including Napoleon, and the Panthéon church is where many of France's illustrious men and women are buried. The former Conciergerie prison held some prominent Ancien Régime members before their deaths during the French Revolution. Another symbol of the Revolution are the two Statues of Liberty located on the Île des Cygnes on the Seine and in the Luxembourg Garden. A larger version of the statues was sent as a gift from France to America in 1886 and now stands in New York City's harbour. The Palais Garnier, built in the later Second Empire period, houses the Paris Opera and the Paris Opera Ballet, while the former palace of the Louvre now houses one of the most renowned museums in the world. Apart from Notre Dame de Paris, there are several other ecclesiastical masterpieces including the Gothic 13th-century Sainte-Chapelle palace chapel and the Église de la Madeleine.

Climate

 

Paris has a typical Western European oceanic climate which is affected by the North Atlantic Current. Over the year, Paris' climate can be described as mild and moderately wet. Summer days are usually warm and pleasant with average temperatures hovering between 15 and 25°C, and a fair amount of sunshine. More recently, the average temperature for July 2010 has been +21°C, with an average minimum temperature of 16° and an average maximum temperature of 27°C.

 

 


 

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