Holo a Paris
Paris is so unique in that it is a major global city. Cant even describe how happy we are to have managed to feature this wonderful but important city in Project Holo. From the Iconic Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, Paris is home to some of the world’s most famous museums and monuments which ticks all the boxes for our project. It is probably the only city in the whole world presenting a so many great variety of architecture from Gallo-roman ruins to modern architecture. We arrived from Nantes after having spent 3 wonderful days (although sick for 1) with one of our family’s long time friends at his home in Nantes where they brought us to the Month Saint Michel.
Our guide with Holo below to some of the different landmarks of Paris will hopefully help you learn about them and give you an insight into what the city has to offer. Its easy to forget that Paris is a 21st-century capital due to all its layers of history, but some of the more recent additions to the city have injected Paris with a new sense of dynamism.
Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile
Just a short walk from our hotel this city landmark is truly outstanding. Sitting in the middle of a confluence of roads with cars and busses zooming round it its fascinating to see everyone trying to take photos without getting run over! all the sculptures and carvings, the sheer massive size of it is really amazing and it’s a great place to take a moment and appreciate the talent of the people who created it. Napoleon is to be congratulated for the building of this landmark which honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces.
Aiming for an overall picture with Holo, the best way seemed to be from one of the various road crossings between the Champ Elysee where people were stopping at the center to take pictures. It was risky because the weather was rather cold and windy plus didnt want to be hit by a car who by the way Parisians are considered as maniac on the wheel. So we waited for the precise time and once the crossing light hit green, my dad and I just went for it. I remember the look of the peoples faces when suddenly I came out of nowhere and opened up Holo, must have thought to be a show or something, but we were quick and fortunately enough the picture turned out fine. After that we went back on the main walkway and took a closer shot of the Arc with its Charles de Gaule sign.
It is in the perfect spot at the end of the Champs Elysees to start our Holo adventure. Lets say it is the heart and soul of Paris, and each road is the jugular veins. It has beautiful architecture and an amazing view, Im glad we did that straight after arriving from Nantes at least to get it out of the way.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Gargoyles, memories of the hunchback. No matter how often you have seen it in films or postcards, nothing can prepare you for Notre-Dame ‘in the flesh’. This is one of those buildings in which you can feel the history seeping through the building, It’s breathtaking, awesome, with its rosettes of beautifully sculpted stones, its towering spires and every detail crafted to make it the ever-lasting testimony of the faith of those who came before us. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe, and the naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture. The first period of construction from 1163 into 1240s coincided with the musical experiments of the Notre Dame school. It is prsently said that the cathedral treasury houses a reliquary with the purported Crown of Thorns.
Setting its iconic nature and historical significance aside, the Notre Dame Cathedral is for me an aesthetically pleasing architectural masterpiece worth every everything to feature it in Project Holo. We went on a cold winters day and there were no lines at 11.00am but it was cold outside and a relief to be in the building (which is heated). I was surprised to see a gift shop inside a church, but I guess everyone needs money. We didn’t do the trip to the top as we believed climbing that number of steps carrying Holo was a little too much. We go into the treasury although the cost seemed a little high. The attention to detail in the building of this great Cathedral is amazing. After our visit inside we decided to start the photo session outside with Holo. Dad again in charge with the camera we set out to various points around trying to capture the essence of the cathedral. We also took a picture in front of the statue of Charlemagne located in front of the cathedral. Overall It was quick and easy going at the same time, I dont think the people even realised what we were doing, the wise wolf was kinda on stealth mode it seemed which is actually good because come to think of it because in the series Spice and Wolf, As Holo and Lawrence travel, her wisdom helps increase his profits, but at the same time, her true nature of being a large wolf draws unwanted attention from the Church hence trying to capture her. So This visit might have been hard for her ^^.
As for myself and the rest of us we were definitely overwhelmed with all it’s intricacies. Give yourself some time here and take it all in. Well worth a visit and here is our second Parisian landmark added to our catalog.
Musee du Louvre & L’Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel
We then headed east towards the direction of the famous Louvre Museum, one of the world’s largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. I think that sums up why I wanted to add the Louvre in our project catalog right?
The Louvre is a huge art gallery housed in an old Parisian palace. It holds a collection of nearly 400,000 items of art and historical objects in its permanent collection. This collection includes the famous Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo. You will also find all the famous artists here from Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Ralphel, Van Gogh Picasso and why not add Ayakura Juu (文倉十) for his wonderful artwork especially for Spice and Wolf! This museum is really..almost the very definition of ridiculous. Everything, with the exception of the Starbucks, is beautiful-so much so that it almost completely warps your ability to judge anything. At any rate, this is one of the most aesthetically glorious locations built by man for the purpose of housing the most aesthetically glorious objects crafted by man. Maybe Holo could have been housed in that museum, She is quite important no? but then again saying goodbye will be too difficult.
One other aspect I should mention is the beautiful glass pyramids which stands over the entrance in the main court. It really does elevate the Louvre into a whole you level of beauty. We took our pictures outside only because I think it would have been a pain in the ass doing it inside with all the horde of people and also I think she might definitely have been put aside at the entrance. Anyway it all went well and like the other landmarks we did it with ease as we past through the south entrance towards the main one. Not to forget the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel another triumphal arch located in the Place du Carrousel on the site of the former Tuileries Palace built from the orders of Napoleon and for the same reasons, to commemorate his military victories of the previous year. Of course the more famous Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile nearby was designed in the same year, but it took thirty years to build, and it is about twice as massive.
Another impressive jewel which really is impossible to cover its artworks in a day, however like the Lonely Planet guide says if you try to see too much here, you’ll walk away feeling unsatisfied and it was really good advice. Hope you enjoyed Holo’s encounter with the wonderful Louvre.
La Place de la Concorde
One of the major public squares in Paris, Being at la Place de la Concorde really makes you feel like you’re at the centre of the city. At one end you have the road leading to the Champs Elysee with the Arc de Triomphe, the other you have the Louvre Museum and then the other road to Les Invalides along with the Dome (Napoleon’s Tomb). It’s gorgeous with the two matching water fountains and the giant Egyptian Obelisk in the middle. This square has a lengthy history as well – it served as the site of the guillotine that was used to execute Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Robespierre and many others during the French Revolution. The giant Egyptian obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics exalting the reign of the pharaoh Ramses II. The Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, Mehmet Ali, offered the 3,300-year-old Luxor Obelisk to France in 1829. It arrived in Paris on 21 December 1833.
I love the history behind it and why its called Place de la Concorde which means Harmony Square still intrigues me as this was the same place that over 1,300 people were executed in a single month during the Reign of Terror in the summer of 1794. Maybe Holo and I shouldnt be smiling after all..
Pont Alexandre III
This bridge is of course truly amazing when you are right on it (and with great photo ops of the Eiffel Tower, although it’s hard to pay attention to anything but the bridge). Named in honor of a Russian Czar, I somehow remember that it dates to Napoleonic times and that brief time when Napoleon and the Czar were good friends. It’s got gilded everything and has to be the most over-the-top bridge I’ve ever seen. Passing underneath it on some type of boat excursion is also wondrous. There are these black, cream and gold wag decorations on the side, attempting to give it both glamour and a neoclassical style. Im sure Holo felt glamourous, I she must have liked it too. Kelsey was this time in charge of the camera and I must say trying to get a nice shot of all the four 17 metre high corner pillars(bearing the four gilded bronze equestrian groups which represent Pegasus held by Fame) is difficult but she tried.
The bridge featured in many movies such as Anastasia, Midnight in Paris, 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill and That’s the bridge where Woody shot the opening frame of my favorite movie Midnight in Paris, capturing Pont Alexandre III from a distance, as if to say “in Paris this sort of bridge is quite normal.” And of course, it is. One gets so accustomed to various forms of architectural beauty in Paris that sometimes one doesn’t stop to think about it.
But, it’s a must-see on any first visit to Paris and the walk to it is worth it. Wandering back and forth over Parisien ponts can be a theme for an entire day…
Continuing down after the Alexandre bridge youll encounter Les Invalides which is at least as interesting as Le Louvre as far as artistic craftsmanship but instead of paintings and sculptures there is a vast array of weapons with minute scroll work, gold & pearl & gemstone inserts, etc. I love armor so I was in armor heaven. I’ve spoken with many people who spend days at Le Louvre but who had never heard of Le Invalides. In front of the Les Invalides complex is a vast lawn with canons that?for some reason?kids love to pose with, same goes with Holo and I! The inner courtyard of the building also has many other large military items (more canons, a small tank, etc), as well as an impressive statue of Napoleon who seems to still be surveying a battlefield beneath him.
Speaking of Napoleon, a MUST-SEE is his tomb which is in the church that sits at the back of Les Invalides?the Eglise du Dome which has the brilliant golden dome. Napoleon’s powerful tomb is directly beneath the golden dome and can be viewed from the above ground level, as well as visited on its own lower floor. There are also some amazingly grand and touching military tombs in the other chapels of the church that honor the spirits of soldiers in such a way that always leaves me with a mix of pride and humility.
This was our last visit of the day after starting from Notre Dame we walked all the way through the monuments we encounters above finishing here, the day was rather long but it was all well worth it, tiresome maybe but Id rather do this countless of times as you are surrounded with beauty.
La Tour Eiffel
For our final and last day at the capital, Kelsey, Holo and I headed out for one last hurrah and what better landmark to finish off Project Holo in Paris than the Eiffel Tower? I really can’t imagine how the Parisians got angry with the person who conceptualized the idea of this monument thinking that it was just a wasted piece of metal. Paris will never be Paris without this famous iconic landmark. A hallmark of the Paris skyline and one of the most visited tourist sites in the world, with 7.1 million visitors in 2011, an average of nearly 20,000 visitors per day. It was built in two years by built by engineer Gustave Eiffel as the centerpiece of the 1889 world fair.
We arrived very early in the morning, I dont think it was actually open but my gosh the amount of people already queuing up in order to go up the tower was incroyable! really the lines were long to go to the top that It certainly provides an unbelievable view, but Holo and I opted to just soak it all in from ground level. Plus like what happened at Versailles there were quite a number of military guys walking around as well as 2-3 police vans which I think is some sort of detective ones like in the movies, I was kinda thinking what were they thinking, a guy walking with his sister taking pictures of him carrying a cardboard box, it must have been curiosity at first but then turned funny haha. Anyway they didnt bother us so that was good and why should they, does Holo look like some sort of terrorist huh?
Tried to take pictures in which you can see the whole of the tower but given that it seems huge from the ground, we had to walk quite a bit away from it on the Champ de Mars and fortunately enough we managed. It was a shame though the weather was kinda foggy or even hazzy at times. If you want to get the best vintage point, which provides an elevated view of the Eiffel tower, fountains and garden, Trocadero is the best I’ve found.
In the end I have visited Paris quite a few times and never fail to enjoy seeing the Tower (or even better taking others to see it for their first time and it never seems to fail to delight them too). I am lucky too have had the opportunity and I do thank my parents for choosing Paris as our sister and I’s birthday trip and because of that I was able to do Project Holo in the worlds most beautiful city. I couldnt ask for more and will be going to back to London really satisfied. Now when will this Project Holo happen in London? we will see what the future will bring, I have to say you never know.
Till next and merci pour visiter!
Fabrice is a blogger, full time university student, web enthusiast and founder of Fateful Encounters.. This blog is his final haven when everything seems nuisances; urging him to assess and to share his thoughts and his own findings to the world, or at least to his fellow neighbors in the blog sphere.