Highlights of Paris with a Lunch Cruise on the Seine
Tour Participation Requirements
Once you’ve marveled at the window displays along the Champs Elysees, turn your glance westward to the monument that marks one terminus of the boulevard: The Arc de Triomphe. The massive arched structure, completed in 1836, is dedicated to the men who fought and died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The name of every victory and general of these campaigns is inscribed on its surfaces.
The Arc’s foundation in military history continued as it became the rallying symbol of French troops, who would parade under the main arch after successes at war. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just the French that participated in this tradition. The Germans held a victory march there in 1871, but the French retorted with a celebration after World War I. The cycle repeated during World War II, with a Nazi German procession in 1940 – that was soon forgotten when the French and Allied armies celebrated the end of World War II with a rally around the Arc de Triomphe.
Both World Wars pitted nations against each other and were horribly devastating. But leaders of the respective militaries were somehow able to reach common ground on an honored spot within the Arc, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Since the interment of this respected symbol of the military, not a single army has paraded directly under the arch where the Tomb lies. Even Hitler observed this custom in 1944.
As you cruise along the banks of the Seine, you’d never believe that this river is an enormous source of anxiety for conservators at Paris’ most famous museums. The Louvre, Orsay and other museums store much of their inventory of treasured, priceless pieces in underground coffers, which seems like a great idea to protect them from sunlight, elements and thieves. However, when the Seine starts to rise, so do the stress levels of museums’ staff. The storerooms tend to flood when the river level moves 18 feet or more above its normal state, and crews are called to action to move the works of art to higher ground.
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