On Sunday, May 17 David and I visited the Musée de l’Armée and the Eiffel Tower.
We saw a lot of really interesting things at the Musée de l’Armée, including ornate sword hilts and shields, armour, a church dedicated to veterans, and of course, Napoleon’s tomb.
A café outside the metro. There were a lot of snazzy cars parked outside of it, and the food looked pretty amazing. The man standing on the left looked like a valet.
This is armour made for a child. It was pretty small!
An intense sword hilt – it was used for parades and tournaments.
The organ in the veteran’s church.
Napoleon’s actual horse, stuffed.
One of Napoleon’s outfits, and what his camp might have looked like.
David next to a cannon. All the cannons had faces carved on the end.
Next we went to the World War I & II sections, but I didn’t get many pictures. Everything on display was encased in glass, which made taking pictures very difficult. I still took a few pictures, but most of them turned out quite blurry.
A taxi used during WWI. Info below from firstworldwar.com.
With German forces close to achieving a breakthrough against beleaguered French forces outside Paris between 6-8 September 1914, a decision was taken by French military authorities to dispatch emergency troop reinforcements from Paris.
Extraordinarily these were dispatched – on 7 September – using a fleet of Parisian taxi cabs, some 600 in all, ferrying approximately 6,000 French reserve infantry troops to the front.
The tactic worked and Paris was saved – barely. The incident quickly gained legend as “the taxis of the Marne”. Events at the ensuing First Battle of the Marne led to a throwing back of German forces, ensuring Paris’ safety – and military stalemate and with it the onset of trench warfare.
An Enigma machine!
In contrast, the Eiffel Tower was very busy. I kind of think the Eiffel Tower is always busy, regardless of the time of day or year you choose to visit.
I must admit, though, I do think it is over-hyped. There are scams everywhere (don’t let anyone try to stop you!), and the wait was horrendous. We waited for 30 minutes to buy our tickets, another 45 minutes to get the elevator to the second floor, and another hour to get the elevator to the top. You’re crammed onto the lift, and I felt so claustrophobic. My stomach was in knots, not because of the height, but because of how tightly we were packed.
We’re slowly getting all our the tourist attractions out of the way! We prefer our little haven in Ivry sur Seine (a city just outside Paris). You don’t see many tourists in our little corner.
Where we are living, many people actually cannot speak English. In contrast, it was interesting that in the centre of Paris, shopkeepers often didn’t even bother speaking French at all, but started with English right away. We spoke in broken French all the same, to practice.
Another interesting thing we noticed while we were strolling around is where the majority of immigrants to Paris (and likely the rest of France) are coming from. There are many Vietnamese and North Africans who are recent immigrants. Vietnam and much of North Africa was under French rule in the 19th and 20th centuries, so it’s no surprise to see Vietnamese and North African immigrants in Paris.
What is especially interesting, though, is that so many immigrants are recent. Clearly the effects of imperialism and colonialism can still be seen today!