There is apparently an unwritten law that every tourist must take the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It is actually a very good thing to do at the beginning of your Paris trip because it’s lots of fun plus gives a great view of Paris from every direction. It’s really useful for orienting yourself and understanding distances between various buildings and attractions.

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Below is a north-facing view from the Eiffel Tower. You can see the Arc de Triomphe near the center of the buildings.

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The photo below shows the Arc de Triomphe up close. It was originally commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, and finally completed in 1836. It honors soldiers who served in the Napoleonic wars. It also holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WWI.

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Surrounding the Arc is a crazy traffic circle with lots of traffic and no lane markings. We drove through it as passengers and absolutely marveled at the skill of the driver.

The Seine River cuts between these two landmarks while winding its way throughout Paris. Many of the museums are located along the Seine, so we frequently walked alongside or crossed it on one of the famous bridges. It was lovely to stop and take an occasional break to watch the river traffic go by.

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