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Category Archives:France

5 Days in Paris, a Highlights Tour On an Epic Budget

Palais du Luxembourg Paris France header

It’s not often that you get to sit at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and watch the sunset. When I started this journal entry in March 2010, that’s where I was. I arrived in the middle of the Champs de Mars at dusk, and before long, the whole structure just lit up.

I sat there in awe for quite some time and it took about 10 minutes for it to become real to me that I was really in Paris, looking at the Eiffel Tower. This was something I’d looked forward to seeing for a long time.

Eiffel Tower at Night

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What does Luxor, Egypt and Paris, France have in common?

Luxor Temple with missing Obelisk

History is an incredible thing. Some pretty insane stuff has happened and that’s just what was written down. For example, Napoleon was somehwhat of a conqueror. He roamed Europe raping and pillaging (my own conjecture) and taking whatever the hell he wanted.

Ok, so history may not be my strongest suit.

But visiting old sites is an easy to way to improve that. Many of you may have been to the Luxor Temple in central Egypt. Thousands of years old with intriguing hieroglyphics, statues and a single obelisk at the entrance ruining what would otherwise be a perfectly symmetrical fac├žade.

Luxor Temple with missing Obelisk
Luxor Temple with missing Obelisk
Luxor Temple with missing Obelisk in the day
Luxor Temple in the day

Many of you may have also been to Paris, in fact most likely more of you have than Luxor. If you walked by Place de la Concord you will no doubt have taken a photo of the large obelisk in the middle of the road and possibly thought nothing of it. But if you give it 10 seconds of thought you will think “why is there an Egyptian obelisk with hieroglyphics in the middle of Paris?

by David Light via Flickr Creative Commons
by David Light via Flickr Creative Commons
Obelisk at Place de la Concord
Silhouettey Obelisk at Place de la Concord

See what I’m going with this?

So I may not be the world’s greatest historian, but what I do know is that as Napoleon was raping and pillaging his way through Egypt, when he came across the Luxor Temple in central Egypt he just had to have one of those beautiful obelisks for himself. So he put it on a plane and brought it back to his home of Paris.

As a traveler I found this incredibly rewarding having been able to piece some of history together and picture in my mind exactly where the missing obelisk was right at this very moment, rather than having to imagine it.

Two ancient obelisks, separated by the Mediterranean. Worlds apart but cast from the same rock.

Call it Napoleons trophy if you will. A souvenir perhaps.

I’d call it overkill but that’s probably just semantics. I usually just bring back a magnet.

What other jaw-dropping facts about history have you learnt over your own travels? Let me know in the comments below.


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The Glittering Unknown in Paris | The Nomad Files

Have you ever wondered what the life of an au pair is like? Or how to see Paris like the locals do? I have. And Emily from The Glittering Unknown is living that life. I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily all about life in Paris as an expat. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Bonjour Emily. When did you discover that you wanted to live in Paris and what actually brought you there?

Emily of The Glittering Unknown.
Emily of The Glittering Unknown.

Actually, I didn’t want to live in Paris at all. The last time I came here before moving here, during my semester abroad in Switzerland, I found the city dirty, the people rude, and the whole thing generally unappealing. However, when I was talking to families looking for au pairs, I reasoned that it made the most sense to be in the capital because of the great transportation system, the easy access to different parts of Europe, and the multitude of things to do even by myself, since I wouldn’t know anyone at first. And it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, as like many before me I’ve completely fallen for Paris.

I hear that. That introduction to the city is a very familiar experience to me. Is there a particular song/video/poem/quote that inspires you to travel?

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