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While the seventh arrondissement is on the Seine River's Left Bank and the eighth arrondissement is on the its Right Bank, they are more closely related to each other than to their neighbors on the same side of the river. They are major employment and tourist centers, posh residential areas, and home to the French National Assembly, the Palais Bourbon.

The Eiffel Tower is perhaps Paris's best-known landmark, recognized all over the world. This structure, once the world's tallest and still the most visited, attracts over six million paying visitors a year. It was erected between 1887 and 1889 for a World's Fair honoring the French Revolution. Supposedly the French writer Guy de Maupassant ate lunch there every day, because it was the only Paris location where he couldn't see the tower.

The Hotel Matignon, completed in 1725 is one of Paris's most elegant mansions. During World War II it was a headquarters of the collaborationist government. General de Gaulle convened the government there in 1944 and once again in 1958.

The Champ de Mars was once used for military training. It was the site of both a festival and a massacre during the French Revolution. The Ecole Militaire was founded by Louis XV to enable poor boys to become cadet officers. Napoleon Bonaparte is its best-known graduate. The Invalides complex, first built as a retirement home for war veterans, now includes a soldiers' hospital, war monuments, and war museums. Napoleon Bonaparte and his family are buried there. For a change of pace visit the Rodin Museum displaying many of his works as well as masterpieces by Van Gogh, Claudel, and others.

The Paris Institute of Political Studies is one of France's greatest educational institutions. Many French leaders such as Chirac and Mitterand, thirteen former prime ministers and a whole slew of world leaders are former students, teachers or both.

L'eglise de la Madeleine church was built to honor Napoleon's army. Its organ is top of the line; the famous composers Camille Saint-Saens and Gabriel Faure were church organists. I am told that this is THE place to have your wedding and funeral.

The Elysee Palace is the President of the French Republic's official residence and holds meetings of the Council of Ministers. The gardens host a presidential party on July 14th.

The Arc de Triomphe monument honoring French soldiers sits in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. It is the second tallest such monument in the world. The nearby traffic circle serves twelve busy avenues. I have heard that there is a replica at the Paris Las Vegas resort but don't plan a visit to confirm.

You'll find the Art Nouveau Theatre des Champs-Elysees a few several blocks from that avenue. In 1913 its initial performance of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring degenerated into a full-scale riot. The Grand Palace is a large glass Art Deco exhibition hall built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900. The Little Palace across the street is home to an art museum, the Musee des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.



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