90+ Eiffel and Eiffel Tower facts – part 1

Eiffel Tower facts collected for you by FUSAC. Part 1 of a 3 part series Part 1 facts 1 through 35 Part 2 facts 36 through 72 Part 3 facts 73 through 102 - we just couldn't stop! "Je vais être jaloux de cette tour. Elle est plus célèbre que moi." – Gustave Eiffel Completed on March 31, 1889, the tower was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. It is 324 meters tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tons. It was the tallest structure in France until the construction of a military transmitter in the town of Saissac in 1973. The Millau Viaduct, completed in 2004, is also taller, at 343 meters. It is possible to climb to the top, but there are 1,665 steps. Most people take the lift. 45 people fit in the elevator at a time allowing the transportation of 1700 people per hour. The lifts travel a combined distance of 103,000 km a year – two and a half times the circumfer…
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Hints and Hindsights: Us vs Them French Anglo cultural differences

Hints for Newcomers – Hindsights for Old-Timers French Anglo cultural differences Us vs Them

by Shari Leslie Segall

You’ve heard of speed-dating. You’ve heard of speed-networking. Welcome to speed-cultural differences! Although many of these French Anglo cultural differences are being obliterated at breakneck speed by globalization (see our earlier post of Hints-Hindsights), and many didn’t exist in the first place (yes, the French really are friendly at heart), below is an extremely incomplete quick-and-dirty list of the at times inaccurate, at times truer-than-true judgments that are at times fiercely hurled, at times gently tossed at each other by Anglos and Francos. EMOTIONS/ATTITUDE – the negative Them: Anglos-especially Americans-are big babies. Even grown women jump up and down and screech and hug when they run into each other on the street. Anglos thank you a million times for the slightest thing. How can ever…
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Water in Paris – part 8: Paris flood 2016

"Current" Events: Paris flood 2016 Current events never was a more appropriate term. Here are a few photos from past years juxatposed with photos from the last few days of the Paris flood 2016. We watched daily as the water crept up on the Zouave, the quais, the Pont Mirabeau. The water was very brown, as one French lady said "marronnâtre" and that seemed to sum up the Paris flood 2016. Feel free to send us your own photos, expecially if you have some from outside Paris. submissions@fusac.org   Pont Mirabeau's statues that represent navigation on the river are really navigating it right now. Read more about the bridge here. Or maybe just trying to climb to safety. Does anyone know what the pompiers were up to here on Friday afternoon? We couldn't figure it out. How can a piece of a bridge look so big one day and so small the next? The photos give perspective. Read more about what a Zouave is and why this particular statue is famous in Paris …
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Water in Paris, part 6: Tidbits

Water in Paris, Part 6: Tidbits Continuing our series of articles on water in Paris here we present a list of odds and ends or tidbits about and around water in Paris. The motto of Paris « Fluctuat nec mergitur » is closely linked to the Seine. It is a Latin phrase which means  Tossed by the waves, but never sinks. In French Il est battu par les flots, mais ne sombre pas. The motto dates from antiquity and was used, along with a ship, on the arms of the corporation des Nautes (the water merchants). The first recorded flood of Paris was in 585. The original bateaux-mouches dating from the 19th century were named for Mouche, a section of the city of Lyon where they were built. Bathhouses were first created along the Seine in 1688. The first warm baths were available in 1761 and in 1785 the first swimming area was created along with the first swimming school in the world. The quays of the Seine are a UNESCO World Heritage site from pont de Sully to pont d'Iéna. …
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Water in Paris, Part 5: The Paris Canals

Water in Paris Part 5: The Paris Canals The city of Paris is the proprietor of and responsible for a fluvial network of 130km of canals which cross 5 departments (Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Seine-et-Marne, Oise and Aisne) and two regions (Île-de-France et Picardie). There are three canals that interconnect: canal de l’Ourcq brings in water from the rivers Ourcq and Marne to feed the canals Saint Martin and Saint Denis. The construction of the Paris canal network was ordered by Napoleon I in 1802 as a way of providing fresh water to Paris which was out-growing its sources. It was also instrumental in transporting goods including food and building materials by boat, with two ports established at the Port de l'Arsenal and the Bassin de la Villette. This was the first time that the same waterway was to be used for navigation and drinking water. It took 23 years to complete the network of canals. Rest assured the canal water is no longer used for drinking water, but it is still m…
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Water in Paris, Part 4: Crossing the Seine

Water in Paris, Part 4: Crossing the Seine The first bridges were wooden constructions in the middle ages. They were lined with shops and houses. They were easily destroyed by floods or fire or sometimes deliberately to prevent invasion. Seven bridges were added in the 17th century of which three remain: Pont-neuf, pont Marie and pont Royal. Today the Seine is crossed by 37 bridges in the nearly 13 kilometers that it runs through Paris.  For a complete list see Wikipedia, but here’s a few of our personal favorites. The Pont d'Alma, while not overly pretty does have an interesting sculpture. The bridge was originally constructed in 1855 in stone and commemorated the 1854 Franco-English victory over Russia at Alma. The original bridge was thus decorated with four statues that represented the four armies that fought at Alma. There was a Grenadier, a Zouave (north African foot soldier), a Chasseur and an Artilleur. The Zouave became, over time, the unofficial scale by whic…
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Winged Victory

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, one of the most well-known and prestigious pieces in the Louvre, is back in place at the head of the Daru staircase after having been restored. We are now able to see the subtle juxtaposition of the two different colors of marble that make up the statue and the ship prow base. The statue is in white marble from Paros and the complementary base in a grey marble from the Island of Rhodes. Before the restoration both marbles were covered with the poisse of time that gave a brownish tint. The Daru staircase has also been cleaned. But what is Winged Victory? How did she end up in Paris? This is a statue of a winged female figure – the messenger goddess Victory -and a base in the shape of the prow of a ship. The statue was a magnificent offering to the Great Gods of Samothrace following a naval victory and dates from the Hellenistic period. It is an unequalled masterpiece of Greek sculpture, by the striking virtuosity of its drapery as well as the…
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Do you know this rabbit? RATP Mascot Rabbit

Do you know this rabbit? You've probably seen him hundreds of times, but can you recognize him out of context? This is Serge, the RATP Mascot Rabbit for safety in the Paris Metro. You mostly see him down low - at kid's height - on the insides of the doors reminding kiddos to keep their hands away so as to not be pinched. The RATP Mascot Rabbit has been around since 1977 and was first drawn by Anne LeLagadec. She chose a rabbit dressed like a child because rabbits express fragility, softness and run around without paying attention to their surroundings (so she said). In 1986 the safety rabbit was redrawn in a yellow  jumpsuit to make him more visible and he became the unofficial mascot of the Paris metro. He even got a name: Serge, after Serge Maury who drew this second incarnation. In 2014 a new version of Serge was unveiled. Fresh stickers of Serge, who is now wearing a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, were progressively affixed to the 24,000 metro (and RER) car d…
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Hints and Hindsights – FFFFFF. F to the sixth power.

Hints and Hindsights. FFFFFF. F to the sixth power.

The six Fs. Fascinating, Fun Facts and Figures about France and French.

They come in handy more often than you’d think: during lulls in parties, as intros or outros to speeches, when you need to prove to some arrogant twit that at least some foreigners know there’s a world beyond Main Street and a timeline that precedes 1776. But let’s not get too arrogant ourselves - even for the most cultivated among us, some of these are real jaw-droppers:

-> When was the last guillotining in France? No, it was not during the 1793 Reign of Terror. It took place in Marseille on September 10, 1977 (that’s nineteen seventy-seven!) to end the life of Tunisian immigrant Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of having tortured and murdered his 21-year-old his former girlfriend, Elisabeth Bousquet. (France abolished the death penalty in 1981.)…

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