Hi, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the best of Europe. Train tracks used to go right down the middle. Consider starting or ending your Eiffel Tower visit by having a drink or snack outside at Café Carlu (within the Architecture and Monuments Museum but open to the public). So, we are, you know, having now the cheese course, which is very important. Though only 130 years old, it's impressive and iconic, with a mosaic-filled interior and a climbable dome. Arnaud: Bouquinistes, we call them. Cassandra: Right. While there is history in dem bones, the Carnavalet Museum — filling a lavish old aristocratic mansion — is the best place to sort through the story of Paris. Check if it is available to stream online via "Where to Watch". Sure, ya gotta see the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, but after you get your gottas out of the way, enjoy the Orsay. This is one of the highest lifts in Europe. Cabanel's Birth of Venus is the quintessence of beauty. It's not about exercise, this kind of thing is best when you slow down. Trekkers are rewarded with top-notch mountain vistas, of course, as well as medieval bridges, deep gorges, ancient trade routes with a thousand years of ruts worn into the stone, farmers making cheese the old-fashioned way, tiny alpine chapels, and inviting huts offering a break and a drink. Later, this Enlightenment provided the French Revolution with a philosophical basis, and it gave the American constitution many of its basic principles. Arnaud: Yeah, you know, people strolling… Against his advice, I'm eating all the Parisian cuisine clichés — in one meal. Rick: So, the capital of Gaul? Season: OR ... France; Chamonix in France; riding the lift up to Aiguille du Midi and to the border of Italy; hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc- … To get away from all the tourists, simply walk the back streets, where a bit of Montmartre's village charm survives. The city's first bishop, St. Denis, holds his head in his hands. The little boy seems to admire the artist — already notorious for his nonconformity. Then we'll see stark realism and dreamy Impressionism in the Orsay Gallery. Cassandra: Tour du Mont Blanc circumnavigates Europe's highest peak. Arnaud: Oh, back to the 1600s, yes indeed. At 12,000 feet, even the stairs are breathtaking. You know it's layered of cheese on top; it's wonderful. From here, it's clear why the glacier is called the Mer de Glace — "sea of ice." Rick: I'm heading for the Orsay Gallery. With Rick Steves, Andreas Clemens, Georg Reichlmayr, Holger Zimmer. After that triumphant summit, mountain climbing became fashionable. The ice cave, a hypnotizing shade of blue-green, is actually a long tunnel dug about 75 yards into the glacier. From here, tourists get to see why Chamonix attracts climbers from all over the world. Visitors to Paris may find Mona Lisa to be less than expected, but the Eiffel Tower rarely disappoints, even in an era of skyscrapers. Rick: Uh huh. The Pompidou Center and the square that fronts it are lively, with lots of people, street theater, and activity inside and out — a perpetual street fair. I'm taking Arnaud to lunch. Yes, it's sacred. We don't work. Rick: Steak tartare — very famous. From the top of the lift, a tunnel leads into the rock, where we make our final ascent — by elevator — to a commanding perch. Rick Steves' Europe is public television's most-watched, longest-running travel series. …And Tiepolo, whose fresco graces the mansion's lobby. Rick: That's right, because Lyon was the leading Resistance city. Until about the year 1800, people didn't climb, or hike, or even paint mountains much. Virginie: Exactly. It was, and construction commenced. Look at these people; they've been here forever. Hi, I'm Rick Steves back with more of the best of Europe.
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