Eiffel 120, Tony Hawk, Hand Ball and Random Facts …

The Eiffel Tower is celebrating its 120th year of existence and through the end of the year, each night the Tower will be lit up in various colors and patterns at the top every hour after nightfall.

Eiffel Tower After 120 Years

I went to go see it this week and the show was pretty cool. I learned that for its birthday, the Tower is receiving a new paint job; the job will take over a year and will involve the work of 25 painters applying over sixty tons of paint at a cost of 170 million euros ($250 million).

To see a collage of images of the Tower at different stages of the show, CLICK HERE.

To see a short video of the light show on the Tower, sped up at triple speed, CLICK HERE. (give it a few seconds to load)

The only skateboarder that I’ve ever heard of – Tony Hawk – came to town with a big, huge show at the magnificent Grand Palais. The show installed the biggest skate ramp in Europe and WAAAAAAAY more people than I anticipated showed up to the first action sports event ever held inside the Grand Palais.

Tony Hawk Skate Show at the Grand Palais

It was a much less degenerate and more well-behaved crowd than I had presupposed. Much better than the motocross group or the Johnny Hallyday fans. And the action was pretty cool. They let each photographer spend a couple of minutes right next to the ramp as the show was going on. I can’t really judge how good the performers were because I have no reference point but I know I couldn’t do what they were doing. 😉

Tony Hawk Skate Show at the Grand Palais

I don’t know how much news it made back in the States but France played against Ireland in a very important soccer match this week; the winner would qualify for the World Cup in South Africa next year. It was a tight match and in the waning minutes, France’s best player Thierry Henry saved a ball from going out of bounds with his hand and subsequently scooted the ball over to a teammate who scored the winning goal. I watched the whole match and I am far from an expert on the sport but even I was stunned when I saw it happen, given that the one rule I’m sure about is that you can’t touch the ball with your hands unless you’re the goalkeeper. Anyway, the refs missed it and it’s been totally consuming the news here in Europe, with Ireland asking for the match to be replayed (won’t happen) and commentators finding a new angle of the story to report on throughout the week. Click on the video below if you’d like to see what I’m talking about.

And for no reason in particular, here are a few random facts about Paris:

Number of annual visitors: Disneyland Paris = 14 million; Notre Dame = 12 million; Louvre = 8 million;

Number of annual visitors to the Paris region: 45 million

Number of Paris inhabitants: 2.1 million in 1999; 2.9 million in 1921

Number of metro system stops: 300 (not counting additional RER train stops within Paris)

Sister City: Rome

Partner Cities: numerous, including San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC.

Some photos of the week …

Ghosts in the Metro

The crowd at the Tony Hawk Skate Show at the Grand Palais

Graffiti Artist at the Tony Hawk Skate Show at the Grand Palais

(he really only did one thing so I was tempted to call him a “graffito” artist, which evidently is the singular of graffiti)


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