Palais Idéal is not a real palace, but a remarkably eccentric structure. It was single-handedly created in a period of 33 years, between 1836 and 1924, by a French postman named Ferdinand Cheval.
After the postman tripped over a stone, he got the idea to gather the stones, which he found during his work, and use them to build his own dream palace. In this palace, various styles have been applied: a medieval castle, an Arab mosque and a Hindu temple.
There are also several figures displayed such as plants, trees, animals, people of different cultures, Julius Caesar and the goddess Isis. The palace never had a real function. Today it is a popular tourist attraction Ferdinand Cheval wanted to be buried in his palace, together with his wife, but the local government did not allow that.
As a result, he designed his own tomb, which is just as incredible as Palais Idéal, and can be found at the cemetery of Hauterives.
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Although only a third as high as the Washington Monument, it was a miracle of medieval engineering, probably the tallest bell towers in Europe. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square, the tower’s tilt began during construction, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure’s weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed, and gradually increased until the structure was stabilized by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries
The height of the tower is 55.86 metres (183.27 feet) from the ground on the low side and 56.67 metres (185.93 feet) on the high side, The tower has eight stories, including the chamber for the bells.
The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase.
Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is displaced horizontally The tower is also slightly curved from the attempts by various architects to keep it from leaning more or falling over. In the 1920s the foundations of the tower were injected with cement grouting that has stabilized the tower to some extent. Until recent years tourists were not allowed to climb the staircase inside the tower, due to consolidation work, but now the leaning Tower of Pisa is open again and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy!
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“Paris is always a good idea,” said Audrey Hepburn in the movie Sabrina. Others seem to agree because the Eiffel Tower is in fact the most visited monument in the world! At any given time, the city is heaving with tourists. But don’t let the crowds put you off. The museums in Paris are home to some fabulous artworks – the Louvre, of course, but also Musée d’Orsay, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle,Palace of Versailles and many more. stroll along the Left Bank, sit in one of the many street cafes and watch the world go by…
London is also one of the top 5 European cities that you shouldn’t miss. From the historic Tower of London to the modern London Eye, the city has something for everyone. The city has excellent museums – National Gallery, HMS Belfast museum. eat and drink in Covent Garden, Have a picnic at Hyde Park or try a hearty fare at one of London’s numerous pubs.
Its unique location puts Venice firmly on the list of top 5 European cities. Literally floating on a lagoon, the city is criss-crossed by numerous canals and bridges and is best explored on foot. Piazza San Marco is the number one attraction here with the impressive, mosaic-covered Basilica San Marco, the Campanile (bell tower) and Doge’s Palace in the vicinity. hop on a Venice Kayak and cruise the Grand Canal – .Head to the Rialto Market for a taste of the freshest seafood and then to one of the many hole-in-the-wall bars where locals flock for a drink and the ubiquitous ciccheti (bar snacks).
Sun-kissed Spain is a hot destination these days and its vibrant capital Madrid is at the centre of all the action. Start at Puerta del Sol (gate of the sun) and Madrid’s Central Square where you can stroll about while admiring the beautiful architecture all around. Gran Via with its bustling shops and restaurants and Mercado de San Miguel offering a plethora of local foods are two of the best places to shop. Plaza di Cibeles and Plaza Mayor are two of Madrid’s stately plazas, full of old-world charm and elegance. The massive Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is worth a visit, especially its lavish Salon del Trono (throne room), which features a ceiling fresco by Tiepolo. Madrid has many museums but the most famous one is Museo del Prado with more than 7,000 artworks and the best collection of Spanish paintings in the world.
Italy’s capital is another favourite with travellers and for a good reason. Where else will you step out of a metro station and be confronted by the ancient Colosseum? It’s surreal to say the least! Other relics from the past include the Pantheon, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill. Vatican City is another must-do – the spectacular St Peter’s Basilica has Michelangelo’s Pieta on display. The Vatican Museum is definitely worth a visit and it includes the famous Sistine Chapel. Grab a gelato and sit at the Spanish Steps or get an espresso at Antico Caffè Greco and watch the world go by. Visit Trastevere, the medieval part of Rome, which has many lovely piazzas, churches and excellent restaurants.
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