Own a piece of Paris: Eiffel Tower stairs, other artifacts up for auction

Want to own a piece of Paris? You’ll have a chance when historic pieces of the City of Lights go up for grabs on December 14. At the “Paris Mon Amour” (Paris My Love) sale, 18th century tourists maps, antique street benches, and a public phone box from the 1950’s will be sold at auction along with street lamps from the Champs Elysees and a staircase from the Eiffel Tower.

The 40-step section of stairs from the Paris landmark is is just one piece of the original staircase and is expected to fetch €60,000 to €80,000. The Tower’s steps were removed during a renovation in 1983, cut into 24 parts, and sold to collectors around the world. Since then, they’ve been on the auction block only a few times, most recently in 2007 and 2008. The company that manages the Eiffel Tower oversees each auction and apparently, they don’t want pieces of the Tower changing hands too often.

I couldn’t find much information on how to get in on the auction action. But chances are, if you’ve got the cash to drop on stairs from the Eiffel Tower, you’ve also got connections that can get you in.

The auction is part of the celebration of Paris’ 120-year anniversary, which took place this year. Other events scheduled throughout the year included special fireworks displays and exhibits of photos that chronicled the history of the structure.

La Tour Eiffel for Google Android – live webcam views from around the world

Regular readers will know that I’m a bit of a Google Android fan. I recently gave you a quick look at Flightstats for Android, but today I’d like to share another application with you. In fact, despite a marketplace offering over 4500 applications, my absolute favorite does nothing more than show live webcam images as the background on my home screen.

But no matter how simple the app may seem, there is something awesome about going to bed at night and seeing a live sunrise in Paris, or waking up to the sunset from the top of the Sears Tower. Images from the webcam sources can be updated every 10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes, and the program supports saving images to your MicroSD memory card.

The application is in the Android marketplace as “La Tour Eiffel” and is free of charge. As for the name? It launched with just one webcam and progressed into the amazing application it is today. In total, the application offers over 30 different views from around the world.

Spring painting for the Eiffel Tower: It takes gallons

Every 7 years the Eiffel Tower is painted by hand. Although this icon attracts people by the droves to Paris and prompts folks like Tom Cruise to use it as a romantic backdrop for a marriage proposal, the Parisians don’t have much to do with painting it.

Actually, they don’t have anything to do with it, but probably do what they can to avoid getting paint dropped or splattered on them when they pass by.

This year, Romanians and Greeks will wield hand-held, small circular brushes to coat every bit of it with fresh paint. The specialized paint called “Eiffel Tower brown” is Norwegian.

Although the paint color has varied over the years, the painting method has remained the same ever since 1889. The color has stayed brown, however, since 1968 when it was decided that particular color works best with the skyline in Paris.

The statistics for this paint job are impressive.

According to the AP article, twenty-five people will use 66 tons of paint, 35 miles of climbing rope, and 18 months to do the job.

I’d say that the people who will be doing the painting will have an excellent view of Paris from the top as long as they don’t look down.

Blu Le Dokhan opens on Trocadero in Paris

Now, you have a new reason to go to Paris this year. The Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel has just opened. This new spot is an easy walk from the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. I remember the area well – there’s decent subway access out to Place Vendome and the rest of the city.

The Radisson Blue Le Dokhan’s Hotel occupies what used to be a private residence, a building that dates back to the 18th century. From the outside, you can enjoy a restored Haussmann exterior; the inside was designed by Frederic Mechiche. The real attention-grabber, though, is an elevator made from a vintage Louis Vuitton wardrobe trunk.

Grab a glass of champagne (from an extensive menu) at Le Dokhan Bar, where you can enjoy live music well into the night. Room service is available around the clock, and internet access is free. Hey, this matters to me. Nothing’s more irritating than having to shell out $10 a day once you’ve already paid for the damned room.

Look, there’s no shortage of hotels in Paris. Anyone who’s been there knows this, and even if you haven’t, it’s not hard to figure it out. But, I’m a big fan of boutique hotels, and this 45-room location seems like a great addition to a crowded city.

Gadling + BootsnAll – Picks of the Week

Starting today, we’re unveiling a new weekly feature here at Gadling. Each Friday we’ll be highlighting the most interesting content from our friends over at BootsnAll, one of the best resources on the web for independent travelers. For those that have never taken a look, BootsnAll features a huge range of great travel content – everything from travel stories and blogs, to a built-in travel booking engine to one of the more robust communities of travelers anywhere on the web. Here’s what got us clicking this week:

  • Asian Temples Galore – Sure, you probably know about Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, but what about the Paro Taktsang in Bhutan or Badshahi Mosque in Pakistan? BootsnAll writer Deanna Hylund takes a closer look at some of Asia’s best temples. Let me tell you, looking at these makes me want to get back to Asia as soon as possible!
  • Unknown National Parks – Unlike Asian temples, we’re probably all familiar with the most famous U.S. National Parks. Who could forget the first time they saw the Grand Canyon? Or gazed up in awe at a 300 foot-tall Redwood in Northern California? Cherrye Moore thinks these sights are great but there’s a couple others you might have missed. Check out her article to see her list of “Six National Parks You’ve Probably Never Visited.”
  • Guilty Pleasures – Travel is supposed to be all about new experiences. Eating new foods, meeting new people and getting “out of your comfort zone.” But you know what? Bootsnall writer Lucy Corne knows that every once in awhile you need to indulge yourself with a taste of home, especially if you’ve been on the road awhile. I’m the first to admit: I love blasting my iPod pretty much wherever I go…
  • Eiffel Tower, Redux – Gadling writer Aaron posted some interesting thoughts on taking photos of the Eiffel Tower earlier this year. Sure, there’s a million pics out there, but as writer Jessica pointed out on Bootsnall’s WhyGo blog this week, there’s also a million ways to take some more interesting photos of this iconic landmark. Let’s get creative people!

When you’re done with the highlights, make sure to take a lap around the rest of BootsnAll’s site. There’s some great content on there, whether you’re looking to research a round-the-world trip or just looking for some good tips for that next trip to Vegas. Catch you next week!