About the Holiday
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognized monuments in the world. Its iconic shape was designed by Gustav Eiffel, for whom the tower is named. It was built for the International Exhibition of Paris and opened on March 31, 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
The Eiffel Tower stands 984 feet high and was at the time of its opening the world’s tallest building, an honor it held until the Chrysler Building was erected in New York in 1930. When the International Exhibition’s 20-year lease on the land expired, the Eiffel Tower was almost taken down, until people realized it could be used as a radio antennae.
Of course, all these facts don’t convey the magic of the tower itself. To celebrate this auspicious date, visit the Eiffel tower if you live close or take a vicarious walk in the fabled city of Paris with today’s book. You can also make and enjoy the French Butter cookie recipe found below.
A Walk in Paris
By Salvatore Rubbino
A girl and her grandpa visiting the city of Paris emerge from the metro at Place Maubert just in time to join the throng of shoppers perusing the colorful food stalls on Market Day and to buy some famous French cheese. They continue on their tour through old streets and new boulevards, avoiding the gushing water for the street cleaners, until they reach the fountain at Place Saint-Michel. Their meanderings take them to the River Seine and Notre-Dame. After a long wait in line, they climb to the Chimera Gallery, 151 feet above the ground. From there they look out on the city, all the way to the Eiffel Tower.
On the ground once more they pass salons and boutiques and settle into a cozy bistro for lunch. They visit the Marais, a fashionable area of shops and cafes built on what was once marshland. Up next is a structure that seems to have been built inside-out since all its pipes and escalators are on the outside! This is Pompidou Center, a famous gallery of modern art. The little girl proclaims it formidable!, which means “wonderful!”
Time for a snack! The grandpa-granddaughter duo find themselves in front of a pâtisserie window full of delectable cakes. It’s so hard to choose! Back on the boulevard, they make their way to the majestic building and glass pyramids of the Louvre Art Museum, where perhaps the world’s most famous painting—the Mona Lisa—hangs. A well-deserved rest comes in Tuileries Gardens, where the grandfather enjoys his favorite view and the girl makes a friend by the fountain pool.
It’s getting late and time to leave, but there is one more site to see. As the sun goes down and the night sky darkens, the grandfather treats his granddaughter to a magnificent event – the bright, twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower!
Through A Walk in Paris Salvatore Rubbino has created a beautiful armchair tour of one of the world’s great cities. The large format of this picture book allows for broad views of the landmarks and vistas, giving children a good idea of the vastness of the city. Each page is dotted with trivia and factual information, printed in small type that does not disturb the flow of the illustrations.
The illustrations in muted yet rich tones and with fine details aptly capture the culture and grandeur of the City of Lights. A fold-out page of the luminescent Eiffel Tower is sure to elicit some oohs and ahhs from children.
Ages 4 – 9 (the embedded facts and illustrations make this a good book for older children and research projects also)
Candlewick Press, 2014 | ISBN 978-0763669843
Eiffel Tower Day Activity
French Butter Cookies – Lemon and Chocolate
Whip up a batch of these delicious cookies to eat while enjoying A Walk in Paris. There’s no better way to spend a day than to take a trip for a new place—even if you do it in the coziness of your own room!
Ingredients for Lemon Cookies
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest (or to taste)
For Egg Wash
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
For Chocolate Cookies
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- In a bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until blended
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat just until incorporated. Do not over mix the dough. **For Chocolate Cookies use 1 ½ cups flour and add cocoa powder, cinnamon, and ground ginger before mixing**
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough a few times to bring it together, and then divide the dough in half.
- Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or until firm
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch (1 cm) thick.
- Using a lightly floured 2 inch (5 cm) round, fluted cookie cutter (or other cookie cutter of your choice), cut out the cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet of cut out cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 -20 minutes to chill the dough.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the egg with the water for the egg wash. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and brush the tops with the egg wash.
- Then, with the tines of a fork or a toothpick, make a crisscross pattern on the top of each cookie.
- Bake cookies for about 12-14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
- Cool cookies on wire rack.