What could be a more iconic picture of Europe that a sweeping shot over the Paris skyline complete with a view of the Eiffel Tower standing tall above the one of the most beautiful cities in the world?
Thousands of people across the planet spent their childhood dreaming of seeing this structure in the flesh one day, myself included, and for many it invokes a very emotional response. When traveling the world is one of your lifelong dreams, seeing the Eiffel Tower is one of those moments that goes on your travel bucket list for life. Once I took my first glimpse of its grandeur, that’s when I really knew all my dreams had come true.
Built in 1889, the Eiffel Tower stands 324 meters (1,063ft) tall and held the title as the tallest building in the world for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City took over. Once the antennae was added, the Eiffel Tower was then taller than the Chrysler Building but by that time other buildings had taken over in height and the Eiffel Tower could not compete.
When the Tower was being commissioned, it was met with a lot of protest from the artistic community in Paris who believed it would be an eyesore on the Paris skyline. The designer, Gustave Eiffel, met this criticism with a proclamation that the Tower would one day be comparable to the pyramids in Egypt. Although the Eiffel Tower doesn’t have any of the ancient mystery that the pyramids do, it certainly has become one of the most famous structures in the world, and a symbol of the City of Love – ironically a very romantic and artistic notion which appeals to the kind of people that once protested its construction.
The Eiffel Tower can be seen from all over Paris, including out hotel Mövenpick Neuilly, but if you really want to experience it, you must climb it. It is open all year round, and hours range from around 9am to midnight, depending on the time of year and whether you take the stairs or lift. The stairs only take you up to the second floor, so if you want to go all the way to the top you have to make sure you don’t miss the last lift if you want to catch the beautiful view of the Paris skyline at night – our personal favorite time to see it!
The first floor of the Eiffel Tower is a hive of activity with a restaurant, exhibitions, various look-out points to buildings and popular spots in the city, a souvenir shop, a cinema showing information about everything related to the Tower and it’s history, a Post Office, and an observation point where you can look up to the top of the tower and see how it oscillates depending on the wind and temperature. Yes, the Tower really does move in the wind.
The second floor also has a number of things to keep you occupied, including a restaurant and buffet, The Story Window, which explains the construction of the Eiffel Tower and gives you all you need to know about how the building came into existence, plus a vision which will give you plunging views of the ground below, not for anyone who’s afraid of heights!
The views you get from first and second floor of the Eiffel Tower really are incomparable to what you can see from the very top. The panoramas of the city from the top level are completely mind blowing, and the view you can see for miles and miles from this level is almost impossible to explain. If you want a truly decadent day, why not treat yourself to a glass of champagne at the bar on the top level, the perfect way to toast to your Eiffel Tower experience.
For information on entry or tour prices visit www.tour-eiffel.fr
Thank you to XCom Global for helping us stay connected during our European Road Trip with their MiFi device.
Have you ever gone to the top of the Eiffel Tower?