June 3, 2015
The Eiffel Tower (named after the engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel) was erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the World’s Fair. Initially it was criticized and called, “elephant”, a “giraffe”, a “hulking metal beast crouched on all fours,” but eventually it was accepted and has become synonymous with Paris and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.
For only €5 you can take the stairs all the way to the second floor, which is a bit of a hike but offers you the opportunity to really see the structure up close and appreciate what went into designing and building it. The line for the stairs is almost always shorter than the line for the elevator so if time is short that is something worth considering.
The first floor has a cafe, washrooms, gift shop and a new glass floor section that only induces a mild case of vertigo.
From the second floor the elevator ride to the top is another €6.50, but it’s not possible to climb all the way by yourself…and I’m not sure many people would be up for the challenge. Once at the top it’s cold and windy and crowded, but the view is lovely.
Seeing the Arc de Triomphe from the Eiffel was like zeroing in on a target as that was where I was heading next.
The Arc de Triomphe was designed in 1806 and honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. The names of all French victories and generals are inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces and beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.
Although the weather was a bit off today I think it helped to keep some of the crowds away. The Louvre is open late tonight (Wednesdays and Fridays) so I hope our luck holds out and it’s not too much of a zoo when we go later tonight.