PARIS, FRANCE. One of Paris’ many prized landmarks is the famous Tour Eiffel. Standing at about 320 meters, this iron icon is the tallest structure in the “City of Light” and constantly attracts Parisians and foreigners alike. Interestingly, this tower was built for a World Fair in 1889 and was meant to be temporary. At the time, many people were unimpressed with the Eiffel and felt that it was not aesthetically pleasing at all. Over time it has become a symbol of the city and of France itself and serves as a centerpiece for tourism and celebrations such as New Years, Bastille Day, and the French Open tennis tournament.
While living in Paris, I loved viewing the tower from across the River Seine at the Trocadero plaza. This spot offers an incredible outlook of the Eiffel especially at night when it sparkles at the top of every hour after sunset. A second phenomenal spot is the lovely Champs des Mars park located directly behind the tower. This area is a fun and delicious way to enjoy the tower as it is a hot spot for picnics. Simply purchase a bottle of wine, cheese, and a baguette and you’re set for a wonderful experience; it is a must-do Parisian activity and was one of my favorite ways to spend an evening!
I’ll admit that at first I did not have any interest in climbing the tower. I assumed it was a tourist trap and was turned off by the ticket lines that always had at least two hundred people. I thought it didn’t make sense to pay for a view of the city without the tower in it; boy, was I wrong! Near the end of my semester, I met with two friends for a picnic and when we started heading home we noticed there was no line! That was the first time that happened during my five months there. We spontaneously decided to walk up to the second level and after climbing over a thousand steps we made it. Throughout the climb the view through the iron was gorgeous and the steps were numbered to keep track of our progress. There were signs displaying the history of the tower and comparing its height to other famous structures around the world.
The view at each level only got better as we made our way to the top. Luckily, by the time the lift brought us to the third level it was dark so the view showcased all of Paris’ sights clearly; the Arc d’Triomphe, Louvre, Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur shined brightly in the distance and we saw river cruises chugging along the Seine. I’ll caution you that the wind is incredibly strong at the top so wearing layers and bringing cameras with straps is the best way to go. The line to take the lift down to the ground level can take a while, but the scenery is too beautiful for it to seem long.
If you visit the majestic city of Paris, I highly recommend the climb! If you are not keen on walking up the stairs you can pay extra to take the lift all the way. Regardless of how you ascend the tower, I promise the effort to get to the top is absolutely worth it.