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Eiffel Tower

At 324m (1,063 ft) high, the Eiffel Tower is made of over 10,000 tons of metal and almost 3 million rivets. Its construction was met with huge opposition from the French elite and they called it a "metal asparagus" (among other, more derogotory names). They said it would mar the face of the beauty of Paris and be an open sore against the stunning skyline. Now it plays host to over six million tourists each year and has become the most widely recognized symbol of any city in the world.

There are three platforms a tourist can take elevators up to: one at 57m (187 ft), one at 116m (381 ft), and the last at 277m (910 ft) (which costs about $17 US). Some tourists are disappointed when they get to the Tower that they cannot go all the way to the top, but once they reach the third platform, most Don't want to, anyway. The truth about the Tower is that at the top platform it is very windy, very cold, and very uncomfortable. Not very romantic at all. If you haven't been there before and are considering making the trip to propose to your loved one... well, you should definitely rethink that plan. Sorry, Tom and Katie. There are a hundred spots in and around Paris more romantic than the Eiffel Tower; I'll leave it to you to explore and find out where they are... if you find a good spot, email me and I'll post it on this page.

When we were there, Paris was still considered as a contender location for the 2012 Olympics.
I have since heard that they have been dropped from the running.

Just because it's not romantic doesn't mean it's not a good place to visit during a stay in Paris. It's almost obligatory! When you go, just make sure you take in a wide view of the Tower. Approach the tower from at least a block away so you can get a real idea of its girth. Take a walk around it; see it from every viewpoint. There are so many good photo opportunities around the Tower... not so much when you're on a platform, though, unless you're taking pictures of the surrounding city.

Here are two photos of the "legs" of the tower and the stair access and elevator workings inside them.

Make sure you schedule an adequate block of time when you visit the Eiffel Tower. A visitor doesn't just get there, zip up to the top, take pictures, then go on their way. There are lines for everything. Lines to get a ticket, lines to get on each of the elevators, lines for the gift shop, etc. Dress warmly if you're coming during any time other than summer. A trip to the Eiffel Tower is a half-day excursion.

When you are there, beware of pickpockets. Here, more than at any other monument in Paris, is a danger of your personal items being lifted by a skilled Parisian thief.

Another thing people are always shocked to find out when they reach the top of the Eiffel Tower is that the best views are from the second platform, not the third. The third platform is small, but has a neat "where's what" map of the surrounding cityscape. Go to the third platform if you must, just to say you wen to the "top of the Eiffel Tower", but spend a good amount of time getting the pictures you want on the second platform.

Some people will tell you to go during the day and some people will tell you to go at night. There are pros and cons to both. My advice would definitely not to do both unless you are a professional photographer. The skylines are stunning at night, but you won't be able to make out the individual landmarks. If your schedule is packed, you might want to go at night anyway, when everything else is closed.

Below are some of the stunning views of Paris from the second and third platforms.

A shot of the elevator and all the anxious, freezing
tourists as they wait to descend to ground level.


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