Of all the places to see in Paris, what is a must? Well, if you’re like our daughter, it’s the Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel). Even before we moved to Spain, she was talking about how she wanted to go to France, and visit the Eiffel Tower. As you know, we spent the Christmas holiday in Paris with my mom. There was a lot of walking involved, but Paris is truly a beautiful city. Heidi and I first visited on our 1 year wedding Anniversary and were forever touched by Paris the city of love.
First off, some basic facts:
- Engineered and built by the firm owned by Gustavo Eiffel
- Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World”s Fair
- It is the tallest structure in Paris
- It stands 1,050 feet (320 meters) tall
- It was used to communicate with aliens (just seeing if you’re paying attention)
- Was supposed to be dismantled in 1909 (20 year permit)
On a more personal level, it’s big. The first time I saw it, I was amazed at how big it is. Movies and pictures don’t give a good impression of just how large the Eiffel Tower really is.
The weather was chilly, but not too cold, and while overcast, the visibility was very good. It was a great day to see the tower, so with a trip on the Metro, and a short walk, we arrived to see a longish line. I’m generally not a big fan of lines (who is?), but this is one of those things where you just say, “What the heck!”, and wait. The kids ran around a bit, and there were vendors walking around selling (you guessed it), Eiffel Tower souvenirs. Red ones, green ones, big ones, small ones, lighted ones, laser ones. You name it, it was there.
While waiting in line, we started reading some of the messages on the displays. The top observation level was “Temporarily Closed“. What the hell does that mean?! I wasn’t sure if it was a maintenance thing, or a capacity thing, or what, but I was very disappointed at the prospect of not getting to see the top. I felt bad for my mom and the kids, but at least we were going to be able to take the tour.
The line moved along in fits and spurts, and we are 8 people away from paying, the Temporarily Closed sign was removed. We are going to the top! We are super excited, and our daughter is about bursting out of her skin, she’s so excited. At the top, it’s crowded, but I’m able to snap a picture of a very happy little girl. It was very windy, but the views were magnificent. I snapped a bunch of pictures, but to be honest, they didn’t turn out as well as I wanted, and they lose a bit of “context” if you know what I mean.
When we were done, Heidi and the kids decided to walk down the steps. Each 754 of them! Mom and I took the more leisurely elevator ride down to the bottom, and waited. While we were waiting, I was watching people walk down the steps, and lo and behold, I see three very tiny people waving at me from above. They are small, but not so small that I don’t recognize them.
Once we were all back together, we decided to go across the river to the Trocadéro to:
A. Get a crêpe or two;
B. See the Eiffel Tower from another vantage point;
Again, the view was impressive. It’s funny to think that at the time the Eiffel Tower was being built, people ridiculed Monsieur Eiffel and his creation. Once we had taken pictures, and soaked in the vibe, we decided to head back to the apartment for some well-earned rest.
A Morning Visit
Prior to our visit, I checked with Mr. Google, and asked him where the sunrise would take place. He informed me that at this time of year, the sunrise is almost directly behind the Eiffel Tower. Luckily, the rain let up for a day, and I got up relatively early, and with the kids in tow, we traveled directly to the Trocadéro to take some early morning shots. I was actually very surprised that both kids wanted to go, but they were excellent assistants, and were good sports about the chilly morning.
While I was getting set up, they were watching the sunrise, and were obviously cold, so I told them to go to the vendor, and get something to warm them up. When you are in Paris, what is the one thing guaranteed to warm you up? Yes. That’s right. A Nutella and Banana Crêpe! Both kids got one, and it warmed them, or at least distracted them from the cold.
My mom left for home later that morning. We walked her to the taxi area near the apartment, and said our sad goodbyes.
A Nighttime Visit
From our apartment in Clichy (just outside Paris), we could see the just the tip of the Eiffel Tower. It looked very beautiful at night, so the four of us took the Metro to the Trocadéro again, and it was packed with people who had the same idea. The Eiffel Tower was gorgeous lit up at night. More pictures were taken, and the evening was perfect, except for the absence of Mom.
I’m trying to become more adept at taking photos, and some of the shots are plain, while others are more artsy. If there is a particular photo you like, e-mail me, and I can send you a link to a high-res version.