Let’s be honest, your trip to Europe is incomplete if you miss out on the skyline of Paris. Most importantly, Eiffel Tower. I have always wondered what is so special about Eiffel Tower? Many have dreamt of visiting the beauty since childhood. I remember the first time I ever wanted to visit Paris solely for Eiffel Tower was when I saw Shammi Kapoor dancing away to glory in ‘An Evening in Paris’ song from the same movie.
Before I even go about my emotional experience with the place, let us dig into some facts and history about this mesmerising architecture –
- The structure was complete on March 31, 1889 and remained the tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York completed in 1930.
- The tower opened to the public for the very first time on May 15, 1889.
- It is almost 324 metres tall and weighs 10,100 tonnes.
- It was also the tallest structure in France until the construction of a military transmitter in Saissac in 1973.
- You can climb all the way to the top for which you need to walk up almost 1,665 steps. Hence, many prefer the lift.
- Did you know the tower shrinks by six inches during winter?
- The tower welcomes every year over 7 million people, making it the most-paid visited monument in the world.
- The construction took two years, two months, and five days – 180 years fewer than Paris’ other big attraction the Notre Dame.
- Over 20,000 lightbulbs are used to make the Eiffel Tower sparkle every night.
- From evening, the Eiffel Tower sparkles for 5 minutes hour on hour while its beacon shines over Paris.
The best part about the Eiffel Tower is you can see it from any part of the city. My first experience with the monument came through the River Seine cruise. I had a long flight from India and this cruise was a breather in the evening. On a Friday evening, I was standing at the top berth of the cruise and soaking all the cool breeze. It was perfect sunset and seemed like the sunset illuminated differently that day when I saw the Eiffel Tower so close from cruise.
I could not wait for the next day to watch the Tower up, close, and personal. No wonder Eiffel Tower is considered a symbol of love, it was love at first sight for me when I saw its grandeur. If you want to experience it, nothing matches the climb to the top. Yes, there is a lift but then you miss that little adventure and the architecture. Of course, there is COVID-19 on now, else the Eiffel Tower is open all year round from 9 AM to midnight.
I visited the place during the peak tourist season (May to September). There was line but as they say some experiences are worth the wait. The line movement is quick and we managed to get in within an hour. We decided to take the stairs and as I reached, the view was breathtaking. The third floor, the peak point of the Eiffel Tower, is the ideal point.
From this floor, the view is up to 85 kms, but theoretically, we get to see points 126.5 kms. You can take as many hours you want to catch the views of the city from left, right, and center. Even those few hours seem like seconds. While you take a look at the view, do not miss on some ice lollies or doughnuts in the floor.
While coming down, the stairs might seem steep but is worth it. Head to the first floor all the way and you will find hive of activity with restaurants, exhibition, various look-out points, and a documentary showing all the history related to the tower. Oh, missed a very crucial fact here, did you know the Tower literally moves with the wind? Yes, you can witness that from first floor. Also, the entry point view from the first floor makes the people look like caterpillars. I even found the perfect caterpillar shape.
The second floor too is pretty buzzing with restaurants and buffet. But the views from the first and second floor are incomparable to what you get to see from the top. The panorama view from the top is mind boggling and difficult to express in words. At the top of the antenna is an exclusive restaurant for which you need to make bookings. With a glass of champagne it is the perfect romantic experience with a view.
The exit point has seating arrangement and souvenir shop where you get the mini Eiffel Towers . You could also head to the lawn and admire the grandeur of this monument.
While travelling the world is a dream of almost every traveller, seeing the Eiffel Tower in its flesh is definitely a moment that goes on your travel bucket list for life (maybe again and again and again).
Although the actual birthday is on March 31st, you came into our lives on May 15. So, Happy Birthday, Eiffel Tower! 🙂