I am sure Eiffel Tower doesn’t need any introduction. It must be one of the most recognized structures in the whole world. It is located on the Champ de Mars in Paris and is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.
The tower stands 320 metres (1,050 ft) tall and has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by stairs or lift (elevator), to the first and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift, stairs exist but they are not usually open for public use.
When we were in Paris, one of the things we really wanted to do was to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. After all, we were in the city of love so there was no reason for us to not to go to the top of the iconic structure and see one of the most beautiful city.
So with that in mind we went to the Eiffel Tower after we finished dinner with our group. By that time we had seen the tower a couple of times form our bus as well as from a view point which is south of Champ de Mars where you can get beautiful photos of the tower. These are some of the wonderful photos AS and I took on those occasions.
After dinner, our tour bus took us to another location, Jardins de Trocadero from where the view was even better than from the ones before. We took a few photos there and told the guide to leave us there so we can walk to the top of the tower.
As we were walking, we saw a few cops talking on the side of the road we were on. When they looked at us, they smiled. One of them started talking to us and asked if I wanted a photo with them. Of course I said yes and here is my photo with a nice French policeman 🙂
After that we kept walking toward the tower. The first time we saw the tower up close, it was an amazing experience. It is very beautiful and bigger than any movie or any postcards I have ever seen. We just loved it so much. Delicate and graceful when seen from afar, the Eiffel is massive — even a bit scary — from close up. You don’t appreciate the size until you walk toward it; like a mountain, it seems so close but takes forever to reach.
We knew that there would be a queue to go up so when we were at the foot of the tower; we were not surprised to see a long queue. We were informed that out of 4 lifts in four legs of the tower, only one was working and it would be a long wait.
We didn’t mind walking the 600+ steps (we did a nice walk in St Paul’s cathedral in London as well) so AS and I decided we would get the ticket for the stairs rather than wait for the lift. It took a while for us to get the tickets as we were in queue for the lift for over an hour before we realised that we were in the wrong queue. So another 30 minutes in the right queue and finally we got the ticket. While we were in the queue it started to drizzle (after a great day) so we had our umbrella opened while waiting.
I was really happy when we got our tickets as the wait was finally over. It cost us around 10 euros (5 euro more for the lift) for the trip. I am sure we could have bought tickets online to avoid the queue but it was a good experience to queue and admire Eiffel tower from close up while waiting in the queue.
The sun had set by that time and the lights on the tower were just lit. It is so true when they say that there is something magical about visiting the Eiffel Tower at night. Every evening, the Eiffel Tower is adorned with its golden covering and sparkles for 5 minutes every hour on the hour, while its beacon shines over Paris.
So we started our first leg of the journey to the First level of the tower. For the first 100 steps it was exciting as there were lots of information about the tower on the side walls as we went up. Then when we passed 200 steps it was getting a bit tiring and the rain didn’t help.
I was huffing and puffing at that stage but we had to push ourselves until we finish another 100+ steps get to the first level. It was a great workout and we did bypass the lines for the elevators. But it was windy as we went to the top and even with my warm coat, I was freezing. After 328 steps, I was ready to rest for a while when we finally reached the first level.
Looking out from the top over the streets of Paris, you’ll see why Paris is known as the “City of Light.” At street level, seeing the spotlight on the top of the Tower zoom across the Paris skyline and the reflection of the Tower in the Seine are sights not to be missed.
We walked around the floor and were mesmerised by the beautiful city. On the first floor, there is a working post office from where you can send a postcard home with an Eiffel Tower postmark to commemorate your trip. The floor also has a snack bar, WCs (toilets) and souvenir shop.
We have to climb 340 steps more to get to the second floor. This floor was a bit crowed when we got there but it was still worth it. The best views of Paris were from the 2nd level. You are high enough up to see the stunning panorama of the Paris skyline. Yet not too high; so that you can easily recognize most Paris landmarks without using a map. With a panoramic view over Paris, we stopped there for a while to enjoy the amazing view.
On this level, there is a restaurant, Le Jules Vernes which is remarkable for its breathtaking views of the city and for its kitchen, which is led by celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse.
After that we decided to take the lift to the top floor. We followed the signs to the elevator line for the ride to the top. There was a queue so we joined it. While in this queue we saw comparisons of Effile tower with land marks around the world including Nepal. It was nice to see Nepali flag there.
After we caught the lift, we were landed on top level of the tower. It was even more crowded as the area is small. We walked around identifying a few of our favourite Paris landmarks, took a peek through the window at Gustave Eiffel’s office (he has an American visitor!), and snapped a few photos and took the lift back to the second level.
The journey back was much better. As I climbed down the steps and finished this amazing adventure I wondered how lucky we were to experience such an amazing adventure.
By that time it was almost midnight. And when we were just on the bridge in front of the tower, we witness the lights. For 5 minutes, the sparkle lights came on, almost equalled by sparkles from all the camera flashes going off below. Very, very nice aseverybody around us were excited, and having fun. Even though we had been up in other tower like Burj Khalifa and others before, it was still very special.
Some interesting facts amount the tower:
- The American TV show pricing the Priceless speculates that in 2011 the tower would cost about $480,000,000 to build, that the land under the tower is worth $350,000,000, and that the scrap value of the tower is worth $3,500,000. The TV show estimates the tower makes a profit of about $29,000,000 per year, though it is unlikely that the Eiffel Tower is managed so as to maximize profit.
- The electric bill is $400,000 per year for 7.5 million kilowatt-hours.
- In hot weather, it’s six inches taller.
- Annual visitors : almost 7 million, 75% of whom are foreigners
- Tall : 324 metres (with its antennas)
- Weight : 7,300 tonnes of metallic framework, and a total weight of 10,100 tonnes
- Number of metallic parts : 18,000 metallic parts joined by 2,500,000 rivets
- Height of each floor :1st floor: 57m; 2nd floor: 115m; 3rd floor: 276m
- Lighting : 336 projectors (sodium lamps)
- Sparkling lights: 20,000 bulbs (5,000 on each side) glitter for 5 minutes every hour on the hour, from nightfall until 1a.m.
- Number of antennas : 120 antennas
- Number of steps on the East staircase until the top : 1,665 steps
- Number of lifts : From the ground floor up to the 2nd floor: 5 (1 on the eastern pillar, 1 on the western pillar, 1 on the northern pillar, 1 private lift on the southern pillar leading to the “Jules Verne” restaurant, and 1 goods lift on the southern pillar). From the 2nd floor up to the top: 2 sets of 2 Duo-lifts.
- Kilometers travelled by the lift : The combined distance travelled of the lift cabins is 103,000 km a year (2.5 times the circumference of the Earth).
- Surface to be painted: 250,000 m2 of surface to be painted during each painting campaign, every 7 years. 60 tonnes of paint are needed.
- Thanks to restoration on the Eiffel Tower, the engraved names of 72 French scientists and engineers from the original design are visible again. Most of the scientists were active during the French Revolution and the early 19th century. The engravings were covered over in the early 20th century and restored for the first time in 1986-1987, and again last in 2010.