Just a glance at the Eiffel Tower transports me back to Paris! It oozes romance and a sense of place. I still remember excitedly searching for the tower on my first visit in my 20s. It just wasn’t Paris until I saw the much-anticipated tower! The Eiffel Tower was not always as well regarded. When it was first built in 1889, it was seen as a hideous monstrosity that marred the cityscape of Paris. The tower was intended to be a temporary exhibit—only for twenty years. This 1063 ft, 10,100 ton marvel was saved after it was discovered that it had radio tower capabilities. It was the tallest building in the world until the Chrysler Building was completed in 1930.
Gustave Eiffel created the tower for the 1889 Exposition Universelle to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution. The construction in 2 years, 2 months and 5 days was quite an achievement and a defining moment of the industrial era.
In order to make the project more palatable to the Parisians, Eiffel contracted Stephen Sauvestre to beautify the project a bit. Although Sauvestre’s initial proposal was simplified, elements such as the large arches at the base and bulb-shaped top were retained give it a more pleasing appearance.
For me, I think there is such a delicate beauty in the design, which is a bit surprising for a metal tower. It’s part of the attraction to Le Tour Eiffel.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower
The tower has three floors to discover. If you dine at Jules Verne, you take a private elevator up to the second floor. If you wish to go farther up to the top before or after your meal, you may simply purchase a ticket to go to the top. Upon departure, you may either take the Jules Verne elevator down to the ground or wait in line for the elevator to take you to the first floor where you will find the transparent floor.
With its transparent floor and its glass balustrades, the 1st floor offers you a breathtaking view. Step onto the glass floor, 57m from the ground, and experience the unique sensation of stepping out into the void.
The Second Floor gives some great sightseeing opportunities! You have a panoramic view of the Seine and Paris.
At the top floor, it can be difficult to see the city if the weather is inclement. On a clear day, however, one can see pretty far (albeit not in the same detail as on the second floor). The best thing (in my book) about the top floor is the Champagne Bar! Visitors have a choice between a white and a rose—offering a lovely selfie moment toasting to the top of the world in Paris. The bar is open from mid-day until around 5:15pm, closes for an hour and reopens until 10:45pm.
At dusk, the tower shimmers for five minutes every hour on the hour until 1 am in the winter and 2 am in the summer. Le Tour Eiffel does love to revel those night owls!
The Eiffel Tower is open every day of the year from 9 a.m. to midnight from mid-June to early September, and from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the rest of the year. At Easter weekend and during the Spring holidays the tower has extended opening hours to midnight. The last entrance is 45 minutes before closing time. Advance skip the line tickets are highly, highly recommended (or reservations at the restaurant). The lines here can be lengthy!
Contact us to help plan your next visit to Paris!
Becky Lukovic is an experienced travel advisor in the Roswell/Johns Creek area. She fell in love with the City of Light on her first visit in 1995 as a young backpacker on a journey through Europe. Becky is a certified Western Europe specialist and a specialist in traveling in France. She can be reached directly at 770.702.0787. In-Person and Skype/Facetime meetings by appointment.