Okay. This is it. The Eiffel Tower post is finally here. Let’s get started, shall we?
From Gare Du Nord, I took the RER B down to St. Michel – Notre-Dame station. From there, I took the RER C to Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel, where I exited and caught my first up close glimpse of the tower.
It was a little surreal walking under the Eiffel Tower and it took a while to grasp that I was actually there and not just seeing it in a movie or TV show. You can go up the tower in three of its four pillars. Two of the pillars use an elevator to take you up, while one is for stairclimbers only. Before I arrived, I was determined to climb the stairs since I read that it was faster than the line for the elevators and it would be such a cool thing to do. If I have any advice from this day, it is to CLIMB THE STAIRS if you can! It took me maybe less than ten minutes to go through the line, buy my ticket, and start making my way up. I was so surprised that it was that easy. A stair ticket valid up to the 2nd floor is €7 (~$7.73 USD) while an elevator ticket also valid up to the 2nd floor is €11 (~$12.14 USD).
As you climb, you get to see some of the details of the ironwork and there are a few information boards that give you some tidbits on the monument. The tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world when it was completed in 1889 for the World’s Fair. There were protests and criticisms of the tower when it was being built, but today it is the most-visited paid monument in the world. Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s engineer namesake, also worked on other structures around the world including the USA’s Statue of Liberty and the Philippines’ Santa Cruz de la Laguna Bridge in Manila. That last bit was totally unexpected.
It doesn’t take too long to get to the first floor and there is actually a lot of space there to walk around. There’s even a glass floor near the center that allows you to look down at all the people underneath. The first floor includes some restaurants (I bought a croque-monsieur for lunch), a gift shop, a film about the tower, and some more information boards to learn about the tower’s history and status as an icon.
And then there are the views.
I took the stairs to the second floor, where there are more places to eat and shop, and checked out the skyline from there as well.
I didn’t end up going to the summit of the tower since there was a huge line to take the elevator and I didn’t even have a ticket. It didn’t actually bother me too much though, since I had a great experience already and I figured that it would be a lot nicer if I could go to the top with a special someone sometime in the future. There’s supposed to even be a champagne bar up there. I think that when I do go up the Eiffel Tower again, I would like to time it a little before sunset so I can get a different view from what I saw already.
When I descended from the tower, I walked down the Champs de Mars, the grassy area by the Eiffel Tower, to get a full view and take some more pictures. Then, I went to get some ice cream (pistachio and strawberry) and walk around a bit before making it back to my hostel to rest.
My day at the tower was not over just yet though. I wanted to come back before sunset, but before that, I went on a side quest to find some macarons. I ended up finding a small bakery called Poupart Piquot and bought a box of eight. Unlike some of he more high-end places, there wasn’t a large selection of macarons to choose from and the woman just packed up a few of the three flavors that they did have in the box. Still, I think the reason that they have only three flavors is that they make them so well. I believe that they were raspberry, pistachio, and rose, and while I typically love pistachio flavors, the rose surprised me a lot and was one of my favorite macaron flavors that I’ve ever tried. I took my box onto the grass of the Champs de Mars and enjoyed a few of these treats as the sky started to get darker.
The sunset was just gorgeous.
When it got dark, the tower started its sparkling light show again, though I had already seen it happen once before while I was at the top of the Arc de Triomphe. I decided to move from my spot and go closer to the tower again to take pictures of it lit up in the dark.
The other side of the tower was surprisingly purple. You couldn’t tell from the Champ de Mars side, but once you pass through to the other side, the illumination is pretty striking. That side had its own light show and highlighted the campaign for breast cancer awareness, which I thought was pretty awesome.
It’s such a strange feeling seeing such a huge icon up close. Like I said earlier, it was surreal because I had seen the Eiffel Tower a lot in film and print media and I’ve even seen glimpses of it at different points in Paris, but to see the real deal, to climb it, and to even get to touch it is really special.