Friday, October 16, 2009

And on Day 58.... the Eiffel Tower

While our guests had visited the Eiffel Tower (or, Tour Eiffel), we had deferred until my daughters visited. We were only going to go up once!

So, on day 58, we finally made it. Fortunately, we had a clear day in the midst of what turned out to be a largely dreary week weather-wise.

We tried to get there early on a chilly morning but we didn't make it till about 10a. The line was long but moved fast. Only the east tower was open unless you wanted to walk to the top on the south tower. Tickets to level 2 are 8 EUR. If you want to go to the top, it's an additional 5 EUR (13 EUR total).

We've been to the top maybe 3 other times on previous trips but never in the morning. The best feature of morning visits is the shadow of the Eiffel Tower over the Trocadero.

The Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world (almost 7 million per year). At 1063 ft tall, it was the tallest structure in the world when it was built as the entrance arch for the 1889 World's Fair. Controversial at the time, it has become a universally recognized icon of Paris and even France.

It is difficult to assess the size of the structure from a distance (and it IS viewable from everywhere in Paris unless obstructed by a building); it is only when you are under it that you are really amazed.

Having been in Paris for 8 weeks, many of the landmarks are recognizable now and it is fun to place everything in perspective from above, from the Hippodrome Longchamps in Bois de Bologne, to La Defense, to Avenue Montaigne, to the Arc de Triomphe and Palais des Congres, to Place de la Concorde, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Pantheon, Val de Grace (two blocks from our apartment), Luxembourg Gardens, the Grand Palais and the nearby Napoleon's Tomb.

You can also look down into the courtyards of the nearby apartment buildings. From the street level you only see the facades of the buildings but each one has an inner courtyard creating its own little sanctuary or fortress from the outside world that are rarely visible to outsiders.

These are a few of the better pictures I took mostly from the second level (as my camera battery died on the top level!).

Shadow of tower across Seine River to Trocadero (NW)

Montmartre and Sacre Coeur in the distance with Pont Alma in the foreground and Avenue Montaigne pointing toward Sacre Coeur beginning at end of the bridge (NE)

Champs des Mar with Montparnasse Tower in the distance (SE)

Looking up at the Eiffel Tower from Level 2

Montmartre and Sacre Coeur (NE)

Man looking SE towards Montparnasse Tower

La Defense (NW)

Shadow of tower over Trocadero with La Defense in the distance

Seine River to the southwest. At the end of the artificial island in the middle (Ile aux Cygnes) is the model replica of the Statue of Liberty

A wider view of the Seine River facing southwest with Ile aux Cygnes in the middle

Champs des Mar (SE)

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