After walking around Paris for most of the day taking in one must-see attraction after another, I was excited to see the Eiffel Tower straight ahead, looking as if it had sprouted from the ground.
The images I had in my head from movies and television and photographs dwarfed in comparison to the real thing. It was impressive!
Up close, the Eiffel Tower, with its intricate lattice work, is a marvel of modern engineering.
At 1,063 feet, it is among the tallest structures in the world. Its base measures approximately 330 feet. Completed in 1889, the Tower was named after Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who designed it.
Throngs of people milled around the base, hundreds more waited on one of two lines – one to climb the stairs to the first and second floors, the other, the elevator to the second floor and the top.
I sat for a while, debating whether I’d go up. Once I decided, there was no question: I’d take the stairs — not the elevator with the longer line. It would be a good 45 minutes to an hour before I reached the ticket counter.
I’d say the first 100 steps were a breeze compared to the next 200. I had to stop several times to catch my breath. But it also gave me a chance to take some photos.
When I made it to the first floor 347 steps later, I felt very proud. I headed straight for the first table to rest.
When I reached the first floor, I couldn’t imagine going to the next level. But after getting a bottle of water from the concession stand and feeling my heart had returned to beating normally, I realized it was time to go. Of course, seeing other people doing it, didn’t help either.
Reaching the 500th step of the 674 steps to the second floor. I knew when I returned home there’d be some who wouldn’t believe I’d done it, so I brought proof.
The second floor was crawling with people – those who had taken the elevator up, those returning from the top and others, like me, who climbed up. The second floor is also the location of a second ticket window where those who wanted to, could buy tickets to the elevator to the top and the souvenir shop. It’s also where the second, more expensive, restaurant is to be found.
Looking towards the top from the second floor.
I was still undecided whether to go up. The lines were long and I needed to join the line again to get another ticket. I mulled it over as I took more photos of the beautiful scenery below. (I just noticed the shadow of the Eiffel in this one.)
I’m not sure how long I hung around snapping photo after photo before I joined the ticket line.
It was another 30-45 minutes before I got up to the window, maybe 20 more minutes to get on the elevator and a few minutes to get to the top.
As we began our ascent, I looked down — we weren’t going very fast — and my stomach lurched. It settled after a few seconds, and I watched as people and things on the ground became increasingly smaller.
Exiting the elevator, I was surprised and delighted to see this little flag of Jamaica on the Eiffel Tower!!
The view at the top is breathtaking. Unfortunately, since it’s enclosed, I had to take photos from the windows. They all picked up the film of dirt on the window.
It was after 8 p.m. and I wanted to be on the ground to see the lights that begin at 9 p.m. It started as I was descending and ended before I got to the ground. I wanted to wait for the next one at 10 p.m. but I was hungry and tired and still had a 30 minute metro ride back to the hotel.
I had spent more than 5 hours there but it was well worth it. I said my goodbye to the Eiffel Tower around 9:30 p.m.
Climbing the steps to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower then taking the elevator to the top was the highlight of my three days in Paris.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower
Hours: The Eiffel Tower is open everyday from 9:30 – midnight but check the website for exact times in the summer months.
Tickets: Stairs to the 2nd Floor: €4,70 – If you want to climb the stairs to the second floor, like I did, you’ll have to purchase your ticket when you get there.
Elevator to the 2nd Floor: €8, 20
Elevator to top: €13,40
As with any attraction, vendors selling souvenir keychains, water, etc., are everywhere. There’s also a souvenir shop on the second level.
Restaurants are on the first and second levels.