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Eiffel Tower Tour Guide

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La Tour Eiffel

paris city tour guide
la tour eiffeleiffel tower paris photosYou would be hard pressed to find anybody who posed a vacant look when asked if they had heard of the Eiffel Tower. It stands as one of the world’s most recognised landmarks, and is visible across most parts of Paris.

I’m not sure what the general consensus on the Eiffel Tower is with local Parisians. At the time it was built it met with a lot of derision and scorn, with at least 300 prominent Parisians petitioning against its erection. This disdain from the Parisians, may also be true to a degree today; my girlfriend (a Parisian) certainly has no fondness for this iron framed protrusion, but then she did work a short period in one of its restaurants, and so her own opinion is somewhat biased. I see it as a welcomed friend. Whenever I feel lost within the city, you can usually catch a glimpse of it between streets, looming over the historic architecture that transports Paris back into a worldly era. On a cloudy day its iron mass can be a dark, hard and lifeless blight on the skyline, but at night, it illuminates and glows (and twinkles quite ferociously on the hour in an impressive light display; whether tacky or not is down to individual tastes).


eiffel tower, paris photos, sunrise

   Photo: Sunrise at the Eiffel Tower. It was very early; I was very tired.

eiffel tower elevatorthe eiffel towerDespite the opposition and claims that it would collapse, manipulate Paris’ weather or act as a lightening rod to kill all the fish in the Seine, Gustave Eiffel, persevered to build the same tower we know today, far outliving its conceived lifespan. These days the Eiffel Tower draws scores of tourists. I always remember the school rumours that if a penny dropped from the top of the Eiffel Tower it would embed in the skull and kill a person; fortunately with a little more age, I can put rest to such playground banter, but it might sting a little! There are around 4 suicides a year from the tower however, but I’ve never heard of a case of a falling body landing on an innocent bystander below. There is one more thing I must mention before I can look into the positive side of things (don’t cancel your planned visit yet!), and that is do not fall victim to the usual tourist traps. Where there is scores of tourists, you will find people wanting your money. By all means it is your money to do and give to whom you please, but you will find a lot of sellers pushing trinkets of the Eiffel Tower who will most likely approach you. You may also find women asking if you speak English. If you respond, they will show you a placard with a generic tale of hardship, wanting money. I will leave the moral dilemmas to my reader, but it is something to bear in mind, as few people can escape it. If you’re not interested then it is better to simply ignore them and avoid eye contact.

GETTING TO THE EIFFEL TOWER

On a nice day, if you’re near the Seine and anywhere near some of the tourist sites – e.g. Notre Dame, Orsay Museum, Place de la Concorde or the Louvre… it doesn’t take too long to follow the river west, and finding the tower would only prove difficult on the foggiest of days. I’ve always approached the Eiffel Tower from the metro station ‘Trocadero’ on line 9, but that is only because I live just a few stops down on this line. When you come up from Trocadero on line 9, you do not immediately see the Eiffel Tower, but as you walk a few steps forward and look around the corner of the building, there is a large open viewing platform, and a great view across to the Tower. You would then need to walk down the steps and across to the tower, but it is not far. Alternatively you can take line 6 to Bir-Hakeim and either walk from there, or according to the map, you can change train at Bir-Hakeim and catch one train stop to Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel, which I imagine would pretty much take you somewhere extremely close to the tower.

eiffel tower views
Photo: A view of apartments from the Eiffel Tower


If you choose to walk the Eiffel tower’s steps, you’ll find the queues far kinder, and unlike the steps, the price less steep. The stairs really aren’t too bad; you can take them two at a time as I once did with my brother during a whirlwind tour of Paris (something I cannot recommend), but there are a lot of them. By the time you reach the second stage, you will have to take an elevator to reach the very top regardless. There’s a pay booth near the final elevator where you can purchase a ticket for the end of the journey. Although it is human nature to want to scale the top of things, the views from the second floor will give you an excellent bird’s eye view, and if you forego the last leg of the journey you needn’t feel you missed out on too much, except the scenery being that little bit smaller.

eiffel tower photo
Photo: View from First Floor of Eiffel Tower. (you can go much higher)

Eiffel Tower Statistics

Visitor Numbers Approximately 6 million visitors a year
Height 324 metres (1063 feet)
Weight 10,000 tonnes
Steps 1660
Construction Period 2 years, 2 months, 5 days
Rivets 2.5 million
Steel Pieces 18,038
Workers 300 Steel workers, laboured on its construction
Maintenance Painted every 7 years, using 50 tonnes of paint. Requires 25 men painting throughout the year.
Wind Design Built to withstand the elements, it can sway 6 or 7 cm.


For more information about the Eiffel Tower, please click here.

paris city tour guide


eiffel tower, paris in photos
© Paris in Photos 2008