Our journey to the Eiffel Tower was a bit of a race, where we weren’t sure we’d make it to our ‘Paris Night Combo: Skip-the-Line Eiffel Tower Tour and Seine River Cruise with Champagne’, and that would have been devastating. We only had about 28 hours in Paris and this tour was priority one. You can read about our race to make the tour here. This article is all about our tour up and into the Eiffel Tower.
The ‘Skip-the-Line Eiffel Tower Tour’ is very much an incredibly interesting history lesson in the most beautiful classroom on Earth.
We learned the Eiffel Tower was built for the International Exhibition of Paris of 1889, commemorating the centenary of the French Revolution. It was named after its builder, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (pronounced by the French with the emphasis on the last syllable, different from how most of us pronounce the tower.)
Surprisingly, the people of France originally hated the Eiffel Tower, considering it an eyesore.
We learned it sways up to 12 cm during high winds, and the height varies up to 15 cm, depending on temperatures.
It was almost torn down in 1909, but was saved because of its antenna – used for telegraphy at that time.
There are 1652 steps to the top, but you don’t have to climb those steps. There are elevators to each of the three floors. The first two floors have restaurants where you can make reservations to eat. Our tour took us to the second floor.
For a few more euros, we were able to take an elevator to the third floor, where we were just feet from the antenna that saved it. On that third floor, we could also see the office where Eiffel hosted dignitaries such as Thomas Edison.
The best part of all: the views. It’s as incredible as it sounds to stand on the third floor and soak up the one-of-a-kind views of the city, especially at night.
It’s one thing to stand at the bottom, or across the river, and see the Eiffel Tower all lit up—especially when it twinkles on the hour all night, looking like a glittery tower of pixie dust. It’s another to be standing in—on—the tower looking out.
My favorite fact picked up from the trip to the top: There’s a mini-version of the Statue of Liberty right there on the Seine, but she’s facing our statue in New York Harbor on Liberty Island, torch raised as if the two women are waving hello across so many miles.
Sometimes, words and pictures just can’t tell the story, so here’s a video of our adventure. Don’t miss out on hearing about our time at the Louvre and Notre Dame, you can read that story here.