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Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) Review
The Eiffel Tower is to Paris what the Statue of Liberty is to New York and what Big Ben is London: the ultimate civic emblem. French engineer Gustave Eiffel—already famous for building viaducts and bridges—spent two years working to erect this monument for the World Exhibition of 1889.
Because its colossal bulk exudes a feeling of mighty permanence, you may have trouble believing that it nearly became 7,000 tons of scrap metal (the 1,063-foot tour contains 12,000 pieces of metal and 2,500,000 rivets) when its concession expired in 1909. At first many Parisians hated the structure, agreeing with designer William Morris, who, explaining why he had been spending so much time at the tower, said "Why on earth have I come here? Because it's the only place I can't see it from." Only its potential use as a radio antenna saved the day (it still bristles with a forest of radio and television transmitters). Gradually, though, the Tour Eiffel became part of the Parisian landscape, entering the hearts and souls of Parisians and visitors alike. Today it is most breathtaking at night, when every girder is highlighted in a sparkling display originally conceived to celebrate the turn of the millennium. The glittering light show was so popular that the 20,000 lights were reinstalled for permanent use in 2003. The tower does its electric shimmy for five minutes every hour on the hour until 1 am.
You can stride up the stairs as far as the third floor, but if you want to go to the top you'll have to take the elevator. (Be sure to take a close look at the fantastic ironwork.) Although the view of the flat sweep of Paris at 1,000 feet may not beat the one from the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper, the setting makes it considerably more romantic—especially if you come in the late evening, after the crowds have dispersed. Beat the crushing lines by reserving your ticket online. You can also book a guided tour.
- Address: Quai Branly, Trocadéro/Tour Eiffel, Paris, 75007 | Map It
- Phone: 01-44-11-23-23
- Cost: By elevator: 1st and 2nd levels €8.50; top €14. By stairs: 1st and 2nd levels only, €5.
- Hours: June--late Aug., daily 9 am--12:45 am (11 pm for summit); late Aug.--June, daily 9:30 am--11 pm. Stairs close at 6 pm in winter
- Website: www.tour-eiffel.fr
- Metro Bir-Hakeim, Trocadéro, École Militaire; RER: Champ de Mars.
- Location: Around the Eiffel Tower
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