Visiting the Eiffel Tower

Sandy Mitchell
Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris and the most visited attraction in that city, drawing over six million visitors annually. Sitting along the banks of the Seine, the Eiffel Tower is named for its designer, Gustave Eiffel, and was erected in 1889 as the entrance to the Exposition Universelle, a World's Fair commemorating centennial of the French revolution.

When it was built, the Eiffel Tower was the highest building in the world, a title it held until 1930 when New York City's Chrysler Building usurped it.

Today, the tower is a sightseeing attraction, a wonderful vantage point from which to view the city of Paris and its environs, and home to a variety of restaurants, including the trendy Jules Verne.

The Eiffel Tower Structure

The Eiffel Tower is constructed of pubbled iron, held together with two and a half million rivets. It took over 300 workers two years to assemble the 18,038 pieces of the tower. The Eiffel Tower stands 300 meters (986 feet) tall, not including the TV antenna atop the structure and has three platforms. There are 1665 steps from the ground to the third platform.

Detail on the Eiffel Tower

History

Initially, the Eiffel Tower was panned by Parisians who called it an eyesore. Many famous Parisians, author Emile Zola and Paris Opera architect Charles Garnier among them, signed a petition to ban the construction, but the builders prevailed. Today, it has become an integral part of Paris. Initially, the Tower was only scheduled to stand for twenty years, but it proved useful to the fledgling radio industry and later the French TV industry and was allowed to remain. The Eiffel Tower has been featured in numerous Hollywood movies, including the James Bond thriller, A View to a Kill, the animated Aristocats, and Superman II.

Visiting the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is open 365 days a year, weather permitting. Visitors can take the diagonal elevator to the 1st and 2nd platforms or take the 350 and 700 stairs, respectively. The 1st platform contains the restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel. It's a fun and architecturally interesting restaurant, with sweeping views of the city. This level also features exhibits about the history of the Tower as well as a special Eiffel Tower post office. The 2nd platform is home to Jules Verne, a prestigious and elegant bistro, rated by the Michelin and Gault-Millau guides. Both levels also feature a variety of souvenir and quality-goods shops and a snack bar. The 3rd platform at the top of the Tower is completely enclosed and is reached by a vertical elevator. On a clear day, one can see up to 45 miles is all directions for this vantage point. Tickets are available at the base of the tower. A slight discount is offered to those opting to take the stairs and to persons under 25 years of age.

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Visiting the Eiffel Tower