We last went to the top of the Eiffel Tower in 1993 with Kate who was then 14. We decided during our fall 2015 trip that it was time to revisit it. I booked tickets three months in advance when they become available and felt clever for having obtained two tickets to the top for October 5. The tickets go within minutes of becoming available. Of course, one of the down sides of having advance tickets for an outdoor site is the weather. October 5th was the only day in October that it poured all day and well into the night. But we had the blasted tickets and we were going.
There were no lines for tickets; the only people going up that day were those hardy (stubborn) souls like us who had bought tickets ahead and were not to be thwarted.
We took the elevator to the second floor bypassing the first level.
The second floor has a number of amenities including rest rooms, the Jules Verne restaurant, snack bars and a souvenir shop. The souvenir shop includes signs warning people not to buy the shoddy and inferior souvenirs being sold by hawkers in the square below. Many immigrants make their living selling small blinking Eiffel Towers and key chains and such. We bought a small tower from one of them for our granddaughter Vivian.
I stepped out onto the observation deck and quickly took a snapshot upward of the tower. It is just beautiful up close and from everywhere in the city.
Even with the rain the views of the city were terrific from the second level. Here you can see the glass roof of the Grand Palais as well as Sacre Coeur on the hill of Montmartre.
From another direction you can spot Notre Dame and the Pantheon.
And here we have the Seine below and the Arc du Triomphe.
For the trip to the top we lined up again; during crowded period this can take awhile but we only had to wait for one car load before us on this rainy day. You used to be able to buy ticket for this elevator on the second floor but that is no longer true, so if you walk up, you buy a combo ticket including this ticket at the bottom; if you can’t buy on line all the way to the top then you have to line up and get the tickets for elevators all the way up when you get there.
It is a bit of a thrill to climb up through the skinny top of the tower to the observation deck at the top. Designing the elevators to move people from the ground to the top was complex and the process has changed several times over the decades. Now the elevators to the top from the second floor involve one smooth voyage up; originally you had to disembark and cross over a narrow gangway to a second elevator before reaching the top.
There is plenty of room to walk around the top and observe although the cloud bank we were in made it a bit eerie.
Gustave Eiffel, the head of the company that built the tower in 1889, was allowed to keep a small apartment to entertain guests on the top level. This apartment is glassed in so visitors can get a peek today. When the Tour Eiffel was built there was considerable opposition by the artistic community that felt it would be a blot on the city and it was originally expected to be a temporary structure and demolished after 20 years; part of the design required that it be easy to disassemble. By that time it had already become an icon of Paris.
Here we are at the top of the Tower. Over our shoulder you can see the warning signs; of course it would seem obvious that no one should be throwing things but the interesting sign is the one warning about putting padlocks on the fencing. This is a blight all over Paris, but of course trying it here and accidentally dropping it from the Eiffel Tower could have terrible consequences. The ridiculous ‘love locks’ have turned several Paris bridges into garbage dumps and actually damaged the railings on one bridge which had to be replaced. There were none visible on the tower.
The view from the top is spectacular even through the fog and rain; this is similar to the view of the Pantheon and Notre Dame shown earlier from the second level.
The Island below is the Ile aux Cygnes (Island of the Swans) shown in an earlier post of a walk from Parc Citroen to the Eiffel Tower; you can see the quarter size model of the Statue of Liberty placed near the Pont de Grenelle in 1889 near the top center of this picture.
There is a ‘champagne bar’ at the top of the tower, but don’t get your hopes up. Basically it is a closet where a waiter will dispense a plastic coupe de champagne for a stiff price. You can stand around in the fog and rain sipping it.
After heading down from the top we walked across the Seine to Trocadero which offers the best view of the Eiffel Tower; we wanted that great view for the top of the hour sparkling of the Tower.
Although the rain had let up the fog amplified the search lights on the tower; it is an amazing sight.
You can’t really capture the sparkle well with a still camera; my husband got a great short video on his phone, but here as you can see rather than a sparkle you capture the individual lights as they come on.
This remains my favorite view of the Tower. Years ago returning from a dinner party nearby we arrived here to take the Trocadero metro just as the tower sparkled at midnight. So beautiful. I always like to get a look at the tower at night from this vantage point when we are in town. Going to the top twice in 30 years has been plenty, but seeing it from all over Paris is always a thrill.