At the Top of the Tower
Ask any Parisian and it wouldn’t be surprising if one out of two have never been to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It’s like anything we know too well — we don’t appreciate what’s in our own backyards.
It had been on the agenda for months, to take this friend to the top of the tower during his short three-day visit to the City of Light who had never been. In spite of the cold, misty day, our plans didn’t waiver and in fact, thanks to the insipid weather, there was no line to enter. Yes, promise you — not one person stood in our way of getting tickets. No wonder. The top, top was temporary closed due to the unfavorable weather conditions, but that didn’t stop us from due course, to go up, mo matter what.
Let’s face it, the structure is magnificent. It’s as stately and powerful an expression of brilliant engineering and design as any in the world, perhaps of everything that exists in the world, including the Statue of Liberty — which by the way, was crafted by a Frenchman, too. From any vantage point in the city, from under it or just next to it, you feel its magnetism and strength.
I know that a well known French architect who was asked where in Paris he would most like to live replied “…on the grounds of the Eiffel Tower as that was the only place in the city where I won’t have to look at it.” Yet, the dream to have a view of the Eiffel Tower is at the top of just about anyone’s list. Properties in Paris with a view of the Grande Dame command the highest of prices.
As a tourist with tickets, they escort you into one of the massive elevators that take you smoothly to each of the three levels, although we could only go as high as level two. Two is really high enough — the views of the city are breathtaking, even through the fog when you know that Sacré Coeur is somewhere out there, even if you can’t see it’s pointed turrets.
What I find most impressive about the city below, is the beautiful symmetry of the Haussmannian buildings that from above you can see their penthouse apartments, elegant balconies, planted terraces and inner courtyards. On the west side of the tower it is evident an entire building is currently under complete renovation, having left the outer shell in tact while the interior is being converted into luxury apartments (which will undoubtedly go for steep prices).
Once on the level, you can circle all sides to take it all in, then stop in the boutique to pay exorbitant prices on kitsch souvenirs. Who cares? You can say you’ve been there for the price of an Eiffel Tower key chain (2€).
To learn more and plan your day at the top of the tower, visit http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/teiffel/uk/
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Welcome “Art French” magazine…a perfect way to learn French and about art with French on the left, English on the right, so that you never have to look in a dictionary. Click here to learn more and sign-up for their FREE newsletter at http://www.fluentfrench.com/artfrench.html