Although she does not live in the Elysées Palace, she is undoubtedly the first lady of France. The green carpet of the Trocadéro gardens, on the shore of the Seine River, has been her home since 1889. This is where the whole world pays tribute to her. This iron lady is none other than the Eiffel Tower, landmark of Paris and symbol of France.
As you lay your eyes on the Eiffel Tower, it stands at your feet, inviting you to climb it, and unlock its iron mysteries. The poet, Jean Cocteau, called it “the beautiful giraffe in lace.”
Like a quest for the Holy Grail, the spectacular views of up to 300 meters are earned with each step, a whopping 1665. For the more adventurous, dare to contemplate Paris through the glass lifts as you make your way up to the top. There are three floors to cover, three rites of passage into the sweeping view of Paris stretching beyond its horizons.
Feeling hopelessly romantic? Profess your love, with the capital of romance at your feet as your witness.
How about a dinner for two at the Jules Verne restaurant? Savor unforgettable memories at 125 meters above ground. A few more steps, and already you have reached the top (third floor). At 276 m from the ground, you can almost touch the clouds while enjoying a 360 degrees view of the capital.
If you are not ready to get back to earth, linger on the first floor, the widest of the three. Look straight down through the glass floor at 57 m above ground for more thrills before going on a hunt for precious souvenirs in one of the shops.
And to think that all this magic almost didn’t happen! Gustave Eiffel’s project to build the Iron Lady for the Universal Exhibition in Paris, in 1889 was met with fierce opposition.
Naysayers deemed the tower “useless” and “monstrous.” The engineer dismissed bitter critics, stating that his tower symbolized “not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living.”
It took two years, two months, and five days of work for Gustave and his team to deliver the iconic symbol of France’s contribution to modern society.
On Champs-de-Mars, childhood memories are rekindled every evening when la Belle sparkles in a light show.
She even plays with fire during major events such as celebrating France’s national holiday on July 14, or honoring world leaders.
Yet, the most visited paying monument in the world has not aged one bit. Between 1985 and 1990, the Eiffel Tower underwent a few makeovers. Four new elevators were added to each pillar and 1343 tons were shed off the iron structure. She was dressed-up in an elegant robe of lights, confirming Paris’ moniker as the City of Light.
Champ de Mars
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