Despite not being home to the President, she certainly could be considered the First Lady of France. Paris’s (if not France’s) most emblematic structure is nestled in the cosy green carpet of the Champ de Mars and the Trocadéro Gardens opposite - on the banks of the River Seine – it is, of course, the Eiffel Tower.
Standing at 300 metres tall, Gustave Eiffel’s Tower affords those intrepid enough to climb the 1,665 steps (and those who prefer the lift!) exceptional 360⁰ views across Paris’s cityscape. The structure, described by the poet Jean Cocteau as the “beautiful lace giraffe”, is split into three floors and includes restaurants, shops and a champagne bar at the top!
First floor – Head up the first flight, or lift, to the widest of the tower’s 3 floors to shop, eat and explore the monument’s story. Home to the 58 Restaurant, gift shops, the exhibition explaining the tower’s history and development over the years, the first floor also boasts an impressive glass floor that covers the open section of the structure – not for the faint hearted!
Feeling romantic? The Jules Verne restaurant on the 2nd floor offers spectacular views of the city from the comfort and chic of a modern French gastronomic establishment. Named for the intrepid author of 80 days around the world, the cuisine is today under the watchful eye of Michelin starred Chef Alain Ducasse. Savour unforgettable experiences from 125m up!
Next stop – 276m up and the final floor. Sip champagne whilst admiring the view across Paris, and see the city (and indeed the tower itself) light up for the evening. Let the Iron Lady’s sparkling light show tempt you up to see the city’s wonders for yourself.
History in the making
And to think this French emblem almost never came into being! Gustave Eiffel’s project to build the Iron Lady for the Universal Exhibition in 1889 was met with fierce opposition. Naysayers deemed the tower “useless” and “monstrous”, but the engineer dismissed his critics, stating that his tower symbolised “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 for Eiffel and his team to deliver this iconic symbol of France’s contribution to modern society.
Despite her nearly 200 years, the World’s most visited paid-for monument has not aged one bit. Between 1985 and 1990, the Eiffel Tower underwent a few makeovers adding four new lifts - one for each pillar - and 1,343 tons of weight was shed off the iron structure. After 2 years of renovations and a €30m investment, the first floor fully re-opened with its impressive non-slip glass floor in 2014, adding a new angle from which to view the tower and its surroundings.
Champ de Mars
5 Avenue Anatole France 75007 Paris