Tuesday, October 16, 2012

La Tour Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower | Paris Travel

Under le tour Eiffel, looking up.

Our Silver Paris

Welcome to my Paris travel journal,
where I share our experiences of our special journey to Paris.
Please use these posts as a guide for your own travels
to this amazing and wonderful city!
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The Eiffel Tower:  Number One on our List of Things to Do in Paris.  How could it not be?  Almost every city panorama photo of Paris includes it.  You catch glimpses of it at different locations around the city.  Le Tour Eiffel has become a beloved landmark of this beautiful city.

We knew that Day Two of our trip would be in the low 80s with sun and clouds.  We just wouldn't worry about the clouds; Day Three was supposed to be rainy, and we weren't sure what the rest of the week would hold.

If you're planning a Paris trip, you may reason like we did:  We could visit the Eiffel Tower--and go up to the top--early on in our trip, to get a feel for "the lay of the land," where things are, and to get the bird's eye view of the city before exploring its details with the individual stops we wanted to make.  Or, visit le Tour at the end of our trip, after we've seen all we wanted to see--then we could spot all the places we'd been, being much more familiar with the city, and we could spend time together at the top of the tower reminiscing about all the amazing things we did that week.  We figured either choice would work.  For us, weather dictated that we had better do it early on in our week.

Walking from the Métro station to the Eiffel Tower

We had a computer in our appartement, and Internet access, but no printer, so we could pre-purchase our tickets, which would have saved a lot of time standing in line.  We were game for standing for a couple hours, though, and that gave me many opportunities to shoot some photos at the base of the tower.

If you do choose to stand in line--and even if you have pre-purchased your tickets--you will see a lot of different people from all over the world.  We stood behind a lady from Italy, with her niece and niece's best friend.  What fun we had with those young girls, who tried to speak English, and then tried along with us to converse in Spanish (which both Fernando and I speak).  The girls practically adopted us as "parents," and we saw them throughout the next few hours, both in line, in the elevator, and up at the top of the tower.

A few of the locals you may spot include the French gendarmes, with their FAMAS assault rifles (according to my sons' extensive knowledge of military weaponry--don't ask), roaming the area for security purposes.  I don't think you want to mess around with these guys.

The gendarme below noticed I was snapping his picture--I took several shots due to people walking in and out of the camera frame--and his smile really was for me!  I still don't think you want to mess around with these guys.

While standing in line, you may also see street performers, who do things to wow you, or at least make you laugh, and they'll always accept a handout.  During our time in line, a guy in a mask--he looked rather creepy--walked around and played practical jokes on unsuspecting people.  He followed one, putting his arm around her and waiting until she screamed when she realized he wasn't her husband.  Some people got mad, too!  But once the crowd noticed and watched for awhile, there was generally lots of laughter.  I didn't really like the guy--he looked creepy, like I said--and Fernando said that he would give him a hug if he came near us.  Which he did!  But since he came up from behind me, I missed getting the shot.  Fernando got him good, too!  He obligingly posed with Fernando for me, though.

Fernando posed with a goofy and slightly creepy street performer while we waited in line.

After finally getting our tickets, we went through security.  Actually, there was a bag check before we purchased our tickets, and metal/security detectors after.  Then it was back in line again, where we made our way into the building and in line for the elevator to the 2nd/3rd level.  (You can purchase a ticket to these lower levels only, if you're afraid of heights or are physically impaired.  In fact, they won't let anyone in a wheelchair or with a cane go up to the top.)

The red cab is the elevator which would take us to the top.

Then we boarded a second elevator which took us to the top.

Looking through the little window in the roof of our elevator car as we ascended.

Partway up, I realized I was holding my camera...

The view as we ascended.

Finally, the top.  I stepped out of the elevator and over to the railing.  I actually didn't get the willies!  And I looked.  The view was breathtaking.  There are no words--I'll simply share what I saw.

The Champs de Mars from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The City of Lights, with l'Arc de Triomphe just left of center.

City panorama.

Église du Dome is center.

Looking east down the Seine, with the Louvre just above center.

Le Trocadéro.

L'Arc de Triomphe.

The Seine flows away to the west.

I happened to look further down near the Eiffel Tower, and I saw a soccer game!

Soccer game in progress.

Maybe one of you can enlighten me as to what the below is--they were sticking out all around the perimeter at the top.  I even Googled them but couldn't find out what they are.

Don't know what these arms were sticking out around the perimeter at the top.

Back to the stunning views.

City panorama, with Notre Dame being the prominent structure, just above and to the right of center.

Bridges along the Seine. Pont Alexandre III is the center bridge with the gold-topped pillars.

View of the Louvre from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Le Jardin du Trocadéro, with its fountains.

Curves of the Seine.

On our descent, I snapped a few pictures.

View of le Jardin du Trocadéro during our descent.

On the third level, we relaxed some more and had fun just spending time admiring the city view, and looking up every now and then towards the tower top.

Looking up from the third level.

View from the third level, with l'Arc de Triomphe as the prominent structure.

At some point, you have to come down.  So we did.

Looking back up from the bottom.

We continued our adventure by walking through the parc du Champ de Mars and onward.  It may sound corny, but it's true--we brought home a little bit of Paris in our hearts, and left a little part of our hearts behind.

Treasuring life's moments,

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  1. I got the willies looking at those pictures {seriously my knees got week}. Amazing shots and have loved seeing Paris through your lens.

  2. I'm with Kristal, those pictures are a bit too high for me. Could those poles help with lighting or birds? I really don't know. But it would be interesting to find out. :)