I really never bothered to find out the first name of the man responsible for the Eiffel Tower. But now that I have visited this exciting tower from bottom to top, I feel entitled to call Monsieur Eiffel by his first name. His name is Gustave, and his tower is a marvel!!! Construction on the Eiffel Tower started in 1887 and ended in 1889. Yes, it took only two years to complete, and was finished on the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The tower was completed in time for the 1889 Universal (World Expo)Exposition held in Paris. The tower is built entirely out of iron, a new architectural medium at the time, at a cost of 8 million francs.
A number of men worked on the tower, but generally Monsieur Eiffel gets all the credit. The men who worked on the tower are dead and gone, but the over 100 year old structure is still going strong, and visitors like me are pumped about going to the top. There are those who told me that Gustave’s tower is overrated, but I am here to tell you that this structure does not disappoint….at all. It is awesome from first sight even on a cloudy day.
With my feet on terra firma, the tower made me take pause and rethink my trip to the top. It was a kinda YIKES feeling.
Look up there… see what I mean? Regarde encore! (Look again!) Look for yourself…here’s what I saw.
Getting closer to the tower gave me an unsettling dose of reality, and I asked myself the question. WHY do people really need to go to the top of the tower? There is no good answer to this question, so I resolved to go. My traveling companion urged me along with positive encouragement. Merci, Bruce.
You get to the top in a lift, much like a ski gondola. Guides are at the level stops to tell the story of the tower. Level 1 was an easy ride, and I enjoyed the history lesson as well as the misty views. Level 1 is 190 feet above the ground.
From here, weather permitting, you will see all of Paris. If you are game, continue on to level 2. Level 2 is 376 feet above the ground. Again, the view can be great, weather permitting. Getting to Level 2 can be challenging, but this challenge is nothing compared to getting to level 3 which is 900 feet above the ground. OOOOOOOHHHHH La La!!!! The Eiffel Tower is 108 stories, and the top is called the sommet.
I feared that I would not be able to step out onto level 3. Imagine my delight when I was told that level 3 is entirely enclosed.
I nervously stepped out and joyfully took the miserable selfie you see here. I wanted some proof that I made it to the top.
Made it up. Champagne is sold at the sommet for those who wish to celebrate the accomplishment. Time to go down. I looked out at the guts of Gustave’s tower.
Along the way, both up and down, it is fascinating, even scary, to watch the workings of the tower. I am so glad I did the trip to the top. Ah…a not so fun fact. Let’s not forget, that Paris was occupied during World War II. When Hitler wanted to ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the French lift operators put a quick stop to the Fuhrer’s plans by causing the lift to malfunction. VIVA LA FRANCE!!! Bonne nuit et un gros bisou, The Unseasoned Traveler.