On Tuesday night, after our long day touring through the Ile de la Cité, we decided to brave the lines for the Eiffel Tower. I had attempted to get tickets online in advance (to the 2nd or 3rd floors) but apparently in the Summer, buying tickets 3 months in advance is STILL not prepared enough! Because we had seen the lines the first night we arrived in Paris, we were prepared for the wait. We decided to go in the evening, hoping making the lines would be less, or at very least, it would be cooler. There was a nice cold breeze down near the Seine that night, so the wait was still long, but manegable. We arrived at 9:00pm, just before the sun began to set. The line up to get to the ticket desk to take an elevator was just over 90 minutes. After that you had to go through security, and then up the first elevator – to the “second” floor (first floor is under construction and currently closed). We were then quickly ushered into another line up, taking a different elevator to the 3rd floor (aka the TOP). Ray really doesn’t like heights and going up this high was him facing his fears. However, once in the elevator, he was totally calm, and I was the one convinced this elevator was going to break free and we were going to plummet to our deaths (of course that did not happen – as evidenced by this blog post!)
The top of the tower was busy, and windy and shaky and a little more frightening that I had imagined. We spent about 15 minutes working our way around. Ray’s little camera, while pretty AMAZING at most things, didn’t handle the pitch black windy conditions well, so Ray just waited for me to finish my photos before we headed back down to level 2 to finish our journey. On level 2 the wind was less of an issue, so we spent time working around the tower, identifying the monuments (as we were now more oriented in the city) and, of course, taking photos (as you will see below).
Of course by now it was 11:30, and the tower was going to close in 30 minutes. So we started towards the ridiculously long line for the elevator when the nice Eiffel Tower employee was kind enough to point out that there was stairs available. So why not? 700 stairs down we went. I use to think going down stairs doesn’t require much work. But after 700 hundred you realize how much work it requires from your legs and your core. My legs felt like jelly! Between the biking, the climbing and the walking (and the insane number of stairs in even metro station we’d been in and out of), our legs were officially exhausted.
I have no regrets going up the Eiffel tower, regardless of the wait and the sore legs. It was our first time in Paris, and we’re glad we indulged one of the great Paris (and world) monuments. That being said, if (or when) I return to Paris, I’ll be happy to photograph it from the ground (or from atop one of the other monuments I’ve yet to climb). So, to sum it up, Eiffel Tower – CHECK!