Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower, an icon of Paris, is a wonder of design and structure, and an impressive sight worth getting close to. Lie in the grass at the Champs de mars and gaze up. Ascend the tower for spectacular views of Paris. Return at night with a bottle of Merlot to watch the spectacular light display. The Eiffel Tower tops out at over 1,000 feet, containing 2 restaurants, a souvenir shop, a post office (for that one of a kind postmark), snack bar, and a viewing area.

The world famous Paris tower is a mass of iron designed by Gustave Eiffel for the Universal Exposition of 1889 and was the tallest structure in the world until 1930, when New York’s Chrysler building surpassed it. The Paris tower faced criticism, especially from the artistic community of Paris, calling the structure a “truly tragic street lamp.” Allegedly, Guy de Maupassant ate lunch on the lower level of the Paris tower everyday because it was the only view of the city in which he couldn’t see it. The critics were slowly silenced as 2 million visitors ascended the tower in 1889. Today, the Eiffel Tower is an icon of Paris, and is embraced by the city.
Fifty tons of paint are used every 5 years to repaint the structure. A permanent light display goes off every hour in the evenings. Skate 187 feet above the Earth, during the winter, as the Eiffel Tower Paris turns the first floor into a rink. The tower has two restaurants, Altitude 95, located on the first floor 95 meters above sea level, and “reminiscent of an airship moored above Paris” according to the Eiffel Tower website. Also on the first deck are a souvenir shop, exhibit on the Paris tower, snack bar, and the post office. On the second floor, a specialty food shop, the restaurant Le Jules Verne, some historical panels, and another snack bar (in case you’re using the stairs instead of the elevator). At the top level, along with panoramic views, is a replica of Gustave Eiffel’s office, complete with wax figures of the man himself.


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