The train station we used to get the RER C to Versailles was just a hundred meters from the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel). When we walked up to the Tower in the morning, I must admit, I was shocked. It was so big — so much bigger than I expected. The morning was crystal clear and the Tower sprung up out of nowhere. The park surrounding the Tower was more rustic than I thought, but the lack of other buildings in the near vicinity made the Tower look beyond imposing.
We didn’t spend any time around the Tower in the morning as we were running (late) to the train to Versailles. Upon our return to Paris, we got off at the same station and headed directly to the Tower. Well, maybe not directly, JB/RK had to stop at the WC en route. The line to the top of the Tower stretched about 300 meters from the entrance. This line was to take the elevator up to the top. We knew from our research that we could walk up to the second floor — it’s about 300 steps to the first floor and about another 300 from the first to the second. It was quite a warm day and the walk up the stairs made me sweat even more than normal. The stairs really weren’t that difficult and it was nice because not too many people were taking the stairs. Once we got to the first level (then again to the second level) we were a bit winded. The views from the first floor were quite spectacular…and the views from the second were even better.
You are unable to walk to the very top of the Tower, which is a good thing, because ascending the stairs gave me a bit of scare — god I hate heights. The elevator ride to the top was quick yet very packed — and smelly. The elevator was glass and again, caused the fear to build in me. Why do I have an irrational fear of heights?? The top floor of the Tower (at 273 meters) was so crowded, we could hardly walk around the observation deck. There was ample room for us to make our way over to the bar and get a couple glasses of champagne though. :)
Once we took a ton of pictures from this beautiful vantage point, we decided to head back downstairs. Once we got to the second floor we opted to walk down stairs. Interestingly enough, my fear of heights doesn’t seem to kick in when I’m walking down the stairs — no matter the height. The symmetry in Paris is stunning. I love the grand boulevards, the plazas, the monuments and the public spaces. These beautiful views are easily seen from the Tower making it one of the best elevated viewpoints I have ever seen worldwide. Napoleon might have been a megalomaniac but his remodel of Paris was truly amazing.