The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 20 September 2013

Paris Day 4: Climbing the Eiffel Tower, and cruising the river Seine

When the day came for us to finally climb the Eiffel Tower during our trip to Paris, my son was beyond excited. The 4.5-year-old had developed a bit of an obsession with this famous monument in the weeks leading up to our trip (my plan to get him interested in advance for our trip was a little too successful), and seeing the tower on our first day in Paris only fueled that obsession further. We arrived just before 9am when the Eiffel Tower opened for admission, and there were already queues for both the lift and the stairs. There is the option of buying tickets for the lift online in advance to cut down on waiting times, but ALL timeslots for everyday of our time in Paris were already full when I'd looked it up a few weeks prior. Not that it mattered to us, because we were already planning to climb up the stairs. The queue for the lift was much longer than for the stairs, and we weren't interested in wasting precious Paris time standing in a line. The boy surprised us by climbing the whole way from the ground level up to the second level of the Tower (over 600 steps!), with energy to spare for the rest of the day! We then took the lift to the top (that's the only way to access the top of Eiffel Tower), and enjoyed the beautiful view of Paris.

At the beginning of our climb, there weren't too many people on the stairs:

It was cool to see the latticework of the Eiffel Tower's structure from the 'inside':

A view of the river Seine from the first level of the Eiffel Tower (at 57m or 187 feet high):

The Champ de Mars and the École Militaire as seen from the second level of the Tower (at 115m or 377 feet high). Click on image for a larger view:

View of the Seine and surrounding from the top observation deck of the Eiffel (about 280m or 916 feet):

The view in the direction of Trocadéro as seen from the top of the Tower. Click on image for a larger view:

Our lift ticket up from the 2nd level to the top was also good for the whole way down to ground level. Here's a view out through the lattice structure of the tower:

Ground-level bound down one of the Eiffel Tower's legs. Towards the bottom of the shot, you can see the dummy figure of a lift operator - which we presume was how the lift used to be operated in the past:

We were up in the Eiffel Tower for a couple of hours, and when we got back down, the lines for tickets had grown manyfold. And from what we saw on the first day, the crowd will continue to grow as the day wears on, so it is definitely a fine idea to go early and avoid the long queues:

After lunch (to be posted), we headed towards the river and climbed aboard a Bateaux Parisiens for a 1-hour rivercruise tour on the Seine. The boat was packed full of tourists, and it was nice enough to see all the famous Parisian landmarks from the river, but I didn't take many photos since I already had better shots from on-land.

The boat chock-a-block full of people:

One of the bridges we passed under. It had shimmering gold structures on both ends of the bridge:

I am only half-way done with the France leg of our trip - I still have Italy to share! Stay tuned folks!

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