Eiffel Tower, Paris
Few monuments are as synonymous with a city as the Eiffel Tower is with Paris. It was once the tallest structure in the world, is probably Europe's best known landmark and Paris's most famous symbol. You cannot possibly visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. The tower rises 300 meters tall (984 ft); and when it was completed at the end of the 19th century it was twice as high as the Washington Monument, at the time the tallest structure in the world. The Eiffel Tower was built for the World Exhibition in 1889, held in celebration of the French Revolution. The construction was only meant to last for the duration of the Exposition, but it still stands, despite the many people who feared that this huge 'object' would not fit into the architecture of Paris. Today, there is no longer such aversion and you could not imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower, it has become the symbol of the City of Light. The man behind the Eiffel Tower was Gustave Eiffel, known for his revolutionary bridge building techniques, including the great viaduct at Garabit in 1884. The structure took more than two years to complete. Each one of the about 12,000 iron pieces were designed separately to give them exactly the shape needed. All pieces were prefabricated and fit together using approximately 7 million nails. Of the Eiffel Tower’s three lifts, one or two of them are of an open design (the others being closed depending on maintenance or safety requirements). The stairs which are open to the public go up to the 2nd floor (115m). You can enjoy climbing up the tower at your own pace but at least when you get to the top you will have the satisfaction of having made it up 704 steps. And those of you who are less into sport, you can choose to come down by foot! It’s a more relaxing walk but every bit as spectacular. Once you've reached the upper platforms of the Tower, you can walk around and admire the view, with the city of Paris at your feet. You'll find both an outer (possibly windy) walkway, and an inner area as well.
There are several restaurants in the Eiffel Tower. Le Jules Verne is a one Michelin star restaurant on the second level of the tower. It only seats 120 diners and reservations are essential - at times it is booked up to three months in advance. The restaurant has a private elevator so no queuing is required. As you can imagine this is not one of the cheapest places to eat in Paris however the views of the city are remarkable, especially in the evening when it becomes a very romantic setting with the lights dimmed so as not to distract from the awe inspiring vista. The 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant has a double life offering a picnic-in-a-basket lunch and in the evening it becomes a chic brasserie. During lunch service you are escorted to your table and your hostess takes your drinks order then you go to the counter to choose your lunch and take to your table in family picnic style. It is located on the first floor and offers superb views over Paris. Lunch costs around €18.00 per person. Nestling into the very structure of the Tower on the 3rd floor is the Ephemeral Champagne Bar. Open from midday-10.00pm the bar offers you a choice of a glass of either rosé or white champagne, served as chilled as you like. A glass of champagne will cost between €10 and €15 but what an elegant way to toat a sensational experience at the top of the Tower! The Golden Lighting of the Eiffel Tower dates from 1985. Every evening the Eiffel Tower is adorned with its golden covering and sparkling lights. The sparkling lights are superimposed over the golden lighting. A Paris by night "Illuminations" tour is the best way to see the tower lit up as well as other famous sights.
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