Friday, April 16, 2010

Guide to Paris, Part 2

The Eiffel Tower

Our first day there we grabbed brunch while we waited for our room to be ready and then around midday we headed back to the hotel and took a long nap. Once we woke up it was probably around 3:30 or 4 and so there wasn't much time left in the day. We decided to head down to the Eiffel Tower and try to go to the top since we had heard the lines were really long and could eat up most of a day.

{ a funny thing about walking to the Eiffel Tower is that the longer you walk the farther away it seems to get, the sheer size of it makes your distance away from it really misleading! }

The walk from our hotel took us about an hour, but being our first day there we didn't mind winding through various neighborhoods and exploring on the way over. (It's pretty easy to walk to the Eiffel Tower as you can see it from everywhere in Paris.) If we were really trying to get there we could have made it in 40 minutes, but we were strolling and picking streets we wanted to go down. We saw some of the most amazing architecture and so many unbelievable flower shops with the most gorgeous assortment of perfect buds - a total bride's dream.

As we walked it got darker and darker and we were able to see into people's homes (do you do that? Peer into people's windows at night?) It was incredible to see how these uber-wealthy Parisians lived. Libraries and amazing mouldings in every townhouse. Crystal chandeliers to.die.for. I tried snapping pictures as we walked but I am not so deft and they don't do these spaces justice. And then we were finally there. You see pictures of Paris and the Eiffel Tower all of the time. But nothing can prepare you for standing underneath the structure. And when the twinkle lights go off for the first time! It is truly magical.

When we got there, we immediately noticed there were two lines. A long one and a really long one. I got on the really long one and sent Joe off to figure out what the shorter line was for. Turns out the really long line was for people waiting to take an elevator to the first and/or second platforms (you take a separate elevator from the second floor to the top) and the shorter line was for people willing to walk up the stairs to reach the first or second platform.

It is much less expensive (and much faster) if you walk the stairs to the second level. However, it is also quite scary. You are in an open structure and while it is obviously well supported I soon realized that I have a fear of heights. Holding Joe's hand (and probably relieving it of circulation) I managed to make it to the second floor. But I was TERRIFIED at times. There's really no way not to look down which is what makes it scary, but if you look out instead it's quite beautiful. By taking the stairs we probably saved ourselves about 2 hours though, so it was totally worth doing! And what an experience. My goodness.

{ notice my kung-fu grip on the railing behind me? }

{ view from the second level }

{ view from the top }

We made it to the top and it was an unbelievable moment and experience. Truly worth doing. We spent about three hours at the Eiffel Tower, but it went so quickly!

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