The Eiffel Tower

How could I live with myself if I went to Paris and didn't go to the top of the Eiffel Tower?

Since my first full day in Paris was the only day not calling for rain, I started early and walked to several monuments and buildings late into the evening.

The top of the Eiffel Tower is the tallest point in Paris, at 1,063 ft, but it was bigger than what I imagined in my head. Maybe because it's the only tall thing around, unlike the tall buildings I've stared up at in Chicago and New York. 

The construction was completed in 1889 for the World's Fair. The contest rules for building the tower stated that it had to be easy to demolish, so when the 20 year permit expired, the city was planning to tear it down and use it for scrap metal.

Luckily, the tower proved to be valuable for communications, so the city kept it.

Down there on one of those benches, I had my morning coffee and croissant. I'm such a tourist.

I don't have a fear of heights, but that didn't stop my brain from flipping out when I walked onto the first level's glass floor.

The view from the second-level.

I decided that gold domed building needed to be my next stop.

The view from the top...

...from 281 meters high.

Palais de Chaillot and the tower's shadow

For only 12 euros you can get a tiny glass of champagne at the Bar A Champagne on the top. Since I was alone, and since I'm the kind of man who spends that much on a bottle, I passed.

One more view from the ground before heading to my next destinations, more on that on later posts.

After dark, I walked back to the Eiffel Tower to take more photos

For New Year's Eve 1999, they installed high powered search lights on the top of the tower. You can just barely see it here.

They also installed 20,000 flashbulbs that go off for five minutes at the top of every hour. In this long exposure photo, it appears that they are all on at the same time, but in reality it looks like the flash bulbs of 20,000 paparazzi. 

I had to hold my camera steady on a light post to get this picture. When I finished and turned to leave, I was startled by the face of a rickshaw driver leaning in behind my shoulder to look at my camera's display. Then he smiled and waved his hand toward his rickshaw and asked if I wanted to purchase a ride. 

Riding in a rickshaw alone on a Friday night in Paris seemed a little too pathetic, so I chose to walk. I climbed the steps of the Palais de Chaillot to get one more photo before calling it a night.

I seem to have a knack for accidentally stumbling upon movie sets. New York, London, and now Paris. It amazes me how many times a director will shoot the same 5 seconds of a scene. In this case, a woman was standing looking at the Eiffel Tower when a man walks up behind her and puts his coat over her shoulders. She turns and smiles at him. They talk for a few seconds then kiss. The director cuts. They wrap a blanket around the actress, setup again, and tediously repeat again and again. I watched Will Smith in NYC wearing his Men in Black suit open the doors to the Battery Park City Authority Building at least a dozen times. Then for some reason watched his stand-in do the same thing. Anyway, I still find it fascinating.

They were speaking English. Do they look familiar to anyone?