Friday, December 17, 2010

BCers Visit Italy, Switzerland & France; Pt 11: Sky High At The Eiffel Tower

MY IMAGINED FEAR of heights did not keep me from going all the way up to the third level of the Eiffel Tower during a visit to Paris in October. There were no clouds in the sky but there was a thin layer of smog below. About as tall as an 80-story building, it is the highest manmade structure in the city.

We were there when terrorism threats were being talked about in key tourist areas throughout Europe. There were also strikes due to people protesting a change in the retirement age from 60 to 62. Perhaps these events and security issues were why only one of the four elevators was in operation.

People were jammed together as we quickly soared to the top. Our guide warned us to guard our possessions as pickpockets find such close quarters easy pickings. A fellow tourist did, indeed, feel a stranger’s hand reach into his pocket. Fortunately, the pocket contained only a travel brochure.

Every conceivable photograph has been taken of the tower from all different angles. The structure is a star in Paris and magnet for adventurers, attracting a dare devil mountain climber, bicycle rider and parachuter over the years.

I took several pictures of the view below.

Built in 1889, the running of the Eiffel Tower elevators has been modernized over decades. Named after Gustave Eiffel, there was initial controversy about the choice of his complex design over 700 others.

The construction was an amazing feat and a testament to ingenuity. There is a mini museum in the tower showing some original methods of operation.

Back on the ground, our guide suggested we avoid purchasing the miniature replica key chains, etc. that were “illegally” sold on many sidewalks throughout Paris. Similar items could be purchased in gift shops.

Constructed as an eleborate entrance to the World’s Fair the iron lattice tower is an icon that could not be missed from our hotel that was only one block away. Near or far it could be seen throughout the city.

We got a glimpse of the tower shimmering in evening finery. I happily noticed when I got home to BC that I had captured the beam from the tower just as it connected with the moon in the night sky over Paris.

Visit more skies from around the globe at Skywatch Friday.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

4 comments:

  1. The Eiffel Tower offers a beautiful view from top to the bottom.

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  2. You got some great shots of this icon in the sky! I would think there are some great views of the Seine from the lower levels.

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  3. The view is beautiful from up on top...but I think you were very brave!

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  4. Fear of heights, huh? I would never have guessed, but I'm glad you conquered your fear because I've never seen the Eiffel Tower, and you took me along for the wonderful ride:)

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