The Eiffel Tower, in Paris, France, is one of the most recognizable structures in the world. It has commanded the Parisian skyline for over a century. In 2003 the Eiffel Tower surpassed the 200 million visitor mark in its 114 years of existence and since 1998 draws over 6 million of visitors each year. The Tower has 8 souvenir boutiques on 3 different levels. They offer over 700 different products, some only available at the Eiffel Tower.
Built between 1887 and 1889, the Eiffel Tower was created as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair that marked the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Although it was originally permitted to stand for only 20 years and drew a large amount of criticism from locals, the city decided to keep the structure as it provided valuable for communication purposes. The Tower hosted the first radio phonic experiments and played a critical role in the development of French television. The top of the Tower has been adapted over the years to house an ever growing number of antennas of all sorts.
Visitors to the Eiffel Tower can take the stairs or elevators to go up. Three elevators go up to the first and second levels, usually only one or two are in service due to maintenance and security reasons. In order to reach the top, visitors will have to take another elevator, accessed from the second floor. There is usually a long wait to take this elevator, especially during high visitor days.
There are many things to do and see at the Eiffel Tower. The ground floor offers you the opportunity to see a magnificent sculpture of Tower’s creator, Gustave Eiffel. The sculpture was carved by Bourdelle in 1929. You will also have the opportunity to grab a snack or get some souvenirs on the way in or out.
On the Towers first floor you can enjoy a large space to stroll and unwind. There are displays that give you a glimpse into its history, like the original hydraulic pump that supplied water to the machinery of the old elevator. There are also things like FerOscope, which uses interactive videos, light shows and “video glasses” to show you the technical means used in building the monument as well as what work is done to protect the iron from rusting. Also located on the first floor is 58 Tour Eiffel, a great midday dining experience for families and groups visiting, that becomes a chic “brasserie” style restaurant in the evening.
The Eiffel Tower’s second floor offers you the best opportunity to take the most magnificent photographs of Paris with its 360° view. There is a display of animated window scenes depicting the history of the Tower’s construction and explaining the operation of the old hydraulic elevator as well as the current ones. You can also take a look at the ground through the glass windows located on the floor. The Eiffel Tower also offers a fine dining experience with majestic views of the city at the restaurant Le Jules Verne. It offers contemporary French cuisine and is a one-of-a-kind experience with its intimate and inviting dining rooms.
The top floor consists of two levels, one outdoors and one indoors. There is a representation of Gustave Eiffel’s office where wax versions of Gustave, his daughter Claire and Thomas Edison are positioned around the phonograph he offered to Gustave. There is also the Engineers’ Office which is a historical representation of where Eiffel and his head engineers prepared the plans for the Tower.
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