This is the Eiffel Tower, the most widely recognized national landmark in the world.
The Eiffel Tower is a 320-metre tower built of structural iron, originally constructed by engineer Gustave Eiffel (after whom the tower is named) for an international exposition in Paris in 1889. The tower was the only structure in the exposition intended for permanent display, and it survives to this day intact. It narrowly escaped demolition and conversion to scrap on several occasions in its youth, but today nobody would think of tearing down the Eiffel Tower.
This picture was taken from the parvis du Trocadéro, a plaza between the two wings of the Palais de Chaillot, which is about 500 metres away from the tower, on the opposite (right) bank of the Seine River. The river flows directly in front of the tower under the Iéna Bridge, and you can see the bridge (but not the water) in the lower foreground of this photo. Behind the tower, you can see the Champ de Mars, a large park, with the École Militaire (a military school) at the other end. In this photograph, you are looking southeast. The sun is to your right, above and behind you. The picture was taken at about 6:30 PM, about 90 minutes before sunset on this September afternoon.
There are elevators in the tower that can take you to the top. Double-decked elevators to the first and second levels are specially designed to ascend along the steep incline of the tower’s legs. More conventional double-decked glass elevators take you from the second level up to the summit. Since the tower is build of open ironwork, the ascent can be a very harrowing experience for anyone with a fear of heights, so beware!
The net you see surrounding the intermediate level between the second and third platforms is intended to protect painters working on that part of the tower (the public is not admitted to that small intermediate platform).
Incidentally, the tower is much larger than it appears to be in photographs; the absence of anything of comparable height nearby makes it difficult to appreciate the tower’s height in pictures. The trees on either site of the tower are seven or eight stories high, and more than two American-style football fields would fit comfortably in the area covered by the tower’s base. Individual people are almost too small to distinguish in this photo, even in the large version, but you can see little ant-like figures near the base of the tower and on the bridge.
For those of you who are wondering, the replica of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas is half the size of the real thing (that is, 50 stories tall for the replica, and 100 stories for the real tower).
I have a photograph of the tower seen from the Champ de Mars, also, if you are interested. If you’d like to see the waiting line at the base of the tower (something you won’t see in the tourist guides), I have a picture of that, too. If you’d like to see how pretty this tower looks at night, I have a picture of the tower taken from this exact same spot in the evening. Finally, see my Eiffel Tower FAQ for more information on this landmark.
Click directly on the photo to see a smaller version (half this size). Photographed on September 13, 2002.
Last modified on November 17, 2006