The New Eiffel Tower Experience
I checked out the Eiffel Tower recently and was very pleasantly surprised by the ease in managing the crowds. There are new security checkpoints – at the perimeter and closer to the Tower – that I breezed through, since I purchased my ticket online. A bulletproof glass wall has been installed around the Tower for added security, which cuts down on the crowds of people milling around. The whole experience is more peaceful, especially with the newly refurbished park at the base of the Tower -- including a duck pond, grassy areas and places to sit and reflect.
The ride up the Lift is like an adult Disney ride -- the clanking noise of the mechanism pulling you up and changing views of the city as you climb higher. At the Summit, you get a sense of Paris' expansiveness and feel the wind whipping around. [Note: One of the main concerns Gustave Eiffel had in designing the Tower was creating such a tall structure that could withstand wind gusts.]
In addition to walking around the Summit for the 360-degree vantage point, there are descriptive plaques and a recreation of Eiffel's office in the Tower during its construction. To cap it off, a Coupe de Champagne to toast your memorable experience is a fitting finale.
The Eiffel Tower site has an excellent description of its history with photos and drawings. La Tour Eiffel was built for the 1889 World Fair in Paris. Work started in January 1887, "A team of constructors were responsible for the 150 to 300 workers on site assembling this gigantic erector set." At the time, it was considered a "monstrosity" by many Parisians and was scheduled to be taken down twenty years after the Fair.
Thankfully, that opinion changed, and the Eiffel Tower has endured as a symbol of Paris and the romance of travel worldwide.