Love for La Tour Eiffel
I’ve long been a francophile, Paris devotee and Tour Eiffel fan. When I first visited Paris at the age of 16, my father snapped an image of me aiming to hold up the legendary structure. Thereafter, miniature versions of engineer Gustave Eiffel’s masterpiece cropped up in my home – from an Eiffel Tower retro lamp base, to a miniature paper weight, to a silver pendant on my vintage charm bracelet.
Even today, I emit a girlish squeal of delight whenever I reunite with the Eiffel Tower following a long time away from La Ville-Lumière. Whether it’s spotting her from the Autoroute while en route to Versailles or Normandy, or seeing her soar over the ‘City of Lights’ from a street kilometers away, j’adore la Tour Eiffel.
Today, it’s hard to believe that the iconic image and architectural darling of France was not always so beloved. In fact, when the Eiffel Tower was erected for the 1889 World’s Fair, Parisians detested it and dubbed it the ‘metal asparagus’.
The French author Guy de Maupassant supposedly had such a dislike for Eiffel’s creation that he deliberately dined there not because he favored the restaurant’s cuisine, but because it was the only locale in Paris where he didn’t have to see it. The loathing didn’t stop there, because just after the turn of the century, the structure was on the brink of becoming a giant pile of scrap material. The tower was eventually spared, because of its useful role as a giant radio antenna.
To celebrate the new millennium, the Eiffel girders were temporarily dressed in thousands of lights that sparkled every hour on the hour. The light show became so popular that it was reinstated and maintained permanently three years later.
While I can attest that daytime views from the Eiffel Tower are magnifique, I must confess that I now prefer to visit the tower by night, to see the girders when they are illuminated. During our most recent visit, Shawn and I found it magical to see the tower after sundown – first, from our Montmartre perch, paired with a half moon; and secondly, as we reflected on the view from Trocadéro’s stairs. The latter moment was made ever the more exceptional because of the performing street artists. We still have yet to ascend during the evening hours when the city is aglow in twinkly lights. It’s an experience to check off our list during our next rendezvous with La Tour Eiffel.
If You Go:
Visit after nightfall when the girders are aglow. Pack a small bottle of bubbly and toast to the effervescent tower on the hour. A scrumptious chocolate Opéra treat from just about any pâtisserie is also a splendid addition to an evening picnic.
What’s your favorite spot in Paris to spy la Tour Eiffel?
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