Love for La Tour Eiffel

I’ve long been a francophile. When I first visited Paris at the age of 16, my father snapped an image of me pretending 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 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 this 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 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 to paris, 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.

La Tour Eiffel
Shawn and me.
Eiffel Tower at night with twinkly lights

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • We enjoyed visiting after nightfall, when la tour‘s girders were aglow. We packed a small bottle of bubbly and toasted to the effervescent tower on the hour. A scrumptious chocolate Opéra treat from a local pâtisserie was also a splendid addition to our evening picnic.

What’s your favorite vantage point from which to admire la Tour Eiffel?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

36 thoughts on “Love for La Tour Eiffel

    1. Thank you, (d)ocular!

      They weren’t from the Montparnasse, but from a street in Montmartre. We’d been enjoying a midnight dinner and during our stroll back to our hotel, saw this wonderful moon. The spot wasn’t far from Sacré Coeur.

    1. Merci, Anita! Yes, the champagne and the performing street musicians made the moment all the more memorable. Bon weekend to you! Looking forward to seeing your site’s new design too. :)

  1. Lovely series. I have very find memories of one trip up La Tour with my son, then only 3 years old. We dined in the restaurant. At the next table a large group of very noisy tourists from the Deep South attempted to monopolise the waiters’ attention and made no attempt to use French. My little chap, however, asked very politely for “un gateau, s’il vous plait”. The waiters, who became progressively slower to respond to the noisy group, couldn’t do enough for us. :)

    1. What a great anecdote, Rachael! Perhaps your son has a future in public diplomacy? Bravo to his parents!

      I’ve never dined in the restaurant on the Eiffel – how was the food?

      When I was 16, my high school French studies first paid off. My parents and I were visiting Verdun, and we were uncertain what a menu item, la langue, consisted of. The waiter eventually clarified – in French – that it was beef tongue. That was too exotic of a cut of meat for my teenage tastebuds, so I was happy my basic French came in handy. :)

  2. My daughter and I spent April in Paris. I am Parisian by choice. I love all things French. From the moment we stepped off the train from Amsterdam I knew this is where I belonged. How super to see your photographs. Once again I am back in Paris. Thank you Tricia. Virginia

    1. Moi aussi, Virginia (me too).

      How lovely that you two spent April in Paris! What were your favorite spots? And certainly, you must have found much recipe inspiration for Mrs. Butterfingers’ culinary blog? :)

      1. I’m such a literary hound I particularly loved the Left Bank. La Cornue has a shop there that blew me away. Virginia

      2. My Father was a chef. I was 7 or 8 years old when I learned how to make pastry. It was all uphill from there. I’ve been been a chef for more than 25 years. Yikes!! Virginia

      3. At 7, I was probably only trying to master cookies — how cool that you were a junior pastry chef at such a young age, Virginia! :) Inspires me to get back into the kitchen now and bake some more sunflower seed bread.

    1. Thank you. I must admit that I let out a little squeal of delight when I saw it that night! There were lots of other shutterbugs out on that perch snapping away too. :)

      Enjoy the weekend – will you devote some time to photography?

      1. Hi Tricia! yes, thanks for asking; my sister loved seeing the Eiffel Tower and she had a great time in Europe. I think he favourite cities were London and Paris actually. yesterday, I received a postcard from here – it was of Cannes, written in Rome, sent from Paris (she had a 2nd layover there on the way home), and made it to Brooklyn NY on a Sunday! I just looked at your top photo again – that still belongs in a movie! So vibrant and beautiful!

      2. Marina, what a well-travelled postcard! I thought I was one of the few old-fashioned types that still liked sending them. :) I’m glad your sister had such a rich experience in Europe’s big cities!

  3. Wonderful photos. I went to Paris last weekend but only a fleeting visit. Hope to return later in the year to try and do her justice!

    1. Greetings Kat, and thank you! Oh, how I adore ‘la Ville-Lumière.’ We were just there last September, but I’m already eager to return. Was it your first time there? What were your favorite corners of the city?

      I’m pleased our blogging paths have crossed! I just took a peek at your blog and was really impressed by your images from such varied parts of the world. What a thrill to connect with others with such wanderlust. Until next time! :)

      1. Thank you so much. Yes, it is wonderful to connect with other bloggers. I love receiving comments whether from nearby or from the other side of the world! And I love reading other blogs when I get the chance.
        It was my second visit to Paris. All a bit rushed but should be able to do a bit more next time.
        One of my favourite areas is Montmartre which I’ll be posting photos of very soon. :-D

      2. I’m also a big fan of Montmartre; in fact, that opening shot of the Eiffel was shot in Montmartre. In what part of the world do you live in now, Kat? I’m a nomad at this point – having uprooted from Germany, where I was living for 10 years, to go on a sabbatical in Asia and beyond. Look forward to seeing more of your posts!

  4. What a lovely presentation of the “Tour Eiffel”. I enjoyed Your photos very much. I visit it when in Paris because it stays one of my favorite places in Paris.

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