Monday, June 13, 2016

The Third Floor of the Eiffel Tower Is High Enough

Paris street scene and, oh, hey, there's the Eiffel Tower
We had tickets for 10:00PM for the Eiffel Tower because that was all that were available during our four days in Paris.  And we only had tickets to go as high as Level 3 because there were no "summit" tickets available until sometime in July.

They do not have a Metro stop right at the Eiffel Tower.  They don't even have a Metro stop anywhere near it.  The closest stop is Champs de Mars-Eiffel Tour, which is an "RER" stop, which is like the Metro, but it's not (e.g., it runs on regular gauge railroad tracks).  This monument was close to the station:

This is a monument honoring the WWI Christmas Truce between the Germans and the French in 1914.  I think that's the truce that, according to legend, began when one French soldier starting singing the French carol "O Holy Night" and a German soldier responded with "Stille Nacht," or vice versa.  But while you're pondering that, here comes the Eiffel Tower into view.

It's close to 10:00PM in Paris, but the sky is still in daylight mode.  Paris is far north.  49th parallel north.  And here's a heart-warming scene of the brotherhood of man:  Croatian and Irish football fans drinking on the side of the road next to the Eiffel Tower.

Let's have a look at the under-carriage of the Eiffel Tower:

I'm headed for Level 3, which is the last main platform before the tower starts getting "rock star on heroin" skinny.  And who's with me waiting to ascend?

A bunch of Croatian football fans.  The Eiffel Tower was lousy with Croatian football fans.  And, that, that was a wonderful thing.

Finally having ascended to the third level, I am absolutely certain that the third floor was high enough.  There was no need to go to the summit.  The views from here are plenty fine.  Speaking of which, first, the view facing northwest:

This is the view across the Pont d'Iena to the Jardins du Trocadero and Palais de Chaillot. The interesting thing that I learned is that Paris has a modern "downtown" of skyscrapers, which they intelligently located far away from the tourist core.  The Champs-Elysees, the Left Bank, and the area around Tour Eiffel remain free of the curses of modernism, Bauhaus, and the skyscraper.  Thank God Le Corbusier failed in his vision to destroy the historic architecture of Paris and replace it with butt-ugly socialist-realism buildings.

Next, looking northeasterly.

If you enlarge the picture, you should see the giant Ferris Wheel at the end of the Champs-Elysees.  I think the Grand Palais, along the Seine, also is visible, but I don't know the Paris skyline enough to be visible.  And I think that high point be Montmatre, topped with the distinctive Sacre-Coeur cathedral.

Then there's the southwesterly view.

This is the Paris "fan fest" site, on the Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower.  I visited the World Cup Fan Fest site in Natal at the Praia do Forte (Fort Beach) in Natal.  You can see the giant TV screen and the huge crowd behind that.

It was finally getting dark.  One last look at the Eiffel Tower lit up for the Paris night.

City of lights, indeed.  This is the second Eiffel Tower I have visited now, after the one in Las Vegas.  This one is much bigger.  I hope one day to have ascended all the Eiffel Towers in the world, although not necessarily to the top.

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