I did not get a strong positive response from any of those coming to Paris to visit me in June about going to the 3ème étage (top) of the tour eiffel (Eiffel Tower). The online tickets to bypass the line sell out more than a month in advance.
Today was sunny and I decided to get up relatively early to go to tour eiffel. I left the apartment just before 9h30, the opening hour of tour eiffel. I took the RER C from St Michel to close to tour eiffel. There is a stop that calls itself the tour eiffel stop, but I think it as far downstream on the Seine as the previous stop is upstream. And, the walk from the upstream location is nicer.
Yes, there was a line to pass through security, but not a long line. And, yes, I had to queue to get my ticket (17€ to get to the top), but only briefly. The ticket line had doubled by the time I got to the station and was loading into the elevator.
The initial elevator ride takes you to the 2ème étage (2nd stage). It goes by the 1er étage (1st stage) and keeps on going.
I immediately found the queue to the next elevator that takes you to the sommet (3ème étage). Unlike the first elevator which goes up inside one of the pillars (and goes at an ever changing angle to do so), this elevator goes straight up the center. There are actually four of these elevators in a cluster, although each is independent.
Each étage really has two different levels and the 3ème étage is no different. The level the elevator reaches, the lower level, is glassed in. The views are great and there is no wind (or rain should it be raining). But, of course, one goes up the stairs to the upper level. It has wire fencing, but is not really enclosed to the weather.
The opening picture shows the southern half of the Bois de Boulogne. This is Paris’s largest park (bois is woods) and is on the western side of Paris. On the left hand side of the woods one can see the Hippodrome d’Auteuil. By careful inspection you can see the racing oval and just beyond it the three grandstand buildings. One of my pictures from the racing days showed the tour eiffel in the background; this shows the hippodrome in the background.
Looking further north is the other half of the Bois de Boulogne. The high rise towers in the back on the right are the Défense area. There is a straight line of site from a small Arc de Triomphe that is just between the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries, to the Arc de Triomphe in Place Charles de Gaulle, then on to Grande Arche de la Défense. All of Défense is beyond the height-limiting zoning of Paris.
This is almost the same except it more clearly shows the Jardins du Trocadéro in the foreground, which come right up to the Seine.
Now to the Champs de Mars which proceeds eastwards from the base of tour eiffel. That tall building just after the park? That’s the Tour Montparnasse. It was the first building inside Paris to be a modern skyscraper. And, the last. It is what caused all of the height zoning to be put into place. If one is at the Sacré-Cœur, both tour eiffel and tour montparnasse are visible on the horizon. The Parisians say “there’s the tour eiffel and the box it came in.”
This shows the Seine and, just across it, the Grand Palais exhibition center.
Moving further northward, there is Arc de Triomphe at Place Charles de Gaulle.
After my picture taking, I queued for the descent to the 2ème étage. I walked around both levels looking at the 360 degrees of sites from a lower angle.
In a vain attempt to relive my youth, I decided to take the stairs from the 2ème étage to the 1er étage. There was no sign saying how many steps that was. At least it was all down. I remember going from the 2ème étage to ground level via the stairs back in 1965 or so along with my brother Henry. My knees will remind me later today that it is no longer 1965.
The 1er étage now has some glass-floored areas for those who wish to see nothing but space below them. There was the usual mix of those not wishing to go out, those taking careful steps, and those jumping up and down. The latter is mostly young children accompanied by panicked parents.
I did take the elevator down from the 1er étage to ground level. After wandering around a little, I took the RER C back.
Madge, Jan, and I have a reservation at the Jules Verne restaurant later in June. It is on the 2ème étage, but has its own elevator in the south pillar. So, I hope we will be able to take in the view while dining.