Monday, November 08, 2010

Paris, Day 2 – the Eiffel Tower

We took the RER to the Champs de Mars and were amazed to discover that they’re double decker trains! What a good idea to ease congestion.
And then we walked round the corner and saw the tower.

It was definitely bigger than we expected – despite having seen it from around the city. And seeing it from underneath was fascinating.
So then (despite our decision earlier not to do any more queuing!) joined the huge queue at the south pillar for the Eiffel Tower.
The tower was built for the 1889 Exposition and was intended to be temporary – but became officially permanent in 1910. It’s 324m tall and was the world’s tallest structure for 40 years, until the Chrysler Building was built in New York; it only sways 9cm in high winds (and although it was blowy, we didn’t feel any movement). The metal sections weigh 7,300 tonnes, and every seven years it has to be painted to protect it from rust (using more thaN 50,000 tonnes of paint each time).

There are stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. 300 to the first stage and the same again to the second. If you are an unfit person with a sedentary job, I can tell you that your thighs will REALLY know about it, the next day.
And we walked all the way up to the second stage. The views were amazing – across the Champs de Mars, which was originally a market garden area but became the grounds for the military school in 1765 (that huge tower in the background is the Montparnasse Tower – 56 storeys high).
Or looking up.

We couldn’t face another hour queuing to get to the top – especially as we had stunning views where we were.
We were surprised by how small both the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame looked; but the golden tower of Les Invalides in the centre of the pic here was very obvious.
We were very grateful to take the lift to the bottom again.

And then we walked the longest 300m in the world to the Metro, to get back to the Champs Elysées. Flopped in the hotel for a bit, then went out for dinner. Had the most gorgeous Quatre Fromages pizza (walked 33,570 steps today = just over 10 miles, so I burned that off and the carbs can be forgiven, cough) and some Chablis. Then more window shopping and a trip to the Haagen Dazs café – where I was restrained and someone who shall remain nameless was an utter pig!


Caroline said...

Fab views Kate. If *I* was to climb the Eiffel I think I would need hospital intervention! Caroline x

Nell Dixon said...

The day we went to the tower it was snowing on the top and raining lower down.

Nicolettehh said...

I could climb those steps, if I knew that ice-cream was waiting for me afterwards!

smplcv said...

Fabulous pics. at last the food was watering my mouth..

Hotel CV

Shirley Wells said...

Brilliant pics, Kate. Thanks for sharing!

All those steps - yikes. City breaks always entail a lot of walking, don't they?

As for the ice cream - wow. I would have been an utter pig too. :)