The Eiffel Tower is the international symbol of Paris, France and romance. Gustave Eiffel designed it for the 1889 world’s fair, not knowing that it would become a global icon. Countless marriage proposals have taken place here. But it’s not just for lovebirds – around 7 million tourists visit the tower every year. They can use the lifts or stairs to reach the viewing platforms, where they are rewarded with an unparalleled view of Paris.
It's funny to think that the tower was originally supposed to be dismantled after the world’s fair. Many prominent artists initially rejected the design in disgust. But Eiffel stuck to his guns, insisting that the French flag would soon be the only one in the world with a 300-metre flagpole. Thanks to his highly detailed design drawings, the tower could be built in just over two years. It consists of more than 18,000 iron beams and weighs an impressive 10,000 tonnes.
The Eiffel Tower has 3 floors, each of which affords a fantastic view. Visitors can go up a lift in one of the legs or take the stairs up to level 2. The latter option is cheaper and saves on queuing time. The lifts cover more than 100,000 kilometres every year and include an ingenious brake system which allows for a smooth descent at a constantly changing angle. It is also reassuring to know that the tower is designed so that it barely moves in strong winds.
Although all of Paris can be called romantic, the Eiffel Tower is in a class of its own. Hundreds of couples gather on the stairs and in the gardens of Trocadéro to enjoy the golden lights that rain over the tower like a waterfall every hour. The perfect end to a day in the city of love is a dinner at one of the restaurants in the tower, or a drink in the champagne bar on the top floor – a glass of bubbly in your hand, a candlelight dinner and Paris literally at your feet. Just remember that the prices are almost as high as the tower itself.
The Eiffel Tower was first illuminated in 1985. The lighting has since become an attraction in its own right. As many as 336 projectors, controlled by sensors that respond to the coming dusk, shine their golden glow over the edifice. For the Millennium New Year celebrations, 20,000 pieces of extra flashing lights were added. It took 25 mountaineers around five months to fit them all on the Eiffel Tower.