Probably the first image that comes to mind when one hears the word "Paris" is the Eiffel Tower, and no visit to the City of Lights would be complete without a pilgrimage to this massive, breathtaking, world-famous monument.
The Eiffel Tower - or Tour Eiffel aka La Dame de Fer ("The Iron Lady") en Francais - is an imposing pig-iron latticework tower originally built as an entrance arch for the 1889 World's Fair. It was designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel, who, along with sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, had previously co-fathered yet another Metal Maiden who greeted immigrants for over a century at the New York harbor:
The saucy French minx.
Despite the Eiffel Tower's current worldwide renown, initially many Parisians considered the bare metal plated structure as a monstrosity and an eyesore. Among its famous critics were composer Charles (Ave Maria, Faust, Romeo et Juliette) Gounod, the architect Charles (Opéra de Paris) Garnier, novelist Alexandre ("The Lady of the Camellias") Dumas, and Guy ("The Necklace") de Maupassant:
"Novelist Guy de Maupassant—who claimed to hate the tower—supposedly ate lunch in the Tower's restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where one could not see the structure." *
Eiffel's tower originally only had a permit to stand for 20 years, and was supposed to be dismantled in 1909. However, it has endured as an iconic French landmark - the most-visited paid monument in the world - symbolizing not only Paris but the entire country as well.
Yo, Gustave, eiffel for your tower, dude! Awesome!
The Grand Iron Lady is a true Parisian landmark -
literally the tallest building in central Paris.
Pictures can't do justice to the breathtaking view from the base.
The view from the first elevator...
...that takes you to the second level.
Level 2 : Shoes and Bags. Actually, more like the gift shop
I admit it, I shot this tourist. But he didn't have the decency to topple over
the railing and plunge screaming to his death several meters below.
You have to take another, smaller elevator to the summit,
but only if you have a ticket to the top.
Otherwise, you stay on the second level with the other rabble.
Your eyes in the sky.
The Trocadero as seen from the summit.
Don't do it, baby! Life is good! I love you!
Paris way way down below.
Go ouest, young man.
I'm a long, long way from home.
Oh, and engel...
Oh, and engel...
...your choice of gold or brass, monsieur.