Okay, you all amused me with your guesses as to what I was looking at in the previous post picture. No one got it right. I was staring at the Eiffel Tower. It always grabs my mind and heart with its beauty. We spent the last four days of our June France trip in Paris. Four days were not enough to take in all that we wished to do there. So we tried to concentrate on small pieces of Paris. There is nothing more romantic than walking along the Seine at night with the glowing silhouette of the Eiffel tower to light the way.
One of the things that we had never done before was actually take the elevator to the top of the tower. Somehow on our last trip I wanted to spend more time in the cafes, bistros, market streets and small haunts in the Latin Quarter. This time we played the tourists more. We got up early the morning after our night on the town and took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower stop. Even though it was hard to stand in line for an hour and a half, we persevered. It was well worth it.
The view from the first platform was amazing. Looking East one can see the Seine winding its way toward the Ile de la Cite. In the far distance the white beauty of the Sacre-Coeur is visible on its hilltop.
Looking North one can see the Arc de Triomphe and the grand boulevard, Champs-Elysees.
The bridges of the Seine are unique characteristics of Paris. Each bridge has its own personality. Viewing them from the top of the Eiffel Tower is a stunning sight.
Gustave Eiffel was an architect and a structural engineer. He took over the design of the Statue of Liberty, which France gave to the United States, after the original architect died. Because of this fame he was chosen to build a structure for the World Exposition held in France in 1889. The fair also commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the French Revolution. The iron structure that he designed took over two years to complete and employed over 200 men. There were misgivings about the design from the very beginning and Eiffel ended up financing 80 percent of the cost. As it turned out he recouped his money in 5 months from the sale of tickets and he continued to profit for the next 20 years as per the agreement with Paris officials. It was meant to be a temporary structure which suited many Parisians, as they thought it to be a vulgar sight. But in 1909 when it was to be torn down, it was discovered to be a perfect tower for radio transmissions. The tower would go on to serve an important part in communications during the First World War.
Gustav Eiffel had an office on the top platform of the tower where he entertained guests such as Thomas Edison. The above picture shows wax figures of Eiffel and Edison in conversation.
David took the above picture from the top platform with his zoom lens. Sacre Coeur is eerily beautiful.
On the elevator coming down we marveled at the iron struts and rivets that held the whole structure together. We were glad that we had taken the time to get a close up view of one of my favorite landmarks.
I have just finished reading Paris by Edward Rutherfurd. I highly recommend this historical fiction work that gives the history of Paris from the Middle Ages through the Second World War. It was a fascinating read and the section on the building of the Eiffel Tower was especially interesting.