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The Eiffel Tower, symbol of the Capital
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Built to commemorate the centennial of the Revolution and for the Universal Exhibition of 1889, the 320m Eiffel Tower was meant to be a temporary addition to Paris’s skyline.Designed by Gustav Eiffel, it was fiercely decried by 19th century aesthetes but has now become an iconic symbol of the capital of France. It stood as the world’s tallest building for over 40 years, until New York’s Empire State Building surpassed it in 1931.
At ground level at the corner of the North pillar, you will find a bust of Eiffel made by Antoine Bourdelle, and placed there in 1930. The first level can be reached by lift or by 360 steps. There is another post office here and a souvenir shop and an audio visual museum together with a small section of the original spiral staircase that linked the second floor with Eiffel’s office at the top. There are a further 700 steps that lead up to the second level or you can take the lift. The second floor has the famous Jules Verne restaurant which is highly rated not only for its food but also for the breath-taking panoramic view. There is also a buffet bar to provide sustenance.
At the top you will be rewarded with absolutely stunning views of Paris. There are both covered and open air viewing areas over two levels so you can enjoy the top equally as well at night. Also at the top Gustav Eiffel’s office has been restored to its former glory and a scene, with carefully matched wax figures recreates a scene with Eiffel and his daughter Claire, together with Thomas Edison. At each level of the Tower you will find panoramic maps that show your position and identify the buildings that you can see.
The Tower has always inspired many people from artists to architects.
To make the most of your visit, an iPhone app can be downloaded in English providing a full guided tour with a good written and audio content. Highlights must be enjoying a glass of champagne at the top, or a picnic on the first floor. Of course, once you have enjoyed the views from the glass lift, you must enjoy another perspective by going up and down on the stairs.