Wandering Bard: France (The Eiffel Tower)

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Wandering Bard
Tags: , , ,

What is it that is so poetic about the Eiffel Tower? It’s so symbolic of France, and France itself is symbolic of love and sophistication. Fine wine and food. Adventure and creativity.

But the reality is that the Iron Lady, as she’s often referred to, didn’t always have a glamorous life. She was built in 1889 and her purpose was to be the entrance into the World’s Fair. A temporary entrance. She’s over 1,000 feet tall and held the title of the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years.

You may have heard that the initial reaction to the tower was quite negative. There was a Committee of Three Hundred (one person for each meter of the tower’s height) that objected to its construction. They were mostly artists who thought the Eiffel Tower was a ridiculous idea. They found the tower to be useless and monstrous. They said that it would take away from the charm and historic beauty of such attractions like Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe.

Yet, look at her now! She’s become the very essence of Paris, of France in general. You can’t not think of the Eiffel Tower if you think of France. Can you even imagine what it would be like if the Iron Lady didn’t exist?

I certainly can’t. When I visited Paris, this was right at the top of my must-see list. I thought it would be spectacular and beautiful and mesmerizing and wonderful. I was wrong.

It was way more than that.

I can’t even describe the feelings that I had when I looked at it. The Tower just looms over you and you have trouble thinking that it’s real. How can something so tall exist like that? How can something you see on TV and in movies actually be there, right in front of you? And to be able to go up to it, touch it, go inside it…that’s a dream come true.

We got to get up-close and personal with the Eiffel Tower at night, which was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

I know it sounds a little dramatic and corny, but trust me, it’s everything I’m describing and more. And it turns out that I didn’t know very much about the tower to begin with. Like the fact that it sparkles on the hour, every hour. How amazing is that?

Or that you can actually go inside it? Even go to the very top? The world has never looked so within your grasp than when you’re standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Doesn’t it feel like the world is just yours for the taking?

This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to France. You wouldn’t think that a giant hunk of metal would be so amazing, but it is. The feeling is indescribable when I think that I was really there, really that close to the Eiffel Tower.

Here’s some cool pictures that I just have to post:

I believe that at about the time I took this picture, I was lost. (No, the irony does not escape me.) You’d think that on a circular platform with only two ways out, I wouldn’t have misplaced my friends. Wrong. (Also, I’ve never been in a windier place in my life!)

For this picture, I had to lean waaay back against the rail in order to get the top of the tower. We were as far up as you could go, so the top really isn’t as distant as it looks here.

  1. I have a few shots like this from my trip to Paris 🙂 It’s interesting how many “temporary” icons of World Fairs have come to symbolize the cities that house them.

  2. Julie Glover says:

    Wow, Karen! Fabulous photos.

  3. Elena Aitken says:

    Awesome pictures!! Brought back memories from when I was 15 and traveled to Paris with friends. Oh…I wish I could go back now.

    • Karen Rought says:

      That’s great, Elena! I’d love to go back someday too. I always find the initial trip to be overwhelming because you want to see EVERYTHING. It’d be nice to go back and do a relaxing tour of some of the lesser known sites.

  4. Fab photos. I blew kisses from the Eiffel Towel. Every direction. Met a man who changed me after that. Then my husband a few months later. Thanks for the memories!

  5. Fabio Bueno says:

    I didn’t know the Eiffel Tower was met with such resistance. Incredible. As you may know, the Space Needle was also built for a World Fair. I wish we still had those fairs. Maybe Tony Stark can bring them back, like in Iron Man 2 🙂

    • Karen Rought says:

      Isn’t that amazing? I just can’t imagine the world without the Eiffel Tower, or even some of those other World’s Fair monuments. And if anyone can bring back the World’s Fair, it would be Tony!

  6. Debra Kristi says:

    That’s so amazing. And wouldn’t that just be the coolest if there was a real Tny Stark to bring back the World’s Fair? Your pictures are fabulous.

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