While just about any year would be the perfect time to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, this year will see a very special anniversary celebrated as the iconic landmark turns 125.
At the time it was built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, the Eiffel Tower was looked upon with skepticism. Hundreds of workers had spent two years assembling the tower’s intricate iron framework. Still, some Parisians feared the tower was not structurally sound, or simply thought it was ugly.
The tower was supposed to be a temporary structure, but it’s still standing 125 years later, helping define the Parisian landscape. The tower narrowly escaped destruction at least twice: in 1909, it was about to be demolished when city officials decided to save it for use as a radio-telegraph station (the tower is still used to broadcast radio and television signals). During World War II, there were orders from Germany to destroy the tower, but the command was not carried out.
Today, the graceful tower is considered to be an architectural wonder and attracts more than six million visitors a year. Three levels are open to visitors. Level 1 houses a restaurant, Le 58 Tour Eiffel, where you can enjoy traditional French cuisine while looking out on the Trocadero area of Paris. On level 2, renowned chef Alain Ducasse’s Le Jules Verne Restaurant has served fine French cuisine for 30 years. Level 3 is an observation platform: at 906 feet above the ground, it’s the highest publicly accessible point in the European Union.
Ticket prices to visit the Eiffel Tower are very reasonable and are determined by how many levels you visit, whether you use the elevator or stairs, and your age, ranging in price from €5 (currently about $6.77 in U.S. dollars) to €15. The price is reduced for visitors 12 to 24 years of age, and again for those 4 to 11 years, as well as individuals with disabilities and their companions. Children under four are free. Group rates are also available.
If you’re looking for a fun travel challenge, why not visit the world’s replicas of the Eiffel Tower? These include the Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, England; Long Ta Tower, Harbin, China; Tokyo Tower in the Minato section of Tokyo, Japan; and the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you’re still looking for another reason to visit Paris this year, consider the 25th anniversary of the Louvre Pyramid. This grand entrance to the world’s largest museum is another famed architectural gem that was initially met with derision. Twenty-five years later, it is has become a vital part of Paris’ landscape.
Whether you want to plan for a Paris engagement, a romantic getaway, or a sightseeing trip of Paris and all of its architectural and other wonders, Travel Leaders of Columbia can help make your Paris dreams come true.