As I planned our trip to Paris, the one thing that I was most excited about was visiting the Eiffel Tower. It was constantly on my mind. After all, it was another adventure that had been on my Bucket List from the very beginning, and I was so excited for the opportunity to finally see it for myself. Yet, surprisingly, I’m not the only one with dreams of visiting the Eiffel Tower (shocking, right?). 😉 With over seven million visitors per year, lines to visit the Tower can be long — sometimes an hour wait or more — and nobody wants to travel half way around the world just to stand in line for hours on end. (Ain’t nobody got time for that!)
So if you’re headed to Paris, my advice is to book your tickets online before your trip; oh, and also, don’t forget to take me with you! 😉 Tickets go on sale three months in advance and are sold in limited quantities; which means tickets sometimes sell out within minutes for the peak tour hours (Hello, romantic sunset time slot. I’m looking at you). So plan ahead, my friends.
When we arrived at the Eiffel Tower on the afternoon of our scheduled tour, we immediately noticed the long line leading up to the ticket counter and another long line through security. We couldn’t help but smile as we skipped the first two lines and walked up to an additional security line strictly reserved for advanced ticket holders. (Pre-planning for the win!)
We felt like VIPs as breezed through security and walked right on to one of the glass-enclosed elevators… that is, until the elevator doors closed. I’ve mentioned it before, but unfortunately, I am super claustrophobic. And as we stood shoulder to shoulder in the elevator I thought that even sardines have more room in those tiny tin cans than we had on that elevator. So, as strangers were literally breathing down my neck, I tried to get out of my own head and focused my gaze out of the glass elevator and towards the tower itself.
Personal-space-sabotage aside, once the elevator doors opened and the fresh air hit my face, I stepped out of the elevators and was immediately wow’ed with my surroundings. It felt as though I was dreaming. I looked out over Paris and spotted the many famous monuments scattered throughout the city and then followed the Seine as it intertwined throughout the historic rue’s splitting the city into two.
Cody and I had planned our visit in the late afternoon so we would have time for dinner at the tower followed by a gorgeous sunset view of Paris from the second floor of the tower. However, as the rain began to fall, we realized that the epic sunset view just wasn’t in the cards that night. So instead of standing in the rain, we decided to head back to our hotel and promised each other that we would come back another night.
It was the next morning when we heard the news that the Eiffel Tower went into lockdown the previous evening.
According the to the news report, the tower went into lockdown around 8:00pm (a mere 30 minutes after we left) because a man was acting “suspiciously” on the second floor. The person was arrested without incident and the Tower reopened shortly after. Upon hearing the news, my first thought was of gratitude — I was relieved to hear that nobody was hurt and thankful to the brave men and women in uniform who resolved the situation peacefully. My next thought teetered on the edge of claustrophic-induced-panic. In that moment I realized just how close we came to being trapped in one of those packed elevators for 30 minutes or more. And the mere thought still terrifies me to my core.
I’ll swim with sharks and jump out of airplanes every single day, but the mere thought of being confined in tight quarters and I start to hyperventilate. I think I’ll take the stairs next time. 😉
Paris is filled with so many breathtaking sites — Notre Dame, Montmartre, Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre are just a few of the highlights — throw in the lazy afternoon strolls down the fascinating rues (streets) brimming with character, the French bakeries filled with decadent pastries, and the ancient churches scattered throughout the city, and even the most well-worn traveler will be left standing in awe. They may even shed a few happy tears… (“No, I’m not crying. You’re crying!”). 😉
Of course, the cherry on the top of any trip to Paris is a visit to the Eiffel Tower. And while it’s officially crossed off my list, I am positive that we will be back to visit again soon. Au Revoir!
Have you been to the Eiffel Tower? Did you love it as much as we did?