Go to the Top of the Eiffel Tower is a classic bucket-list item if you're doing it before you kick the bucket, or like me, before years end. When I was creating the list, some things fell underneath my personal category of "to claim the most epic year ever this needs to be included."
- #34 Have an Ice Cream Sundae on my Grandma's Birthday
- I do it every year
- #41 Have a Lobster Dinner in Maine
- I'm from Maine. I've had more than I can count, but I couldn't live my greatest year without it.
What I'm getting to is that when I was 16 years old and a junior in high school, I took a school trip to Europe which was the only other time I had been to Europe until I returned for #1 Celebrate New Years in a Different Country. On that trip, we spent 36 hours in Paris and going to the Eiffel Tower was one of the few things we were able to do. Here's a picture for nostalgia reasons:
When I was making the list, I just couldn't have a year-long bucket-list without including it. I also, sadly, didn't have a super memorable experience the first time and had been looking forward to returning as an adult, without braces, removed from the hot-shit I don't care to actually appreciate culture phase of adolescence.
Present day; Andy and I had finished #52 Try Escargot in France, and as anyone visiting Paris, especially being Andy's first time, wanted to see the Eiffel Tower as soon as possible. There were moments throughout the day we could get a glimpse of it, but we wanted to see it and all its glory up close and personal. It was only day 2, having two full days left, so we didn't feel pressured to check off #14 and go to the top right away. We were in Paris, this is the Eiffel Tower, we'd be back. Andy had a particular image of inspiration in his head of how he wanted to photograph the tower, so we spent the afternoon until sunset running around capturing what it looked like hovering over the surrounding side streets.
How unbelievable - can you imagine?
Seeing it in person is an absolute, breathtaking, must. So dreamy and romantic.
Despite the cloudy day the above picture alleges to, we actually got a stunning sunset, Andy got his shot, and it turned out freaking epic. The sun was down, we were neck breaking-ly close to the Eiffel Tower, and I said to Andy,
"Let's let the line decide. If the line is long, we'll come another day. If the line is reasonable, we'll take advantage of it, have an immediate, incredible experience, and cross of #14."
The line was more than reasonable, partly because it was February, and though the day was warm in comparison to our experience for #16 Visit Amsterdam, it was still winter in Paris, and it was keeping people away to our benefit and chilly demise. We barely made it through security with our jam-packed backpacks and headed to the line. I went and snagged a coffee both for warmth and caffeine, which both felt like survival necessities at the time, while Andy boy waited. To repeat, this was going to be Andy's first time up the tower, but for reasoning I didn't know, he didn't seem overly stoked... and this was the Eiffel (freaking) Tower.
We were waiting in line for the second elevator, and he was not feeling very comfortable, voicing his concerns about the height, the structure, the people, and the lack of escape routes if there was an emergency. All very reasonable things to worry about but all I could think was,
"....wait until he sees the VIEW...."
We made it through the line, onto the elevator, and we were heading up. Since the tower gets thinner as you climb, the view from the lift is a pretty amazing preview of what the top is going to present. Andy, though, was not feeling good. Up, up, up, up, up, stop, doors open and there's a frenzy of people in the enclosed part of the summit. To get to the very top, the outside part, you have to climb up a staircase which I went right up, Andy trailing me. I got to the top, walked next to the wall of the cage, and Andy started firing away taking pictures of #14 being actively checked off.
No wonder they call it, "La Ville des Lumières" meaning the city of lights. Just stunning. I wanted to get some video, but before I could turn my camera on and raise it up, Andy was already b-lining for the line back down the elevator. I took some video, then took a breath and just enjoyed my moment of looking over one of the most incredible cities in the world.
I started down the stairs looking for Andy and, visibly shaken, need to get down... now. We squeezed our way through the line and got onto the first elevator we could. When we made it to the first platform again, he was feeling better than the trip up. Then when we made it back to the bottom, he was calm again. He was happy he did it, but he sure was glad it was over. On the contrary, my experience was just incredible, and I want to do it 100x over again. And though Andy's concerns were justified, this is a can't miss item and worth the risk (if you ask me).
#14: CHECK! Onward...
All my love,