Many of you will know about my “50 before I am 50” list and if you don’t know what I am talking about you can read all about it here!
One of my “things” is to go up the Eiffel Tower. Not a massive thing you might say, well not unless you are petrified of heights like I am…..
My blogger bestie Boo found this out last year on a trip to Prague. We went up the famous astrological clock tower and walker out onto the outside viewing area which wraps around all four sides of a square tower.
Well I say walked outside. I inched along sideways, my back pressed firmly against the wall, staying as far back from the open sections as I could.
Boo noticed my behaviour and said “Are you afraid of heights”?
“Petrified” was my response.
She went on to ask me why I had gone up the tower if I was so frightened. My answer was, I wanted to face my fears and see the stunning City panorama from up high.
And of course there was that old adage of mine, “What’s the worst that could happen?!?”
So here I am again, getting higher and higher in the air as Boo and I experience Paris from the highest viewing platform of the Eiffel Tower!
We had visited Disneyland Paris for Halloween and as we had time to ourselves the next day we had arranged to go to Paris for a tour and look at the sights. We hopped on a train from Marne Le Vallee into Paris for around €17 which allowed us to travel on the Metro and more.
We had pre-booked the Eiffel Tower visit online which was a lot cheaper and as we had an assigned time, it meant the rest of the day was free.
We arrived at the Tower around 3pm ready for our trip up to the top at 4pm. Security was tight and we had to be scanned and have our bags checked, which I find a great relief that they are taking things so seriously.
It was exceedingly busy with people trying to buy tickets and there was a sign stating that due to the amount of visitors, trips to the summit were only available for those who had already booked. We breathed a sigh of relief as that would have been a complete nightmare if I hadn’t been able to complete the challenge!
It was almost 4pm and it was time to head on up.
My knees were shaking (a lot) and I was thankful that there were funiculars to take us up as I don’t think I could have got feet to move if it was all steps.
The funicular stopped at the 2nd floor (etage) and we got out. To be honest I was already feeling a little out of my league and I was only half way up!
Boo asked if I wanted to have a walk around the 2nd etage before getting the next lift up to the summit. We went outside and this level had 2 stages to it. We were on the higher “balcony” section meaning there was another level/platform underneath us. This actually gave me a sense of security and I was able to walk around the perimeter, taking photographs and looking out over the sights.
Eventually Boo suggested getting the lift to the summit. In we got and off it set.
This was not a lift ride either of us enjoyed, It clicked and clanked and jolted a little and once out, Boo confessed that the ride had petrified her. I agreed, it sounded like the lift was going to plunge us to our death.
However, this now meant that I was actually at the top of the Eiffel Tower!! Again there were two viewing platforms and this time we were on the lower platform.
We walked around again and I started to feel a bit more comfortable. Instead of looking down, I focused on looking outwards to all the tourist sites that you could see, such as the Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur and The Arc de Triomphe.
Of course, although we were at the summit, there was that second level above us. Boo asked if I wanted to go up so I could say I had truly been as high up as a visitor could go.
I have to admit it did take me a few minutes to decide to go up, but eventually up we went.
I was pretty glad we did!
The views were spectacular and there was even a Champagne Bar there too; well it would have been rude not to celebrate such a momentous event, and I ordered a glass of Rose Champagne and jolly nice it was too.
A kind security guard offered to take some photographs to commemorate the event which was lovely.
We spent a good 30 minutes or so on the summit before getting back into the lift to head back down. This time we stopped on the 1st etage as this is where the restaurant and gift shop were based. I was amazed to also see a crazy golf course there too!
One of the things that I couldn’t simply bear was the section of floor that had been replaced by glass so you could stand on them and look down to the ground far below.
There was NOT a chance that I was going to stand on those see through sections. Not on your life!
We had a good mooch around and then headed down to Terra Firma.
As it was now around 530pm, Boo asked one of the staff what time the Eiffel Sparkle would start. It was due around 6pm so we walked across a very busy intersection to the Trocadero where we found a vantage point and settled down to wait.
Around fifteen minutes prior , it was almost sundown and the Eiffel Tower was suddenly lit up.
Dead on 6 o’clock all the lights started flickering on and off making the Tower sparkle and shine. It really was so very pretty.
The event lasts around five minutes and happens on the hour, every hour.
Although the temperature had dropped considerably it was worth sitting and waiting for the sparkle to happen.
Alas, our day in Paris was drawing to an end and we got on the Metro and RER until it deposited us safely back at Marne Le Vallee and our hotel.
I was really proud of myself for facing my fears and can honestly say that when I was actually at the top, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t feel frightened anymore and I happily walked about.
Whether that has cured me of my fears, only time (and another tall building) will tell.
But if nothing else, I have crossed another challenge off the “50” list.
So, until then…. watch this space for the next challenge!