We’ve all seen it a number of times in movies and photos. By the time you see the Eiffel Tower in person, you probably already feel rather acquainted with it. But, while millions of people visit the tower every year, not everyone loves it.
When construction began in 1887, some people already hated it, and by its unveiling at the World’s Fair in 1889, some people hated it even more. You’ve probably heard the story of novelist Guy de Maupassant who is said to have hated the tower so much, he ate lunch in the restaurant there everyday because it was the only place he could avoid seeing the tower in the skyline.
The year construction began, many of the city’s most prominent artists formed the “Committee of Three Hundred” in protest. In a letter they wrote “imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack . . . .”
Fast forward to today and some Parisians still hate it. They hate the way it stands in the skyline, they hate the crowds it draws to the area, they hate that it gets all the attention over some of the more impressive structures in Paris. I get it. But here’s the truth: I’m a fan of the Eiffel Tower. It was exciting to see something so familiar for the first time. Plus, the surrounding Champ de Mars area is full of energy. Take a picnic and relax in the park or hop on one of the many carousels in the area.
While we visited the tower during the day first, we also went at night. I’d say it’s worth seeing in both settings. On our night visit it was raining lightly with very high winds, but we decided to go up into the tower anyway. If you plan to wait in line for the elevator to the top, I suggest going as late as you can to avoid standing in long lines. The tower is generally open until midnight (sometimes 11pm depending on what time of the year it is). If you already know what time you want to visit, it makes things easier if you buy your tickets online. When we were there, the top floor was closed due to wind, but even the view from the 2nd floor was absolutely worth it.
I will say this: If you go to Paris and all you see is the Eiffel Tower, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. The tower is important and worth seeing, but it is not authentic Paris. It is tourist’s Paris. The best part of Paris is getting away from the well-known landmarks and truly feeling the city’s heartbeat. The tower is best consumed as part of a complete meal. Love it or hate it though, there’s something magical about eating a crepe while watching the tower sparkle.
Have you visited the Eiffel Tower? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!