The Eiffel Tower (aka Tour Eiffel) deserves its own entry because it is such an enduring symbol of Paris. Sure we all know about the Notre Dame Cathedral or the Arc de Triomphe or the Louvre, but really everyone knows about the Eiffel Tower. The Tower features prominently in photos and movies, but really it featured prominently in my romantic vision of the city. Thus it was disappointing that during my first afternoon in Paris I didn’t even see this famous landmark. In my mind the Eiffel Tower was like the Domtoren in Utrecht, the center of the city and a guiding tower for me to get my bearings. Apparently, I thought the Eiffel Tower was on a large hill so I would be able to see it no matter where I was in the city. This was definitely not true. In reality Paris is much bigger than Utrecht and I often couldn’t even see the Eiffel Tower as I traipsed around the city. Thus, when I finally saw the Tower behind me as I walked away from the Luxembourg Gardens towards the Pantheon I kept turning around to stare.
The Tour Eiffel was built in 1889 as the entrance to the World’s Fair and is now a major symbol of not only Paris, but France as a whole. (I imagine this is much to the chagrin of French people who do not live in Paris.) It is interesting me that the enduring symbol of this nation is a metal latticework structure that is not a government building (Houses of Parliament in England) or a monument (Brandenburger Tor in Germany) or a natural space (the Blue Lagoon in Iceland) or a machine (windmills in the Netherlands) or a religious structure (Angkor Wat in Cambodia). I shouldn’t judge, though, because I live in Seattle and our enduring symbol is the Space Needle, which was also constructed for the World’s Fair in 1962.
Regardless of why it is the enduring symbol, the Eiffel Tower is a unique structure and I did exclaim loudly when I first glimpsed this structure between the buildings.
Even as I kept seeing the Eiffel Tower, I continued to be excited. It kept me cognizant of the fact that I was in Paris! I know that sounds silly, but I have wanted to go to Paris for a long time and kept skipping it to journey to other cities in other countries. Now I was finally in this awesome city and catching glimpses of the Eiffel Tower just made it that much more real.
Predictably, I took many photos of this famous landmark. Here is a montage of the photos.