“Not all those who wander are lost.”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Three days of holiday in my pocket, I packed my bag with bare essentials and hopped on the train to Paris (France), “La Ville-Lumière” (“The City of Light“). Basel (Switzerland) to Paris (France) is just 3 hours by TGV train with highest speed of 322 kph. Now that’s FAST!
My hotel was beautiful, I stayed on the 24thfloor at Pullman and the view was breath taking. While no major plan on mind, I surely wanted to see the Eiffel tower all lit up at night as I had missed it the last time I was here.
|View from my hotel room|
I reached in the evening, picked up my camera and headed straight to the guitar of the sky, the Eiffel tower. It was full day light and I captured it well on my Nikon D7100. I waited with bated breath for the lights to turn on. And truly my jaw dropped at the sight. I leave you with my captures before we move on.
|The Tower from the metro station|
|Walking towards the tower|
|The Alma Bridge|
|Yes, they too have Autos|
|The play was worth a click|
|Felt like the light post was lighting the sky|
Now for some fun facts on the Eiffel tower:
“I ought to be jealous of the tower. She is more famous than I am.” ― Gustave Eiffel
Completed on March 31, 1889, the tower was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.
It is 324 metres tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tonnes.
It is possible to climb to the top, but there are 1,665 steps. (I took the lift J)
More than 300 leading French writers and artists protested the building of the Eiffel tower as they saw it as a “hateful column of bolted sheet metal”.
On a sunny day, thermal expansion may cause the tower to grow by six inches.
The tower sways around six to seven centimetres (2-3 inches) in the wind.
Victor Lustig, a con artist, “sold” the tower for scrap metal on two separate occasions.
Gustave Eiffel, the engineer and architect behind the tower, was also involved in a disastrous attempt by the French to build a canal in Panama, and his reputation was badly damaged by the failure of the venture.
Eiffel also designed interior elements of the Statue of Liberty.
During the German occupation, the tower’s lift cables were cut, and the tower closed to the public. Nazi soldiers then attempted to attach a swastika to the top, but it was so large it blew away and had to be replaced with a smaller one.
In 1944, as the Allies approached Paris, Hitler ordered Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower, along with other parts of the city. The general refused.
It was originally intended to stand for 20 years before being dismantled, but its use as a wireless telegraph transmitter (in cases such as the one above) meant it was allowed to stay.
French car manufacturer Citroen used the tower as a giant billboard between 1925 and 1934 – the company name was emblazoned on the tower using a quarter of a million light bulbs – and was recorded as the world’s biggest advertisement by the Guinness Book of Records.
In 2008 a woman with an objects fetish married the Eiffel Tower, changing her name to Erika La Tour Eiffel in honour of her ‘partner’.
The Eiffel Tower and Margaret Thatcher share the same nickname – La Dame de Fer (“The Iron Lady”).
In 1905 a local newspaper organised a stair climbing championship at the tower. A M.Forestier won, taking three minutes and 12 seconds to reach the second level.
Pierre Labric cycled down the stairs of the tower in 1923. He won a bet, but was arrested by local police.
|This was at 9.45 pm, the lights went on|
I had missed seeing the tower from the top due to bad weather, this time I booked a slot in advance to see it.
|Thats not Gustav, thats me on top of the Eiffel tower|
I came across this beautiful patriotic poem, worth a share
“When Hitler marched
across the Seine
To take the land of France,
La dame de fer decided,
‘Let’s make the tyrant dance.’
Let him take the land and city,
The hills and every flower,
One thing he will never have,
The elegant Eiffel Tower.
The French cut the cables,
The elevators stood still,
‘If he wants to reach the top,
Let him walk it, if he will.’
The invaders hung a swastika
The largest ever seen.
But a fresh breeze blew
And away it flew,
Never more to be seen.
They hung up a second mark,
Smaller than the first,
But a patriot climbed
With a thought in mind:
‘Never your duty shirk.’
Up the iron lady
He stealthily made his way,
Hanging the bright tricolour,
He heroically saved the day.
Then, for some strange reason,
A mystery to this day,
Hitler never climbed the tower,
On the ground he had to stay.
At last he ordered she be razed
Down to a twisted pile.
A futile attack, for still she stands
Beaming her metallic smile.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
It is just impossible to capture the trip in one post, the next posts will be Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, Arc de triomphe and the finale The Louvre!
References: the telegraph, the poem – good reads and pictures: Shweta Dave (Mine ofcourse).