My second and final day in Paris was by far my favorite. We were up for an early start, arriving at the Eiffel Tower at 8am, a full hour before the elevators make their first tourist laden ascent. By the time we left around noon, the place was packed and the lines were insane. Arriving early was definitely a good idea -- it only took about 10 minutes to reach the top after the Tower opened to the public.
The tower itself is beautiful, but the view from the top is even more so. It was fun to pick out all the places we'd seen the day before on the ground below. The ride to the top was nerve wracking -- I made the mistake of standing in front of an elevator window -- but thankfully the structure feels very sturdy and safe up top. The entire top level is caged in, and the second level is surrounded by a pretty high railing. Despite my antipathy for heights, the tower is the thing I am most impatient to visit again. I'd love to go back and spend more time taking in the view.
The tallest structure in Paris, the Eiffel Tower stands 1,063 feet tall (about the same height as an 81 storey building). When it was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 it was the tallest structure in the world, and held the title for 41 years until the Chrysler Building was raised in New York City. Since its completion the Tower has become the most visited paid monument in the world, boasting over 200,000,000 visitors.*
(If you enlarge this one you can make out the Louvre and Notre Dame.)