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The Eiffel Tower: History and Area Hotels for Your Next Trip to Paris
Beauty Is In the Eye of the Beholder: A Little Eiffel Tower History
Knowing the Eiffel Tower as we know it today: not just as a top Paris tourist attraction, but as an international icon that immediately conjures up thoughts of Parisian romance, passion, joie de vivre , and artistic creativity, it is amazing to look back at what was said about it when it was being built.
In 1889, the idea of the Eiffel Tower was despised by many, including prominent artists, writers, and everyday citizens. So much so that a group of writers and artists which included Guy de Maupassant and Alexandre Dumas sent an offical letter of protest in 1889 to the French Minister of Commerce.
In the letter, they called the Eiffel Tower, among other things, "A high and skinny pyramid of iron ladders . . . a giant and ungainly skeleton . . . [that] peters out into a ridiculous thin shape like a chimney factory."
And they weren't the only ones. More snippets of some early impressions of the Eiffel Tower include:
"The Eiffel Tower is truly of a disconcerting ugliness . . ."
". . . useless."
"Mean and trivial . . . a wicker flask of painted straw . . ."
". . . absolute artistic nonsense."
Ain't No Time to Hate
Tough crowd, tough place, Paris in the 1880s.
Well, one thing is for sure, the French have never been ones to hold back their opinions. To be a true friend to a Frenchman means to be honest. It is an admirable trait I believe, one that contrasts greatly with the over-coddleification of one another that shows in our communications here in the States. To be honest is to be more, well, honest.
In any event, some of these haters came around and lived long enough to love the Eiffel Tower, others went to their graves holding a bitter disdain for what they saw as that 'ugly skeleton' in the sky.
Today, the Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel), at 1,063 feet tall, remains the tallest structure in Paris, as can clearly be seen when looking out over the Paris skyline from Montmartre (the next-tallest structure -- First Tower (Le Tour First), an office building that was rebuilt from 2007- 2011-- is over 300 feet shorter than the Eiffel Tower).
As most know, the structure was designed by (and named for) Gustave Eiffel, a French architect and engineer, for the 1889 World's Fair or Exposition (Exposition Universelle). The Exposition was held to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the event that is traditionally considered the start of the French Revolution.
Reflection of the Eiffel Tower
View From the Top Level of the Eiffel Tower
Can I Climb It?
Visitors to the the Eiffel Tower will find three levels. Tourists can walk or take an elevator to the first and second levels (you'll need to buy tickets), but only the elevator goes to the third level. The first and second levels have restaurants, and there are plenty of touristy items for sale in and around the Eiffel Tower.
If you are looking for a 5-inch-tall Eiffel Tower replica or some other quintissentially cheesy Parisian souvernir that everyone who visits Paris must buy, you won't need to look very hard. If I give you 10 euros, can you pick one up for me?
(Careful, the music may make you want to rave)
Hotels Near the Eiffel Tower
There is a terrrific selection of hotels near the Eiffel Tower to stay in. And what could possibly be more enchanting when travelling in France than to step out onto your balcony with your morning cafe and crepe and have a view of the Eiffel Tower. Ooh-la-la. Listed below are some of the top hotels near the Eiffel Tower. Bon voyage!
Eiffel Tower Hotels
Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (previously the 'Eiffel Tower Hilton')
The Pullman is a terrific choice if you are looking to be close to, and have great views of, the Eiffel Tower. The hotel is known for its 5-star customer service and friendly staff. Rooms are spacious by Parisian standards and offer complimentary bottled water, with free wifi available in the business rooms.The hotel is being renovated and updated throughout 2011, so there may be some dust and dropcloths. I would advise calling first and making sure your room is away from any work that may be going on.
The Hotel de la Paix was completely refurbished in 2009 and offers very sleek and contemprary decor. Each of the 23 rooms have flatscreen LCDs and offer free wifi. It is located in a prime location for sightseeing, just a few minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower. Rooms may be a little on the small side, and you may want to confirm before booking that there will be no problems with the air-conditioning in your room, as there have been some ac complaints on Trip Advisor.
This converted convent offers old-world charm with modern ammenities such as flat-screen TVs and free wifi in all of the rooms. It is in a wonderful location for seeing the Paris sights, just a five-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower. Decorations are sparse but the price is terrific for such an amazing location.