Looking Past the Redesign of Paris’ Tour Eiffel
I make a deliberate effort to post positive thoughts and images from Paris during our two-month summer stay each year. However, today I must call out the recent changes happening at the Eiffel Tower as incredibly unfortunate. The need for high security in one of the most frequently visited outside monuments in the world is understandable, given the grief and trauma that Paris has endured from terrorist attacks. But what we saw yesterday broke my heart.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower and taking guests there has always been one of my favorite outings. Now, the situation is totally different. Gone are the breathtaking, leisurely strolls up to the tower from any angle, sometimes walking through beautiful parks. Gone is the magic of leaving the tower and walking straight across to Le Tracadero. I remember last year with my son and his family and how delightful our time was there. We lounged around for two or three hours, and it was a favorite day with my grandchildren, Andrew and Avery. They even convinced me to walk out on the glass floor!
Now, long, long lines greet you at security barriers as you traverse dusty paths and ugly barriers. Everything is about controlled access. I knew they were erecting a plexiglass fence around the perimeter of the tower; I didn’t realize it was only about one-third finished. The temporary eyesore there is an unattractive solid gray metal fence. I didn’t realize how much this new barrier would change the ambiance.
To add insult to injury, after standing in one security line for 30 minutes and a second line for another 30 minutes, we bought tickets that could only go to the second floor. They had closed access to the top because of too many people UNLESS you had pre-bought on a website where the tickets were as much as 60 euros!! I think this is deplorable. The general tariff is 16 euros.
The bright spot to this story is that our guests loved their visit because they had no reference point to what they had missed by not seeing it the usual way. Oh well, I suppose that’s what mattered. People were like ants and we didn’t stay nearly as long as we had planned. By the time we were leaving, they had reopened access to the top, but we were told that we would have to go back to the bottom, stand in line again, and buy a new ticket to get all the way up.
It was hot, frustrating, disappointing, and made me want to either scream or cry. For us a total fiasco, but for the Tysons and Clements, a fun outing. When my daughter arrives in 3 weeks, perhaps we will have had some rain and decreased the dust. Perhaps they will have more of the permanent see-through wall erected, and for sure we will go about five o’clock in the afternoon for shorter lines!
After a late lunch and a brief rest, we headed for our concert at La Sainte Chapelle. Though it was extremely hot inside the chapel, there was no disappointment with this outing—incredibly beautiful chamber music with perfect ecoustics. Dennis is the music minister at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Huntsville so he was absolutely thrilled with the performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Earlier in the day he broke his glasses but all he needed were his finely-tuned ears. We were on the second row! This is an exquisite experience which we highly recommend.
We finished off the evening with a late dinner around 9pm at Sorza’s, a quaint restaurant on Ile St. Louis which is air-conditioned. Lovely meal, good fun, and then a stroll across the river to end our day.
Today and tomorrow we will finish off the grand tour of Paris with two days on the Left Bank. But first a trip to an optician’s office to try to get new glasses for Dennis.
The cute street shot of the day was this little gal standing in line at the Tour Eiffel. I sneaked it since it’s illegal to take pics of children in Paris.
Have a great start to your summer weekend,
L & B
Katie and Rick McCool
July 20, 2018 @ 1:29 pm
So sad that terror rules our beautiful landmarks. We are lucky to have been there before our world got so crazy. Have you noticed other changes in security?
July 20, 2018 @ 2:16 pm
There’s just so much of it everywhere now. The French are especially vulnerable in places like the Eiffel Tower and most especially in the subways and trains. I open my purse 3-4 times a day.
July 20, 2018 @ 1:47 pm
The photography as usual is outstanding. I am in awe of the many stained glass window photo shots you have shared over the course of this years Paris visit. The photos from the tower are dynamite as well.
My dad as Dean of Music at Oklahoma City University for many years and prior to that the Minister of Music at First Methodist Church in Dallas would have enjoyed the music of Vivaldi as did your friend Dennis. I too like the Four Seasons by Vivaldi.
July 20, 2018 @ 2:16 pm
So glad you guys are following the blog. How is Beverly’s mom doing?
July 20, 2018 @ 1:51 pm
Oh lord, I hope your next post isn’t about getting bailed out of jail for photographing a child!
It is truly a shame that “security” is changing our whole way of life. Angry, hateful people everywhere taking the lives of our fellows, worldwide, is the new normal.
On a brighter note, enjoy your Paris journey with friends.
July 20, 2018 @ 2:17 pm
Thanks, Cindi. Sharon and Johnny are having a great time, and I’m SO proud of Sharon. She has hung in there with everything!
July 20, 2018 @ 1:53 pm
Sorry that the new security was such a drag, but my take away was the image of you and your grandkids having fun last year – good description. Do you have any idea on how it was possible to afford to build such beautiful buildings hundreds of years ago? It must have been very important.
July 20, 2018 @ 2:14 pm
My best answer would be the monarchy which was at the King’s whim. Common people starved and died in the streets…thus the French Revolution.
July 20, 2018 @ 2:14 pm
I do hate that about the Eiffel Tower!! I’m so glad I have visited so many times where it was totally open. Your pictures are beautiful! I know that the St Chapelle concert was wonderful!!
July 20, 2018 @ 2:19 pm
Yes, so glad you have visited before this year’s changes. For me, it will never be the same.
July 20, 2018 @ 2:52 pm
I’m grateful we were in Paris when we could visit the ET and other places with great freedom. The same is true in the USA. In the late ’80s I took Mother and her friend to the White House – no long security lines or concrete roadblocks there or in any other places we visited in DC. Those were the “good old days” in more ways than one. Meanness seems to rule the world now. On a happier note — “the CWJC book” will be ready to print this afternoon. It’s wonderful – inspiring – informative and all around a thing of beauty.
July 20, 2018 @ 3:14 pm
Thanks for all the hard work, Anne!
July 20, 2018 @ 3:05 pm
Awww Linda as usual you have perfectly captured the moment and mood of that hideous construction at the base of our beloved Tower. Though access at ground level will never be the same, I have great faith in la Ville de Paris that what ultimately becomes the new reality will be well done — as well done as possible in this sometimes-dispiriting era eg with pathways, lawns around the base and so on.
Several memoirs I’ve read have looked nostalgically back at a time when despite the lack of an actual road under the Tower, one could drive a car straight under (usually at midnight!) — the romance, the view, the memory of a magical experience — mourning this was no longer possible in ‘modern times’. Now along with you I mourn this latest sad but necessary change.
The photos are fabulous and I had to smile at the comment about bailing you out for your forbidden photo 🙂
Cheers and look forward to reading about your Left Bank day!
July 20, 2018 @ 3:14 pm
Hideous is the perfect word!