Destination: Paris
Top Ten
1 Centre Georges Pompidou
2 Les Champs-Elysées
3 La Grande Arche de la Défense
4 Les Invalides
5 Le Louvre
6 Notre-Dame
7 Orsay, Musée d'
8 Les Quais
9 La Tour Eiffel
10 La Villette
9 La Tour Eiffel

Paris's most famous landmark has been towering above the city for more than a hundred years, yet its universal appeal remains constant.

The Tour Eiffel was built by the engineer Gustave Eiffel as a temporary attraction for the 1889 World Exhibition. At the time, its 300-m height made it the tallest building in the world and an unprecedented technological achievement. It met with instant success, was celebrated by poets and artists, and its spindly silhouette was soon famous all over the world. In spite of this, it was nearly pulled down when the concession expired in 1909 but was saved because of its invaluable radio aerial, joined in 1957 by television aerials. It was later raised by another 20m to accommodate a meteorological station.

The iron frame weighs 7,000 tonnes, yet the pressure it exerts on the ground is only 4kg per square cm; 40 tonnes of paint are used to repaint it every seven years. To celebrate its one hundredth birthday, it was renovated and halogen lighting was installed making it even more spectacular at night than before.

There are three levels, all accessible by lift or stairs - a breathtaking 1,710 steps to the top. Information about the tower is available on the first floor (57m above ground); there are also a restaurant, a gift shop and a post office, where letters are post-marked 'Paris Tour Eiffel'.

The second floor (115m above ground) offers a fine panoramic view of Paris, several boutiques and a gastronomic restaurant appropriately named 'Jules Verne'.

For a unique aerial view of the capital go up to the third floor (276m above ground). There is also a reconstruction of Gustave Eiffel's study and a diorama retracing the history of the building.

Address: Champ de Mars, 75007 Paris
Phone: 01 44 11 23 23
Open: Daily, Sep-mid Jun 9:30am-11pm, mid June-Aug 9am-midnight
Restaurant: Restaurants (Inexpensive-Expensive)
Bus: 42, 69, 72, 82, 87
Metro: Bir-Hakeim
Accessible: Good
Admission: Lift: 1st floor cheap, 2nd and 3rd floors expensive
French Riviera
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