|Visiting the Eiffel Tower doesn't have to be a hectic experience!|
With almost 7 million visitors per year, it's not surprising that the Eiffel Tower is at the top of everyone's "must see" list when they visit Paris for the first time. Since it's also the one place where almost all of my guests ask me to take them, I've started providing family and friends with maps and detailed instructions so that they can visit Gustave Eiffel's masterpiece on their own. Don't get me wrong, I love the Eiffel Tower. It's an impressive structure. But there's a limit to how many times I'm willing to be accosted by scammers, like the petition girls, at the bottom and jostled by tourists rushing to get to the top. Over the past couple of years, the entire experience has become an unwelcome obligation rather than a pleasure.
That's why I'm pleased to announce that I've found the best way to visit the Eiffel Tower for regular folks, like me, who can't afford a private VIP tour. It all started when I met Gilles, an actor and tour guide for Visites-Spectacles, while working as an extra on a French film a couple of weeks ago. In between takes, Gilles' enthusiastic description of "The Eiffel Tower Romance" tour and his knowledge of little known facts about one of the world's most beloved monuments convinced me to visit the Eiffel Tower ... one more time.
Not surprisingly, I didn't have to wait very long for an occasion to return to the Eiffel Tower because Sara, Philippe and Sara's friend were visiting last week. When Bridget mentioned that she wanted to ascend the Eiffel Tower before flying back to Boston, I booked five spots for the Saturday morning tour with Gilles.
|Gilles dressed as a French Resistance Fighter in the bunker under the Champ de Mars.|
Hoping that the experience would be a success and not a waste of valuable vacation time and money, I was immediately relieved when Gilles delighted everyone in our group by swooping into sight dressed as an aviator. After introducing himself, or rather his character, he enthralled us by recounting a fictional love story interlaced with fascinating facts about the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to Visites-Spectacles' status as an official tour company for the Eiffel Tower, Gilles escorted us to places that most people never see: the former bunker where Radio France was housed underneath the Champ de Mars, the original machinery room that still operates the elevators and the roof of the Jules Verne Restaurant for a spectacular view of the city. Best of all, we weren't fighting like banshees when we left the Eiffel Tower (I've seen it happen to the most loving families!) because we had a wonderful, stress-free time.
|The original machinery room fascinated Stéphane.|
"The Eiffel Tower Romance" - I'm going to recommend it to all my guests as THE best way to visit the Eiffel Tower! Since the tour ends on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, those wishing to go to the top floor will need to purchase an additional ticket once they're on the Eiffel Tower. If you have mobility issues, it's helpful to know that the 90 minute tour includes some walking and climbing steps.
Did you know that the Eiffel Tower used to be Venetian red"? And yellow? Please click here to see a photo of Gilles showing our tour group an iron beam with an archive of all the previous colors.
Visites Spectacles also offers two other guided tours in English, "The Spirit of Montmartre" and "The Riddle of the Covered Arcades". As I haven't done either of these tours, please click here to read the reviews on TripAdvisor. Please note that most of the reviews are written in French because Visites Spectacles only recently started offering tours in English.
|The view of the Champ de Mars from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.|