We were there at last! All the planning and preparation of the last few weeks were now over and we were stood at the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, waiting to go on one of the famous Eiffel Tower tours. I was feeling giddy with excitement and that was without the vertigo.
My partner and I had decided to walk up to the second floor; lifts were available but there was a queue and we wanted to really appreciate the wonderful structure of this amazing piece of architecture, by ascending it on foot. I started counting the stairs as we made our way up but lost count at about 120 but was reliably informed that there are just over 300 steps to the first floor, which took us about 7 minutes. We stopped for a rest, a couple of times, on the small landings that are part of this inside, outside metallic structure, to catch our breath but also to take in the unique views of the urban landscape opening up before us.
When we reached level one we took our time to absorb the history of the Tower in their cinema auditorium and to explore the exhibition room with an array of artistic works on show. But by far the best bit for me was looking out across Paris from the circular viewing gallery and pin-pointing many of the landmarks that we had read about. The sun was just setting and the night-life of the city was waking up; it was majestic and we had to drag ourselves away to continue our walk up to level two.
On the second floor our first visit was to the Vision Well where we had amazing views all the way down to the ground below. Definitely not for the faint hearted! Then there were even more breathtaking sights to see and I spent most of my time looking at the tops of buildings and monuments through the lens of my camera, desperately trying to capture the moment. After absorbing as much as we could of the sensational beauty spread out before us we took a break to have a meal at the restaurant. The food was delicious and while enjoying our meal we were still able to take in the views from the large windows next to our table.
Once fully replenished with French food and wine, it was now time to take the journey to the top of the Tower. This was the part that I was most excited about but also most nervous of. The last leg has to be taken by lift and knowing that the lifts are over a hundred years old, made me feel wobbly, although it was small comfort to me that they were now completely modernized and extremely safe. Obviously I lived to tell the tale . To see the bustling streets of Paris from such a height gives you a feeling of awe and inspires individuality and creativity. The top of the Eiffel tower is so romantic it made me want to cry but I managed to contain myself long enough to buy a glass of champagne from the Champagne Bar so that I could drink a toast to life, love and Gustave Eiffel, the creator of the most amazing landmark that I have ever had the privilege to visit.