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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Eiffel Tower, Paris - What's the Best Way to Climb It?

The Eiffel tower at sunrise, taken from the Pl...Image via WikipediaBy Derek F Wright
The Eiffel Tower in Paris doubtless offers splendid views of the City of Lights when you get to the top of it. But after spending a morning on the tourist trail, is climbing the Eiffel Tower a challenge or a chance to take a breather?
Fitness fanatics will be pleased to hear that to get to the first and second levels, which both have restaurants, stairs can be climbed, in addition to a lift. The walks to each of the first and second levels consist of about 300 steps. Officially, the third and highest level can only be got to by lift, though there is an original spiral staircase to the third level which has stairs that are only 80 centimetres wide.
More relaxed visitors may wish to take a lift all the way to the top as the tower is 324 metres in height, equivalent to an 81-storey building.

Not surprisingly, the intrepid French climber Alain Robert has made the ascent of this iconic Parisian structure with his bare hands and feet on the exterior. This was in 1996 as part of his career as a climber of 85 giant structures around the globe.
During the war, the retreating French cut the lift cables so that the invading Germans would have to take the stairs to get to the summit. German soldiers got to the top to plant the swastika, only for the flag to blow away a few hours later. Hitler dodged the opportunity to take the narrow stairs to the top, so it is said that while he conquered France, he did not conquer the Eiffel Tower. Meanwhile, this symbolic tower was scaled by a Frenchman who hung the French flag during the German occupation.
But how to get down from the top? Safety nets on each of the levels limit the chance to make a swift descent by jumping. In 1912, however, a certain Franz Reichelt, a tailor, died after jumping 60 metres from the first deck with his home-made parachute. Rather foolishly, this was his first attempt with his invention and he had told the authorities that he would test it in advance with a dummy.
In 1987, the first bungee jump from the top of the tower was made. On reaching the ground, the extreme sports practitioner was arrested by Paris police.
You can read more about the Eiffel Tower at and nearby hotels and accommodation in the Invalides area of Paris where you can relax after your visit.

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