Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is a profoundly disappointing structure if you see it close up and in daylight (unless you are an engineering history geek or similar). It looks nothing like all those nickel coated tourist souvenirs you've seen just bigger and better ie it is not an intricate and lovely bronze sculpture.

It's painted a particularly uninspiring matt brown, and it is set in a sand pit.

The Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero Gardens at about 8pm in September.


Doing its Cartier impression.

My advice is to view it in the evening from the square above the Trocadero Gardens. You look out across the Seine, over the Trocadero's fountains and it is there directly in front of you. As night falls the crowd gathers and once the required level of darkness is upon the city, the lights on the Tower spring into life. There is a bit of fancy flashing with coloured lights and pretty patterns, then it settles down to glitter like a piece of jewellry set with white diamonds.

Afterwards you can go off to dinner at Le Wilson -- touristy, cheap and friendly.

7 comments:

GaynorB said...

Hi Susan,

I certainly agree with your viewing platform and viewing time. Like you, I feel the Eiffel tour is at its most spectacular when viewed from a distance.

Tim said...

Close too, you just cannot miss the fact that it has got to be the largest object ever made from Meccano!

When I inherited my Uncle's Meccano set, it had a book with 'ideas'... one of which was the Eiffel... complete with working lifts... but it needed a warehouse full of bits to make it.

Lit up, it is fabulous though.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks for calling me a geek! LOL!

It would be a shame to come to France and NOT see or NOT enjoy seeing the Eiffel Tower, one of the wonders of the modern world. It is what it is, whether you personally like it or not. But what's the point of not liking it?

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Being an Engineer I like it alot and agree with Tims comment about Meccano. However I do not like the costs associated with it... Going up it or buying something near to it.

GaynorB said...

Tim very rarely gripes about his family, but he was very put out that his brother appropriated the family Meccano. He remembers there being enough to build an Eiffel Tower!

Susan said...

Gaynor: the paint job is a trompe l'oeil, so a bit of distance saves a lot of disappointment.

Ken: some of my best friends are geeks. It was the fact it was painted brown that I found the most difficult thing to bear, being one of those people that reacts physically to colours.

Colin: I appreciate the engineering skill too, but the first time I saw it was from right close up, standing at the base. In my mind I had a picture of a glorious bronze sculpture. The reality is a modular cast iron structure painted a dismal brown colour. Of course, if I had thought about it for a nano-second before visiting I would have realised what it was going to look like, but it's an iconic French symbol -- you don't think about it, you just visit it. Distance makes all the difference, and it is much better viewed from Trocadero, where the distressing details are not visible.

wcs said...

Interesting fact: the tower is actually painted in three different shades of that color. It's done to give it a uniform look from top to bottom! Sign me up for geekdom.