Hello Internet Peoples! How’s it hanging? I hope if you’re reading this, you’re feeling smashing and splendid.
I’m going to tell you about how a very simple, seemingly harmless trip to Paris turned into something… else. Something dangerous and scary but also life-alteringly hilarious. So if you like stories about people in danger on the Eiffel Tower, OR you would like to visit the Eiffel Tower and want some protips, read on!
(On a sidenote, if you’re unfamiliar with my blog, Paris Wednesdays are an every-other-weekly tradition my friend Bekah and I have, where we do something different in Paris to make the most of living near such an amazing city. We sing a lot of Les Mis and other French chansons along the way.)
It started off a very normal Wednesday afternoon- we knew that THIS was the day we would go to the Eiffel Tower. I’d been a few times before this day (always underneath, never up), but Bekah had never been before, and thus as a good student of French, she HAD to go. Il faut visiter la Tour Eiffel quand on se trouve en France, etc…
We took the metro from Gare du Nord (RER B to St Michel Notre Dame, and then switched to line 9 for Champ de Mars), and arrived at the beautiful old big pointy thing. I love it. I don’t think I’ll ever NOT get goosebumps when I see it.
Fun Eiffel Tower Fact: Did you know that the French temporarily repurposed it as a radio antenna?
Anyway, we walked towards it (it’s about two minutes from the metro stop), and stared in awe, before Bekah said “Shall we?” and I agreed that indeed, we should.
Now, here’s a protip- unless you find walking difficult, or have small kids and buggies, don’t take the lift, take the stairs. It’s much faster, in terms of queuing, and it’s cheaper, too. It cost us €11 to climb, as far as we wanted basically, and we queued for no longer than 10 minutes. At this point, the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and life was generally good.
At this point, I’d like to clarify something- my anxiety was telling me NOT to do this. Every bone in my body wanted to lock into place to stop me from climbing that thing, but I knew I had to do it for myself. I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t done it. So, I just concentrated on the steps, and the fact that the temperature had just dropped and it was suddenly quite windy, but still. I was doing it.
We got to the first floor, and by that stage, it was blustery. The sky was a bit grey, the winds were picking up, but we’d made it! We took a celebratory selfie, and had a little walk around. By the time we were ready to climb to the second stage, the wind was insane, and the rain was getting incredibly heavy. We met a little old French woman on the stairs (basically, the person in any good horror film who tells you not to go to the abandoned fair) who warned us that the wind was way too strong, and it would be a bad idea to continue going up. We nodded in agreement, but as soon as she’d left, we continued to walk on up.
Fun Eiffel Tower Fact 2: Did you know that during the second world war, the bitter French cut the elevator cables so that if Hitler wanted to go up the tower, he’d have to take the stairs?
By the time we reached the second floor, I was slightly in bits. I was clinging to the beams of the Eiffel Tower, half because I felt so panicky that I thought I might pass out, and half because the wind was so strong, I was being thrown about. Which is scary when you are 149.5 metres off the ground, yeno.
And then, there was the rumble of thunder.
And then, the first flash of lightning.
And that’s when we knew, this was getting a bit dangerous…
We started to rush down the stairs, but seeing as it was now hailing so hard we couldn’t see, that was proving difficult. We’d gone down about two flights when the brightest flash of lightning struck right beside the tower- I literally wanted to cry at this stage! If you could be ANYWHERE during a lightning storm in Paris, where would you chose NOT to be, eh? We scrambled down onto the first floor, but not before getting absolutely drenched, and so cold we couldn’t feel our hands.
But when we saw ourselves in the mirror, oh! How we did laugh. Soggy moggies is a massive understatement.
After drying off for about an hour inside the Eiffel Tower’s cafe, and watching the snow fall thick and fast, the sun decided to come back out again, and so we resumed our day with a nice cruise along the river. We were by far the dampest people on the boat- you would’ve thought that we’d swam up the Seine, and crawled into our seats.
We had an amazing day though, despite the insane weather, and I swear as long as I live, I will never, EVER forget my trip up the Eiffel Tower!!
In all honesty, though, I’m really kind of proud of myself. It was a big deal for me to get up those steps and be up so high, and I know that perhaps I didn’t go right to the very top, but I got further than I thought I could, and it was a big achievement for me. I’m going to celebrate by rewarding myself with macarons!
I’m heading into Paris again on Wednesday; this week, we’re taking on Montmartre! I’ll be sure to update you guys with our next interesting Parisian adventure.