Eiffel Tower Tour - Level 1, 2 & 3 - With Captions!
Bonjour! Welcome to Paris! This walk begins at the Champs de Mars, a large public park, named after the Campus Martius (Mars Field) in Rome, a tribute to the the God of War. The area was originally used by gardeners for growing fruits, vegetables and flowers for the local market. The park began to take its current form in 1765, when city planners decided to turn the area into grounds for military drills. The world's first hydrogen-filled balloon was launched here in 1783. In 1889, the French government organized a World's Fair to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution.
A contest was held for the design of the monument that would be the centerpiece of the proposed 1889 Exposition Universelle (World's Fair). Over 100 designs were submitted but in the end, the Centennial Committee chose Gustave Eiffel's design, a bridge engineer. These glass wall barriers were first put in place in 2016 as a defense against terrorism. Prior to 2016, visitors could walk freely around the base of the tower. Now there is a security checkpoint. The Eiffel Tower served as the entrance to the World's Fair that was held here in the Champs de Mars.
Construction of the tower began on January 26th, 1887. The tower was completed on March 31st, 1889, just 2 years, 2 months and 5 days after work began. When it was completed, it stood at a height of 984 ft (300 m) and was nearly double the height of the world's previous tallest structure, the Washington Monument (555 ft). The Eiffel tower remained the tallest man made structure in the world until the completion of the 1,046 ft Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. The Eiffel Tower was still not ready to be open to the public on the opening day of the World's Fair on May 5th 1889.
Nine days after the Exposition began, and with the lifts still not working, the Eiffel Tower opened to the public. The tower was an instant success! Over 30,000 visitors climbed the 1,710 steps to the top prior to the lifts going into operation on May 26th. By the end of the World's Fair, nearly 2 million people had visited the Eiffel Tower. The original ticket price was 2 francs for the first level, 3 for the second, and 5 for the top, with half-price admission on Sundays. Today, a lift ticket to the top costs €26,10 ($30.59) while a lift ticket to the second floor costs €16,70 ($19.57), with reduced rates for children.
There is no cost to enter this area. The Eiffel Tower was meant to be a temporary exhibit and was almost torn down in 1909. Gustave Eiffel only had a 20 year permit for the structure. City officials decided to keep the tower because of how well it served as a radio tower. The Eiffel tower once again escaped destruction during WW2 during the German occupation of Paris. Hitler wanted all monuments to be torn down but the order was never given. During the German occupation of Paris in 1940, French resistance fighters cut the lift cables to the top of the tower so the Germans had to climb the stairs to the top.
The lifts were not repaired again until 1946. The original lifts were finally replaced in 1982 after 97 years in service. The height of the first floor is 187 feet (57m) and covers and area of 47523 ft² (4,415 m²). You are looking through the first floor up to the second floor. The height of the second floor is 377 ft (115m) and covers and area of 15392 ft² (1430 m²).
Here is the entrance to purchase tickets. The Eiffel Tower is open all year, 7 days a week (even public holidays), from 9.30am to 11.45pm (last ascent to the top at 10.30pm). Only covid is powerful enough to close the Eiffel Tower. It is expected to open again in June, 2021.
With over 7 million visitors each year, the Eiffel Tower is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the world. The Eiffel Tower has changed colors over the years and at one point was even painted yellow. It was originally painted a reddish-brown color. Since 1968, it has stayed this shade of brown. The tower is repainted every seven years and requires 60 tons of paint.
I thought it best to spare you the part when I waited in line. :) The original lift time was around 8 minutes, but with the new lifts installed in 1982, the time to the top has reduced to 2 minutes. You can buy your tickets online up to two months in advance. By doing so, you will have to commit to specific time slot, but it is worth not having to wait in line here.
If you wait to purchase your ticket here, then you have to stand in line again to wait for an elevator. On the other hand, you could also opt to taking the stairs. The choice is yours. :) To get to the summit (Level 3), we first have to get off at Level 2 and then wait in line again to take different lift to the top.
This is looking out towards the Palais de Chaillot, a architectural, naval & ethnographic museum. Along with the beautiful views of the city, here on level 2 you will also find the famous restaurant, the Jules Verne. We will take a tour around Level 2 before heading up to the top. After taking the tour of Level 3, we will head back down for a walk around Level 1. Instead of taking the elevator down to the base, we will take the stairs down from Level 1.
Like the 3rd floor, the second floor has two levels. Each side is about 125 ft (38 m) long. The Champ de Mars has been the site of 5 World's Fairs. The first was in 1867. The last was in 1937.
During those times, the entire area was a massive covered convention center. The shadow is pointing directly towards the Louvre at the end of that green space across the river. This area below the tower is the 7th arrondissement (district) which includes the Eiffel Tower, Invalides, Palais Bourbon, Faubourg Saint-Germain, and St. Clotilde basilica. We are looking at the 8th arrondissement across the river, home to the Champs Elysées and Arc di Triomphe.
This Eiffel Tower video is part of a much longer, 5.5 hour, Paris walking tour that I will be posting soon. The tower is made out of iron, not steel which is a common misconception. All 18,000 pieces used to construct the tower were made in Eiffel's factor at Levallois-Perret on the outskirts of Paris.
The iron has a combined weight of 7,300 tons. With everything else included, the tower has a total weight of 10,100 tons. Surprisingly, if all the iron were melted down, it would only fill the square footprint of the tower (410ft x 410ft) to a depth of 2.46 inches (6.25 cm). A small team of 150 to 300 workers were responsible for putting this giant erector set together. The 18,000 iron pieces were joined together using 2.5 million rivets like the ones you see here. Now we will take the elevator to the summit, but I will spare you long wait in the line.
The top floor has two levels to explore, one indoor and one outdoor. Since the very beginning, the Eiffel Tower has been illuminated at night, initially with 10,000 gas street lamps. A beacon was even installed at the summit making it like giant lighthouse. Finally, in 1900, electric light bulbs were installed to replace the gas street lamps. We will take short walk around the lower level before going up above.
The large green space behind the Palais de Chaillot is the Bois de Boulogne, a huge public park that was once the royal hunting grounds. If you follow the green curved street at the center of the screen, you will see the Arc de Triomphe. This is the highest observation deck available to the public in the European Union. Gustave Eiffel was the envy of many Parisians for his own private apartment he had built here at the top the tower. People would offer him huge sums of money just to stay one night in his apartment, but he always refused.
The Eiffel Tower is now so iconic and loved, it would be hard to image the Paris skyline without it, but this wasn't always the case. At the time of its construction, there were many artists and public figures who came together to write a letter entitled "Artists Against Mr. Eiffel's Tower." They saw the tower as a stark contrast to the elegance and refined beauty that Paris was so known for. Here at the bar, a glass of wine will cost between €15 and €23. Bottled water is €3, sparkling water is €3.50 and lemonade is €6. At the far end of the island (L'île aux Cygnes), is the location of one of the two Statue of Liberty statues here in Paris. The other Statue of Liberty can be found in the Luxembourg Gardens.
The lone skyscraper in the distance is the Tour Montparnasse, the tallest building in Paris at 758 ft (231 m). The Eiffel Tower is considered a "tower" and not a building. The large structure at the center is Les Invalides (The National Residences of the Invalids), now a large museum relating to the military history of France. There are over 120 antennas here at the top of the tower, used for broadcasting both radio and television signals throughout the city.
While the tower and its image have been in the public domain since 1993, the illuminated tower at night is protected by copyright. We will now take the elevator down to Level 1 with a short stop at Level 2 to change elevators. There was originally a spiral staircase from the 2nd floor to the top level that Gustave Eiffel would use to reach his private apartment. The staircase was removed in 1983 and individual sections were sold at an auction.
As you walk around the corner, you will briefly see one of the remaining pieces of the historic staircase. I was not aware of its significance at the time. This section of the red spiral staircase measures 4.3 meters in height. Notice the lights attached to the beam as you look up. Each side of the tower is outfitted with 5,000 lights, each containing a 6W xenon bulb, for a total of 20,000 lights and 120kW of electricity. We are 187 ft (57 m) high. I should have spent more time here exploring the first floor, but I had been walking all day long and I suppose I was ready to take a break.
It takes about 5 minutes to reach the bottom using the stairs. Given that this video cut out all the wait time for buying tickets and waiting for an elevator, you should give yourself a good two hours when visiting the Eiffel Tower. Down below, here in the trees is an old brick chimney that dates back to the construction of the Eiffel Tower. This brick smoke stack is the last remaining part of the construction site and was part of the steam-engines used to generate power at the work site. Thanks for watching this tour! Please remember to LIKE and SHARE this video as that is the best and easiest way to support the channel.