The Eiffel Tower was built to commemorate the Paris exposition of 1889 by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Interestingly enough, the Parisian people thought it was ugly, and, at first, wanted it torn down. Luckily for us French-born ancestors who love the monstrosity, once they were actually going to start the dismantling process, many other French citizens who wanted to preserve the historical aspects of the Tower convinced the rest that it should remain. Now, the Eiffel Tower has become the symbol of Paris and what has become known as the "City of Love".
The Eiffel Tower is made up of four floors, the first three accessible by an elevator. To reach the fourth floor, it is necessary to climb up a spiral staircase. From the ground floor to the second floor, the elevator travels upward diagonally, following the outline of the base. There is a gift shop on the first floor, but not much else, and therefore not a popular stop with the tourists. Everyone must exit on the second floor. Here, there is a French restaurant and another gift shop, where many tourists can spend their multitudes of francs. To go up to the third floor, it is necessary to purchase another ticket (or, of course, you could have purchased one on the ground floor good for the entire elevator ride.) Now, comes the interesting part!
This elevator ascends from the center, NOT to go non-stop to the third floor, but instead, to go halfway between. No, in case you're wondering, you don't have to make a very precarious jump from one elevator to the next, but it is necessary to change elevators. This elevator is FULL and often it is necessary to stand with your arms straight down to your sides, since you are usually packed in like sardines. Multi-cultural sardines, however, as you listen to easily ten different languages being spoken at the same time. One elevator only goes up to the halfway landing. The other elevator only goes from the landing to the third floor. To change elevators, ascending tourists exit out one door while the descending ones enter through another.
Now on the third floor there is once more another, you guessed it, gift shop, as well as many coin-operated binoculars with which one can view the entire city . . . and outward, for approximately eighty miles.
Being the adventurous type, it is absolutely necessary for me to climb up the stairs to the fourth floor (I was thinking about attempting the precipitous unrouted section which would take you to the tip, but thought better of it, since it's against the law, anyway). From the fourth floor, everyone stretches their necks to see the radio transmitters and the tip of the Tower.
The view is breathtaking and the Eiffel Tower, tourist attraction or not, is always one stop which is absolutely essential for me while visiting Paris.