David from France sent me this nice card. The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair, it has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 7.1 million people ascended it in 2011. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, as I had the privilege of going up to the first level. And what a view it was from there. But, that was a long long time ago, and a fit tale for the grand children on a soon approaching winter’s evening!
The tower stands 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Because of the addition of the antenna atop the Eiffel Tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 17 feet (5.2 m). Not including broadcast antennas, it is the second-tallest structure in France, after the Millau Viaduct.
The tower has three levels for visitors. The third level observatory's upper platform is at 279.11 m (915.7 ft) the highest accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by stairs or lift (elevator), to the first and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. Although there are stairs to the third and highest level, these are usually closed to the public and it is usually accessible only by lift. The first and second levels have restaurants.
The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.