Many tourists ascend the Eiffel Tower to see the vistas of Paris. We have. There are two problems when doing this. The first is that the most iconic structure in Paris, the Eiffel Tower itself, is not part of that vista. The second is that a nondescript skyscraper, the Montparnasse Tower, is part of that vista.
We had a one day stopover in Paris while coming home from Central Europe last month. We decided to take in the vista from the top of the Montparnasse Tower. It costs less than visiting the Eiffel Tower and the view is better! This is one of the shots we got from the Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck.
There are a number of sites in Paris where photographers can get “unique” photos of the Eiffel Tower. One is beneath the Bir-Harkeim Bridge. There is a lovely arch there that frames the scene. We went there on our last visit to Paris.
While photographing the tower, each of us felt plops on our clothing and heads, then more plops. A well-dressed couple (certainly more natty than us) approached and said “We saw what just happened! Those birds just pooped on you. Here, let us help.” The woman of the couple reached a container of wet wipes to us. A small alarm went off in our still jet-lagged brains since the birds seemed very well fed, had exceptional aim, and seemed particularly malevolent towards us. Also, it seemed suprisingly fortunate that someone was walking by with an open container of wet wipes. Because it was difficult to process what had happened, we accepted some wet wipes and thanked them but refused their offer to help us wipe the droppings off our clothing. They went farther down the bridge and began to “help” another couple with their camera.
We got our pictures and left miserably to get a fresh change of clothing at our AirBnB. As we were riding the metro back to the apartment, we began to notice a strong smell of vinegar on our clothing. After briefly considering the possibility that Paris has gourmet pigeons, we began to realize that the bird droppings were actually mustard (our guess was grey poupon with a nice dash of dijon). We had just missed being victims of a classic pickpocketing scheme. In any case, we got this photo with a serving of mustard on the side.
The most beautiful carousel in Paris, France, is the Eiffel Tower Carousel. While many photographers use it mainly as a foreground for Eiffel Tower shots, the white horses and vivid lighting make it beautiful in its own right, especially at night. Conveniently located on Quai Branly at the Eiffel Tower end of Pont d’Iéna, visitors to the Tower who arrive or depart by the bridge will be drawn to watch for a few minutes. If they have children, we suspect that they will spend more than a few minutes, as children love the carousel, especially the second level reached by a staircase on the carousel itself.
Eiffel Tower Carousel
This photo was taken on October 18, 2015. Specs are:
Last Wednesday, we had an overnight layover at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and decided to visit the Eiffel Tower for a photography class assignment. We took the RER B light rail train for a 50 minute ride from Terminal 2 of the airport to Paris’s Denfert-Rochereau station, switched to Line 6 of the Metro towards Charles de Gaulle – Étoile (“Étoile”), and exited at the Trocadéro stop about 15 minutes after the switch (a lot of information but useful if a reader wants to do this, too). This excursion cost 20 euros ($22.50 USD) per person (round trip including Metro), which seemed to us like the cheapest trip to Paris we could take.
There is no bad way to approach the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but there is a best way. That is to start from the Palais de Chaillot, walk through the Jardins du Trocadéro, cross the Pont d’Iéna (“Jena Bridge”) and finally reach the base of the tower. This is a magnificent walk during the day and even more impressive after dark — Paris is the city of light. The photos below show the Eiffel Tower from various vantage points on our walk.
Exiting the Trocadéro metro stop, we round the corner of the Palais de Chaillot for our first view of the Tower. Here we see some statuary beside the Palais de Chaillot with the Tower’s on-the-hour light show visible beyond.
Walking down the first set of steps from the Palais de Chaillot, looking over the Jardins du Trocadéro, we see the Tower more completely.
Continuing down the second set of steps, we see the statue of the seated woman who has watched over the Eiffel Tower for many years. The blue search lights from the top of the Tower can be seen in this time-lapse photo. The blue arc of light is the trail of a flying toy being demonstrated by one of the many souvenir sellers in this area.
Waiting to cross the street, we photograph cars on the Avenue de New York as they enter and leave the Pont d’Iéna.
Once on the other side of the Avenue de New York, we set the camera for a time-lapse view of the Seine beneath Pont d’Iéna, reflecting the lights of the bridge and Eiffel Tower.
Crossing the Pont d’Iéna, we see a horse sculpture sitting atop a pylon (Arab Warrior by Jean-Jacques Feuchère).
Finally across the Pont d’Iéna and Quai Branley, we look up at the Eiffel Tower from near its base.
On past trips, we have walked under the Tower. Unfortunately, since the terrorist attacks, a rather ugly makeshift security barrier has been added around the base of the Tower and we decided to forgo the security search needed to enter the area under the base. (A few weeks earlier, we had entered through security from the Champ de Mars side. The only positive effect we saw was that the trinket sellers were absent inside the secure area.) By setting up a tripod beside the barriers, we did get some scrutiny from a uniformed guard, but he did not question or approach us.
Finally, we leave you with a short video of the Eiffel Tower light show.
We hope you have enjoyed this nighttime visit to the Eiffel Tower. We will be posting more pictures and stories from our earlier September stay in Paris.
This time-lapse photo shows tour boats on the Seine River in Paris in October, 2015. The Eiffel Tower is in the background. Specs are:
Canon SX40: ISO 100, 4 sec, f/6.3, 4.3 mm
Here is another time-lapse photo of a tourist boat on the Seine River in Paris, passing by the Notre-Dame Cathedral on the right. The photo was taken in October, 2015. Specs are:
Canon SX40: ISO 100, 16 sec, f/6.7, 4.7 mm
This time-lapse photo shows headlights and taillights of cars on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, as seen from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The photo was taken in October, 2015. Specs are:
Canon 50D: ISO 100, 2.5 sec, f/20, 38 mm
Another time-lapse photo shows cars lights passing in front of one of the Gilbert Jeune bookshops, across from the Saint Michel metro stop in Paris, France. The photo was taken in October, 2015. Specs are:
Canon 50D: ISO 100, 1 sec, f/8, 33 mm
This photo was taken in Al Servo mode while tracking a moving motorcycle on a Parisian street. The photo was taken in October, 2015. Specs are:
Canon 50D: ISO 100, 1/13 sec, f/11, 28 mm
This time-lapse photo from October, 2015, shows the carousel (merry-go-round) near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Specs are:
Canon 50D: ISO 100, 1 sec, f/5.6, 10 mm
Finally, here is a photo of a Sufi dancer (or whirling dervish) performing on a Nile River dinner cruise originating in Cairo, Egypt. The photo was taken in February, 2013. Specs are: