When I finally arrived in Paris for the first time, there was one thing I couldn’t wait to do! Not only was I going to see it for the first time, but I was also going up the Eiffel Tower! I could not believe it was happening!
Going up the Eiffel Tower
There are two choices for going up the Eiffel Tower. One is to walk up using the stairs; the other is to go up by lift. For us, the cost was a consideration, but the timing was a more important factor. With only a few hours left in Paris, we had to choose what we did and how we did carefully.
We arrived there early in the morning, thinking we were early enough to skip the queues! But we were not! There were at least 100 people ahead of us, and the ticket office was not even open yet! And it was not peak holiday season!
Fortunately, the line moved fast, and within 30 minutes we were at the front of the line, ready for going up the Eiffel Tower. I was excited! The moment had finally arrived.
The view from the Eiffel Tower
We decided first to go up to the first level before heading to the top. The view from the first level was already fantastic. We were lucky; it was a sunny day with clear skies, and we could see far. We walked right around the deck and took lots of pictures from every angle.
About 20 minutes later we went up to the top level and the view from here was even more amazing. The platform was filling up quickly as more and more people came up.
We walked around again, snapping every angle.
Being forced to go down
Suddenly there was a lot of commotion. The security staff told us to leave the tower immediately as they were doing an evacuation. Everyone tried to be on the first lift going down, but this was impossible as the number of people far exceeded the capacity of the lift. People were pushing each other out of the way to get in first. No one knew what was going on! Was there a fire? A bomb threat? What was happening? The security staff said nothing except to go down as quickly as we could.
Some people thought it was a big joke and made comments about the Twin Towers in New York. I thought this was in bad taste as it just made others panic even more!
Eventually, we got into the third lift and made it downstairs safely. The security staff told us to leave the premises of the Eiffel Tower and go towards the river’s side. They closed all the entrances of the Eiffel Tower.
What had happened?
We stood around, hoping to hear what was going on and wondering if we would be allowed to go back up again since we never finished our sightseeing at the top.
After about 30 minutes they opened the gates again, and we asked the security staff about going up the Eiffel Tower again. No! If you want to go up again, stand in line again and purchase another ticket. We were not impressed! This experience was a disappointing ending to what was supposed to have been an incredible outing. I felt bad for the people who had been on going up the Eiffel Tower, never reached the top and then had to vacate it without even getting to the top.
We tried to find out what had been the reason for the evacuation but never heard anything else. To this day it remains a mystery to us. Since then I have seen several news articles about the evacuation of the Eiffel Tower, but the day we were there? No news.
But, looking at the bright side, I bet not many people can say they were on the Eiffel Tower when there was an evacuation?!
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Maybe you visited a well-known site that was being evacuated? Tell me more!