Eiffel Tower: Would you take the stairs or elevator?

My family and I just finished a wonderful vacation in London and France. One of the many highlights was arriving in Paris and visiting the Eiffel Tower.

Sharon and I had weighed going to the top of the tower versus just stopping by and walking around it. Both of us had visited Paris in years past and felt we would be happy either way. However, once my teenagers saw this amazing global icon there was no doubt (or uncertainty) when they “insisted” we go up it and see it for ourselves. In fact, it became a mission long before we even got to the base of this impressive structure!

Prior to going on our family holiday we had heard a few points of view including: the need to get tickets in advance; long waits to go up the elevator; and the hotel said it was booked ’til June. Because we were on the fence about going up it until we got there we did not have advanced tickets. Perhaps we would be out of luck and miss a chance for a lot of fun?

Suddenly it occurred to me that if you were willing to walk the 1710 steps then there might be a way to have a little adventure. In fact, I was thinking there had to be a way to go straight up without a wait.

As we assessed this possibility I was reminded of Zig Ziglar, the renown salesman, motivator, and author, who told the famous story of the Washington Monument and that “you can take the stairs to get to the top.” He reminded us that there are long lines to achieve success and dreams but if you’re willing to put in the work and climb the steps one at a time you can achieve your goals. Now we were watching this story unfold in front of our eyes.

Without hesitation we found the ticket office for the stairs only. A few Euros later we were on our way. As I looked down I saw the long line to the elevator. I was happy to have the opportunity to view Paris from 320 metres (1,050 ft) or about the same height as an 81-story building. Most importantly we were on our way without any roadblocks to see what it looked like from the top.

As I experienced the tower and learned about Gustave Eiffel, the visionary designer whose company built the tower, I realized that there were many hidden gems to learn about by way of invention, innovation, and engineering accomplishments that have inspired visitors from around the world including:

    • The tower was a marketing tool to attract interest and draw in the crowds for the 1889 World’s Fair
    • It had been the largest structure of it’s time until the Chrysler skyscraper surpassed it in 1930 and is now copied in many great cities (i.e. Vegas, Tokyo, etc.)
    • Gustave Eiffel, a great entrepreneur, had previously been contracted by Auguste Bartholdi who needed an engineer to build the structure for the Statue of Liberty
    • Thomas Edison visited the Gustave in his office on top of the tower and was very impressed
    • The radio antennas at the top of the tower provided economic value and helped avert it from being torn down

As I climbed down the steps and finished this amazing adventure I wondered how many times we realize that opportunity exists if we are willing to apply ourselves one step at a time?

If we wait for the long line…we might find we’re still waiting long after the opportunity has passed us by!  With success and confidence comes the opportunity to climb to new heights on our vacations and in our daily lives!



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