Weâ€™re deep into the planning of our once-in-a-lifetime trip to London and Paris next summer. Weâ€™ve got accomodations, flights and EuroStar tickets booked, and now weâ€™re starting to look at what exactly we want to see and do while weâ€™re there.
Of course, on our must-go list for Paris is the Eiffel Tower. Iâ€™ve been up it before, when I traveled solo through Europe as a young thing back in 1995, and Beloved and I may or may not have gone up during our honeymoon in 1999. Heâ€™s not super fond of heights, though, so itâ€™s possible we enjoyed the splendor from the ground that time.
I know at least two of the boys are keen to go up the Tower, though the third is happy to stay with Beloved and keep two feet planted firmly on the ground. And hey, I bet a girl can take a mighty fine photo from those elevated observation decks! But the tickets are not cheap, and not exactly easy to get either. You have to choose your date and time (to the hour) at least three months in advance. An inveterate ENFP, I hate the idea of being pinned down to any particular date or time for anything. What if itâ€™s pouring rain at our booked time? What if weâ€™re doing something else fun that day? What if we get lost in the subway and miss our booked time, just like I missed my flight home from Paris way back in 1995?
I did a little research, though, and one can take the stairs up at a much reduced cost, and with no advance booking required. Rather than â‚¬28 for three of us to take the lift to the second level and be tied to a specific date and time, we can pay â‚¬17.50 and go whenever our hearts desire. We wonâ€™t make it up to the very top for that price, but Iâ€™ve heard the views from the second observation deck are just as good, if not better.
Thereâ€™s only one small thing to consider in this plan: 669 steps. It doesnâ€™t sound too dreadful at first, but I started breaking it down. I work in the 17th floor of an office tower. There are 20 steps between each floor, so ground to 17th floor is only 340 steps. By comparison, there are 328 steps to the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, and then another 341 steps to the second floor. Thatâ€™s TWICE the 17 floors up my office tower, if youâ€™re keeping track. And while Iâ€™m reasonably fit, Iâ€™ll also be just a few days shy of my 49th birthday. While I imagine the boys will lope up the stairs like the long-legged gazelles they are, I was a little worried about my own stamina. Thatâ€™s a LOT of steps, in high summer no less.
So, Iâ€™ve been practicing. Back in January, I started with five floors. I took the elevator down to the 12th floor and made my way up. I added a floor a week, and tried to find the time in each day to walk the stairs at least once. This week, I did my first full 17 flights! Yay, I can now walk comfortably up to the FIRST observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, needing only a couple of minutes to catch my breath. I have just over three months to work on adding that second flight! I promise to share a sweaty, breathless selfie when we make it.
Have you walked up the stairs to the Eiffel Tower, or something similar? How did you do?