It’s been around ten years since I have gone UP the Eiffel Tower. I used to go frequently in my previous job at a study-abroad company. But since I moved in to luxury sales, I have less opportunity to indulge in such “touristy” activities. But a pandemic that forces a staycation and a need to occupy my little one during the Fall break, I decided that we could enjoy some of those touristy adventures together. Also thanks to the pandemic there was a lot less tourists. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but notice the massive difference of experience from what it used to be like. And frankly, I was quite saddened by it.
I realized when going through my photos after our visit, I couldn’t find one single picture with the new anti-terrorist bullet proof barrier. I found it so unseemly and ugly that I instinctively avoided it in all my photos. (I have taken a screenshot of Googlemaps for you to see). This anti-terror barrier was put up in 2018 and was a huge expense on the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, 35 million euros to be exact. Thankfully it didn’t hinder the flux of tourists crowding through the airport style security doors to enter the site and enjoy the famous landmark. After the terror attacks in France in 2014 to 2016, the barrier had become a necessity to protect the crowds that line up underneath the tower.
But how sad it was to me that such a defacing element was such a necessity and took away from the expansive liberty of walking up tot the tower and strolling right under it with all the freedom in the world. I had done that so many time in the years I returned to the Tower three to four times a year to climb it with a crowd of students in tow. And now I felt like I was at an aiport going through metal detectors and having the contents of my bag scanned. I was reminded of the change in atmosphere in airports after 9/11. Back then in my pre-9/11 days I loved being in airports. It was the beginning of a journey and I found it exciting. Terrorism changed all that and travel via airports became one of the more inconvenient and uncomfortable ways to go anywhere.
Once again, terrorism has changed something that we used to enjoy right in my home city at the worlds’ most famous monument. And maybe it will keep visitors a little safer while at the number one destination in Paris, but an attack can happen anywhere, so how safe are we really.
This post was not meant to be one about terrorism, but sometimes when I wright without a plan the articles take on a mood of their own. I didn’t mean for this one to be so dark.
We did have a fantastic time visiting the tower, going up the elevator, eating a picnic lunch on the first floor terrace with lounge chairs and a view to dream about. We found fun souvenirs at the top just like real tourists and honestly my little one will never know the difference of the Tower before and after the anti-terrorist wall. So the trip up the tower ten years later was in essence a success because I was able to help my son enjoy this jewel of Paris, in spite of the safety measures to protect us from terrorists and the virus. So if he could enjoy it, I suppose I did too when I looked at it through his point of view.