Each year, tourists from all over the world travel to Paris to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, the world famous iron lattice structure that soars 324 meters (1,063 ft) into the sky. Built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, the structure has now become the most-visited paid monument in the world – and undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable. Yet, few who travel to the iconic tower utilize all that it truly has to offer. Just in time for the holiday season, the skating rink in the Eiffel Tower is now giving free access (until Feb. 15th) to everyone who’s paid the €9 (around £7) to ascend the tower.
Just one caveat: it’s not for the faint-hearted. The rink, which covers 2,000 sq. ft, is located 187-feet off the ground, on the first floor of the monument. It is largely regarded as a favorite holiday activity for both locals and tourists. While skating, participants can visit one of the bars serving hot chocolate and mulled wine, and then take in the expansive view of the romantic city – especially after sunset, when the rink itself is lined by twinkling lights.
According to Isabelle Esnous, the tower’s director of development and communication, the rink is ordinarily installed every winter, from the end of the year until mid-February. But for the last two years, the establishment was closed in order to accommodate the 37.2 million dollar renovation of the tower. The restoration project entirely refurbished its first floor – establishing a new visitor’s center, various restaurants, and a green energy system in the process.
Just recently, the tower also underwent a “vertigo-inducing” face lift in celebration of its 125th anniversary. See-through glass floor panels were installed on the first level, creating four small viewing sections that cost 30 million euro ($38 million) to create.
Thus far, it has been a huge hit amongst tourists.
“It looks really scary,” stated Yousef Mobaidin from Jordan as he gripped his friend’s arm while crossing the glass walkway.
Aaron Smith from Hawaii admitted to getting butterflies: “they did a good job building it,” he states.