Travel Throwback: New Year’s Day Sightseeing in Paris

You best believe we went to the Eiffel Tower. 

It’s synonym with Paris, and quite possibly one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Is it a “tourist trap”? Maybe, but what are you supposed to do, go to Paris and not go to the Eiffel Tower? That’s idiotic, sorry. 

We spent most of New Year’s Day sightseeing, of course, and decided to tackle some of the more famous sights for that day, specifically the Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, thinking (foolishly) that they would be less crowded. 

The Arc kind of defines the Champs Elysees, an avenue that is far larger than I thought, and is a moving monument to the many fallen in France’s multiple wars over the centuries. The structure itself is rather impressive, yet what’s most impressive about it is that it’s right there, in the middle of a bustling avenue, and life goes on around it. 

Part of me thought that seeing the Eiffel Tower from a distance would be enough, that I’d been in taller buildings and going up the tower would offer no novelty. 

I was wrong. 

The last glimmers of light at sunset are my favorite. Bonus if it’s a soft pink hue.

You can access the surrounding areas of the tower for free. We highly recommend this. Apparently there is no limit to the angles, distance, and surrounding background you can use to take pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It does not get old. We got there by sundown through the ever-busy Trocadero Gardens (it was kind of a shitshow; very crowded, but hey, it was New Year’s Day!), which allowed us to use the changing colors in the sky to take pictures with different lighting. And then the night came. 

I expected the glittery lights the Tower is famous for from movies, but it turned out that the Tower was being lit in a special color: blue, to mark the start of France’s tenure presiding the European Union. In the past few years, France’s leadership has focused on the idea of reinforcing the idea behind which the European Union was established, and has become, from what I can see, a reference in Europeanism vs the rising nationalism we have seen in the years before and after Brexit. But this is not a political blog…it’s a travel blog, so let’s go back to the lights. 

Given that it was winter, trees were leafless, and the shade of blue used to light the tower was kind of dark, the general effect kind of gave “Haunted House at Disneyland” vibes. So spooky but fun. You can see what I mean here: 

No special effects or changes in my lenses, exposure, etc. I don’t even think this is in Night Mode.

I don’t know how many hundreds of steps it requires to go up to the highest part you can go up to with a general admission ticket. I was not positive I could climb them all, especially when Cam had already done it before and wasn’t exactly fond of the experience (the stair climbing, that is). But we managed, somehow. And the views are nothing but rewarding. 

Seeing the stretched out views of Paris, the city that has captured the imagination of so many, in a bird’s eye view from above is worth all the steps. Without a doubt, Paris is a city that impresses from every angle, and the observation decks in the tower are no exception. There is, of course, the view of the older parts of the city, split by the Seine, as well as some of the newer parts, more modern and with slicker buildings. 

Although the sparkling lights of the Eiffel are the most iconic and better known, I didn’t feel shortchanged with this display. The Tower is still an impressive structure, and synonym with Paris, so I’m actually glad I got to see it with different lighting. That doesn’t mean we won’t return…because Paris is always a good idea.

There’s probably no wrong way to go check out La Tour Eiffel. Maybe if it’s raining. But while it may be one of the most visited tourist sights in the world, it’s well worth it.

Keep your eyes open for updates on our summer travels here! You can sign up for updates on new posts with your email address right here on our blog.

Published by Team McGregor

Living and teaching in the Middle East - previously in China, South Korea, Hawaii, and now Saudi Arabia. This site is dedicated to teaching others about International Teaching (and how to become an international educator) and our travelsa as we live and teach abroad.

2 thoughts on “Travel Throwback: New Year’s Day Sightseeing in Paris

  1. This is such a great and cheeky account of a Paris trip! The Eiffel Tower bathed in blue light does look really cool 😎 Perhaps you’d like to explore a few other French cities next time you’re here?
    All the best,
    Stephanie and Jerome

    Liked by 1 person

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