A golden glow of lights, the seductive swoop of the iron as it arches up, the romance of looking out over a city at night. If you weren't already convinced of Paris' romance, a visit to the Eiffel Tower at night will make sure you leave entranced. For a long time this was the tallest manmade structure in the world. At 324m it is certainly magnificent, and in 1889 when it was first built, a revolution in puddled iron, it was even controversial.
The first floor houses a restaurant; if you're not booked in, you may well be whipped on upstairs, as this seems very popular. Up on the second floor you have lots of options. There are gift shops and cafes scattered around. Around the edge you can gaze at Paris through the wire mesh, even using a telescope to hone on in particular spots.
There's a short flight of stairs up to a sublevel where the lift takes you to the top. This is reasonably well organised, but queues funnel into one corridor with four lifts, so it does feel a little chaotic. Your ticket is once again scanned, and up you go.
At the top, Mr Eiffel built himself a small apartment to host swish tea parties and show off his amazing creation. Now it's set up as a museum scene, offering a window into the life of the man himself.
The most exciting bit though is probably the champagne bar. What else do you need when on top of the world but some fizz to toast it with! If you want a bit of education, the gallery depicts the heights of the tallest structure in each of the world's countries, compared with the Eiffel Tower. Over a century after its construction, remarkably little competes with it.
If you're not worried about heights, the views are incredible. Particularly at night, the sweeping boulevards, maze of side roads and major sites all stand clear. There's one 'dark' spot which turns out to be a major park, where of course there is no street lighting. Viewing the city at night teaches you so much about its rhythm. If you want to explore this further, they've even launched an app. After all, at that height you're guaranteed good mobile reception, aren't you?
We all know the iconic shape of the tower as it looms over Paris. Until you've stood under it, in it, on top of it, particularly at night, it's impossible to understand just how gloriously imposing, beautiful and awesome it is.
Between five to and past the hour, at night, the tower comes alive with glimmering white lights described as 'champagne'. From afar you see the tower sparkle, its ten minute window acting as a great timepiece to tell you it's around the hour change. From inside the tower the lights flash to make you feel like the building is the paparazzi assaulting you. It's a heady experience. One note of caution - if you're epileptic this did feel a little like strobe lighting and should probably be avoided if it's a known trigger.
The lifts only take short amounts of time to get between levels. If you want to walk, you need to leave more time, and arrive before 6pm. When you arrive, you're swiped through a security gate in one corner of the tower. Bags are checked for security. It's a good idea to buy a ticket in advance and avoid the queues. Rates vary, but 15 Euros would get an adult to the top. Guided tours are available. Some things are weather dependent. Right on the banks of the Seine, it's in the heart of Paris and is easy to get to on foot or by public transport.