ET-free? Seriously?

When I first started writing about Paris on the now-defunct website VirtualTourist, I announced that my Paris page was going to be “ET-free” — on the grounds that VirtualTourist already had 1,178 tips on the Eiffel Tower (this was in 2006; a year later there were 82 more). I wanted to present a less-stereotyped view of Paris, and even went so far as to crop the tower out of my photos when it happened to pop up in the background.

But after a couple years I decided this was a silly restriction, since the Eiffel Tower really is a quintessential symbol of Paris, right up there with the Arch of Triumph, the Wallace Fountains and the Vélib’ on-street rental bikes.

The top-four Paris attractions on VirtualTourist

In 2008 — the year VT was sold to TripAdvisor — I made this collage showing the four Paris attractions that had (by far) the most ‘tips’ on VirtualTourist. At that time, there were 1,325 ‘tips’ on the Eiffel Tower, 1,015 on the Louvre, 923 on Notre-Dame and 920 on Montmartre/Sacre-Coeur. Needless to say, there was a high level of redundancy on the site, especially about these four places.

VT-picnic by the Eiffel Tower

In September 2011 we had a large VirtualTourist meeting in Paris — organized by the members, as always. The meeting included a picnic by the Eiffel Tower in the park Champ de Mars, followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant and a return to the park to see the tower all lit up at night.

After an opera performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées

The nearest opera venue to the Eiffel Tower is the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, which is across the river on Avenue Montaigne, near the Alma Bridge. My photo shows audience members leaving the theatre after a performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

The Alexandre III Bridge

A short distance upstream, the Alexandre III Bridge is a popular place for taking photos of the Eiffel Tower, with a muscular ‘nymph’ in the foreground.


Another popular vantage point is the Trocadéro, on a small hill just across the river from the Eiffel Tower.

Evening on the roof of Au Printemps

On warm summer evenings, a pleasant place for tower-watching is the café on the roof of the Au Printemps department store.

The House of Balzac

The author Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850) would have had a great view of the tower from his house in Passy, except that he lived there several decades before the tower was even built.

The Eiffel Tower at sunset

I haven’t gone up the Eiffel Tower since Wednesday, October 26, 1966, so I don’t have anything current to report about it. But I do have every intention of going up again sometime, especially since it is now possible to buy tickets online, and the tower’s website includes information on which months of the year, days of the week and times of day are most suitable for people like me who are not fond of lengthy queuing.

My photos in this post are from 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2018.
I wrote the text in 2022.

See more posts about the 7th arrondissement of Paris.
See more posts about the now-defunct website VirtualTourist.

9 thoughts on “ET-free? Seriously?”

    1. Yes, the Trocadero is certainly a good vantage point. But there are plenty of others, such as when the tower pops up unexpectedly at the end of some street.

  1. I think you’re right, you can’t really talk about Paris without at least acknowledging ET! It’s hardly the most beautiful structure in the city but somehow it wouldn’t be the same Paris without it 🙂

    1. I think I remember this photo, but I can’t see it now as I am having trouble logging in to Travellerspoint. But I hope I’ll get back in eventually.

  2. Hi Nemorino, I’m really enjoying your posts about ET in Paris. It’s so true that there’s no ignoring it—it’s such a visible icon. We too hope to be back soon, and maybe even go up the ET again.

I appreciate your feedback!

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