Don’t Be A Snob – Enjoy the Travel Clichés
As a frequent traveler to Paris, I’ve often talked to people who have either visited or lived in the city for a period. So, it comes as a surprise when I learn that many of them haven’t been up the Eiffel Tower, and in some cases, have no desire to do so. Why not?
“Oh, it’s such a cliché.”
“It’s too touristy. I’m a traveler, not a tourist.”
“No Parisians go up there.”
“It’s always so crowded, the lines are a mile long. I don’t have the time or patience.”
I have a hard time with that line of thought or with people who consciously avoid attractions such as the Tower of London, the Empire State Building or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I don’t know why people would deny themselves those experiences.
See the Obvious at Least Once
I have a favorite saying, “Clichés are clichés because they’re true.” To get back to the Eiffel Tower, it is inherently Paris, mostly decorative but also useful, unique and startling in its own way. It’s what makes Paris, Paris. How could you not go up there?
The Eiffel Tower Apartment
I find upfront research always creates a much richer experience. Don’t go in uneducated. Did you know the Eiffel Tower was meant to be a temporary structure? There was even a petition against it by artists and writers – “too ugly for Paris”. It was built for the 1889 World’s Fair and was to be torn down in 1909, but by then Paris realized the value of the attraction and left it up.
And if you go to the top, you can see the little apartment that Gustave Eiffel built to entertain guests. There’s M. Eiffel with Thomas Edison who is showing off his new invention – the phonograph, which debuted at the Fair.
Consider a reservation at the Jules Verne restaurant on the second storey. Unlike most restaurants in attractions of this type, it’s actually very good. It’s a Michelin-starred restaurant managed by the Alain Ducasse team. They won’t let you down. Or head straight to the top for the champagne bar. So much to learn and do…
Plan to Have Fun, Avoid the Lines
Today, nearly all attractions sell their tickets online. Do it – get online, get your tickets and bypass the lines when you arrive.
Also, find out when opening time is, and be there early. For example, if you’re an Elvis fan, you owe it to yourself to see Graceland in Memphis. It opens every day at 9:00. Be there at 8:45 with tickets in hand and you won’t wait more than a few minutes when the doors open. It’s worth getting yourself organized. If you arrive mid-afternoon with no tickets, you’ll pay for it with a long wait.
Are You a Photographer?
No matter how many pictures have been taken of these icons, you have the opportunity to create a unique image. Whether you get there early for clear sight lines without any others in your shot, or you shoot the crowd having a collective experience, it’s worth doing some research first. You may even find tips for the best angles and lenses to use.
You Can Be a Traveler AND a Tourist
Try to lose the “I’m not a tourist, I’m a traveler” attitude. You can be both. Whether it’s one of the world’s capitals or the smallest back roads village, we try to go everywhere with an open heart and a joyful attitude, looking forward to building memories.
Try not to be one of those who say you’re looking for an “authentic experience” where there are no tourists, especially in the world’s major cities. It’s the Internet, my friend, and today everyone has access to more information than ever, right at their fingertips. That means, for many regions the “no tourists” era is coming to an end. If you’re staying in an Airbnb in a little village, that means others have gone before you. So, just enjoy it.
But of course, if you look hard enough, you’ll still find areas of the world that aren’t tourist destinations. Brush up on your sign language because it’s unlikely they’ll be speaking English.