When you picture Paris, what probably comes to mind are visions of pastel macarons, the sparkling pyramids of the Louvre, and the gargoyles at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. What might not come to mind are adrenaline rushes — unless you happen to feel as passionately about almond croissants as we do.
But for the next week, that’s all changing. In what at first seems like something that should have already existed before now, from June 5 to June 11th, visitors to the iconic Eiffel Tower now have the option to descend via zip line.
The zip line, sponsored by Perrier and timed to coincide with the French Open tennis tournament, will let you soar above the regular tourist crowd on the Champs de Mars before landing safely on a platform. In the one-minute, half-mile ride, you’ll likely photobomb hundreds of selfies as you fly above the picnics of baguettes and Camembert cheese below.
The zip line — dubbed "Le Perrier Splash" — is said to reach speeds of a professional tennis serve: about 55 miles (or 89 kilometers) per hour. The ride begins from the second level of the Eiffel Tower, at 375 feet (or 114 meters). For comparison, the observation deck of the tower is at a height of 906 feet (or 276 meters).
The Eiffel Tower is no stranger to promotion. After all, it was first built to serve as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair. For almost a decade during the 1920s and ’30s, ads for Citroën lit up three sides of the tower. A variety of light installations were used to commemorate the turn of the last century. And in 2008, the World Wildlife Fund put 1,600 papier-mache life-sized pandas in front of the tower to represent the remaining number of pandas in the world.
This also isn’t the first time the Eiffel Tower has been used in association with adventure sports. In 1912, Franz Reichelt met a tragic end during his jump off the first level of the tower while demonstrating his invention, a parachute suit. In 1926, Leon Collet attempted to fly underneath the tower but did not survive the effort, though almost 60 years later, Robert Moriarty did succeed in this endeavor. A.J. Hackett was arrested for bungee-jumping from the top of the tower in 1987. A few years later, another jumper, Thierry Devaux, tried a similar stunt from the second level and threw in some acrobatic work.
While the restaurants and the observation deck are quite pricey, this Eiffel Tower experience won’t cost you anything in Euros. If it’s anything like the wait to get up to the top though, it may cost you a few hours in line. Sounds like it will definitely be worth it.