Paris: “City of swarming, city full of dreams
Where ghosts in daylight tug the stroller’s sleeve!”
Charles Baudelaire, ‘The Seven Old Men’,
Part: Parisian Scenes, The Flowers Of Evil.
The iconic Eiffel Tower, locally nicknamed La dame de fer, or Iron Lady, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. It is a beacon of light within Paris and a sight many find irresistible to visit and photograph.
And surely it may not be the first location in Paris people think of when ghosts come to mind.
However, this popular sign of romance in the so-called city of love, has many urban legends and stories surrounding it, everything from secret rooms, the meaning behind its shape and the history of its construction.
And yes, It also has a ghost story or two.
To this day, in fact, visitors swear they’ve encountered spirits surrounding the tower, perpetuating its reputation as one of Paris’ most haunted sites and a even a stop on some ghost tours.
The Eiffel Tower was built from 1887 to 1889 as the centerpiece to the 1889 World’s Fair to showcase a certain level of grandness and modernity.
Because of its design and size it saw a lot of criticism by writers and artists in France for the design at the time and for a long time it was seen as an eyesore to the critics.
However, after its construction, people were amazed at the sight of the enormous tower.
For 41 years it was the tallest human made structure in the world until 1930 when the Chrysler Building in New York was made. It was only meant to stay up a few years and it was designed to be dismantled after 20 years, but it is still standing today.
According to several sources, Paris is the most visited city in the world and, also for this reason, it has a mysterious air all around it.
With its cobbled-stone streets and magical architecture, the city evokes romance and intrigue despite the very same picturesque cobbled stone streets that have been drenched in blood over wars, revolution and dark times.
And It’s no wonder that it’s considered to be one of the most haunted cities in Europe, complete with stories and legends abounding regarding unexplained activities occurring around iconic landmarks including the Eiffel Tower.
At the Eiffel Tower’s restaurants it is said they get at least two proposals a day from people that seek out the romance of the place.
However, it is not only romance and happy proposals at the Eiffel Tower as it is also a place where many people choose to take their own lives.
And contrary to the dreamy and whimsical notion of the romantic city where love is true and everlasting, a ghost story tells what happens when love goes wrong and not returned, and when the color red like passion turns to eternal black.
According to a local legend, a jilted lover who was heartbroken years ago still wanders around on the upper floors. In some versions, it is the heartbroken man who haunts the place. In other versions it is the woman who went to the tower with him to break up that is now trapped at this romantic landmark forever.
As story goes, a couple agreed to meet at the top of the Eiffel Tower sometimes in the 1920s, when the tower was younger, but already the symbol of love and Paris.
The man went down on his knees and asked his beloved to marry him in front of the famous monument, but she refused.
Actually she was there to break up with him and the shock of her rejection broke his heart and sent him into a fit of rage.
As a result, he pushed his girlfriend over the railing and she fell to her death while, in other versions of the same story, she backed away, either in shock or pure disgust and fell over herself.
The man was never seen alive again afterward, leading some people to believe that his spirit remains behind and continues to wander the grounds of where his hopes for love perished.
What happened to him?
Did he also end his life then at the tower?
Or simply did the spirit return to the place he never forgot long after?
Either way the story has turned into an urban legend of both the Eiffel Tower and Paris and it is hard to track down a specific time or person.
Some believe that it can be traced back to the 1920s, and many claim to have seen a woman dressed in typical clothing of the time wandering up in the tower before she suddenly disappears.
Some even say you can hear her nervous giggles as she is rejecting the proposal before her horrified screams at the anniversary of her death.
So there you have it, the dark side of romance and love in the heart of Paris.
A reminder that not every love story has a happy ending and not all types of love are true love…
Images from web – Google Research