No first trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Erected by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 to commemorate the Centennial of the French Revolution, the 1050-feet tower is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world.
But it took a while for the tower to achieve its iconic status as most Parisians hated the tower when it was first built; the original plan was to destroy it after 20 years. Novelist Guy de Maupassant purposely used to eat his lunch in the tower's restaurant so he wouldn't have to look at it. Over time, the tower started to gain acceptance and was saved from being knocked down by serving as a great radio antenna.
It has been estimated that roughly 25,000 visitors climb the tower every day, so how can you beat the queues and make the most out of your visit? We've compiled a list of six tips to make your trip a worthwhile experience.
You are better off booking your tickets online to save time otherwise you could be queuing for hours (sometimes more than 2 during the summer). Try to reserve a day and time outside of peak times between 11:00 and 17:00.
If you can manage it, take the stairs. Not only will it be a great workout (704 steps to the second floor), it will be queue free and you will have time to appreciate a close-up view of its intricate steel work while enjoying the great views of the city. From here you can buy a ticket for the lift to take you to level three.
The closest metro station is Champs de Mars-Tour Eiffel. Trocadero offers great views and is a popular spot for watching the Bastille fireworks – but it can get overcrowded during the summer. Why not avoid the tourist trap and get off at Bir-Hakeim instead? It offers stunning views over the Seine and cinephiles will recognise the famous bridge in Inception.
No need to go up twice during the day but make sure to see the Eiffel Tower at night for the lightshow. A perfect time to see it is at twilight, so you can experience it at sunset and after dark, when the thousand lights twinkle.
Hungry? From a buffet/café proposing snacks and macarons to the very chic Michelin Star restaurant Le Jules Verne on the 2nd floor, there are plenty of options to eat on top of the Eiffel Tower. However, if you’re not ready to splurge at the Jules Verne, pack a picnic (get your jambon-beurre sandwich from a bakery in Rue Cler, a few minutes away on foot), sit on the Champs de Mars and admire the views!
Hidden from the public up until now, this small hideaway was built for Gustave Eiffel as a cosy retreat from the industrial iron tower. Once word spread about it, the Parisian elite became intrigued and eager to rent out his apartment - even just for one night. But Eiffel was not remotely tempted by the lucrative offers preferring instead to entertain a few guests of his own choosing (Thomas Edison, American investor and businessman, being one of them).
The Eiffel Tower is open all year round, however the opening times differ according to whether you’re taking the stairs or using the lift.
June 21st – September 2nd: The lift is open from 09:00 to 00:45. If you take the stairs, you can go up from 09:00 to 00:45.
Rest of the year: The lift opens from 09:30 to 23:45 and the stairs are available from 09:30 to 18:30.
Ticket prices vary according to the types of visitors and access required.
|Ticket with access lift – second floor||€16.00||€8.00||€4.00|
|Ticket with access lift – the top||€25.00||€12.50||€6.30|
|Ticket with access stairs – second floor||€10.00||€5.00||€2.50|
|Ticket with access stairs ( 2nd floor + lift to top)||€19.00||€9.50||€4.80|
Children under 4 go for free.
Line 9: Trocadero station
Line 6: Bir-Hakeim station
Line 8: Ecole Militaire stop
Line C: Champs de Mars stop
Bus 82: Tour Eiffel or Champs de Mars stops
Bus 42: Tour Eiffel stop
Bus 87: Champs de Mars stop
Bus 69 : Camps de Mars stop
Image credits: © Elise Morel; © Elise Morel; © eurostar; © Elise Morel; © Shutterstock