Everything about the Eiffel Tower
This is the most famous Paris sight ever and one of the most recognizable towers on the planet. The Eiffel Tower is the creation of the great Gustave Eiffel and it was built in 1889 as an entrance to the World Fair. It is the highest building in Paris, with a total of 324 meters in height and 300 steps to the second level.
There are 3 levels that you can go to for: the first has a restaurant, post office, information about the tower and tourist things, the second level is at 115 meters and has a viewing area and another restaurant (Jules Verne – where it’s necessary to book at least 2 months in advance and the meals are very expensive, but nice for a special occasion), and the third level at 276 meters, which has another viewing area.
You will arrive to find crowds of people and to promptly get in a line. After about 1 ½ hours in line you will be able to get on an elevator. The sky has to be very bright for you to be able to see far away, but at only 115 meters there is a good view. With Paris rooftops all around, you could see all the way to the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and up and down the Seine.
Although you will catch a glimpse of it from points all around Paris, two favorite viewing spots are from the large green park to the east, “Parc du Champ de Mars”, and from across the Seine at the “Trocadéro”. “Champs du Mars” is a great place to take an evening picnic as it’s one of the few green areas without pesky “Pelouse interdite” signs; “Keep off the grass”, for English speakers. You will see lots of people spread out on the lawn for a nosh, a snooze or a bit of canoodling with their sweethearts. For evening viewing, the Trocadéro is a favorite as it is easily accessible from the nearby metro station (Trocadero) and has a really nice setting across a reflecting pool.
As prices and details can change, it’s best to visit the website for everything you need to know. This is also where you can order time-specific tickets for either the elevator to the 1st and 2nd level viewing platforms or all the way to the third. This allows you to skip the ticket line and get into the shorter pass-holder queue. A budget ticket also exists for climbing the stairs to the 1st/2nd platforms but that one isn’t available in advance. You may also pre-book a tour. The website is at http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/?lang=en
Be aware: the Eiffel is NOT included in the Paris Museum Pass or any other that I know of. You will also encounter a lot of hawkers who will do their best to sell you cheap tchotchkes; just ignore them and keep walking. If pursued, a firm “Non!” will do the trick. Access to the tower can be abruptly shut down due to adverse weather conditions and security incidents. The tower’s special “sparkling” light effect occurs in the evening for 5 minutes every hour on the hour until 1:00 AM so plan accordingly.
If you’re into photography, Paris is the best place to be. It’s like a historical film set: everywhere you look you see things that you’ve seen in the movies or read about. You could spend the next 20 years photographing the place and only scratch the surface. If you’re heading off to the City of Light for a break, have lots of fun and make sure you get a lot of pictures, as the Tower is never enough photographed and you only realize that when you’re back home, when is too late.
Lift to Top:
Age 12-24: €11,80;
Children 4-11: €9,30;
Under 4: free.
Lower rates for first and second floor access.
The Tower is opened every day from 9AM to midnight from 17 June to 28 August,
from 9:30AM to 11PM during the rest of the year.
At the Easter weekend and during the spring holidays: extended opening hours to midnight.