Visiting Paris without experiencing the Eiffel tower is out of the question!! Like a lighthouse illuminating the City, it shines over the entire capital as a source of warmth and goodwill! It is indeed a magical landmark recognizable by all and visited by millions of travelers every year. Whether you are passing through Paris for a day, a weekend or even more, take the time to discover the Eiffel Tower! So in this post, I will explain to you all the A to Z tips for visiting the Eiffel tower so that you can have the best time ever in the presence of this legendary monument.
A brief history of the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower, often nicknamed “the iron lady” (la dame de fer in french) was built to celebrate the 1889 Universal Exhibition that took place in Paris. Universal expositions are large public exhibitions held regularly throughout the world since the mid-19th century. They were a technological and industrial showcase for the participants demonstrating the progress and scientific know-how achieved.
The engineer Gustave Eiffel (the same one who also built the Statue of Liberty in New York!) had a project to build a tower of exceptional dimensions for its time. He was able to start the construction work on January 26, 1887, and thanks to the hard labor of 200 workers, it was completed 2 years later.
Planned to be temporarily exhibited for a period of 20 years, it was finally preserved because it proved to be very popular with tourists and useful for radio communications, and quickly became the emblem of the capital! It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the most visited paying monument in the world.
To learn more about the iron lady, here is a brief infographic.
Tips for visiting the Eiffel tower
1. How to get to the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris on the left bank of the Seine. Wherever you are in Paris, getting to the monument will not be a problem because there are many ways to get there. The following solutions are available:
- Bir-Hakeim station (line 6): It’s the closest metro station to the tower (11 minutes on foot).
- Military School Station (line 8): 15 Minutes walk, you will have to cross the Trocadero gardens to reach the tower.
- Trocadero metro station (lines 6 and 9): The most scenic route, arriving on the forecourt of the Chaillot palace, it is from here that you will have the most beautiful view of the tower.
I suggest you go to the Eiffel Tower by metro at Trocadero station. You will then be able to take the famous photo of the Eiffel Tower from the esplanade, it’s a view not to be missed! Ideal for selfies and souvenir photos.
It takes about 20 minutes to walk from the metro station to the entrance of the monument. If you wish to get as close as possible to the Tower by metro, get off at the Bir-Hakeim station.
Champ de Mars/Tour Eiffel Tower RER station (RER line C): 8 minutes on foot
Bus lines 42, 69, 82 and 87 to the stop “Champ de Mars” (south side) or “Eiffel Tower” (closest to the monument, east side).
The Batobus is a boat service along the River Seine. It has nine stops including one near the Eiffel Tower. Tickets for the Batobus can be bought directly on the dock at each Batobus station (at the Louvre, Notre Dame…) or from the internet using this website.
There are 3 self-service bicycle stations (stations 2, 36 and 43), all within 5 minutes walking distance from the tower).
The nearest car park is the one at the “Quai Branly” museum.
- 1h: 4,20€
- 3h: 12,60€
- 24h: 29,40€
However, I wouldn’t recommend this means of transportation. Paris is a very congested city and you will lose time in traffic jams while public transport is numerous and reliable!
By Sightseeing Bus
There are multiple “hop on hop off” buses in Paris, and all of them obviously go by the Eiffel tower. This famous Paris city pass includes a ticket for the bus and offers a good alternative. Alternatively, you could opt for this 1,2 or 3-day ticket for a hop-on hop-off open-top bus
If you like walking, it is quite possible to walk across Paris – ( it takes about 3 hours to cross the city from north to south or from east to west). Everywhere in the city, you will find small signs dedicated to pedestrians indicating the main monuments nearby, you just have to follow the path!
As you explore the Eiffel Tower, here is everything no one tells you about Paris that i think you should know.
2. How to climb the Eiffel tower
Bravo, you’ve reached the Eiffel Tower, now all you have to do is to climb it! There are two ways to climb the Eiffel tower: The stairs and the elevators. Here are the solutions available offered to you when you want to buy a ticket to climb the Eiffel tower:
- By stairs: to the first + second floor only
- By stairs + lift: to the first + second floors + lift to the third floor.
- By lift: to the first + second floor
- By lift: to the First + second + third floors
It is impossible to reach the third floor by the stairs because the use of the elevator is mandatory between the second and third floors. It is also impossible to go up via the stairs and down via the elevator.
So what should you do? Elevator or stairs? Well, it’s up to you depending on the time you have to visit the tower and your physical condition! Going up both floors by the stairs is the most economical solution but can be exhausting (there are over 700 steps in total!) and can even cause dizziness because the ground floor is always in sight!
Please note that depending on the weather (too much wind or the stairs too slippery because of the cold) the climb via the stairs can be closed and the ascent is only possible via the elevator.
Going up the floors by elevator is the most comfortable and quickest way to visit the tower. Although today an elevator is a common thing, when the tower was built, it was a real feat! The two historic elevators are still in operation and carefully preserved. This exceptional heritage still bears witness to the visionary genius of Gustave Eiffel.
The machinery is quite fascinating and you will see that the elevators of the Eiffel Tower have nothing in common with a classic elevator, making it an experience on its own!
3. Things to do at the Eiffel tower (or see)
Once you pass the first security check set up in 2018 to counter the risk of terrorist attacks, you arrive on the Parvis of the Eiffel Tower which offers a unique view of the monument. It is at the foot of the tower that you realize its full size and the engineer needed to build it. Surrounded by the four pillars North, South, East and West, this is where your adventure begins!
- At the corner of the North pillar, don’t miss the statue of the father of the tower, Gustave Eiffel, made by Antoine Bourdelle.
- At the West Pillar lies the information point where the staff will answer all your requests and questions about the tower and your visit.
- At the East and West pillars, there are shops full of souvenirs , from a simple key ring to a luxury souvenir worth several hundreds of euros.
On the Parvis, there is also a small snack buffet with sweet and savory dishes and drinks.
To get on the elevator, go to the EAST or WEST pillars. Visitors with online tickets will need to look for the lines with green flags and go directly to the pillar entrance. Visitors without tickets will have to queue at the ticket booth to buy one(yellow flag). Ticket offices are generally open at both pillars.
Visitors wishing to use the stairs will go to the South pillar (blue flag) where a dedicated queue awaits you. Visitors without tickets will be able to access the ticket booths in a separate queue to buy tickets to the 2nd floor via the stairs or the 2nd floor via stairs + lift to the top.
Want to escape Paris for a little bit, check out these incredible day trips you can take by train.
The first floor
Perched 57 meters above ground, the first floor may seem the least interesting of all three but there is in fact plenty to see! Thanks to an oblique and transparent architecture, it has an airy glass floor that allows you to see directly under your feet! The modern and open architecture of the first floor contrasts with the imposing steel feet of the tower.
The first floor also houses one of the most interesting restaurants in Paris. La “Bulle” (the bubble) which offers you breakfast or lunch under a transparent dome in a warm atmosphere. Sit at a table around a central wine bar to enjoy bistro dishes, boards or sweet delicacies. While studying the structure of the tower you can also discover the ephemeral wine storehouse set up nearby!
All around the restaurant, recreation and relaxation areas are available. A discovery trail made up of screens, touch panels and showcases allowing you to discover all the often little-known aspects of the Eiffel Tower. Of course, you will also find souvenir shops to please you as well as another small snack bar.
But that’s not all, you can also discover Cineiffel – an immersive visual show projected on the walls will plunge you into the universe of the Eiffel Tower, its history and construction.
You will also find the amazing “Observatoire des Mouvements du Sommet” which allows you to watch in real-time the oscillations described by the top of the tower as a function of the weather, because yes, the tower moves a lot depending on the wind! You should also know that its size varies by more or less 15 centimeters depending on the temperature and the steel dilatation!
The second floor
The arrival on the second floor starts with a glare: Paris offers its splendor to your astonished eyes. You enjoy a totally unobstructed 360-degree view of the French capital. The Louvre, Montmartre, Notre Dame.. try to spot all the Paris historical monuments!
It is here that you’ll really feel the sensation of height (beware of vertigo) but don’t be afraid, large fences separate you from the void making it impossible to fall.
Unfortunately, the second floor is often very crowded – there are always people and it is sometimes difficult to find your way to take a nice picture! It is however quite normal because, in my opinion, it is the best floor to contemplate Paris, neither too high nor too low and the angle is perfect to see the capital from a different perspective.
In addition to hosting snack stands and souvenir shops, the second floor also houses the starred restaurant “Le Jules Verne”. This luxury gastronomic restaurant provides a breathtaking view of the capital while offering gastronomic and gourmet dishes of the highest quality. But beware, this is a rather expensive luxury restaurant that requires to book 6 months in advance and plan a minimum budget of 200 euros!
A little anecdote, the kitchens of the restaurant are located underground – under the tower! All the dishes are then brought up thanks to a lift dedicated only to the restaurant!
The third floor
That’s it! After an incredible ascent in a glass lift, you’ll find yourself perched 276 meters above sea level. I strongly advise against climbing to the third floor if you’re afraid of heights.
From here, Paris will be at your feet and only the antennas, or rather the antennas (more than a hundred!), are overhanging you. The noise of the city disappears to give way to the wind and silence covers you because it’s always pretty windy!
The platform of the third floor is separated into two levels, one completely open and the other sheltered so that you can enjoy the place no matter the weather!
A very realistic wax museum brings back to life the architect Gustave Eiffel who received the famous American inventor Thomas Edison in his office. Panoramic orientation panels allow you to find the directions and distances to the major cities in the world.
The icing on the cake is the champagne bar nestled in the structure of the monument providing you with an opportunity to enjoy a romantic moment with your loved one! What could be more French than sharing a glass of chilled champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower?
Are you visiting Paris for the first time? Make sure that you read this first-timers’ guide to Paris to know exactly how to travel in Paris the best way possible.
Did you know that under the Eiffel Tower lies a military bunker? Built in 1903 and kept secret for 70 years, a military radio station is hidden under the tower and de Parc of Champs-deMars!
Benefiting from the advantageous position of the Eiffel Tower, this radiotelegraphic station was very useful during the 1st World War as it was used to transmit important strategic radio messages. In 1925, the first spoken word newspaper in the world was to be heard on the airwaves of the Eiffel Tower!
It finished broadcasting in the middle of the Second World War but there are still a few vestiges of this era in the basement. Today, the place looks more like an underground museum than a bunker since the place has been demilitarized for a few years now. Throughout the visit, period photographs recall the history of the place and especially of the Tower.
Not far from the radio station, you can discover the incredible engine room! This is where all the machinery used for the tower’s elevators are located. The place is very colorful and gives the impression of going back to the 1900s.
Signs explain the ingenious operation of this technological feat of the time. An ingenious system of weights and horizontally moving trolleys allow the lifts to go up and down continuously in a poetic ballet of shapes and colors. A visit that should not be missed to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of the tower!
Unfortunately, it is impossible to visit the radio station and the basement with the standard official ticket but some tour operators offer guided tours.
So how do you choose which floor to visit and what is the best view? Obviously, I advise you to visit all three floors because each one offers a different view and activities!
But if you’re on a budget or short of time, I would suggest visiting the second floor first since it’s the one that offers the best view of the capital, the best angle on the buildings and monuments.
The third floor also offers a “birdview” on the city and will please the lovers of strong sensations.
4. How to buy Eiffel Tower tickets
As I said before, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited paying monument in the world, it is ESSENTIAL to book your ticket in advance if you don’t want to waste half a day queuing. If there are no more tickets available online or if you visit the tower unexpectedly, be patient because you might have to queue for up to 3 hours or more just to buy your ticket! If you add the time waiting for the elevators to go up and down, you’ve lost half a day!
The Eiffel Tower’s Website allows you to buy your ticket online for the 2nd floor and/or the third floor at the official rate, up to several weeks in advance. With the e-ticket system, no queues at the ticket office, you receive your ticket directly by e-mail so that you can print it out at home or keep it on your smartphone. Each ticket is time-stamped, which means that you will have to choose a time slot among the thirty or so available on the website.
Plan to arrive well in advance to match your time-stamped ticket. The first security check before accessing the pre-booked line can take up to 30 minutes on busy days, so make sure be sure to plan ahead for a peaceful visit.
First warning: Be careful! Do not book at the last minute especially for the top of the Eiffel Tower because there will be no more slots available! Even out of season, plan at least 2 weeks in advance because tickets are sold out very quickly.
Second warning: The staircase + lift tickets (2nd floor by stairs then lift to the top) are on sale only on-site. It is impossible to buy them on the website at the moment, don’t ask me why!
Here are the official Eiffel tower tickets prices
- Lift ticket for 2 floors: 16.30€.
- Lift ticket Summit: 25,50€.
- Stair ticket 2nd floor: 10.20€.
- Staircase ticket + lift to the top: 19,40€.
The amount of tickets sold on the website is limited and it can be difficult to buy the precious one, especially if you do it at the last minute. So what if everything is sold out? Don’t panic! Other solutions exist and allow you to buy the skip-the-line tickets.
Many internet retailers propose a number of solutions to visit the tower, which are certainly more expensive but very convenient in case of last-minute booking. Don’t hesitate to hire the services of a guide who will give you lots of amusing and useful facts about the tower.
Take a look at the different offers below and don’t forget that the tickets you can buy are only available for a specific date and time slot. All these Eiffel Tower skip the line tickets below are sold by Getyourguıde. A reputable tour booking website recommended by thousands of travelers and I can personally vouch for it.
- Eiffel Tower: Second Floor Priority Access: Save time at the Eiffel Tower and stay a step ahead of the crowds by choosing this priority-access ticket to the second level
- Paris: Eiffel Tower Priority Access with Summit Access: Enjoy priority access to the Eiffel Tower and admire the breathtaking views from the top of the iconic structure by booking this ticket.
- Paris: Eiffel Tower Summit Priority Access with Guided Tour: Meet your guide close to the base of the Eiffel Tower, and enjoy priority access to ascend to the second floor when you book this tour. Here, admire views of Montmartre, the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and much more.
- Paris: Eiffel Tower 2nd Floor Priority Access Entry Ticket: Save precious time on a self-guided visit to the Eiffel Tower with this priority entrance ticket to the 1st and 2nd floors of the most popular attraction in Paris
- Paris: Eiffel Tower Stair Climb to Floor 2 w/ Summit Option: Explore the Eiffel Tower like never before as you climb this monumental tower on foot by booking this ticket.
- Eiffel Tower Guided Summit or 2nd Floor Direct Access Tour: Make the best use of your precious time in Paris with this direct access ticket to the Eiffel Tower.
Note that If you have booked a meal in one of the two restaurants in the tower, the entrance ticket via the elevator is included in the reservation which means that you will be able to go up to the restaurant but not visit the rest of the tower! The restaurant “58” gives you access to a priority queue while the Jule Verne has its own lift!
Even though the Eiffel Tower is one of the best places to visit in the city of light, it doesn’t mean that you only have to see popular sites while in Paris. Here are some of the hidden gems of Paris that you should visit too.
5. How long does it take to climb the Eiffel tower?
It is difficult to be specific about the length of the visit as the possibilities are numerous. It will depend on the day of your visit, the weather, the time of day, the crowds, if you eat on-site, whether you enjoy the view and take your time to take pictures!
Here is a small breakdown of the waiting times to expect. During my last visit, I spent the whole afternoon at the tower, waiting time included.
Introduced in 2017, it takes up to 30 minutes during the rush hour to go through the first security check even if you don’t want to climb the tower but only take a stroll under it. There is no waiting in the early morning and late evening though.
Elevator Ticket Line
If you don’t have an online reservation, this is the place to go! This queue can be very long, expect at least one hour, up to three during very crowded days!
Access to the elevators
This line is always quite slow too. Count two hours with a ticket bought on site. If you already have this time-stamped ticket bought online, you will have access to a fast lane and fortunately, the wait will be shorter.
Access to the Summit elevator line:
It takes an average of 30 minutes to get to the third-floor elevator but can go up to one hour during peak hours.
Stair ticket queue
Most people prefer to take the elevator making this queue rather short, although during the summer months it can still stretch out up to an hour.
If you choose to go up to the second floor via the stairs, plan between 20 and 40 minutes depending on your fitness level on an average busy day.
It is sometimes faster to go up the stairs, as the queue for the elevator can be so long! If you didn’t book online, when you arrive on-site try to compare the elevator queue with the tickets’ booth one to make the right decision and waste as little time as possible, that’s if you’re ready to cope with the stairs!
6. What are the opening hours of the Eiffel tower?
Unlike many monuments or museums, the Eiffel Tower is open every day of the year! The elevators are open from 9:30 am to 11:45 pm and the stairs from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm.
According to the Tower’s official website, the period of the year when the Tower is the least-frequented is obviously during winter in the months of January and February. On the other hand, all holiday periods (French or European) are to be avoided as well as the summer months when the highest attendance is reached.
Here is a list of holiday days. Note that school holiday periods can vary by a few days year after year.
- Christmas holidays: December 21st to January 12th
- Winter holidays: February 8th to March 7th
- Easter Holidays: April 4th to May 2nd
- Summer holidays: July and August.
- Labour Day: First of May
- Whit Monday: First of June
- Valentine’s Day: February 14th
- Bastille Day: July 14th
To help you choose the best month for your visit, here’s a little chart of traffic per month
7. What is the best time to visit the Eiffel tower?
If you want to have the shortest queuing time possible try to book the very first available time slot on the website. The earlier you go, the fewer crowds will be as it gets crazy beyond 10 am with coaches uninterruptedly pouring out their streams of tourist groups!
If you wish to visit the tower at night, the attendance is also a little lower when night falls or around 8 pm, with the exception of the weekend when the crowd remains present until the very last opening hours. But, don’t forget that the stairs close at 6.30 pm, so if you want to climb, you will have to use the elevator.
Every evening as soon as night falls, every hour on the dot, the Eiffel tower lights up and sparkles for 5 minutes. I recommend that you do not miss the very last illumination of the day because, unlike the others, the tower is completely off (service lights and public lights) making the flickering even more moving!
The ideal option is to watch the show from the ground, from the Trocadero palace or the Champs de Mars gardens. The icing on the cake is that this one lasts 10 minutes instead of 5!
Weather-wise, if you are not afraid of rain, the queues are much shorter on bad weather days! But to be honest the rain spoils the party a little bit and I wouldn’t advise you to visit the tower in such weather!
If you are flexible and have time, try to choose a day with the lowest possible air pollution to make sure you get the best view of the city. You can visit the Air quality monitoring network to find out the air quality day by day in Paris.
Voila! I hope that with these tips for visiting the Eiffel tower, you have all the information you need to organize your visit to this wonderful Parisian landmark without any stress!
However, if all that was too much information to take in, here is a summary with all the FAQs about visiting the Eiffel Tower
FAQs about visiting the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is located at Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France. For proper directions to the Eiffel Tower, you can use google maps.
The elevators of the Tower are open from 9:30 am to 11:45 pm and the stairs from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Any time is good to see this icon but to make sure you beat the crowds, it’s better to go either early in the morning or late in the evening and also try to avoid the weekends and holidays as it gets crazily crowded.
The best way is to buy the skip the line Eiffel Tower tickets online before your visit. If you haven’t yet bought your skip the line Eiffel tower ticket, then you can buy it from here.
The Eiffel tower sparkles every evening as soon as night falls at every hour on the dot for 5 minutes. But for the very last one that sparkes at 1 am (2 am during summer) lasts for 10 minutes.
The Eiffel Tower tickets vary in prices depending on whether you want to use the elevator, the stairs, see just the first floor or even the second floor or whether you’re going on a self-guided tour or a guided tour. All of these factors come into play. Putting that in mind, it can range from 10.20€ to 70.20€ depending on what you choose.
Have you been to this incredible Parisian icon before? Share with me how your experience went in the comment section and if you’re just planning to visit, I hope these Eiffel tower tips were helpful.
Need more info to plan your Paris trip? Check out these posts
- How to spend the Perfect one day in Paris
- Top tourist attractions in Paris
- Secret places to visit in Paris
- Eay day trips to take from Paris
- Romantic things to do in Paris
- Biggest mistakes to avoid in Paris
- Things to do in Paris in winter
- Paris winter packing list
- Things to know before visiting Paris
The adventurous feet is a proud member of the Amazon Associate and other affiliates. This means that if you purchase anything through this website, I might get a small commission without any additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting The adventurous feet*