Practical Guide to Visiting the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower at sunset
••• Atout France / Franck Charel

The Eiffel Tower is the great iconic Paris landmark and an amazing sight, due to its extraordinary architecture and sheer size. Of course, you can see it from almost any vantage point in Paris, particularly at night when it flashes with colored lights every hour until 2am in the summer. However, you simply must visit the tower itself and go to the top to truly appreciate it, as the view is tremendous.

Parisian Landmark

Few things symbolize Paris like the Eiffel Tower—it is found on postcards, paintings, books, tee-shirts; even lamps are fashioned into the recognizable shape. Of course, a trip to Paris simply isn't complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower.

It is among the top attractions in Paris but there are many others that are far older with a much richer history. There are also more romantic—and less crowded—spots and there are other locations in the city that offer equally-beautiful views. Alternative sites include Notre Dame, Tour Montparnesse, or the Arc de Triomphe.

However, the French authorities have been paying the Tower a lot of attention in the last few years by adding attractions and improving those already there. Even if you've been in the past you may want to go, as you’ll be surprised by what you see.

Floor-by-Floor Guide

You can climb to the second floor or take an elevator to the top, though you will have to stand in line for one of the two elevators and trips are around 8 minutes apart between the two.

Avoid the masses by going early in the morning on weekdays.

There are plenty of opportunities for eating: restaurants include a gastronomic experience, a picnic, or a buffet.

  • First Floor: There is a new transparent floor and glass balustrades which is great for those with a head for heights and a bit of a nightmare for those who don’t like looking down so far.
    A video projected onto walls shows you an all-around Eiffel Tower experience and lots of interactive touch screens and displays telling you more about the tower.
  • Also on the First Floor: Le 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant offers traditional French cuisine.
  • Second Floor: 3 souvenir shops, a buffet and the Jules Verne restaurant which showcases modern French gastronomic cooking keep you busy. There are also story points telling you about the tower’s construction and a glimpse down to the world below.
    There's also a vision well where you look down, and down, and down. Great for photographs.
  • The Top of the Eiffel Tower: You get great views on your way up to the top of the tower, which is 180 meters (590 feet) above ground.
    Gustave Eiffel’s office is exactly as it was when the great engineer designed the structure with models representing Eiffel, his daughter Claire and the American inventor, Thomas Edison.
    Panoramic maps show you exactly what you’re looking at and there’s a model of the original design of the top floor.
  • Also at the top: You can toast the world at the ​Champagne Bar.

Pros and Cons

  • It's a must-see if you visit Paris
  • A spectacular work of engineering
  • The top is now wheelchair accessible
  • There's a skating rink on the 1st floor during the Christmas holiday season
  • Crowded, with long lines in high season
  • A little outside central Paris

About the Eiffel Tower

  • Built for the World Exposition of 1889, over 204 million people have visited it since
  • Weighs more than 10,000 tons
  • So tall, you do not have to visit the Eiffel Tower to see it, as almost any location in central Paris is bound to have a view of the architectural wonder

How to Get There

Champs du Mars
7th arrondissement
Te.: 00 33 (0)8 92 70 12 39

Check the website for up-to-date hours and admissions information, as well as details on guided tours.

  • By Metro: Get off at the Line no. 6 Bir-Hakeim station or the Line no. 9 Trocadéro station
  • By RER: Line C, Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel station
  • By Bus: The 82 and 42 buses have Tour Eiffel stops or you can get off at the Champ de Mars stop on the 82, 87, and 69 buses
  • By Bike: Self-hire bikes are available at any of the Vélib’ stations
  • By Boat: Batobus operates throughout Paris and there is a stop very near the Eiffel Tower