The Eiffel Tower is on everyone’s Paris Bucket List, but what’s the best way to visit it? How can you plan ahead to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day? Here are the essentials for visiting the Eiffel Tower!
Security at the Eiffel Tower
It’s worth mentioning the tightened security measures that now exist at the Eiffel Tower. Until the terrorist attacks in recent years, the area around and underneath the Eiffel Tower was completely open to the public. People could easily stroll under the structure from one side to another and stare up at the wonderful late 19th-century architectural masterpiece without buying tickets. Nowadays the whole area around the tower is fenced off and you can’t get past security to get underneath the tower unless you have tickets.
Booking tickets for the Eiffel Tower
As the most famous cultural symbol of France, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world and receives around seven million visitors a year. This in itself is an excellent reason to book your tickets in advance! The best and easiest way to do this is online. But it might help to explain the different options for going up the tower first.
The stairs or the elevators?
This will depend on your levels of fitness and stamina! But first, a bit about the layout of the tower. There are three levels to the tower. On the first level, there are some restaurants, a short film about the evolution of the Eiffel Tower and the new glass floor area to make you feel like you’re walking on air! On the second level, there is another restaurant and some souvenir stores and the third level is the summit of the tower, with a viewing deck, a champagne bar and a display of photos from the 19th century of the Eiffel Tower and its architect Gustave Eiffel.
There are two elevators within the tower; one serves the first and second levels and the other goes from the second to the third level. Some people choose to take the stairs to the second level as the queues are shorter and the ticket is cheaper – but remember that’s over 600 steps! Most people prefer to take the two elevators to the top (you can’t take the stairs to the third level!). On the Eiffel Tower’s website, you can book your elevator tickets up to the second or third level; however, the third-level online tickets often sell out a long time in advance. Don’t worry – you can just buy your tickets up to the second level online, and then buy a separate ticket to the third level from the ticket office on the second level. The queues here are usually much shorter than the ones on the ground.
Whatever option you choose for ascending the tower, you are allowed to take the elevators down to the bottom after!
Top Tips to Remember
- Pre-book your tickets online, if you can, to limit the amount of time you have to spend queuing on the day of your visit.
- You will need to pick a time-slot for visiting the Eiffel Tower when buying your tickets online. This is just the time that you need to arrive – you can spend as much time in the tower as you like! Try to pick a slot for first thing in the morning, at lunch-time or towards the end of the day when there are fewer people. And make sure you arrive on time – if you’re late, you may not be allowed in!
- It can get very windy and cold on the second and third levels of the Eiffel Tower, and you will most likely have to line up outside for the elevator from the second to the third level; so even if the weather seems perfect on the ground, bring a warm jacket just in case!
- If you plan to have lunch or dinner at one of the Eiffel Tower’s restaurants, make sure you book in advance (you can do this on the Eiffel Tower’s website), as there are often long queues for the restaurants.