Standing majestically at over 1000 feet tall, the widely acclaimed Eiffel Tower attracts 7 million visitors every year. Needless to say, the Eiffel Tower is the most popular attraction in France. In fact, it’s as high up on the list of the world’s popular attractions such as New York City’s Time Square.
During cold weather the tower shrinks by about six inches.
Having spent 6 hours in and around the Eiffel Tower during both day and night, I can sufficiently it was quite a proper and whole experience — queued in line for an hour, climbed the first 347 steps, lunch and lounge on the revamped first floor, took the lift up to the very top, bask in the sun with an ice-cream at the Trocadéro gardens, countdown to midnight and watch the Eiffel Tower lit up and sparkle like diamonds — it was an overwhelmingly beautiful sight to behold. Do all of these and you will leave Paris with nothing but fond memories.
(scroll to the bottom for video)
Directions to Eiffel Tower – The quickest and easiest way to the Eiffel Tower is via the metro train. Take Line 6 or 9 to the Trocadéro stop, or Line 6 to Bir-Hakeim stop.
I’d suggest getting off at Trocadéro as within moments of stepping out, you’ll be presented with an unobstructed grand, elevated view of the Eiffel Tower, overseeing the Trocadero garden and Pont d’léna (Jena Bridge) connecting the two over Seine river. It takes about 10 minutes to stroll from the station to the tower, not accounting for the irresistible photo-snapping pitstops given the multiple vantage points. Nothing quite like building up the excitement at every step of the way towards the Eiffel Tower and letting its growing size intimidate you. See here for other routes.
From UK to Paris – If you’re traveling from the UK, Paris is easily accessible by economical flights and the Eurostar train if you’re not self-driving. A direct flight is just over an hour long from London, the Eurostar takes twice as long but nonetheless, a pleasant train journey. If you plan to take a flight and need to drop off your vehicle at the airports, save time by booking airport parking in advance in any UK terminals within minutes. As for the Eurostar, book in advance and you might bag yourself a good deal at under £80 per return ticket.
Eiffel Tower Tickets – There are several ways you can do the Eiffel Tower — get the lift from ground floor to the top of the tower, walk up the stairs to the first floor and take a lift to the top, or continue taking the stairs up to second floor and take a lift to the top (be warned, it’s over 700 steps up to the second floor).
For the real experience, many fellow visitors suggested to take the stairs to the first floor and then a lift to the top. I did exactly that and would suggest the same for anyone who has no mobility issues and fit enough. Slowly making my way in the woven iron structures and as I ascended to a view of Paris that got better at each flight of steps, it really gave a sense of being present in the tower, seeing and feeling the iron bars as I clutched onto the hand rails. This option costs €11.50, whereas it’s €17 for lift access from the ground floor. See here for more ticket options.
Queue Tips – Unfortunately, there isn’t a secret shortcut that can evade all queues to see the Eiffel Tower, but there are ways to shorten the waiting time.
- Beat the crowd. Get there early at least half an hour before doors open at 9.30am (9.00am during summer), you’ll save at least an hour queueing if you had turned up a little later.
- There are separate queues to the entrance depending on the ticket type you opt for – the shorter queue would be for the tickets to the stairs, rather than the lift, situated at the corner of the pillars.
- If you aren’t sure about going to the top after climbing up the stairs, you have the option of buying the lift ticket separately on the second floor. But, getting both the stairs and lift tickets from the ticket booth at ground level will save you time queueing again on the second floor.
- Pre-book online in advance. Give yourself plenty of time as it tends to run out early – although, this is only for the lift entry ticket from the ground.
General Tips – Visiting the Eiffel Tower will take you at least a few good hours, so you will want to be as comfortable as possible.
- It’s a no brainer to wear comfortable shoes with good grip especially if you’re walking up the stairs, and during the colder season, slip-ups are not uncommon.
- Pack some food with you as the waiting time to enter can extend to more than an hour, at least enough to last you until you arrive at the first floor of the tower where there’s a few restaurants and cafés. As a reference point, a ham and cheese baguette costs €6.50.
- It’s always going to be crowded, some times rubbing shoulders (literally) with others, so be cautious with your belongings. Paris is notoriously known for its active pickpocketing scene, even up on the Eiffel Tower.
- Eiffel Tower at night: It is an all-day attraction, although it’s a different story at night — it’s a magical place that comes to life, often livelier than the day with its golden illumination lighting up the city as life buzzes in and around it. Those who hang around longer will be in for a treat; at every hour after dark until 1am, the Eiffel Tower shimmers in cascading lights, like a never-ending trail of a firework display. No wonder Paris maintains its reputation as the City of Light. Watch the video below I’ve compiled in under a minute and you’ll see it’s shimmery magic.