The Eiffel Tower . . . when most people are asked to close their eyes and think of an image of Paris, it’s what they’ll imagine. To be honest, before going to Paris, I had never been a huge fan of the immense tower of steel. However, as we ascended the tower, I was impressed by the incredible feats of engineering it took to build such a gigantic structure and the breathtaking views of Paris from the various observation levels. The best views are definitely from the second level. There you can actually make out the grand monuments of the city. Level One also has incredible views, a multimedia presentation about the tower’s construction and upkeep, and, usually, an ice rink in winter! The first level also has a glass floor where you can look straight down from an 18 story building. I wasn’t brave enough to do it, given my fear of heights. On this floor, there are also touch screen exhibits for visitors to explore a variety of topics. Unfortunately, we were there on a cloudy day, but even then, the views were incredible!
Given that the Eiffel Tower is such a huge tourist destination, you have to expect large crowds and long lines. Here are some of my tips to make the experience a little less stressful:
(1) First and foremost, purchase your tickets and reserve an entry time online at this site. Do not go to tower without reserving an entry time. Tickets go on sale three months ahead of time and sell out fast. So plan ahead and be sure of your date because tickets are non-refundable.
(2) Print your tickets and bring then with you.
(3) There is heightened security around the tower, and, therefore, you’ll have to pass through security checks. Bags will be searched, and large bags are not allowed inside. Be sure to plan enough time to get through security.
(4) The entrances are located at the base of each of the tower’s four pillars. Once inside, you’ll have to wait for your entry time. About ten minutes before your entry time, head for the line marked “Visitors with Reservations”. After getting your ticket scanned, you’ll still have to wait in line for an elevator.
(5) Budget a few hours for getting through security, waiting in lines, and enjoying your sightseeing experience.
(6) Even if you don’t want to go up the tower, seeing it at night is an absolute must. Here are my recommendations . . .
I enjoyed going up the tower, but my favorite Eiffel Tower experience was seeing it at night. The absolute best place for evening viewing is from the Place du Trocadero, which, conveniently, has its own metro stop. The place is really happening at night. You’ll encounter food stands, souvenir vendors, street performers, and Parisians enjoying an evening out with their own alcohol and picnics. If you didn’t bring our own adult beverage, there are, believe it or not, wandering vendors that will sell them to you. Arrive at dusk, find a spot and enjoy the show. The Eiffel Tower sparkles every five minutes on the hour, so plan your visit accordingly. With my fiance next to me and the tower sparkling, I then truly understood why Paris is the city of romance.
Location of the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is located on the Champ de Mars at 5 Avenue Anatole France in Paris. The tower is a 10 minute walk from either the Bir-Hakeim or Trocadero stops on the Metro. Alternatively, you can take buses #69 or #87 to Avenue Joseph Bouvard in the Champs de Mars. From any of those locations, just head to the tower, which will be towering above you.
To see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, go to the Place du Trocadero at the Trocadero metro stop. Then follow the crowds.
To see all of these locations, click on the map below. Select the markers on the map to get directions to each location.