Alongside the river Seine and in the Champ de Mars park, the 1,062-foot-tall (323-meter) Eiffel Tower attracts more than 7 million visitors annually. It has two restaurants, including the legendary Le Jules Verne on the second floor, and three viewing levels.
Unless you’re content to pack a picnic and sit in the picturesque gardens admiring the tower from the ground, you’ll need to purchase entry tickets. These vary in price depending on the level you go to and the way you get there: by elevator, stairs (704 steps take you as far as the second floor) or a mix of both. The first floor is an elevator ride or some 300 stairs away from ground level. It has informative displays, a cinema auditorium showing films on the history of the tower and an exhibition room with art inspired by the landmark.
Take more stairs or an elevator to the second floor. Here you will find souvenir shops, more displays, including “story windows” on the tower’s construction and the old hydraulic lifts, and a vertiginous view to the ground below through the vision well.
At 905 feet (275 meters), the top floor observation area is accessible only by elevator. It has 360-degree views of Paris and its surrounds. Toast the end of your Eiffel journey with a glass of bubbly from the Champagne Bar. Admire the view and the engineering behind this iconic structure, which was initially intended as a temporary building. Designed by Gustave Eiffel and erected in 1889 in time for the World’s Fair, the tower was saved from demolition when experiments proved it was suitable for radio transmissions.
Except in extreme weather conditions (ice, snow, wind), the tower is open every day, with extended hours during the summer. In peak seasons, access to some floors may be closed temporarily until congestion clears. Set aside at least three hours for your Eiffel Tower visit; lines may be long and the climb slow. Whether you climb the tower or not, don’t miss the nightly light show. You will see 20,000 flashing bulbs turn the Eiffel Tower into a glittering beacon. The show starts at nightfall, with a shimmer of lights every five minutes well into the night.
The Eiffel Tower is easily accessible by public transportation, including the bus, subway and train. It’s a crowded area, so parking may be difficult to find.