Last Updated on 3rd January 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
Towering high and mighty above the rest of Paris, the Eiffel Tower was once the highest building in the world. Since then, it has been used as the largest advertisement in the world, it has been used as a secret transmission centre and has been involved in a fair few scandals.
For example, did you know that Gustave Eiffel did not design the Tour Eiffel? Instead, some architects at his firm did and he took little interest in the project until others found it interesting…
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- A little history of the Eiffel Tower
- My experience of going up the Eiffel Tower
- How I visited the Eiffel Tower
- Visiting the Eiffel Tower: Prices, Tricks and Tips for visiting the Tour Eiffel
- Facts about the Eiffel Tower
- #1 The Eiffel Tower was only ever meant to be temporary!
- #2 Guy Maupassant (the writer) famously detested the Eiffel Tower
- #3 The Eiffel Tower can be seen from all over Paris!
- #4 The Eiffel Tower was originally intended to be for Spain!
- #5 There are over 1500 steps in the Eiffel Tower
- #6 The Eiffel Tower weighs over 10K tons
- #7 The Eiffel Tower has a birthday!
- #8 The Eiffel Tower was once the tallest structure in the world
- #9 The Eiffel Tower was once yellow
- #10 Every 7 years, the Eiffel Tower is repainted
- #11 The Eiffel Tower has been recreated across the world
- Eiffel Tower Souvenirs
- France Travel Information
- Enjoyed reading Practical Advice, Tricks and Tips for visiting the Eiffel Tower? Pin it now, read it again later!
A little history of the Eiffel Tower
It’s amazing to think that the Eiffel tower was originally only meant to be a temporary exhibit! Now I can’t even begin to imagine how the skyline of Paris would look without it. Paris is located at the heart of the French region of Île de France.
The Iron Lady has quite literally become a symbol of Paris, if not France itself. It’s currently the most visited paid monument in the World (perhaps not all that surprising considering that France is the most visited country in the World).
Built between 1887- 1889, the Eiffel Tower was the main showpiece for the WFair fair and was due to be taken down 20 years later at the end of its permit but was eventually allowed to stay for scientific, communication and touristic purposes.
My experience of going up the Eiffel Tower
While I enjoyed visiting the Eiffel Tower (I’ve quite literally had posters of the iconic monument on my bedroom walls since I was little), it has to be said that the waiting times for visiting are incredibly long. That, and two nights later, my sister and I ascended the Arc de Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe boasts shorter waiting times and at sunset, the view from the summit of the Triumphal arc was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. In my entire life. As a result, I recommend skipping the Eiffel Tower, and instead head to the Champs Élysées!
As I wanted to experience the whole Eiffel tower, I bought a ‘lift only’ pass. If you just want to go to the second floor, it’s around 5 euro, a short half hour queue and walking only.
This means that it’s the better option for seeing the Eiffel Tower viewing platform if you’re pressed for time, want to fit more things into your time in Paris, or simply get bored during long waits.
How I visited the Eiffel Tower
It may seem counter-intuitive, but I went straight to the summit of the Tour Eiffel before taking the lift back to the second level, walking down to the first, and finally exiting to street level in time to catch the metro of the day. The metro closes at midnight- even on a Sunday where many other things in France are closed.
After an hour of literally staring at the 360-degree view of Paris, I came back down to check out the gift stores, have an ice cream and have yet another look at the panoramic view before heading down. One of my favourite things about the Eiffel Tower was on the first floor.
There, you’ll find a clear glass platform where you can stand and pretend like you’re walking on the air (okay so it was pretty dusty so it wasn’t at all like floating- but it was still pretty cool!). The glass floor was a 2014 addition made during renovation works and remains a firm favourite of visitors to the Eiffel Tower to this day.
Finally, perhaps rather interestingly, did you know that the ‘light display’ (a fancy way of saying the way the lights are arranged on the Eiffel tower) are copyright and so it’s illegal to distribute images without permission; (yep, that includes sharing your snaps on Instagram, Facebook, etc. etc.)? So here’s a non-light display photo…
Visiting the Eiffel Tower: Prices, Tricks and Tips for visiting the Tour Eiffel
If you want to see the best views from the base of the Eiffel Tower, then I highly recommend heading to Trocadero for sunrise. There, you’ll have pretty views as the sun hits the horizon and candy colours dance across the sky.
If you want to avoid the crowds that inevitably end up heading to the iconic French monument, then you should try to visit the tower earlier in the day rather than later.
Facts about the Eiffel Tower
Like it or loathe it, there’s no denying that the Eiffel Tower is one of the most enduring symbols of Paris, but of France as a whole. And while it’s no secret that I love both Paris and the Tour Eiffel (as it is so-called in French), not everyone feels this way. Here are some fun, unusual & fascinating facts about the Eiffel Tower!
#1 The Eiffel Tower was only ever meant to be temporary!
Paris is easily one of my favourite cities in the World, and I literally coudln’t imagine how the Parisian cityscape would look without the Tour Eiffel rising up above the glinting golden dome of Napoleon’s tomb, the arches of Notre Dame and the iconic pyramid of the Louvre!
Perhaps that is why it is all the more surprising that the Tour Eiffel was only ever meant to be a temporary! You see, the structure was constructed in 1889 for the world fair in Paris. The tower originally only had a twenty year lease but was kept as it was incredibly useful as an aerial!
#2 Guy Maupassant (the writer) famously detested the Eiffel Tower
One French author, Guy Maupassant, thought that the Eiffel Tower ruined Paris and was a horrible sight to see. However, he still sat and ate his lunch under the Dame de Fer without failure every single day. When asked why he did this, he replied that it was the only place in Paris where he did not have to see it rising up over the skyline.
#3 The Eiffel Tower can be seen from all over Paris!
One of the best places to view the Tour Eiffel is from Passerelle Debilly. It is a small arched pedestrian bridge to the east of Pont d’Iena, first opened for the World’s Fair in 1900. Of course, the views of the Tour Eiffel are to be spied all over the city, from the Seine to the Sacré Coeur. Check here for our guide
#4 The Eiffel Tower was originally intended to be for Spain!
The Tour Eiffel was originally intended for the city of Barcelona in Spain. However, the citizens of the city didn’t want it and so it was put up in Paris instead.
#5 There are over 1500 steps in the Eiffel Tower
There are 1665 steps to get to the top of the Tour Eiffel (luckily, there are also a number of elevators!)
#6 The Eiffel Tower weighs over 10K tons
Thanks to the fact that the structure is created almost entirely out of iron, the Tour Eiffel is incredibly heavy and weighs in at more than a staggering 10K tons!
#7 The Eiffel Tower has a birthday!
Just like you and I, the Eiffel Tower also has a birthday. The Eiffel Tower was officially completed on the 31st March 1889. Every year, on this anniversary, the Eiffel Tower is celebrated by being lit up by various intricate displays.
#8 The Eiffel Tower was once the tallest structure in the world
Of all the unusual facts about the Eiffel Tower, one that many people don’t know is that the Eiffel Tower was once the tallest structure in the world. Indeed, from its completion, the tower remained the highest structure in the world until 1930. In times gone by, another building which was once the tallest building in the world is Rouen Cathedral, in the capital city of Normandy, Rouen.
#9 The Eiffel Tower was once yellow
During the time at which the Eiffel Tower was used as the ‘world’s largest advertisement’ it was painted yellow! Between 1907 and 1947, the Tour Eiffel was painted yellow.
#10 Every 7 years, the Eiffel Tower is repainted
Every seven years, the Eiffel Tower is repainted using 50 tons of paint. In fact, the Eiffel Tower has seen no fewer than 18 repaints during its lifetime (which totals just over 120 years).
#11 The Eiffel Tower has been recreated across the world
Some of the most famous recreations of the Eiffel Tower include replicas of the Tour Eiffel in Las Vegas, USA, Slobozia, Romania, and Paris, Texas, USA.
Eiffel Tower Souvenirs
Token/ Souvenir for Going up the Eiffel Tower, 1889
This souvenir token was designed by Charles Trotin and reads “Souvenir de mon ascension au sommet de la Tour Eiffel 1889” (souvenir of my ascent to the Top of the Eiffel Tower, 1889). I picked it up in a little antique shop in Ashburton, Devon, England and have loved it ever since!
Manufactured by the Usine Mettalurgique Parisienne in Paris, the designer Trotin was born in Paris in 1833 and designed a whole range of medals during his lifetime. Of all my Eiffel Tower Memorabilia, this is by far my most treasured piece and it sits in pride of place on my desk (which is quite an achievement considering how many piles of paper I always have scattered about)!
Vintage Paris Postcard, Prior to 1930
I picked up this vintage Paris postcard while shopping at the Marché aux Puces de St Ouen. This flea market, held in the north of Paris, is supposedly the largest of its kind in the world. And when you visit, you never know quite what you’ll find… Just like when I stumbled on this vintage Paris postcard for just €1.
Although the postcard isn’t dated, the reverse reads “The Eiffel Tower, the highest construction in the world (330 yds)”, suggesting that it was produced prior to 1930! I love carrying this postcard around in my bag as it always makes for a good photo prop when I’m shooting café pictures, or when I want a quirky view of Paris included in my frame!
Ticket for visiting the Eiffel Tower, 2015
Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m totally one of those people who save their entry tickets as a form of souvenir! After all, once you’ve paid for the attraction (or shown your student ID if you’re lucky enough to still be studying!) then the ticket is completely free to keep. I actually keep all of my tickets stuck around my desk as it serves as a cool reminder as to some of the amazing places I’ve been lucky to visit.
Mini Eiffel Tower, 2015
Of all my Eiffel Tower Memorabilia collection, this is probably the most ‘touristy’ piece. I have no idea when this was made (though it’s obviously modern), so I’ve added the date I purchased it- 2015. The first time I went up the Eiffel Tower was actually on the first day I moved to Paris. My sister (who helped carry my completely full suitcases halfway across the city) and I ascended the tower at sunset and as a souvenir of our lovely time together, I bought the mini tower!
France Travel Information
France uses the Euro (€)
The main language spoken in France is French. Though you can get by with English is more touristic places, it’s always a good idea to learn some of the local language. Bring along a simple phrasebook like this one to help make your travels easier.
The capital of France is Paris. For more information and inspiration, check out our best Paris travel tips.
France uses plug types, types C and E. As such, if you’re travelling from the UK, USA, Canada, and many other destinations, you’ll need to buy an adapter. I recommend buying a universal travel adapter that you can use for multiple destinations (rather than buying a new adaptor for each place you visit).
As one of the most popular destinations in the world, you should always consider booking your accommodation well ahead of time. Check out this website for price comparison details and detailed reviews.
Be careful with your belongings. I also highly advise to avoid wearing a backpack and to instead opt for a crossbody bag like these ones. I personally use a crossbody bag by this brand and love its shape, size, and versatility.