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…
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. 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 loooooong. 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.
Second Floor: Around €5 (walking only)
Au Sommet: Around €15 adult/ €13 concessions