The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in France and ultimately the world. When in Paris, a stop at the world-renown Eiffel Tower is a right of passage for any traveler visiting the city.
The Eiffel Tower was constructed from 1887 to 1889 by senior engineers Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguler. It is rumored that the major inspiration for this structure came from the lattice Observatory built in New York City in 1853. While those from abroad know the tower under the name given by the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built this last, locals have nicknamed her “La dame de fer”, French for Iron Lady.
Currently, the Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris, giving those who climb the wrought-iron lattice frame a birds-eye view of Paris. This monument stands at 324 meters (1,063 ft) tall which is comparably about the same height as an 81-storey building. At its square base, the tower measures 125 meters (410 ft) on each side. The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The top level’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground – the highest observation deck accessible to the public in the European Union.
When we arrived at the large expanse of green spanning from the Eiffel Tower the military school called les Champs de Mars, it was early morning. Lucky us – tourist season was just winding down in the French capital. As much as Paris is known for the swarms of visitors flocking the city in the summer months, come September the crowds dissipated. Joey and I could hardly believe our good fortune – only a handful of people mingled at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower’s lattice-like structure. We were able to avoid mass aggregations of people and skip the hour-long lineup I had been warned about.
The Eiffel tower has three levels for visitors to explore, with restaurants located on the first two levels and a champagne bar and office (of Gustave the towers creator) at the top. The tower had a special ticket rate for tourists between the ages of 12-24 years. The price climb 324-meters to the second floor on foot was €5.00 per person. It was more expensive for those taking the elevator. From the second floor, the only way to reach the top was by taking a lift for an additional €14.50 per person.
It took a lot of convincing, but I managed to convince Joey to join me as he is not a fan of heights. We began our climb to the first level, through the open lattice structure, the sun beaming down on us. We climbed up and past the city buildings of Paris one step at a time. For Joey, I’m sure it felt like more. Above the city line, the wind picked up ever so slightly. I later found out that sometimes on really windy days it’s possible to feel the tower swaying. Thank goodness the wind wasn’t strong during our ascent.
We took our first break on the tower’s first floor. Here we were able to check out the city’s miniature toy cars and buildings below. Everything was so white with the ripple of blue Seine river slicing through the edifices. There were even binoculars to take in the surroundings! Joey later confessed that he was really close to calling it quits at the first level.
Continuing our trek up the metal stairs we reached the next level a lot quicker. On the second floor, the first thing we saw was a payphone – which we seriously considered giving both our parents a quick call while gazing out onto the incredible Paris skyline. To ease Joey’s tension and bribe him to reach the summit, we decided to stop at an ice cream parlour.
After an icy sweet treat, our shared flavour of choice being chocolate, we queued up for the glass elevators to the top. When our turn came, we were stuffed into the glass box like sardines and lifted to the peak. Thankfully, Joey and I got a spot right beside the window giving us an aerial view of Paris and the surrounding area. As the elevator pulled us higher and higher I got a slight dizzy feeling from vertigo when the buildings and streets shrank in size.
By 10 AM sharp we had finally made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Words cannot describe the million-dollar smile Joey had on his face when he looked out onto the city from the platform. The sense of accomplishment was indeed so satisfying. Looking past the final floor, I could see the tower’s steel grey lattice meeting a robin’s egg blue sky. In total, we spent about an hour at the top of the Eiffel. It was our rumbling stomachs that begged us to decent as it was time for lunch.
As expected, it was a much faster climb down. It took us only about half of the ascent time. When we arrived at the bottom, the morning’s non-existent lineup had shifted once again into a chaos of tourists. Looking at each other we smiled thinking – sometimes it pays to be the early bird.
A few days after our climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, we returned to see the tower at night.
Every evening when the sun goes down, the tower puts on a spectacular light show that could make even the most troubled person smile. For five minutes every hour on the hour a light show, consisting of 20, 000 light bulbs, clinging to all four facets of the tower’s surface, illuminate and make the tower sparkle in a dancing display of lights.
When traveling to Paris, the Eiffel Tower is a must-see for any out-of-country tourist. I mean how could you visit this French city without making a stop at its most iconic landmark. If you have the opportunity to visit the tower, we would suggest doing so twice. Once during the day – climb it and check out the picturesque view of Paris including the Seine and Notre Dame. And the second time at night to feast your eyes on the incredible light show that you will not soon forget.
Below is the cost for visiting the Eiffel Tower. The cost is dependant on age.
Age 4-11 & Disabled:
Lift to 2nd-floor 4,20€
Lift to top 6,60€
Stairs to 2nd-floor 2,60€
Stairs +lift to top 5,00€
The Eiffel Tower is open year-round. It is important to note that access to the top may be prohibited during harsh weather or peak periods.
The website displays their most up-to-date operating hours as well as closures.
Summer Time Hours are roughly from:
9:30 AM – 10:30 PM
The ticket desk closes at 10:30 PM and the Tower closes at 11:45 PM.
The Eiffel Tower’s status as a historic monument, its layout, and the high visitor numbers mean that special public safety measures must be taken. All public spaces may be closed if required, and bag and parcel checks put in place. Large items of luggage and pets (except guide dogs for the blind) are not allowed within the Tower. There is no luggage facility to leave baggage.
Access to the top may be prohibited during harsh weather or peak periods.
For more information on the Eiffel Tower please visit the company website at:
What was your favourite landmark in Paris? Have you had the chance to visit the Eiffel Tower and if so did you climb it via the elevator or by foot?
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