The views from the top of this iconic symbol of Paris are an unmissable highlight of any visit.
It’s impossible to imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower. This striking construction appears everywhere, from tacky souvenirs to valuable artworks, and is one of the city’s best-loved landmarks.
Surprisingly, the tower wasn’t built to last; it was intended to be demolished at the end of the 1889 World’s Fair, of which it was one of the main exhibits. Gustave Eiffel’s pioneering 323-metre iron tower was granted a respite when its height was discovered to be useful for the new technology of radio transmission. Since then it has become one of the world’s most famous attractions, with over 7 million visitors every year.
There are three viewing levels to choose from and entrance fees depend on which level you choose and how you choose to get there. The first level is accessed either by lift or 300 stairs, and features informative exhibitions and films on the history of the tower and the art it has inspired.
The second level can be reached by further stairs or lift. As well as more fascinating displays on the construction of the tower and its original hydraulic lifts, this floor also houses well-stocked souvenir shops and the famous Le Jules Verne restaurant. Offering uninterrupted views all the way to the ground, the glass window of the vision well is not for the faint-hearted.
The top level, at 275 metres, is only accessible by lift. The vertiginous journey is rewarded by unrivalled panoramas across Paris, as well as an opportunity to drink a toast in the Champagne Bar before beginning your descent.
The tower is open every day, unless extreme weather conditions prevail. In high winds the top level only is closed and access to the first and second levels is still possible. Access may also be restricted at times of peak demand, to control visitor movements and avoid congestion. You should set aside at least three hours for your visit, allowing for queues and slow-moving climbers.
If you don’t fancy riding to the top, there are pretty gardens around the tower’s base where you can take a seat and gaze up at Gustave Eiffel’s extraordinary feat of engineering. After dark, the frequent light shows draw the crowds to watch in awe as the structure is illuminated by 20,000 flashing bulbs.
The Eiffel Tower is easily accessible on all public transport networks, but parking in this busy part of Paris is very limited.