Welcome to the Eiffel Tower visitor’s guide
The 2nd floor
The 1st floor.
Official eiffel tower tour guide for your mobile.
The Eiffel Tower mobile guide provides you with all the information you need to make the most of your visit to the Eiffel Tower. In it, you will discover all the services available: restaurants, refreshments, shops, restrooms, etc. A multidimensional map will allow you to orient yourselft to the floors and gardens, without missing any of the cultural and historical information about the Tower.
History and Culture
How tall is the Eiffel Tower? When was it build? Did they really intend to demolish it? Since when has the tower been illuminated? Where is Gustave Eiffel's office located? Must see sites on each floor: the square, gardens, 1st floor, 2nd floor, the summit. The Eiffel Tower, a world icon, has also been a source of inspiration for many artists. During your visit, we will introduce you to some of these works of art.
So, you think you know the Tower? But do you know how long it took to build it? Discover all the important statistics about the Tower during your visit.
A magnificent view
Incredibly majestic, the Eiffel Tower dominates Paris. It offers a magnificent view of the entire city. Revealing, on you climb up, an infinite number of perspectives. The panorama on the 2nd floor is exceptional, revealing details of the closest monuments and the intermingling of streets and avenues designed by Baron Haussmann. From the summit, the view is breathtaking: with your hair tousled by the wind that blows most of the time, you will be surprised by the silence that reigns there, the city noises that reach the summit are quite muffled. Our tour guide will introduce you to one of the most fabulous monuments ever built by man.
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Visiting the Eiffel Tower in 2023: Tickets, Tours & Time Saving Tricks
Julie Last updated: October 27, 2023 France 2 Comments
There are just a few buildings in the world that evoke the same sense of awe, wonder, and romance as the Eiffel Tower. For many, a trip to Paris would be incomplete without a visit to this iconic landmark. In this guide, we uncover the best way to visit the Eiffel Tower, with tips on how to avoid a long wait in line, where to dine with a view, and whether or not it is worth it to visit all three levels.
About Our Experiences
We visit Paris frequently and have visited the Eiffel Tower a handful of times. On our most recent visit (September 2023) we visited the Eiffel Tower twice, in the morning and at sunset, so we could write a comprehensive guide on how to visit the Eiffel Tower.
Table of Contents
5 Tips for Visiting the Eiffel Tower
Before we get into the history of the Eiffel Tower, things to do, ticket types, etc., here is a quick glance at the most important things to know when planning your visit.
1. For the best experience, book your tickets online in advance on the official website. This is the cheapest way to visit the Eiffel Tower and avoid a wait in line. Tickets go on sale 60 days in advance.
2. If tickets are sold out on the official website, consider booking a tour. Tours costs a little more but they save you a wait in the ticket line, which can be very long, especially in the summer. We took this tour , which is basically a guided tour to the second level, one of the cheapest, quickest tours we found of the Eiffel Tower.
3. If you only have time for one level, the second level is the best. It’s the quickest to get to by elevator and the view is amazing.
4. If you want to add on a dining experience, Madame Brasserie is an upscale restaurant on the first level with a view of the Trocadero and Jules Verne is a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant on the second level. Make your reservations in advance.
5. The Paris Museum Pass is not accepted at the Eiffel Tower.
Interesting Facts about the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower stands in Champs de Mars and is named after Gustav Eiffel, the engineer in charge of the project. It was constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
When it was completed, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world. It held this title until 1930, with the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York City.
The Eiffel Tower was only intended to stand for 20 years. However, it became such an important tourist site, and a valuable radiotelegraph station, that it was never dismantled.
Now, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most visited monuments in the world. In 2022, 5.9 million people visited the Eiffel Tower. In 1991, it was named as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Paris, Banks of the Seine.”
The Eiffel Tower is repainted by hand every 7 years. Its color has changed over the years, and it was originally painted a reddish-brown color, then to a golden yellow in 1892, and then back to red in the mid-1900’s. Currently, it is being repainted again, in preparation for the summer 2024 Olympics, in a golden-brown color.
Each night, the Eiffel Tower sparkles, with the twinkling of thousands of lights. The light show lasts for five minutes at each hour, starting at sunset.
Things to Do at the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower has three levels to visit, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant (Jules Verne), an upscale restaurant (Madame Brasserie), plus a long list of cafes and souvenir shops.
You can visit all three levels, or just one or two, traveling up and down the Eiffel Tower either by elevator or by taking the stairs.
The Esplanade is the area that sits under the Eiffel Tower. This is where you will board the elevator or climb the stairs, purchase your tickets (if you did not do so in advance), or get a snack or drink at one of the cafes.
The south pillar on the Esplanade | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower
Getting Here: Steps up from the Esplanade or elevator or steps down from the second floor.
The first level is the largest level of the Eiffel Tower. On this level is a large outdoor terrace with a cocktail bar and café, Madame Brasserie (an upscale restaurant with a view of the Trocadéro), boutique souvenir shops, and a glass bottom floor.
We had lunch at Madame Brasserie and recommend it if you want to spend some extra time on the Eiffel Tower. If you make a reservation in advance, request a window seat, where you get a great view of the Seine River and the Trocadéro.
View from the first floor (photo taken near sunset).
Another view from the first floor
Madame Brasserie | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower
Lunch at Madame Brasserie
A lot of people skip this level. I do agree that the second level has the best view, but the view from the first level is also very nice. Since this level is so large, and gets less visitors, it also doesn’t feel as if it is packed with visitors.
Getting Here: Steps or elevator from the Esplanade
The second floor of the Eiffel Tower is where (in our opinion) you get the best view from the Eiffel Tower. You are just high enough to gaze across Paris, but not so high that feel like you are floating above the city. This level is just large enough that visitors can spread out.
The second floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower
View from the second floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower
Second floor of the Eiffel Tower
Jules Verne, a Michelin-starred restaurant, is located on this level. This is the Eiffel Tower’s best dining experience, but you will need to make a reservation at least a few months in advance.
You can also shop in the souvenir shops or grab a bite to eat at The Buffet or the macaron shop.
Eiffel Tower gift shop
PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you plan to take the elevator (rather than climbing the steps), from the Esplanade you will ride the elevator to the second level, bypassing the first level. Once your visit to the second level is finished, you can either ride the elevator to the 3rd or 1st levels.
Getting Here: Elevator from the second floor (there are no steps to the third floor)
The very top of the Eiffel Tower is the smallest, most crowded level. Visiting the third level requires an additional fee, or add-on to the standard Eiffel Tower ticket (more on this later).
To get here, you will ride the elevator from the second level. There is usually a line for this, as the number of people on the third level is limited. Be prepared to wait in line for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
The third level can periodically close due to weather conditions or elevator malfunctions (it closed during one of our visits). If this occurs, and you already paid for a ticket, your extra fee for the 3rd level will be refunded.
On this top level, there are two sections. The lower level is enclosed in glass. Take the steps to the upper, outdoor level, so you can take better photos. You can also see Gustav Eiffel’s office and have a glass of champagne.
This level, since it is so small, is very crowded. If you don’t want to spend the extra time or money, I don’t think it is worth going all of the way to the third level.
View from the top floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower
The Arc de Triomphe from the summit of the Eiffel Tower
The third floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower
The Gardens and Champs de Mars
Surrounding the base of the Eiffel Tower are the Gardens, a nice place to go for a stroll and take a photo looking up at the Eiffel Tower.
Champ de Mars is the park that sits beside the Eiffel Tower. It’s definitely worth the stroll as you get one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower from here.
How to Get to the Eiffel Tower
By Metro: Bir-Hakeim, line 6, 11-minute walk; Ecole Militaire, line 8, 16-minute walk; Trocadero, line 9, 16-minute walk
You can also get here by bus (line 82 and 42), by taxi or ride share app (like Uber), line C on the RER, or by boat.
Entrances into the Eiffel Tower
There are two entrances into the Esplanade of the Eiffel Tower. Entrance 1 is on the south corner and Entrance 2 is on the east corner. Entrance 2 tends to be a little less crowded, according to the official website. We entered through the east entrance and on both visits in early September, there was no line, both in the morning and evening.
This entrance is a security entrance, not a ticketed entrance. You will go through airport style security. Once through the security check, you will enter the Esplanade. From here, you can get in line for the stairs or elevator (if you already purchased your ticket online in advance) or get in the ticket line.
Eiffel Tower Tickets & How to Skip the Line
There are four ticket types for the Eiffel Tower. Which one you choose depends on how many levels you want to visit and whether you want to take the stairs or elevator. Taking the stairs is cheaper and almost always has a shorter line.
Second Floor Access via the Stairs: This is the cheapest option. Tickets cost €11.30. You will take the stairs to the first and second floors only. There are 327 steps to the first level and 347 steps to the second level.
Second Floor Access via the Lift: €18.10; visit the first and second levels using the elevator
Top Floor Access via the Lift: €28.30; elevator access for all 3 floors of the Eiffel Tower.
Top Floor Access via Stairs and the Lift: €21.50; take the stairs to the first and second floors and ride the elevator to the third floor.
Note: The Paris Museum Pass is not accepted at the Eiffel Tower.
How to Skip the Line at the Eiffel Tower
To skip the ticket line, purchase you ticket online in advance on the official website.
With an online ticket, once you cross the first security check, you will get in line for the lift or the stairs, with no need to get into the ticket line.
Tickets for the lift go on sale 60 days in advance and tickets for the stairs go on sale 14 days in advance. If you will be visiting Paris in June, July, August, and early September, plan on purchasing your tickets as soon as they become available. We were unable to get tickets online in advance (we attempted this 30 days before our visit in September), and since they were sold out, so then we took this tour to avoid the ticket line.
However, once in Paris, lines were relatively light at the Eiffel Tower. We visited the Eiffel Tower at two different times of the day during the second week of September and there was less than a 10-minute wait in the ticket line.
Summer is the busiest time to visit the Eiffel Tower (especially July and August), followed by holidays such as Easter and Christmas. I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance as soon as they become available for these time periods. In the shoulder and off season, if online tickets are sold out, you can take your chances that the line will be short, or join a tour, just to play it safe.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you couldn’t purchase your tickets online in advance and have no desire to take a tour, then book a reservation at Madame Brasserie or Jules Verne. Your meal includes a ride on the lift to the restaurant, so you’ll bypass the ticket line.
Eiffel Tower Itinerary
Here is a basic timeline for a visit to the Eiffel Tower, from entering the Esplanade to visiting its multiple levels.
1. Security Check
The first thing you will do is to go through airport style security at the south or east entrances into the Esplanade.
There are two lines here, one for visitors with tickets (green flag) and one for visitors without tickets. If you have a ticket, get here 15 minutes early (get here at 10:45 am for an 11:00 am ticket). If you don’t have a ticket, your wait could be as little as a few minutes to much longer during peak season.
2. Purchase Your Ticket (optional)
If you do not have a ticket for the Eiffel Tower, get in line to make your purchase. Again, your wait could be as little as a few minutes to as much as 2 hours during peak season.
3. Take the Lift or the Stairs
If you have a ticket for the lift, get into line at the east or west pillars. If you will be taking the stairs, these are located on the south pillar.
We’ve done both, the stairs and the lift. If you have the energy, the stairs tend to be a little bit faster, since there usually is no line.
If you have a lift ticket, the lift skips the first level and goes directly to the second level. If you have a ticket to visit the third level, I recommend getting in line for this as soon as you reach the second level. Lines can be long and with the possibility of closure, it’s best to visit the 3rd level first (our tour guide also recommended this same plan of attack).
4. Time on the Eiffel Tower
The amount of time you will spend on the Eiffel Tower can range quite a bit, depending on how many levels you visit, queues, and whether or not you plan to add on Madame Brasserie or Jules Verne.
Most visits last 1 to 2 hours, which includes all 3 levels if lines are short (2 to 3 hours during peak season, especially if you plan to visit the third floor). Lunch or dinner at Madame Brasserie or Jules Verne adds another 2 hours.
5. Exiting the Eiffel Tower
Take the lift or the stairs to the Esplanade. The exits are located on the west and north corners of the gardens.
6. After Your Visit
Once you are finished, here are a few things to do nearby:
- Trocad é ro: Walk across Pont d’l é na to the Trocadero for an iconic view of the Eiffel Tower.
- Carrousel: Ride the carrousel located next to the Eiffel Tower (it is located between the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River).
- Champ de Mars: Take a stroll through Champ de Mars, the large green space next to the Eiffel Tower.
- Frame Restaurant & Bar: It’s a short walk to Frame Restaurant & Bar, a restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower that serves great food and drinks.
- Rue Cler: Walk to Rue Cler and put together a picnic lunch or dinner of bread, cheese, fruit, and charcuterie. Find an empty park bench on Champ de Mars and enjoy your cheap but delicious French meal with a view of the Eiffel Tower.
The view of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro at sunset | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower
Best Time to Visit the Eiffel Tower
Visiting the Eiffel Tower is a wonderful experience from the time it opens in the morning until midnight.
The best time to visit the Eiffel Tower is about one hour before sunset, so you can gaze out over Paris both as it is illuminated by the sun, but also get to see the lights twinkle on as the sun lowers across the sky. If you stay past sunset, you’ll be on the Eiffel Tower when its lights sparkle.
We also like being on the Eiffel Tower midday, which is a great time to photograph the city from the tower.
Skip the Line Tours of the Eiffel Tower
If you are unable to get tickets online in advance, here are a few tours of the Eiffel Tower that get great reviews.
One of the cheapest options is to purchase an entrance ticket via a third-party provider. This tour, which includes your entrance ticket and the option to add on the third level, is one of the tours that we took. We met our guide at Champs de Mars Café, walked to the Eiffel Tower in a small group, the guide accompanied us to the second level, and then we were on our own. This costs just a few euros more than the ticket on the official website, so it’s a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot of money but also want to avoid the wait in the ticket line.
We also took this tour, which is very similar to the one above. It’s a little more expensive but the guide did not waste any time getting us into the Esplanade and up to the second level. For that reason, I liked this one a little bit more.
This is one of the highest reviewed tours of the Eiffel Tower. Visit the second level and/or summit with a guide on this 2-to-3-hour tour.
This tour includes a visit to the Eiffel Tower summit (third floor) and a Seine River Cruise.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a visit to the Eiffel Tower last?
Most visits to the Eiffel Tower take 2 to 3 hours, which includes the time it takes to get through security. However, if you did not purchase a ticket online in advance, it’s possible that you could spend an additional 2 to 3 hours in line for tickets, especially during the summer, weekends, and holidays.
Is there luggage storage at the Eiffel Tower?
There is no luggage storage at the Eiffel Tower. If you have a suitcase, you will not be permitted to enter the security check to enter the Esplanade.
Is the Eiffel Tower worth it?
Absolutely. The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most iconic landmarks and for first time visitors, a trip to Paris would be incomplete without a visit to this iconic landmark. On a visit to the Eiffel Tower, you get one of the best views of Paris and have the option to add on memorable dining experiences at Madame Brasserie and Jules Verne.
If you have any questions about how to visit the Eiffel Tower, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Paris
BEST OF PARIS: For a list of the top experiences in Paris, read our article Best Things to Do in Paris. We also have guides on where to get the best views of Paris , a walking tour to the highlights of the Louvre , a guide on where to stay in Paris , and a Paris Food Guide.
PARIS ITINERARIES: If you have plans to visit Paris, don’t miss our 2 Day Paris Itinerary and 3 Day Paris Itinerary.
EUROPEAN ITINERARIES WITH PARIS: If you want to visit Paris plus one to two other European cities, you have several great options. A 10 day trip to London and Paris makes a great trip if it is your first visit to Europe (or if you just want to visit two great cities). With 10 days, you can also visit Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam or London, Amsterdam, and Paris.
LONDON & PARIS: Learn how to plan a trip to Paris and London with our 10 Day London Paris Itinerary. You can also add in Amsterdam, visiting London, Amsterdam, and Paris in 10 days.
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We’re planning on visiting the Eiffel Tower in early March. The lift tickets online are timed. How long beforehand should we show up? Do they actually check the times and monitor the people coming or is it first-come-first-served as long as you have a ticket? And if we decide to buy a stairs ticket, can we add on a top ticket on the second floor or do we need to buy it on the ground floor before starting? Hopefully crowds then won’t be terrible, but right now morning tickets (for December) are selling out two months ahead within hours of being posted.
Hello Marie. The official website advises that you show up 15 minutes early. For example, for a 10 am ticket, arrive at 9:45 am. A little earlier would probably be fine. I just double checked the official website and you must purchase your ticket to the top in advance (it cannot be bought once you are on the tower). We had the same issue for our visit in September: online tickets were sold out, so we booked the tour. However, we visited the Eiffel Tower twice this past September and both times there was zero line at the ticket office. In March, I would expect that you would have the same experience, just as long as your visit doesn’t coincide with Easter , when Paris gets insanely busy. So, you can book your tickets in January. If you can’t get them online and it’s not Easter during your visit, then you can take your chances buying them onsite. You can buy a stairs ticket and the lift to the top online in advance. There are tours that will have this option as well. Have a great time in Paris! Cheers, Julie
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By: History.com Editors
Updated: June 7, 2019 | Original: June 13, 2011
When Gustave Eiffel’s company built Paris’ most recognizable monument for the 1889 World’s Fair, many regarded the massive iron structure with skepticism. Today, the Eiffel Tower, which continues to serve an important role in television and radio broadcasts, is considered an architectural wonder and attracts more visitors than any other paid tourist attraction in the world.
Designing and Building the Eiffel Tower
In 1889, Paris hosted an Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) to mark the 100-year anniversary of the French Revolution . More than 100 artists submitted competing plans for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars, located in central Paris, and serve as the exposition’s entrance. The commission was granted to Eiffel et Compagnie, a consulting and construction firm owned by the acclaimed bridge builder, architect and metals expert Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. While Eiffel himself often receives full credit for the monument that bears his name, it was one of his employees—a structural engineer named Maurice Koechlin—who came up with and fine-tuned the concept. Several years earlier, the pair had collaborated on the Statue of Liberty’s metal armature.
Did you know? The base pillars of the Eiffel Tower are oriented with the four points of the compass.
Eiffel reportedly rejected Koechlin’s original plan for the tower, instructing him to add more ornate flourishes. The final design called for more than 18,000 pieces of puddle iron, a type of wrought iron used in construction, and 2.5 million rivets. Several hundred workers spent two years assembling the framework of the iconic lattice tower, which at its inauguration in March 1889 stood nearly 1,000 feet high and was the tallest structure in the world—a distinction it held until the completion of New York City’s Chrysler Building in 1930. (In 1957, an antenna was added that increased the structure’s height by 65 feet, making it taller than the Chrysler Building but not the Empire State Building, which had surpassed its neighbor in 1931.) Initially, only the Eiffel Tower’s second-floor platform was open to the public; later, all three levels, two of which now feature restaurants, would be reachable by stairway or one of eight elevators.
Millions of visitors during and after the World’s Fair marveled at Paris’ newly erected architectural wonder. Not all of the city’s inhabitants were as enthusiastic, however: Many Parisians either feared it was structurally unsound or considered it an eyesore. The novelist Guy de Maupassant, for example, allegedly hated the tower so much that he often ate lunch in the restaurant at its base, the only vantage point from which he could completely avoid glimpsing its looming silhouette.
The Eiffel Tower Becomes a Permanent Feature of the Paris Skyline
Originally intended as a temporary exhibit, the Eiffel Tower was almost torn down and scrapped in 1909. City officials opted to save it after recognizing its value as a radiotelegraph station. Several years later, during World War I , the Eiffel Tower intercepted enemy radio communications, relayed zeppelin alerts and was used to dispatch emergency troop reinforcements. It escaped destruction a second time during World War II : Hitler initially ordered the demolition of the city’s most cherished symbol, but the command was never carried out. Also during the German occupation of Paris, French resistance fighters famously cut the Eiffel Tower’s elevator cables so that the Nazis had to climb the stairs.
Over the years, the Eiffel Tower has been the site of numerous high-profile stunts, ceremonial events and even scientific experiments. In 1911, for instance, the German physicist Theodor Wulf used an electrometer to detect higher levels of radiation at its top than at its base, observing the effects of what are now called cosmic rays. The Eiffel Tower has also inspired more than 30 replicas and similar structures in various cities around the world.
Now one of the most recognizable structures on the planet, the Eiffel Tower underwent a major facelift in 1986 and is repainted every seven years. It welcomes more visitors than any other paid monument in the world—an estimated 7 million people per year. Some 500 employees are responsible for its daily operations, working in its restaurants, manning its elevators, ensuring its security and directing the eager crowds flocking the tower’s platforms to enjoy panoramic views of the City of Lights.
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