Visiting the Eiffel Tower is a trip highlight for many travellers. However, experiencing this engineering and architectural marvel can be frustrating if you don’t plan ahead. Here are five tips for visiting the Eiffel Tower that will save you time and money and help you enjoy the experience a whole lot more.
Buy Eiffel Tower tickets in advance
Buying a timed lift ticket from the official Eiffel Tower website cuts down significantly on wait times. You will need to do this quite a few weeks in advance to get the time you want. If you are visiting in peak season, you need to book several months in advance or you will miss out. However, while this does cut down on waiting, you need to be there at the appointed time or your ticket is void.
The closest metro to the Eiffel Tower is Bir Hakeim which is an 800 metre walk away. However, it is better to take the metro to either Trocadéro or École Militaire. This way you can enjoy the best views while you are approaching this famous Paris icon. Alternately, you can do a Paris tour which includes express entry to the Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower pick pockets
The area around the Eiffel Tower is a haven for pickpockets and scams artists who are always looking for unsuspecting tourist. Don’t let this bother you or stop you from visiting, it’s just something you need to be aware of. Be wary of people approaching you for anything, even if it is seemingly innocent such as signing a petition for worthy cause. There are many scams operating around the Eiffel Tower so you need to be on your guard at all times. In the case of the petition, the person with the pen and paper distracts you while an accomplice picks your pocket. Always smile, say ‘non, merci’ (no, thank you) and keep walking.
Download the Eiffel Tower app
The free official Eiffel tower app is a great guide with everything you could possible need to know about a day or night visit to the tower such as the best times to arrive, best viewing areas, exhibitions and special events. The app also has an audio tour of the tower so remember your headphones. It is worth visiting the tower twice, once during the day and once at night. Visiting at sunset gives you the both options but, of course, it is very busy around this time. Pre-book your sunset lift ticket early or be prepared to wait in line, possibly for several hours in peak season.
Dine at the Eiffel Tower
Eating at one of the Eiffel Tower’s restaurants lets you skip the long queues and enjoy a memorable meal. There are two restaurants to choose from. One is the eye-wateringly expensive restaurant on level two and the other is the more reasonably priced 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant, so named because it is 58 meters above the ground. Both restaurants at the Eiffel Tower give you priority access to levels one and two as the restaurants have their own lifts. If you are visiting at peak season, this is a clever way to avoid the queue, particularly if you have missed out on a timed ticket.
58 Tour Eiffel is surprisingly good value at €99 per person for a set three course dinner (at time of writing), including access to the Eiffel Tower. Lunch is also available and slightly cheaper. It costs an extra €14 to take the lift to the top of the tower from Level 2 after your meal (buy your ticket at the lift entrance on Level 2). As is the case with almost every Michelin star restaurant, your dining experience comes with a hefty price tag and Jules Vern is no exception. Expect to pay between €200 and €400 per person for a three course meal.
Eiffel Tower photography tips
Photographing an icon like the Eiffel Tower can feel like you are producing one clichéd image after another. However, it is possible to get creative. Use people shots to capture the atmosphere. You can also photograph the tower from other locations around Paris, such as from the top of the Arc de Triomphe or from the adjoining streets. If you are photographing the tower from another location at night, you should take your tripod but don’t expect to get it through security if you plan on visiting the tower afterwards. It can be easier to visit the Eiffel Tower on another night with less camera gear so you can relax and really enjoy the experience.
Disclosure: The writer paid for her visit to the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the people watching almost as much as the tower itself.
Are you visiting Paris during June, July or August? If so, you should read our tips for visiting Europe in peak season.