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Published October 20th 2012
An insider's guide to missing the queues at the Eiffel Tower
Surely one of the most iconic destinations in the world is the Eiffel Tower, but how to get the absolute best out of your visit?
Come and share our adventure with us.
The Eiffel tower illuminated by night
A brief bit of history before we get into the visit itself :
The tower was built by Gustav Eiffel as the entry point to the Universal Exposition in 1889.
It towers over Paris at 1062 feet, which is around the same height as an 89-story building.
From almost any vantage point in Paris, you can see the wonderful Eiffel Tower, however if you were planning a visit yourself, you will want to view the Eiffel Tower from one of its 3 viewing levels.
Order Tickets for the Eiffel Tower Did you know you can pre-purchase your tickets for the Eiffel Tower which will save you standing in a queue for hours. We purchased ours before we departed Australia and printed them out as e-tickets to take with us on the day. They came with a warning that they would not accept torn, damaged, faded or ink stained papers, so we were very careful to take good care of them.
If you prefer to purchase your tickets on the day, you can purchase a ticket for entry to the first and second levels which is about 19 stories high for the first level and 38 stories high for the second level. Alternatively you can buy a ticket which goes all the way to the top and visit all three levels.
We bought our tickets in Australia from
France Tourism E. firstname.lastname@example.org W. francetourism.com.au
Suite 602, 90 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000
T. (0)2 92 47 42 33
F. (0)2 90 86 81 99
Tips for Visiting the First Level of the Eiffel Tower
On the ground level, you will find many souvenir places and even a Post Office to send postcards home if you're not relying on electronic devices. There is an ATM if you're Paris spending has gotten a little out of control and it has recently been renovated, and during winter months there is even an ice-skating rink.
There are historical facts you can read about the Tower and on the first floor, you will find the famous Eiffel Tower 58, where you may enjoy a fabulous view and lunch all served to you in a picnic basket.
Tips for Visiting the Second Level of the Eiffel Tower
Many people believe that the best views of Paris are to be found on the second level, it is as if you can see for miles in all directions.
When you arrive here, if you realise you only purchased a ticket for the first two levels and then decide you really would like to go all the way to the top, you can simply purchase an additional segment to go up to the top from the second level.
Tips for Visiting the Top Level of the Eiffel Tower
It is possible to walk 704 steps up to the second level, however the only way to reach the actual top is the elevator and the lines can take hours if you have not purchased your tickets.
When you arrive at the top, you will find the most breathtaking views from two different observation decks. One is covered and one is uncovered, so you can always finish a day here at the Eiffel Tower with a beautiful glass of champagne and a fabulous view.
You can even pay a couple of Euros more and purchase a wineglass that lights up at night - lots of fun/
Thinking that it would be even more spectacular after dark, we booked our tickets in advance to arrive at 7pm.
The queue was still huge to get in, but with our preprinted tickets we went straight to the early entry door and went straight up. This probably saved us a good hour in the queue, we went straight up to the second level, remember you will have to show tickets to gain access to the top, so be sure you do not throw out your tickets on the way up. Another couple asked me if I thought they should throw them away and they were very glad they did not as without them with not been able to access the top level.
If you're going in the cool months, be prepared that it will be very cold as you go up the Eiffel Tower and make sure you bring windcheaters and raincoats or weatherproof clothing providing warmth and safety from the chill.
You will still need to queue along with everybody else on the second level to get to the top, and also from the top to get back down again. It is well worth stopping on the first floor on your way back down as there are souvenir shops and cafes and restaurants you can visit.
If the prices for the souvenirs are too high, when you go down to the ground there will be plenty of sellers wandering around selling you the same replica of the Eiffel Tower for €1 that you would've paid €20 for when up the Tower.
Beautiful Paris by night taken from the top of the Eiffel tower *image copyright Lesley Mitchell
Children in tow for us but if you were a couple, I would certainly suggest bringing your lover and enjoying the world's most romantic city by night.
Pssst, just between us, it was pretty romantic and special even with the children.