Eiffel Tower, Paris
I went this past December to Paris and all my family went to the Eiffel tower. Al vendor were pushing us to buy, we have to be body to body not to be robed.,hours in line to go up, it is not worth the time. You can go to Galeries la Fallete and have a nice view and also enjoy the good food and buy some to take to the hotel
At the ticket office you need to select at which level you want to get off the lift.
Main problem it may take a long time to go from the middle level to the top floor.
If you are short in time do not buy a ticket to the top floor.
You may not have enough time to queue and you may not have enough time to ask for a refund afterwards.
Unique Suggestions: Buy a ticket to the middle floor.
If you have time you can still buy a ticket to the top floor from the ticket office at the middle floor.
Fun Alternatives: Come again and reserve more time for tour eiffel.
La Tour Eiffel
I think going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, day or night, is just an overrated experience. I won't quote Oscar Wilde or Guy de Maupassant but I will say that there’s not much of a view from the top. At night there's only the myriad pinpoints of light (see attached photo). Although you will be able to make out the Arc de Triomphe hardly anything else is discernable. During the day Paris tends to be hazy so you don't see much then either. But, again, you will be able to make out the Arc de Triomphe (and the Tour Montparnasse ~ that's a hint for you). ;)
Sandwiches, bagels, youart, and the like may be purchased from the Mezzanine level. I had a pretty decent jambon et gruyere on baguette from here. Also, there is a post office on this floor where one may send postcards complete with a cancellation stamp indicating it was mailed from the Eiffel Tower!
Does not accept Carte Musées et Monuments.
Photo: April 2003
Unique Suggestions: Well, OF COURSE, you want to go here! It IS Paris, after all, and the Eiffel Tower IS her symbol, and a very beautiful one at that. You have to go to the top at least once. So here's my suggestion (but don't tell anyone else otherwise everyone'll be doing it):
Go to the top for the sunset. Admittedly, it'll be during the day and there will HUGE crowds and the wait will probably be about 2 hours BUT you will get to see all of Paris in her finest glow.
You can't come here for the sunrise; La Tour opens too late for that, so sunset will have to do. It'll be glorious, trust me.
OR just go to the 1st level - much better view, Paris' monuments are more discernable. I walked up the 328 steps this last trip in order to take photos of the sunset views. Now while that may seem like a lot (Notre Dame's tower & the Arc de Triomphe have more steps) there are plenty of places to pause for a breath & to take in the view. There's plenty of space for people to get around you so you don't need to feel as if you're holding up a line of people. There're also great signs about the tower detailing its history (French, German & English) so you can learn as you climb. Keep in mind, that entrance to the steps closes at dusk.
Otherwise, you might try one of the 2 restaurants: the ultra-expensive haute cuisine Jules Verne or the more affordable Altitude 95. I recommend reserving at least 2 months in advance for both.
Fun Alternatives: Alternatively, to catch a view of the E.T. and to get a crowd vibe (but without wading thru those horrid hawking vendors that refuse to get out of your face - tell them "no habla") go to the opposite side of the Seine, to the Trocadéro for a lovely glimpse of the lady girdled in iron. This is where the teens hang out, there are no hawkers (although there are some crossing the bridge) and the view is gorgeous.
THE OTHER THING you can do (this is for the adults now) is go to the top of La Tour Montparnasse and have a drink at Le Ciel de Paris (price of a drink takes care of the elevator fee). Now isn't that lovely? A drink in hand and a view of the Eiffel Tower. Sigh!
You will see gypsies in Paris, they are usually pick-pocketers. I also saw bunch of them with small notes asking for money approaching tourists waiting at the long line for Eiffel Tower. I've been waiting in line for 2 hours, saw the same note with different writing from 2 different gypsy girls. I saw generous tourists giving them money, especially young rich teenage tourists. I saw them asking for money up and down the line twice in 2 hours.
I had to laugh...one of them was very chunky and didn't look like she was starving..
Unique Suggestions: Just say "No". Beware of the pick pocketers, if you feel a person following you too closely and keep bumping into you then turn around and give them a mean nasty glare.
There is a drunken french man at the foot of the eifell tower taking polaroid photos of young couples and then demanding and in one case just snatching 10 - 20 euros off them for the photo.
Unique Suggestions: JUST SAY NO AND KEEP WALKING AWAY
Save your money and don't buy souvenirs from the Eiffel Tower, they increase the prices of gifts there to extortion.
Fun Alternatives: Buy your gifts (or something for yourself) from shops in the streets or even at the airport - you'll save yourself a lot of money.
Vendors near here sell merchandise at expensive prices. Not too mention there will be people approaching you if you want to buy those little Eiffel Tower key chains or postcard the moment you come under the shade at the base of the tower.. They are very persistent but so should you when you do not want to buy anything from them. And if you're in line for the queue to buy tickets for the tower, be prepared to be repeating yourself as different people will approach you selling stuff, even though he had seen you denying the person before him..
Btw the cheapest Eiffel tower key chains I saw was at 50 Euro cents apiece at a cart vendor that was somewhere between the tower and école Militaire.. Do I hear lower guys???
Do not eat at the cafes around the Eiffel Tower. They are completely overpriced and the food really isn't that great. There is plenty of scenery around Paris...find another cafe.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the grocery store and have a picnic with wine in the grassy area in front of the Tower.
I cant find the receipt from this exchange desk to give you the name...but I will keep looking!
In a way it was my own fault...but I was completly p****d off at the attitude of the guy working there at the time!
The bureau is located next to a souvenier shop just by Bir Hakiem metro station.
Unique Suggestions: I needed some sterling changed into euro as we were about to leave Paris and I knew that the area we were visiting would not have any money change facilities, so I guess you could say I was in a bit of a rush, and not thinking straight...when I change money I always ask "how many Euro will I get for this amount"? In this case I diddnt and boy was I ripped off....big style!
We were quite short if cash as it was, so I had £80 sterling that I wanted to change...I guessed that would give me about 100euro what with the exchange rate....think again...try 74euro! He gave me a really bad rate, and charged me about 15euro in commission! They have a set commission and then a percentage every euro they change!
I was stung completley...and in shock!
The rate and commision board was really hard to see in fairness...stuck on a wall right behind where the guy was sitting so it was obstructed...on the glass frontage they had a sign saying "no transaction will be reversed"...this should of been a tell tale sign straight away...I was almost in tears...the guy was so blatantly rude and just kept tapping at the sign on the glass - and saying "huh...you should have asked me before I changed it"!!
There was an Italian guy waiting to be served after us, I knew after about 10minutes of arguing with the staff that we would not get our money back...he just diddnt care! We hung around outside the bureau for a while deciding if there was anything else that we could do...when all of a sudden the Italian guy cam out shaking his head and looking at his receipt....Clearly then we were not the only ones!
Fun Alternatives: So....in the future I would strongly suggest that money change transactions are carried out in a bank...and ask what you will get beforehand!
I don't mind souvenir vendors at all. Everyone has a living to make and this is their livelihood. However, I have to admit that there is an overkill of souvenir vendors leading to and in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower!
If you walk to the Eiffel Tower from the Palais du Chaillot, you will see so many sidewalk vendors that it will blind you. Each and every one tries to get your attention so if you're not interested in buying anything, please do not meet their eyes. Otherwise, you stand to become an object of their affections. :)
The souvenir vendors don't have actual stalls either. They put their goods on the bare sidewalks. So tread carefully too. I'm sure if you happen to accidentally squash their goods, you will pay for them. The sidewalks are large, but when there are lots of crowds (as usually is the case) space is at minimum. You have to be careful not to run into other tourists as well as to be careful not to step on the vendors' wares.
Prices are so-so and I'm sure you can bargain with them. Lots of Eiffel Tower keychains, scarves, mini monuments, etc.
Unique Suggestions: If you're not interested in buying any souvenirs keep walking and don't stare as you may be perceived as being interested in buying something.
If you have plenty of time to see Paris, by all means see Notre Dame, but if your visit is limited, you may want to see other more beautiful architectural structures such as Sacre Coeur. Also, the Eiffel Tower is okay for about 15 minutes, but it's not worth standing in line or paying the fee to go up the tower. While the Louvre is a great museum, beware of overcrowding, particularly for the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, which if you really want to see, are probably best seen in the early hours when the museum is not overflowing with visitors.
Unique Suggestions: The Eiffel Tower is best admired from afar, particularly with the spectacular view from Sacre Coeur, which actually overlooks the inferior Tower.
I was amazed at the sheer volume of souvenir sellers at the tower, they were so in-your-face and their goods were'nt particularly out of this world either.
Unique Suggestions: If you dont want what they are selling, be firm and say so....again and again....
Fun Alternatives: If you go early, you might be able to avoid it
Yes, the Eiffel Tower is an amazing piece of architecture. But get underneath its phallic spike and everyone tries to sell you a keychain with a tiny replica dangling from the end. For ten euros. And your French companions try to make you buy one. And then, because the elevator is so crowded, you get to climb up several flights of stairs to see the beautiful view across Paris...and more kitschy souvenirs. Maybe my experience was soured because I was being stalked around the tower by some dude named Ab-Dalle and his creepy Mafia-esque sidekick. Hhmph.
Unique Suggestions: Chill out, take the elevator to the top, and grab some coffee at a small second- or third-floor cafe.
Fun Alternatives: Or, if you're hippie like me, you could just take a blanket and some bongoes and hang out on the Notre Dame green.
There are loads of street vendors around and under the Eiffel Tower, just look straight ahead and don't make eye contact if you are not interested! The stuff they are selling does not look worth having! There are also many people wanting to draw your caricature, who pester you every few steps it seems!
When traveling to Paris there are several things to look out for. One of my favorite scams is the vendors trying to draw characteristics of you and your loved one in front of the Eifel Tower. The scam goes like this... You are asked by a man to let him draw a picture of you for special pricing. You will naturally decline and then he will insist you let him draw your girlfriend/wife and he will do it for free and then he will do your at half price. So sucking your partner in by flattery you proceed to sit and let the man and his partner draw you and loved one. During the entire drawing he will talk to you and pretend to be one of the coolest men you have ever met. Once the drawings are completed he shows them to you and proceeds to reference his price list, that is never in plain view. He then charges you 1/2 price for the man's picture which comes out to 45 EURO and proceeds to tell you that your lady friend's picture will cost you only child's price. You will then become irate and insist he said for free and he will reply " Nothing is for free, bust be bad English for me". Don't have the money to pay the man? (75 EURO/$100) Don't worry! He will have his partner escort you to the local ATM. Don't fall for it, just keep walking to the tower and and enjoy the visit.