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!
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.
Most newcomer insist in going up to the top of the tower - no objection, it's really high, and you'll feel in in your way up. But be prepared for a small disappointment: the views are generally better from the first level (much cheaper).
Of course, you will have the pleasure of having been there, the post office and souvenirs to register it, but if you're more practical or in a budget the first level will do it.
The Eiffel Tower is easily the most recognizable of Paris' many sights. Any first time visitor to Paris should, of course, visit the Eiffel Tower. You should realize, however, that there are different ways of seeing this magnificent sight. You can hike up the stairs (300 of them) to the 1st or 2nd Floors, there you can relax have a bite to eat and see beauitful Paris from your perch.
Taking the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower costs 14 euro. You will have to wait in some good sized lines, and to be honest I didn't feel it was worth it:)
Unique Suggestions: just go to the first or second floors,,,,,the view at the top isnt that much better
I just read of someone's four hour wait in the cold December air to ascend the Eiffel Tower and recalled the coldest I had ever been, the day that we waited atop the platform on the Eiffel Tower, waiting to go to the next level, on an equally cold December day many years ago.
Just my opinion, of course, but I think of all of the things you could be doing in Paris with four hours. And then there's the real problem with being on top of the Eiffel Tower-you can't see the Eiffel Tower!
Don't get me wrong, the Eiffel Tower is a wonderful monument, especially when it is lit up at night so go see my must see tip before you think badly of me :-)
Unique Suggestions: If it's December, wear lots and lots of clothes! And try to figure out when it will be the least busy, it seems that early am might be the best.
I understand you can now purchase tickets in advance but that's always a risk that the weather won't be good, who wants to go up the Eiffel Tower when it's raining or foggy? It's the same problem I have with the London Eye.
Fun Alternatives: Go for the great views on top of Notre Dame or the Arc de Triomphe. I also understand that there is a fine free view from the Galeries Lafayette, there used to be a fabulous view from the Samaratine Department store which has been closed for a number of years but I saw an article saying that a development was in the works at this site so maybe someday they will reopen the upper deck.
The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris. It's over 100 years old, built for an exposition in 1889. The architecture draws you in, the lights at night delight. 6 MILLION people descend the tower every year. There's always a line up and a wait for the elevators which can take quite awhile when busy and full.
Prices per adult: 1st floor 4.50, 2nd floor 7.80, top 11.50. Stairs 1st and 2nd floor: 4 euros.
Elevators open late in summer, stairs close at 6 in winter/off season.
No advance ticket sales
Unique Suggestions: Take photos from below or from the Palais Chaillot across the river, from underneath or from the College Militaire. The Eiffel tower goes all sparkly every hour on the hour for 10 minutes after dark and it's quite spectacular to see.
Fun Alternatives: go to Montparnasse Tower. At 210 m. at the 56th floor you are higher than from the second level of the Eiffel. or go up the Arc de Triomphe and take photos with the Eiffel *in* your photo.
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.
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!
The horrid lines for the eiffel tower may leave you waiting for hours to get on the lift. There's a better (and tastier) alternative
Unique Suggestions: make a reservation at the restaurant on the Eiffel tower - you won't make it to the top, but the view is fantastic, the food is suprisingly delicious, and you don't have to wait in line to take the elevator!!! The restaurant is called Altitude 95, and reservations are required. call 01 45 55 20 04
La tour eiffel is an International symbol of class and elegance, and is the overwhelming emblem of Paris. Whatever you do when in Paris - you MUST visit her and despite what the guides and experienced visitors may say it really is a sight to behold.
Unique Suggestions: Visiting the Eiffel tower is definately something you have to do in Paris. It's an international symbol of elegance, class and gives some amazing views of Paris. Despite the Cliche nature of this attraction, it really is amazing and I would say is one thing you should do before you die. Despite the views not being superb it's more about the experience of visiting such a place - For the best results visit at Dusk when the lights have just been turned on. By the time you reach the top it will be twilight and the city of lights will really have come alive. This time also gives you the oportunity to take some fantastic snaps from the 1st and 2nd floors which have a better view than "La Somme".
Fun Alternatives: To get a really spectacular view, La Sacre Coeur is the place to go. Once you have reached the sacre coeur (Walk or take the tram) and see that view, you will be speechless. Some amazing pictures to be had as you see the Eiffel tower looming over the rest of the beautiful buildings of Paris in that amazingly symetrical way. Why not climb the Ballisca de Sacre Coeur for about 5 Euros? This gives you a superb view if you can bear the stairs!
The Tour Montparnasse is good too, much less elegant that the eiffel tower but great for a drink at the top.
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