A trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. This world-famous iron lattice tower offers stunning views from its three observation decks, making it one of the top attractions to experience when in the City of Lights.
I will never forget the first time I saw the tower, on my first trip to Paris. Walking up and looking up more and more… It is more awe-striking in person. My dad and I sat across the way at Trocadero and watched the sunset on the tower and when the sun finally went down (it sets quite late in summer) we watched the whole tower twinkle with lights. Another thing that surprised me was watching the Parisians drive under and walk by this enormous tower like it was nothing. Note that you can no longer drive under it, since my first they turned it more into an actual tourist attraction with a park at the bottom and gates around it. This makes for much better organization but it did take away from the fact that the tower was just part of the city. Despite this, you still absolutely need to pay the tower a visit and get a view of the city from it.
Purchasing Tickets to the Eiffel Tower
There are multiple ticket options to ascend the Eiffel Tower—by elevator or stairs, to different heights, and various add-ons. Prices range from €10-27 per person. Purchase tickets online in advance, especially for peak times. Otherwise, expect long ticket booth lines.
For a flexible option, book a skip-the-line guided tour with priority access. Guides provide insightful commentary about the tower and city views. Tour packages frequently include a Seine River cruise too.
Making the Climb
To reach the first and second levels, you can opt to take the elevator or climb up hundreds of steps on foot. The panoramic views start at the first level, 57 meters up. At the second level, 115 meters high, the views become even more impressive. We opted for the elevator because we had a baby and grandpa with a cane but scaling the stairs offers a sense of achievement and a closer look at the intricate ironwork.
Only elevators go all the way to the top third level at 276 meters for the full Eiffel Tower experience. Even if you are afraid of heights like me you should still head up to the top! It’s amazing!
The Golden Hour
While spectacular at any time, the Eiffel Tower particularly shines around dusk. The golden hour lighting illuminates the tower against the backdrop of the Paris cityscape at sunset for an unforgettable sight.
Try to time your visit to be near the tower on the hour for a chance to see the dazzling light show as the tower sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights for five minutes on the hour. It’s magical!
Night tours often sell out faster than daytime tickets. Watching the Eiffel Tower glimmering in the darkness with Paris aglow is truly memorable.
A Paris Must-See
No matter when you visit, the Eiffel Tower always impresses. Gaze out at sweeping city vistas high above Paris for an unforgettable experience at this architectural wonder and proud French icon.
Oh and if you see a guy making sandwiches on a shopping cart at the foot of the tower do yourself a favor and get one.