Ballpark estimate: $8 for stair access or $12-$19 for elevator privileges++
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France —also known as the Iron Lady—is considered one of the most romantic landmarks in the world. In fact, every year more than 7 million people make the trip to the capital of France to experience this iconic landmark first-hand.
History of the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower’s pyramid shape takes center stage in the Parisian skyline, especially at night when it lights up like a decadent jewel. In fact, once dusk falls, every hour on the hour, the tower provides a spectacular light show that can be seen from all around the surrounding district. With so much beauty in every line and curve, the tower is an inspiration for many songs, poems, movies, artwork, and fashion statements today.
The History of the Eiffel Tower
The history of the Eiffel Tower can be traced back to 1889, when it was created for the International Exhibition of Paris. This event was held to honor the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. As such, a call for proposals was put out for potential structures for the celebration. As many as 700 plans were submitted, including one by French engineer Gustav Eiffel, who proposed the design for the Eiffel Tower and this was unanimously selected. The structure required 18,000 pieces of iron to be secured together by French workmen to create the pyramid shape. Although it was intended to be just a temporary installation, today the tower still remains in place.
When it was first created, the iron tower was painted yellow. Over time, the color has been altered and today it consists of three shades of brown, with the darkest shade on the bottom and getting lighter with each floor.
There are three floors in the Eiffel Tower and each one is a unique experience in itself. The ground floor and the first floor include an array of restaurants, shops, and information booths. The first floor also has a section with a no-slip see-through flooring, which can be quite a heady experience for visitors to walk on. Many people miss this floor, which is accessible only by the stairs, because they take the glass elevator from the ground on up directly to the second floor. The lift offers breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower structure itself, as well as of the surrounding area.
The second floor has restaurants and gift shops, as well as a decadent macaroon bar. (For those not familiar with this French delicacy, these are colorful small cookie puffs filled with flavored cream.) There is also an observation deck that offers panoramic views of the city and all of its many landmarks and monuments.
This top floor consists of two levels: one is inside and the other is an open outdoor area, offering an unparalleled panoramic glimpse of Paris. The inside portion includes a recreation of Gustave Eiffel’s original office, complete with wax figures of Gustave and his daughter. There’s also a wax replica of Thomas Edison, the American inventor, gifting a gramophone to the Gustave. The top floor also features a champagne bar where visitors can have a toast to celebrate the beauty of all Paris has to offer.
Food for Thought
There are five restaurant/food options at the Eiffel Tower. These range from snack bars to casual buffets to formal French dining. As is the case at many tourist attractions, the meals can be pricey. To view menus and to make a reservation, visit Les Restaurants de la Tour Eiffel.
How to Get Tickets You can purchase Eiffel Tower tickets online through the Eiffel Tower’s operating company’s website. You can also order tickets through a number of travel websites and French tour companies. Many days and times sell out in advance so don’t wait too long to commit. Just keep in mind that you can only buy elevator access online. If you prefer to use the stairs, then you’ll need to buy your admission in person, directly from the Eiffel Tower ticket office.
Note that the Eiffel Tower is open late for visitors most evenings, but at certain times of the year the stair entrances close well in advance of the elevators, so be sure to check the exact schedules and restrictions for your intended visit time and date.
If you plan to take the elevators, it’s always a good idea to buy your tickets in advance. But keep in mind that this often doesn’t mean you can ditch the lines completely. While you’ll be able to avoid the ticket queue, whose lines can be a few hours long during the summer months and holidays, you’ll still likely have a lengthy wait for entrance to the elevators.
Cost to Visit the Eiffel Tower
The cost to visit the Eiffel Tower depends on a number of variables. A lift ticket to the second floor for adults ages 25 and over when converted into dollars is a little more than $12; for young people between 12 and 24 years of age, admission comes out to just under $10 per person. Children ages 4 to 11 are about $4.50.
For a lift ticket to the third floor, the cost for adults is $19, young people $16, and children $9.
If you prefer to take the stairs up to the second floor, the price for adults is about $8, young people is around $5.50, and children is about $3.50. For all three scenarios, children under 4 are no charge.
With any admission you select, you can also add a guided audio tour on your smart phone using a special Eiffel Tower app you can purchase for $2.99.
(Note that at the time of this writing, 1 Euro equals 1.12 US dollars.)
Enhancing the Experience
If you want to try a different experience and don’t mind spending more, there are some in-person guided tours of the Eiffel Tower that can be well worth the added expense. For instance, consider taking a behind-the-scenes tour led by a guide who can offers history and insight to broaden your visit or enjoy a show tour complete with an actor who personalizes the experience. These start at about $30 to $35 per person.
Further, if you’ll be visiting the Eiffel Tower during the summer months, holidays, or other prime times when lines to get into the Eiffel Tower can be several hours or longer,
it can be well worth it to go with a tour company who can offer you direct access without having to wait to enter. There are several tour companies that offer this skip-the-line option when visitors book through them. These can run about $50 per person or more, depending on what’s included. Just keep in mind that even though this can save you a great deal of time on the front end, once you get inside, you’ll still need to wait to get on the elevator lift with everyone else.
If you have no plans to leave the United States anytime soon, but you have a deep desire to experience the Eiffel Tower’s allure, you might consider the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower located on the infamous Strip in Las Vegas. This replica is smaller in scale but it still offers a taste of the real thing that may help to satisfy your desire until you can make the journey to Paris.