Paris Top 10 : Eiffel Tower

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The most distinctive symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) was much maligned by critics when it rose on the city’s skyline in 1889 as part of the Universal Exhibition, but its graceful symmetry soon made it the star attraction. At 312 m (1,023 ft) high, it was the world’s tallest building until it was surpassed by New York’s Empire State Building in 1931. Despite its delicate appearance, it weighs 10,100 metric tons and engineer Gustave Eiffel’s construction was so sound that it never sways more than 9 cm (3.5 in) in strong winds.

  • Champ-de-Mars, 7e

  • 01 44 11 23 23


  • Open: Lift 9:30am–11:45pm daily (last adm for top: 10:30pm) (mid-Jun–1 Sep: 9am–12:45am; last adm for top: 11pm); Stairs 9:30am –6:30pm daily (mid-Jul–1 Sep: 9am–12:45am; last adm mid-night)

  • Admission: €4.00 (stairs); €4.50–€11.50 (lift, depending on level)

  • Disabled access first and second levels only

The Life of Gustave Eiffel

Born in Dijon, Gustave Eiffel (1832–1923) was an engineer and builder who made his name building bridges and viaducts. Eiffel was famous for the graceful designs and master craftsmanship of his wrought-iron constructions. He once remarked that his famous tower was “formed by the wind itself”. In 1890 he became immersed in the study of aerodynamics, and kept an office in the tower until his death, using it for experiments. In 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was erected, its creator was awarded the Légion d’Honneur for the achievement.

There are restaurants and snack bars on levels 1 and 2, plus food kiosks around the base.

Beat the queues by booking your visit in advance either by phone or online.

Top 10 Features
  1. Viewing Gallery

    At 276 m (906 ft), the view is stupendous from the third-level viewing gallery, stretching for 80 km (50 miles) on a clear day. You can also see Gustave Eiffel’s sitting room on this level.

  2. Ironwork

    The complex pattern of the girders, held together by 2.5 million rivets, stabilizes the tower in high winds. The 18,000 metal parts can expand up to 15 cm (6 in) on hot days.

  3. Lighting

    A 292,000-watt lighting system makes the Eiffel Tower the most spectacular night-time sight in Paris. Illuminated for 5 minutes every hour, it sparkles like a giant Christmas tree.

  4. View from the Trocadéro

    Day or night, the best approach for a first-time view of the tower is from the Trocadéro, which affords a monumental vista from the terrace across the Seine.

    Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro
  5. Cineiffel

    Located on the first level, this small display tells the history of the tower through an audiovisual show. It includes footage of famous visitors to the tower, from Charlie Chaplin to Adolf Hitler.

  6. First Level

    You can walk the 345 steps to the 57 m (187 ft) high first level, or jump the lift queue by booking a table at the restaurant 58, Tour Eiffel on level 1. Mail your postcards at the post office.

  7. Second Level

    At 115 m (377 ft) high, this is the location of the Jules Verne Restaurant, one of the finest in Paris for both food and views. It is reached by a private lift in the south pillar.

  8. Hydraulic Lift Mechanism

    The 1899 lift mechanism is still in operation and travels some 100,000 km (62,000 miles) a year. The uniformed guard clinging to the outside is a model.

  9. Bust of Gustave Eiffel

    This bust of the tower’s creator, by Antoine Bourdelle, was placed below his remarkable achievement, by the north pillar, in 1929.

  10. Champ-de-Mars

    The long gardens of this former parade ground stretch from the base of the tower to the École Militaire (military school).

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