The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris and one of the most-visited monuments in the world. Although the iconic landmark is beautiful from afar as part of the Paris skyline (especially at night when it shimmers and sparkles with over 1,000 bulbs), no trip to Paris would be complete without experiencing the breathtaking views from atop the tower. Getting to the top of the tower requires some planning, however. It also may require some physical effort, which is what we are talking about in this article.
What is the best way to get to the top?
There are two ways to get to the 1st and 2nd floors of the Eiffel Tower. You can take the elevator or you can walk the stairs.
The 1st floor is 57 meters (187 ft) above the earth and has many attractions including a buffet and the 58 TOUR EIFFEL Resturant. The second floor is 115 meters (377 ft) high. Besides incredible views, experience shopping and several dining options including a macaroon bar on the 2nd floor. From the 2nd floor, you can take the elevator to the top floor. The top floor is 276 meters (905 ft) high and offers truly spectacular views of the City of Lights.
The question is, are you brave/crazy enough to climb almost 700 stairs to see Paris’s most recognizable sights from above?
Climbing 700 steps may sound intimidating or exactly the opposite of what you want to do while on vacation. After all, how can you be expected to climb stairs while your busy holding your Nutella and banana crepe?
But, if you are physically able and want a fun and unique experience, we highly recommend taking the stairs and think it is the best way to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Why Climb the Eiffel Tower?
There are several reasons that climbing the Eiffel Tower is the best way to get to the top. You know the feeling when you’ve worked really hard for something and you finally get it? It’s sort of like that. By taking the stairs, you’ll feel accomplished and the satisfaction of taking the long route will make the experience stick with you more. The views will be that much more impressive and beautiful!
The second reason is that it is less expensive to take the stairs. For travelers looking to save anywhere they can, the stairs offer a more economical option to see the exact same thing as if you took the elevator (you actually see more with the stairs).
Lastly, taking the stairs can save you time. Nearly 20,000 people visit the tower every day and the majority of them are taking the elevators. Fewer people taking the stairs means shorter lines and less waiting. Even if you choose to ride the elevator up, consider taking the stairs back down. The stairs are a great way to beat the queues that build on the tower with people waiting to return to the bottom.
How to Climb the Eiffel Tower?
To climb the stairs, you need to first purchase a ticket or book a climbing tour with a reputable company. There are two types of tickets (and tours) for climbing the stairs – one where you climb to the 2nd floor and another where you climb to the 2nd floor and then take the elevator to the very top floor of the tower.
*Until recently, you had to purchase tickets for the stairs in person. Now you can purchase tickets for the stairs online, and we highly recommend that you do so you can skip the ticket office lines.
First-time visitors to the Eiffel Tower may feel overwhelmed when trying to figure out how to purchase tickets, where to go, and which line to stand in to get up the tower. Remember, it is considerably easier to purchase your tickets online or go with a tour company to avoid long ticket lines.
Before climbing the tower, you must go through security and then you must follow the signs to find the right place.
The signs are color-coded to help you. The yellow flags are for the ticket office(s) for the elevators, the green flags are for the elevators for those with tickets, and the blue flags are for those wanting to take the stairs, regardless of whether you have a ticket or not. If you don’t already have a ticket, you purchase your stairs ticket at the blue flag ticket office. If you are taking a tour, the tour operator will provide you with instructions on where to meet outside of the esplanade and guide you inside.
Climbing the Stairs of the Eiffel Tower
I’ve taken the elevators to the top and I’ve hiked up the stairs, and I can honestly say that the stairs are a more enjoyable experience. I like the fact that you can see the city from multiple elevations as you climb. Plus, just soaking in the experience and the feeling of climbing up one of the world’s most iconic structures is really cool.
Is It Really Hard?
You may be reading this and thinking that it all sounds great, but you’re scared that it will be too hard. While the stairs may not be possible for some, you don’t need to be in great shape to do it. You are free to take as much time as you need. Also, the 1st floor is halfway up the tower, which makes it a great place to stop and recharge.
My advice is don’t intimated by the number of stairs, and I encourage you to go for it. On our last trip, we went with my mother in law and she did amazing.
Considering Taking a Guided Tour
This was my third time summiting the Eiffel Tower and it was the best experience of them all because we had an amazing tour guide.
We were given the chance to take the Eiffel Tower Climbing Experience with Summit tour from City Wonders and we highly recommend it for several reasons.
The first is we would not have been able to skip the line without the tour. We didn’t do a good job planning and didn’t think about the need to buy tickets ahead of our trip to Paris. When we finally tried to purchase our online tickets, everything was sold out. Online tickets often sell out way in advance so keep that in mind. Since we didn’t have tickets, without the tour, we’d had to have waited in the ticket lines, which can be extremely long.
The second reason is that our tour guide Henry was amazing. He was really personable and knowledgeable not only about the Eiffel Tower, but many of the other monuments and general French history. While we were at the top, we walked around and he pointed out facts about the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées and more. We learned so much! We didn’t learn anything on our previous trips to the top. The guide really made the experience richer and more enjoyable.
Enjoy the Beauty
Whether you follow our recommendation and climb the Eiffel Tower or you decide to take the elevators, you’ll absolutely love it. For many, the Eiffel Tower is the highlight of their trip to Paris; I know that it always has been for us.
The Eiffel tower sees over 20,000 visitors a day so planning your trip is critical to saving time, money and your sanity. Hopefully, this post has inspired you to take the climb and given you the information you need to make it happen. Regardless, it’s a great idea to consult the official Eiffel Tower website before your visit so you know what’s going and how to make your visit a smooth one.
Looking for More Travel Inspiration?
Be sure to check out our travel map with information for destinations around the globe!
The Incredible Island of Santorini: Travel Tips and 7 Top Activities