Visiting the Eiffel Tower – Why Now?
I first visited the Eiffel Tower thirty years ago. A French friend (who worked for a large champagne company) invited me to join him for a wine auction that was being held there. He pulled his car up alongside, parked illegally on the curb (that was a thing back then), and we walked a few steps to the "Lift" that took us to the first level of the Eiffel Tower. It was very casual, no crowds (it was at night), no security, and no waiting.
(View from Eiffel Tower Summit, photo by Caroline O'Connell)
That was the exception. In the past decade, I've cautioned against going to the Eiffel Tower – due to the long wait in line to get your ticket and the overly crowded and touristy experience. Instead, I recommended going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe facing the Champs-Elysees for better close-up views of Paris, especially looking down towards Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens beyond. It also has a good vantage point for photos of the Eiffel Tower in the background. [Note: Another good place for photos of the Eiffel Tower in the distance is the Trocadero plaza, just across the Seine River.]
I'm happy to report that the Eiffel Tower visitor experience has vastly improved. The City of Paris is spending 300 million Euros to refurbish the Tower, enhance security, and upgrade the visitor experience. They had me at a new Champagne Bar at the Summit and the ability to buy tickets online.
Buying Your Ticket
I hopped on the official Eiffel Tower site and picked a date and time for my ticket to the Summit, cost 25 Euros. (They advise you to print it out, rather than just having the barcode on your phone.) You need to present the ticket when you arrive at security and when you go up each Lift – the first Lift takes you to the second floor and then you walk around to another Lift that takes you to the very top.
(Park at base of Eiffel Tower, photo by Caroline O'Connell)