Julie France 15 Comments

There are just a few buildings in the world that evoke the same sense of awe, wonder, and romance as the Eiffel Tower. For many, a trip to Paris would be incomplete without a visit to this iconic landmark. In this guide, we uncover the best way to visit the Eiffel Tower, with tips on how to avoid a long wait in line, where to dine with a view, and whether or not it is worth it to visit all three levels.

About Our Experiences

We visit Paris frequently and have visited the Eiffel Tower a handful of times. On our most recent visit (September 2023) we visited the Eiffel Tower twice, in the morning and at sunset, so we could write a comprehensive guide on how to visit the Eiffel Tower.

5 Tips for Visiting the Eiffel Tower

Before we get into the history of the Eiffel Tower, things to do, ticket types, etc., here is a quick glance at the most important things to know when planning your visit.

1. For the best experience, book your tickets online in advance on the official website. This is the cheapest way to visit the Eiffel Tower and avoid a wait in line. Tickets go on sale 60 days in advance.

2. If tickets are sold out on the official website, consider booking a tour. Tours costs a little more but they save you a wait in the ticket line, which can be very long, especially in the summer. We took this tour, which is basically a guided tour to the second level, one of the cheapest, quickest tours we found of the Eiffel Tower.

3. If you only have time for one level, the second level is the best. It’s the quickest to get to by elevator and the view is amazing.

4. If you want to add on a dining experience, Madame Brasserie is an upscale restaurant on the first level with a view of the Trocadero and Jules Verne is a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant on the second level. Make your reservations in advance.

5. The Paris Museum Pass is not accepted at the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower

Interesting Facts about the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower stands in Champs de Mars and is named after Gustav Eiffel, the engineer in charge of the project. It was constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

When it was completed, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest man-made structure in the world. It held this title until 1930, with the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York City.

The Eiffel Tower was only intended to stand for 20 years. However, it became such an important tourist site, and a valuable radiotelegraph station, that it was never dismantled.

Now, the Eiffel Tower is one of the most visited monuments in the world. In 2022, 5.9 million people visited the Eiffel Tower. In 1991, it was named as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Paris, Banks of the Seine.”

The Eiffel Tower is repainted by hand every 7 years. Its color has changed over the years, and it was originally painted a reddish-brown color, then to a golden yellow in 1892, and then back to red in the mid-1900’s. Currently, it is being repainted again, in preparation for the summer 2024 Olympics, in a golden-brown color.

Each night, the Eiffel Tower sparkles, with the twinkling of thousands of lights. The light show lasts for five minutes at each hour, starting at sunset.

Things to Do at the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower has three levels to visit, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant (Jules Verne), an upscale restaurant (Madame Brasserie), plus a long list of cafes and souvenir shops.

You can visit all three levels, or just one or two, traveling up and down the Eiffel Tower either by elevator or by taking the stairs.

The Esplanade

The Esplanade is the area that sits under the Eiffel Tower. This is where you will board the elevator or climb the stairs, purchase your tickets (if you did not do so in advance), or get a snack or drink at one of the cafes.

Eiffel Tower Esplanade | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

The south pillar on the Esplanade | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

First Floor

Getting Here: Steps up from the Esplanade or elevator or steps down from the second floor.

The first level is the largest level of the Eiffel Tower. On this level is a large outdoor terrace with a cocktail bar and café, Madame Brasserie (an upscale restaurant with a view of the Trocadéro), boutique souvenir shops, and a glass bottom floor.

We had lunch at Madame Brasserie and recommend it if you want to spend some extra time on the Eiffel Tower. If you make a reservation in advance, request a window seat, where you get a great view of the Seine River and the Trocadéro.

First Floor View | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

View from the first floor (photo taken near sunset).


Eiffel Tower First Floor View

Another view from the first floor


Madame Brasserie | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

Madame Brasserie | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower


Madame Brasserie Lunch | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

Lunch at Madame Brasserie

A lot of people skip this level. I do agree that the second level has the best view, but the view from the first level is also very nice. Since this level is so large, and gets less visitors, it also doesn’t feel as if it is packed with visitors.

Second Floor

Getting Here: Steps or elevator from the Esplanade

The second floor of the Eiffel Tower is where (in our opinion) you get the best view from the Eiffel Tower. You are just high enough to gaze across Paris, but not so high that feel like you are floating above the city. This level is just large enough that visitors can spread out.

Eiffel Tower Second Floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

The second floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower


Eiffel Tower View Second Floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

View from the second floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower


Eiffel Tower Second Floor View

Second Floor Eiffel Tower | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

Second floor of the Eiffel Tower

Jules Verne, a Michelin-starred restaurant, is located on this level. This is the Eiffel Tower’s best dining experience, but you will need to make a reservation at least a few months in advance.

You can also shop in the souvenir shops or grab a bite to eat at The Buffet or the macaron shop.

Eiffel Tower Gift Shop

Eiffel Tower gift shop

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you plan to take the elevator (rather than climbing the steps), from the Esplanade you will ride the elevator to the second level, bypassing the first level. Once your visit to the second level is finished, you can either ride the elevator to the 3rd or 1st levels.

Third Floor

Getting Here: Elevator from the second floor (there are no steps to the third floor)

The very top of the Eiffel Tower is the smallest, most crowded level. Visiting the third level requires an additional fee, or add-on to the standard Eiffel Tower ticket (more on this later).

To get here, you will ride the elevator from the second level. There is usually a line for this, as the number of people on the third level is limited. Be prepared to wait in line for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.

The third level can periodically close due to weather conditions or elevator malfunctions (it closed during one of our visits). If this occurs, and you already paid for a ticket, your extra fee for the 3rd level will be refunded.

On this top level, there are two sections. The lower level is enclosed in glass. Take the steps to the upper, outdoor level, so you can take better photos. You can also see Gustav Eiffel’s office and have a glass of champagne.

This level, since it is so small, is very crowded. If you don’t want to spend the extra time or money, I don’t think it is worth going all of the way to the third level.

Eiffel Tower Trocadero View | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

View from the top floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower


Eiffel Tower View Summit

Eiffel Tower View Third Floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

The Arc de Triomphe from the summit of the Eiffel Tower


Eiffel Tower Third Level

The third floor | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

The Gardens and Champs de Mars

Surrounding the base of the Eiffel Tower are the Gardens, a nice place to go for a stroll and take a photo looking up at the Eiffel Tower.

Champ de Mars is the park that sits beside the Eiffel Tower. It’s definitely worth the stroll as you get one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower from here.

How to Get to the Eiffel Tower

By Metro: Bir-Hakeim, line 6, 11-minute walk; Ecole Militaire, line 8, 16-minute walk; Trocadero, line 9, 16-minute walk

You can also get here by bus (line 82 and 42), by taxi or ride share app (like Uber), line C on the RER, or by boat.

Entrances into the Eiffel Tower

There are two entrances into the Esplanade of the Eiffel Tower. Entrance 1 is on the south corner and Entrance 2 is on the east corner. Entrance 2 tends to be a little less crowded, according to the official website. We entered through the east entrance and on both visits in early September, there was no line, both in the morning and evening.

This entrance is a security entrance, not a ticketed entrance. You will go through airport style security. Once through the security check, you will enter the Esplanade. From here, you can get in line for the stairs or elevator (if you already purchased your ticket online in advance) or get in the ticket line.

Eiffel Tower Tickets & How to Skip the Line

There are four ticket types for the Eiffel Tower. Which one you choose depends on how many levels you want to visit and whether you want to take the stairs or elevator. Taking the stairs is cheaper and almost always has a shorter line.

Second Floor Access via the Stairs: This is the cheapest option. Tickets cost €11.80. You will take the stairs to the first and second floors only. There are 327 steps to the first level and 347 steps to the second level.

Second Floor Access via the Lift: €18.80; visit the first and second levels using the elevator

Top Floor Access via the Lift: €29.40; elevator access for all 3 floors of the Eiffel Tower.

Top Floor Access via Stairs and the Lift: €22.40; take the stairs to the first and second floors and ride the elevator to the third floor.

Note: The Paris Museum Pass is not accepted at the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower Paris | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

How to Skip the Line at the Eiffel Tower

To skip the ticket line, purchase you ticket online in advance on the official website.

With an online ticket, once you cross the first security check, you will get in line for the lift or the stairs, with no need to get into the ticket line.

Tickets for the lift go on sale 60 days in advance and tickets for the stairs go on sale 14 days in advance. If you will be visiting Paris in June, July, August, and early September, plan on purchasing your tickets as soon as they become available. We were unable to get tickets online in advance (we attempted this 30 days before our visit in September), and since they were sold out, so then we took this tour to avoid the ticket line.

However, once in Paris, lines were relatively light at the Eiffel Tower. We visited the Eiffel Tower at two different times of the day during the second week of September and there was less than a 10-minute wait in the ticket line.

We have been getting a lot of comments that tickets are selling out as soon as they become available. For the best shot of getting a ticket from the official website, be ready to purchase your tickets the moment they become available, which is at midnight in Paris 60 days in advance. The Paris time zone is UTC/GMT + 2 hours. For more information, scroll down to the comment section and read the tips from John Williams. Thanks John!

Summer is the busiest time to visit the Eiffel Tower (especially July and August), followed by holidays such as Easter and Christmas. If you have plans to be in Paris during the Olympics, definitely plan on purchasing your tickets the minute they become available. I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online in advance as soon as they become available for these time periods. In the shoulder and off season, if online tickets are sold out, you can take your chances that the line will be short, or join a tour, just to play it safe.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you couldn’t purchase your tickets online in advance and have no desire to take a tour, then book a reservation at Madame Brasserie. Your meal includes a ride on the lift to the restaurant, so you’ll bypass the ticket line. But it is important to know that with a ticket to Madame Brasserie, you are only permitted to visit the first floor of the Eiffel Tower (you will need to purchase a separate ticket to visit the 2nd or 3rd floor). 

Eiffel Tower Itinerary

Here is a basic timeline for a visit to the Eiffel Tower, from entering the Esplanade to visiting its multiple levels.

1. Security Check

The first thing you will do is to go through airport style security at the south or east entrances into the Esplanade.

There are two lines here, one for visitors with tickets (green flag) and one for visitors without tickets. If you have a ticket, get here 15 minutes early (get here at 10:45 am for an 11:00 am ticket). If you don’t have a ticket, your wait could be as little as a few minutes to much longer during peak season.

2. Purchase Your Ticket (optional)

If you do not have a ticket for the Eiffel Tower, get in line to make your purchase. Again, your wait could be as little as a few minutes to as much as 2 hours during peak season.

3. Take the Lift or the Stairs

If you have a ticket for the lift, get into line at the east or west pillars. If you will be taking the stairs, these are located on the south pillar.

We’ve done both, the stairs and the lift. If you have the energy, the stairs tend to be a little bit faster, since there usually is no line.

If you have a lift ticket, the lift skips the first level and goes directly to the second level. If you have a ticket to visit the third level, I recommend getting in line for this as soon as you reach the second level. Lines can be long and with the possibility of closure, it’s best to visit the 3rd level first (our tour guide also recommended this same plan of attack).

4. Time on the Eiffel Tower

The amount of time you will spend on the Eiffel Tower can range quite a bit, depending on how many levels you visit, queues, and whether or not you plan to add on Madame Brasserie or Jules Verne.

Most visits last 1 to 2 hours, which includes all 3 levels if lines are short (2 to 3 hours during peak season, especially if you plan to visit the third floor). Lunch or dinner at Madame Brasserie or Jules Verne adds another 2 hours.

5. Exiting the Eiffel Tower

Take the lift or the stairs to the Esplanade. The exits are located on the west and north corners of the gardens.

6. After Your Visit

Once you are finished, here are a few things to do nearby:

  • Trocadéro: Walk across Pont d’léna to the Trocadero for an iconic view of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Carrousel: Ride the carrousel located next to the Eiffel Tower (it is located between the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River).
  • Champ de Mars: Take a stroll through Champ de Mars, the large green space next to the Eiffel Tower.
  • Frame Restaurant & Bar: It’s a short walk to Frame Restaurant & Bar, a restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower that serves great food and drinks.
  • Rue Cler: Walk to Rue Cler and put together a picnic lunch or dinner of bread, cheese, fruit, and charcuterie. Find an empty park bench on Champ de Mars and enjoy your cheap but delicious French meal with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

Trocadero Eiffel Tower Sunset

The view of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro at sunset | How to Visit the Eiffel Tower

Best Time to Visit the Eiffel Tower

Visiting the Eiffel Tower is a wonderful experience from the time it opens in the morning until midnight.

The best time to visit the Eiffel Tower is about one hour before sunset, so you can gaze out over Paris both as it is illuminated by the sun, but also get to see the lights twinkle on as the sun lowers across the sky. If you stay past sunset, you’ll be on the Eiffel Tower when its lights sparkle.

We also like being on the Eiffel Tower midday, which is a great time to photograph the city from the tower.

France Travel Guide

Skip the Line Tours of the Eiffel Tower

If you are unable to get tickets online in advance, here are a few tours of the Eiffel Tower that get great reviews.

One of the cheapest options is to purchase an entrance ticket via a third-party provider. This tour, which includes your entrance ticket and the option to add on the third level, is one of the tours that we took. We met our guide at Champs de Mars Café, walked to the Eiffel Tower in a small group, the guide accompanied us to the second level, and then we were on our own. This costs just a few euros more than the ticket on the official website, so it’s a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot of money but also want to avoid the wait in the ticket line.

We also took this tour, which is very similar to the one above. It’s a little more expensive but the guide did not waste any time getting us into the Esplanade and up to the second level. For that reason, I liked this one a little bit more.

This is one of the highest reviewed tours of the Eiffel Tower. Visit the second level and/or summit with a guide on this 2-to-3-hour tour.

This tour includes a visit to the Eiffel Tower summit (third floor) and a Seine River Cruise.



Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a visit to the Eiffel Tower last?

Most visits to the Eiffel Tower take 2 to 3 hours, which includes the time it takes to get through security. However, if you did not purchase a ticket online in advance, it’s possible that you could spend an additional 2 to 3 hours in line for tickets, especially during the summer, weekends, and holidays.

Is there luggage storage at the Eiffel Tower?

There is no luggage storage at the Eiffel Tower. If you have a suitcase, you will not be permitted to enter the security check to enter the Esplanade.

Is the Eiffel Tower worth it?

Absolutely. The Eiffel Tower is one of the world’s most iconic landmarks and for first time visitors, a trip to Paris would be incomplete without a visit to this iconic landmark. On a visit to the Eiffel Tower, you get one of the best views of Paris and have the option to add on memorable dining experiences at Madame Brasserie and Jules Verne.

If you have any questions about how to visit the Eiffel Tower, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Paris

PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE: Learn how to plan a trip to Paris, from the top places to visit, where to stay, where to eat, how to plan your time, and how to save your money.

BEST OF PARIS: For a list of the top experiences in Paris, read our article Best Things to Do in Paris. We also have guides on where to get the best views of Paris, a walking tour to the highlights of the Louvre, a guide on where to stay in Paris, and a Paris Food Guide.

THE LOUVRE: In our Guide to the Louvre, we cover the top things to see, a walking route through the Louvre, plus lots of tips to help you get the most out of your visit and avoid the crowds.

VERSAILLES: In our Guide to Versailles, we cover the best things to do, how to get to Versailles, and the best way to visit Versailles without the crowds.

PARIS ITINERARIES: If you have plans to visit Paris, don’t miss our 2 Day Paris Itinerary and 3 Day Paris Itinerary.

EUROPEAN ITINERARIES WITH PARIS: If you want to visit Paris plus one to two other European cities, you have several great options. A 10 day trip to London and Paris makes a great trip if it is your first visit to Europe (or if you just want to visit two great cities). With 10 days, you can also visit Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam or London, Amsterdam, and Paris.

Read all of our articles about France in our France Travel Guide.


How to Visit Eiffel Tower Paris


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Comments 15

  1. Avatar for Carolynn

    Hello! Do you know what time they release the tickets each day? I see they are selling out fast each day but have not figured out what time they go on sale online. Thanks so much!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That’s a great question but I don’t know the time. If I had to make a guess (and this is a big guess), I’d say sometime around 8 am in Paris. I just tried to purchase tickets for May 3, one month from today, and they are sold out. It’s the same issue we had in September 2023 which is why we ended up taking a tour. Good luck! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for John Williams
        John Williams

        Hi Julie,

        I have been a fan of your family adventures for years! Thank you for all that you and your gang do.

        Eiffel Tower tickets become available 60 days in advance at midnight Paris time. The trick to getting them is you have to change your computer time to the Paris time zone. For example, I live in the Central Time Zone of the US, so I am 7 hours behind Paris. Midnight in Paris equals 5:00 PM (Central Time). If today is April 11th, then 60 days from today is June 10th. I change the time zone on my computer from US Central Time to Central European (the time zone Paris is in). When I navigate to the Eiffel Tower ticket site, right at the stroke of 5:00 PM (Central Time), which is midnight Paris time, the date will show available and you can purchase tickets. They still go incredibly fast, but I was able to get multiple summit tickets using this path.

        Hope this information is helpful.

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          Hello John. This is extremely helpful!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write in with this info! Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for VICKI

    HI there
    The link for your tour you used just goes to a general page with lots and lots of tour companies and ideas.
    Would you please put up the link to your tour.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Vicki. Unfortunately, I have no control over how GetYourGuide displays the tours (I would also prefer it only go to one, not the entire page of tours, as that is very confusing). It is the top left tour (the first one) that we did. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Claire

    Hello! I am planning a trip to Paris in June. I have never visited Paris and your guides have been very informative, so thank you! I am currently trying to piece together our 3 day itinerary based largely on your recommendations. I clicked on several of your recommended tours for the Eiffel Tower, but none have availability for our dates in June. Are the guided tours also not available until 60 days prior? Or are they already completely sold out? Thank you again!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Claire. Tickets for the Eiffel Tower go on sale 60 days in advance, so they just have not been released yet for your dates of travel. I do recommend being ready the moment they become available because they sell out in a blink of an eye. If they sell out before you have a chance to get your tickets, the tour companies will have plenty of availability (which is why individuals have such a hard time getting tickets directly through the website). Good luck! Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for ENRIQUE SANCHEZ


    I booked Madame Brasserie for 6:30 pm on March 6, 2024, Wednesday. But I also want visit all floors by elevator that day. I have a question: What reservation time should I book my visit just to Eiffel tower in the afternoon so I can make the Brasserie reservation on time if I want to combine the Tower with Madame Brasserie? ( I am traveling by myself.)

    Should I book just the Eiffel at 4:00 PM or earlier to see the daylight view and if I do, will I be required to return to the Esplanade to enter the proper Brasserie entrance downstairs?

    ANOTHER OPTION: Should I book in the Morning when it is not as busy at the Tower for a regular visit to all floors and then RETURN at night, to have dinner (so I can rest during the day)? THANK YOU!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Enrique. I like your first idea, of making an Eiffel Tower ticket reservation for 4 pm. That gives you 2 and a half hours to visit all 3 floors, which should be enough time. In early March, Paris and Eiffel Tower are not that busy, so you shouldn’t have long lines or big crowds to deal with. So, I don’t think it is worth breaking your visit into two different times of day (morning and evening) since it shouldn’t be too crowded. Our visit was in early September, a busier time than March, and even then crowds weren’t too bad. Have a great time in Paris! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for ENRIQUE SANCHEZ

        OH JULIE!

        I am so HAPPY you responded since I have less than two days to decide! I have been to the Esplanade twice before and never the Tower because I didn’t plan ahead! You have relieved my tiny lingering headache and I didn’t know WHO to ask! YouTube didn’t help and neither the DOZENS of websites I read UNTIL I came to yours and saw the excellent advice that Marie received!

        One tiny question: After dinner on the First Floor, will I be permitted to visit the Second Floor again with my original Summit ticket?

        warmly, Enrique

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          That’s a great question and I’m not sure of the answer. The Madame Brasserie reservation only gives you access to the first floor. However, you will have an Eiffel Tower ticket. The elevators don’t run from the first floor to the second floor (from the esplanade, they go directly to the second level). But there are the stairs. I don’t know if an Eiffel Tower ticket with the elevator will allow you to climb the stairs for a second visit to the second level. And I don’t know if you booked a ticket for the stairs if they keep track of you doing it more than once (probably not but again, I’m not sure). It doesn’t hurt to try taking the stairs, if it’s worth it to get the view from the second level in the evening. I hope this all makes sense and you have a wonderful time! Cheers, Julie

          1. Avatar for ENRIQUE SANCHEZ


            Perfectly logical advice which I will follow. I just knew it was a tough question!

            THANK YOU SO, SO VERY, VERY MUCH!! ♥♥♥♥♥♥

            Cheers to you!


  5. Avatar for Marie

    We’re planning on visiting the Eiffel Tower in early March. The lift tickets online are timed. How long beforehand should we show up? Do they actually check the times and monitor the people coming or is it first-come-first-served as long as you have a ticket? And if we decide to buy a stairs ticket, can we add on a top ticket on the second floor or do we need to buy it on the ground floor before starting? Hopefully crowds then won’t be terrible, but right now morning tickets (for December) are selling out two months ahead within hours of being posted.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Marie. The official website advises that you show up 15 minutes early. For example, for a 10 am ticket, arrive at 9:45 am. A little earlier would probably be fine. I just double checked the official website and you must purchase your ticket to the top in advance (it cannot be bought once you are on the tower). We had the same issue for our visit in September: online tickets were sold out, so we booked the tour. However, we visited the Eiffel Tower twice this past September and both times there was zero line at the ticket office. In March, I would expect that you would have the same experience, just as long as your visit doesn’t coincide with Easter, when Paris gets insanely busy. So, you can book your tickets in January. If you can’t get them online and it’s not Easter during your visit, then you can take your chances buying them onsite. You can buy a stairs ticket and the lift to the top online in advance. There are tours that will have this option as well. Have a great time in Paris! Cheers, Julie

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