If I get lift tickets to the summit at the Eiffel Tower at 5:00pm, what is there to do until sunset which is at 7:30pm. Are there cafes or gift shops?
Mostly be completely bored. A half-hour at the top is an over-kill.
Isn't there anything to do up there? Any cafes or places where we can sit and have a drink? If we have lift tickets to the top can't we get off at another floor and then go to the top at sunset?
It's grim. There's crappy shops on the ground floor and a crappy eatery on the first level. The second level restaurant is pretty steep and will require reservations. It comes and goes, but there's sometimes a broom-closet on the top level that sells drinks at an ungodly price.
You could look at your watch. After a while you could look at it again. You could look out at the view. And look out at the other sides, making your way around. Then look at your watch.
Whoa there, all you negative nellys,, lol Fran, first off they are correct in one thing, the summit is not worth more then 1/2 hour.. its a very small area with only a tacky concession stand that sells champagne by the plastic glassful( for 10 euros !) . BUT,, your ticket actually takes you first to the second level, you have to get off at second level and reboard a different elevator to go to the top( its not all one line) , now, what most people do is get off and wander around. I still think 2.5 hours is pushing it, but I can see someone spending an hour or hour an half on wandering about, getting a snack, looking in the gift shops, and perhaps actually bothering to read the many informative plaques around ( pretty sure many tourists don't even see them, lol ) . Could person stretch their visit to 2.5 hours, yes possibly , but frankly I would be ready to go after an hour or hour and half. There are several restaurant choices, but for dinner they are pricey.. there is however a snack bar.
I think I'll get skip the line lift tickets for 8:00pm and then only spend an hour or so. Thanks so much for all your feedback. I really wanted to see the sunset, but someone I know mentioned that if it is cloudy, you won't see the sunset anyway. I really did want to go at night so I think 8:00pm will work for me. What does everyone think? Never been, but wanted to make the most of the experience and really appreciate all the feedback from those of you who have been there.
Sunset is sunset. You can see one anywhere. The city is to the east of the tower, the sun sets in the west. I take/send people up at night due to shorter lines and the view of the city lights. Nobody's ever complained.
IMHO, these are the two best Eiffel Tower experiences: sit on the steps in front of the Trocadero, admire the view of ET across the Seine and watch the action in front of the Trocadero. Last time we did this, we saw a French "stag party." All the men in tuxedos, except the bridegroom in a very skimpy toga with a wreath on his head.....Second experience, about an hour before it's dark, take a picnic to the Champs-Mars on the other side of the ET...Enjoy picnic surrounded by hundreds of other picnickers, then watch the sparkles illuminating the ET....And both these are freebies!
What Cynthia said. I would go up the tower for a brief period just to see it from the inside because the construction really is amazing. Then make a beeline for Trocadero to watch the twinkling light show. I also like the beacon. Then enjoy the ambiance of the Champs du Mar. The only thing that annoys me a bit about the latter is the many teenagers hawking their silly souvenir trinkets. But I try to remind myself that at least they're attempting to work for the money they earn.
I've done both things that Cynthia described on different trips and both were great. I've never done the ET at dusk/night.
While most people turn toward the sun, look to the east, away from the sunset, for the best view. I was there with friends under clear skies in June a few years ago and staked out a spot near the northeast corner at the top level. I am used to sunset scenes in which buildings turn golden or bright white, depending on the stone, and seem to float in the reflected light. But I had never seen an entire city do that before. But, then, I have never seen another city with so many white marble and granite buildings. I could kick myself because I had left my camera in the room, thinking we were going back there after grabbing a bite to eat. Wrong move, but there will be other chances. A couple of years later, I returned in March with my wife. We had a good time on the second level, but the sky was overcast, so the view was more along the lines of what Ed would describe as just another sunset.
May I humbly suggest the Tour Montparnasse as an native sunset and/or nighttime viewpoint? Not as high as the ET, nor as close to the river, or, God knows, as beautiful. But easier to get to the top, less crowded, potential to see the view protected from the weather if necessary. And, of course, you can see the ET lit up. If you buy ET tickets far ahead, you risk bad weather on the day or evening you go. The Tour isn't in nearly as much demand and you can go up most anytime it's open, so you can pick the weather or time of day you want. Of course you can't tell you friends you were at the top of the ET, and you miss being up amid the curves and girders that make the ET the icon it is. (Tour M is just an office building.) But you'll still get a great view of the city for a lot less trouble. Just sayin'.
In addition to the Trocadero (free), I also loved the view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc de Triomphe (included in the Museum Pass). On my last trip, I went to the Trocadero on two nights, and the top of the Arc once by day and once by night. I didn't regret any of these four trips.
You didn't mention what time of year that you were going to be visiting Paris but during the summer months sunset isn't until 9:00 or even later. For example, today 6/26/13 sunset is 9:58 PM. I personally enjoyed watching sunset from the steps in front of the Sacre Coeur in Montmarte.
The original post said sunset was at 7:30, so Fran must know what's going on.
That's right, everybody! I will be in Paris late September the sunset is 7:45 which means the sun is down. I thought if I could get there at least by 7:30pm, I could see the transition. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a sunset tour, so I opted to buy Skip the Line Tickets online for 8:00pm. At least I get to see at night.
Fran, Enjoy your trip....Paris is such a truly lovely place. In addition to your plans for the Eiffel, if you have another night free (or even after you finish visiting the Eiffel), taking one of the city river cruises (open air on top with lots of seating), its a wonderful way to see the Eiffel and the city in general at night, which looks beautiful, too, in the evening. It's also interesting to see all the young people grouping along the river banks well into the evening. It was magical seeing the Eiffel all aglow from the river, and also passing the smaller version of the Statue of Liberty. Some young men on board from Spain held up an American flag right as we passed the Statue of Liberty and sang God Bless America (they were with a large group of touring young people,
seemingly from many countries, including America). Have fun and let us know how you enjoy the evening at the Eiffel.
Or, as happened this past Tuesday, you can get there and be greeted by an electronic sign that says " Eiffel Tower closed due to social dispute." We have been up several times before, but for those who had not, it was a disappointing sign.
Rarely has a well thought out plan for a "special moment" ever panned out as expected in my experience. Special moments tend to happen at unexpected times and usually not somewhere crowded with fellow tourists. It is smart to plan ahead to avoid waiting in lines and nice to be able to say you did something memorable on your to-do list but sometimes we tend to overthink things. The best view of the ET is not from the ET.