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Eiffel Tower at Sunset? Too much waiting?

We will be in Paris the last week of July. If we go to the Eiffel Tower at sunset are we looking at 2 hour lines? I hate to waste that much time in a line.

Posted by
9110 posts

The bigger question is 'why sunset' ?

The sun sets to the west, the city is to the east.

Odds are, in the summer, the saucer in which Paris sits is still full of haze.

Wait a couple of hours and go up after it's darker and the sky has cleared. The lights of the city will knock your socks off and the lines are usually shorter.

I sure wouldn't buy advance tickets this far out. What if the weather turns to pot?

Posted by
8293 posts

Paris is referred to as the City of Light because of its importance in the Age of Enlightenment, not because of any kind of light or lights.

Posted by
132 posts

Here is way to cheat the system of waiting in line that we used on our trip to Paris. We used a tour company called Paris Vision and booked a Eiffel Tower/ Sightseeing River cruise combo package. As I remember, it was relatively cheap. They provided the tickets and got us up the tower quickly.

Posted by
53 posts

Another option is to go up the Montparnasse Tower for sunset - then the Eiffel Tower will be in your view (and your pictures). I've done that and it was amazing. There is usually a line so get there early.

Posted by
9110 posts

Magic is convincing a person to believe the impossible, apparently.

Right now:

Sunset in Paris is about 9:45.

Civil twilight (you can still see clearly ) ends at about 10:30.

Nautical twilight (you can still see, but not some details) ends at about 11:30

Atstronomical twilight ends (it's absolutely dark) at about 12:45 -- the same time the ET closes.

No matter how you cut it, it ain't dark at ten pm, and you're going to have to hang around on top of the tower a heck of along time to see all of the poetic waxing. Come back in the winter when he whole thing compresses -- it's a factor of latitude.

Also, it's a bit hard to figure out what light reflects off of to give the tower its glow. Maybe it's refracted light, but it doesn't matter since you can't see it if you're standing on it.

I'm not a fan of Wiki, but it is a two-edged sword since it also says this:

'Paris has many nicknames, but its most famous is "La Ville-Lumière" ("The City of Light"),[16] a name it owes first to its fame as a centre of education and ideas during the Age of Enlightenment, and later to its early adoption of street lighting.'

The quote in the previous Wiki post doesn't even support the contention of why to visit the tower at a certain time: 'After that happens, you know why Paris is called the "City of Light." '

Michael, Unless you're a photography nut, go up well after sunset. It will take your breath away.

Posted by
1568 posts

We went directly across the Seine River and watched the light show from the huge building complex. Sorry don't know the name of it.

Posted by
9110 posts

Trocadero -- and shame on you for not going early to see the National Maritime Museum.

Posted by
8293 posts

I believe Paris was first referred to as La Ville-Lumière in the 18th century, before street lighting. At least that is how I understand what I found on Wikipedia just now, which is the first time I have ever entered that site. I feel slightly distrustful of it. Is it the last word on any particular subject?

Posted by
3313 posts

Wikepedia is only as reliable as the people who enter information on it. Most contributors write based on personal research and experience. Others guess or Google. I've seen some amazing misinformation on Wikipedia. Kinda like here...

Posted by
2193 posts

I’ll agree that you should buy tickets online and print them off at home before your trip to avoid long lines at the ticket window since this is now an option. Don’t be discouraged by others’ opinions about visiting at sunset. If you think you want to experience a sunset and incredible view from high atop one of the best cities in the world, do it so that you don’t have any regrets later. I got roped into a tourist thing a couple years ago and ended up at the top of John Hancock in Chicago at sunset…incredible! Normally, I wouldn’t do such a “touristy” thing, but I’m glad I did and would do it again (same feeling about Alcatraz in SF). My visit to the Eiffel Tower was during the middle of the day a few years ago, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I would love to view a sunset from there. Sunset could do nothing but enhance your visit IMO.

Who cares about the nickname? We should only care about Tom Cruise proposing to Katie Holmes on the Eiffel Tower. Isn’t that more important?

Posted by
10344 posts

OMG, it appears that everyone on this thread is now in agreement on at least one thing: that the statement

The city below is aglow in electric light...After that happens, you know why Paris is called the "City of Light"

is not supported by the sources thus far cited.

Posted by
79 posts

Perhaps they were so enlightened that they were the first to light their streets.

Ok, enough of me trying to be funny.

I'd like to know about the lines too - ANY time of the day. I don't want to purchase my ticket ahead of time and be stuck rushing to get there. I did that for something once and I nearly missed my timeslot. It's just maddening to me to have to do that. I'd much rather get my ticket when I'm ready to see it, but I don't want to stand in a line for two hours either.

Any suggestions as to what time is good to go? Right when it opens? Really late at night? Does the crowd ever thin out during the day? I'm planning for either May or June.

Posted by
79 posts

OK Steve, next question then. Once I've finalized my travel plans, when would be the best time to book the ticket? A few days before I plan to be there? Is the ONLY way to book ahead online, or can I phone once I'm in Paris?

Posted by
23465 posts

The one thing we have clearly established is the information sourcing -- Steve, Wikipedia, Steve, Steve, Steve......

Posted by
2744 posts

We were in Paris last September (third week). We walked over one evening around 10:00 during the week to see the light show. We decided to try going up in the tower and discovered there was no line at all. You could only go to the second level, which was fine with us. It was a clear night, and the view was fantastic.

Posted by
79 posts

OK, please forgive my ignorance, but going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower is NEW? Hmm. . .somehow I was under the impression that this has been going on for years.

Steve, did you get your tickets the day before by purchasing them online?

Posted by
1064 posts

While most others go to the west side of the Eiffel Tower to view the sunset, join the smaller group on the east side. Facing the sun, you may see a pretty sunset but you will miss the best part. Look away from the sunset to see the city reflecting the last rays of the sun. Under clear skies, the entire city seems to float as all the white and gray stone buildings turn bright white, fading to a yellowish glow. Buildings with gold trim, like the one housing Napolean's Tomb, are especially brilliant at this time. I did not appreciate the beauty of Paris until I saw it at sunset this time of year a few years ago. Unfortunately, when we went back last year, overcast skies diminished the effect, but the view as the lights came on was still spectacular.