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Eiffel Tower Best times to visit, how long waits to go up elevator

We will only be in Paris for 1 day. Would like to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. From the time you buy your ticket, to the time you get to go up to the top, how long of a wait is it? Is it worth it to go to the top or should we only consider going to th 2nd deck? Are certain times of the day less crowded?

Posted by
11450 posts

Go before it opens. Once on second deck immediately get in line to buy ticket for top( there will likely not even be a line, as most people spend some time on second deck then go up to top, you should do reverse, go to top, then stop at second deck on way down)
I walked up( climbed stairs) to second deck once, it was a shorter line then the line for elevator, I thought it was fine. Waited about 20 minutes , mid morning, mid August, at that time the line for the elevator was esitmated at almost two hours long. Then got son ticket to continue on elevator to top( only way to top), I had been before so didn't bother.
I would not go to top on a smoggy or foggy day as view from top is not much better then second deck on those days.

Now, all that said, if I was only in Paris for one day, no way would I waste my time. I would go to ET to see it up close( it is cool) and then I would go to Arc De Triomphe for my favorite view of Paris, and there is rarely much of a wait/ line there.

Posted by
239 posts

Hi Jackie--I second Pat's suggestion about taking the view from the Arc de Triomphe instead; the views from the top are incredible. Don't spend your one day standing in line. Visit the Eiffel Tower, and cross the river to enjoy the view from Trocadero Square. Use the time you would have spent in line to stroll the Left Bank or the Ile de la Cite.

Posted by
251 posts

You don't mention what time of year you will be going. I have never travelled to Paris in the summer but in March I waited 15 minutes, in April I have waited 30 minutes, and in October I have waited 15 minutes to go up at night.

Go up the ET and go all the way up to the top. Climbing the Eiffel Tower is not about the view it is about doing it. It is possibly the most iconic activity in Paris, and I don't care how non-toursity you are you might kick yourself for not doing it. Oh yeah and don't forget to buy your little Eiffle Tower at the gift shops, oh so so so touristy but once you get back home it will sitting there to remind you.

IMO the best view is from Tour Montparnasse, but on the ET the best view is from the 2nd deck. However, I repeat, go all the way to the top it is about more than the view.

Then once you are down, cross over the river to the Trocedero and you will have the best view of the tower.

Only one day in Paris -- For Shame!

Posted by
468 posts

I was in Paris earlier this year and the top was not open during the week, only on the weekend. I don't know if that was just an off-season thing or not. I've been to the top and the view from the 2nd deck is just as good to me.

Posted by
506 posts

I was by today with visitors from the states - all levels were open. Wait times were approximately 30 minutes in the rain in the late afternoon.

I would recommend the early morning strategy if you can manage it - tower is open at 9h30 right now.

Posted by
12040 posts

Over Christmas, I went up at around 9 pm. Total waiting time? Less than 3 minutes. This may not be typical for most times of the year, though.

For other great elevated views of Paris not already mentioned, try these locales: the top floor of le Centre Pompidou, and standing in front of Sacre Couer (although trees and buildings block part of the view).

Posted by
6 posts

I was just there in February. If you do not go before the opening hours to be first in line, you will be committing about 2 hours of time. A second consideration is smog (sorry). The third deck was useless for viewing and the second only a bit better. You might consider walking up to the first deck to save time if getting up the Tower is a must. Otherwise, consider the Arc or Sacre Couer for views. The Metro makes both of these accessible in an instant. The views were just as good.

Posted by
100 posts

Thank you so much for your experience. I had so much fun reading the comments made throughout the day and I definitly learned a lot.

Our children still want to go to the top, but based on all that was said, we'll have to see. There is so much to see and in our shortsightedness we only did Paris as a day trip.

It's our first time planning a trip to England and decided to make the day trip with the Eurostar being so fast. We are learning. Now we know a day wasn't sufficient, but we are locked into that now with our non-exchangeable Eurostar tickets. Thanks for your help. I loved reading these today.

Posted by
239 posts

Hi Jackie--Consider it an "hors d'oeuvre" and remind yourself you'll be back :)

Posted by
12040 posts

Another consideration- on a humid, cloudy day, even on the second tier, your view will be somewhat obscured, as if looking through a dirty piece of glass. Although the tower offers tremendous views on a clear day, if the weather doesn't cooperate, consider the other sites mentioned for your aerial view of Paris.

Posted by
8 posts

Go to the top. When I took my daughter to Paris a few years ago, I kept putting her off about going up the tower. On the last morning in Paris we went to the Eiffel Tower to find it was closed due to strike. My daughter cried; I felt terrible because I hadn't let her go. Now I buy little ETs and give them to her for Christmas and tell her someday she will go back and go to the top.

Posted by
211 posts

I once went back in 2004 on my first trip to Europe in hopes of getting up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, we went at night and stood in line..when I got close to the ticket counter (about 5 people ahead of me) they closed the top level becuase it was getting to late, so I was only able to visit the 2nd level. I was crushed, so lesson of the story even if you go at night, make sure you leave yourself time.

It took me four years to make it to the top, and I think the wait was worth it. I went on a Saturday in Feb with 3 friends and with walking up to the 2nd level and then taking the elevator the time was at least two hours

Posted by
21 posts

I was about to post the same question!
We will be in Paris for 1 day in april, and wanted to know if we should make a reservation at a restaurant to avoid the line.
Has anyone ate at one of the restaurants?

Posted by
100 posts

We haven't been to Paris, but did a little reading online. For the Jules Verne, online said they needed 3 months notice for reservations. The prices were higher than we'd want to do as we have 5 for lunch or dinner. Also, now that we have had so many replies, we won't have enough time for a nice meal. There is also Altitude 95. Website: www.restaurants-toureiffel.com. There are menu's and info on reservations.

Also this link: http://goparis.about.com/od/parisrestaurantreviews/a/EiffelTower_Eat.htm has links to the individual restaurants. Sometimes the above link works for me and sometimes it does nothing when I've looked.

Posted by
28 posts

Jackie,

You may want to consider seeing paris from the top of the Montparnasse tower (56 story high rise new Luxembourg Gardens.)

The big advantage is that the ET (beautiful) is part of the view instead of the tower (ugly.) Also, I have to believe that lines are minimal compared with the ET lines.

I have never done it, but Rick mentions it in his book. Here is a web site as well:
http://www.tourmontparnasse56.com/uk/vue/visite.html

Posted by
166 posts

Hi Jackie,

We were in Paris in September, and went up the Eiffle Tower at night (after dark). We only went to the second level, but there was absolutely no wait. We walked right up to the counter and bought our tickets, and had to wait only about 2 minutes for the elevator to make its way back down to pick us up. Although after dark makes photo ops more difficult, the trade-off in time gained made it worth-while to us! Whatever you decide, it will be lovely!

Posted by
55 posts

With limited time I would either save going up the Tower for the next visit or do it after dark as the last thing before your train.

Posted by
194 posts

I think I've been to the top of the Eiffel Tower twice and the top of the Arc de Triomphe once. Among those, my visit to the Arc stands out the most. At the time, I thik it was cheaper, there was no wait, and it was at dusk and the view was spectacular. I'd recommend it, but understad if you family really want to do the Eiffel Tower.

Posted by
213 posts

Do it, but only take the time to go to the second level- the view is perfect.

Posted by
273 posts

I am going to Paris in May & called the Jules Verne to make a reservation for my husbands birthday. I was told they only take reservations 2 months in advance. The dinner is 150 euros per person.

Posted by
43 posts

Doing the stairs is fun and a nice little bit of exercise. I'd have zero patience for the elevator lines and feel like a wimp. I'm 52 BTW.

Posted by
20 posts

I would say go at night, also. It is open until midnight. No line at all after 9 or so, in my experience. And the light show the Eiffel Tower puts on at night is nice. Paris is the city of lights and it si beautiful to see it from above at night. Also leaves more time for you to tour things earlier that are only open during the day. HAve fun--Paris is spectacular.

Posted by
711 posts

Hi Jackie.. The Eiffel Tower is not only lighted at night , it twinkles on the hour for about 8-10 minutes. It is lovely. We like to just look at it from different vantage points. If you cross the river and go down by the quay, there are benches. For me the view from the tower is not worth the wait and the hassle.

Posted by
24 posts

Whatever you do, go to the top!!! We went in the summer of '05 with our 5yr. old son. Even though it was raining and windy, and a wait in line, it was an experience not to be missed. You can see all of Paris from the top. We would have missed going to the Sacre Croix(not sure of the spelling) had we not seen it from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Another area of Paris that is a must see.