Updated: May 21, 2015
Eiffel Tower - Paris' Famous LandmarkMention Paris, and visions of Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Seine River come to mind. All big cities are known for their famous landmarks, and the Eiffel Tower is probably the most famous site in Paris for visitors. Tourists flock to the Tower at all hours of the day, taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower, strolling through the nearby gardens, riding the elevator to the top, enjoying local music nearby. If you plan to visit Paris and the Tower, check out our guide below for information on tickets prices, hours, information on getting reservations at the Jules Verne restaurant located midway up the Eiffel Tower, and much more.
Eiffel Tower HistoryThe Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 by engineer Gustave Eiffel, and is known to Parisiens as le tour Eiffel. Gustave was also famous for designing the iron framework inside the Statue of Liberty. The International Exposition of Paris was held that year, and the design for the tower was chosen from more than 700 plans. It took two years to build and was worked on by over 300 construction workers. At the time, many people thought it was an eyesore and out of place with traditional Paris architecture, and it was nearly torn down in 1909. The Tower has evolved over time to become a symbol of Paris. How tall is the Eiffel Tower? 300 meters, nearly 1000 feet. It was the tallest structure in the world until 1930 (when it was beaten out by the Empire State Building in NY). It is built from an exposed criss cross lattice work of iron beams, with a total weight of 7000 tons. The lower platform rests on 4 legs that curve outward, providing a solid foundation for the rest of the tower. A second level platform house the Jules Verne restaurant, while a 3rd platform near the top has the typical gift shop and bar they cram into most tourist attractions. The tower was saved from demolition because of its antenna on top that was used for sending telegraphs in the easly 1900s - over time additional radio and TV antennae would also take advantage of this high perch, broadcasting signals across the Paris metropolitan area. The tour is painted every 7 years - it takes 15 months to paint, and 60 tons of paint! Over 6 million tourist each year visit the Eiffel Tower.
The views from the top are legendary, allowing you to see in all directions for miles. The most dramatic photo opportunites occur just before sunset when horizontal light creates highlights on the surrounding buildings.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower - Eiffel Tower RestaurantThe official Eiffel Tower website is here: www.tour-eiffel.fr. You can take an elevator or stairs up to the first platform level, which is at 190 feet above the ground. The second level, at 380 feet, is home to the Jules Verne Restaurant. This is an expensive and popular restaurant, often booked months in advance. Known for its romantic views over Paris, you will pay a lot for this meal, but you will also probably never forget it (phone 01-45-55-61-44 for reservations). The Jules Verne is served by a private elevator - you must have a reservation to go up. An alternative is to have lunch there - it is cheaper and easier to get in, but of course you won't get to see the lights of the ciy. Dinner will run you about $130 Euros, while lunch is ONLY 60 Euros. You cannot book reservations online - only by telephone. There is another restaurant, Altitude 95, on the first level that you can try if the Jules Verne is not available.
You can take the stairs up the Eiffel Tower to the first and second levels - cost is 3.80 euros, or 3 euros for people 25 and younger. For elevator tickets, for adults (12+) it is 4.2 euros to the first floor, 7.70 euros to the second level, and 11 euros to go to the top (price for children under 12 is 2.30, 4.20, and 6 respectively). Children under 3 are free. What are the hours when the tower is open? The tower is open everyday, from 9AM to midnight in the summer (June 15 to Sept. 2) and 9:30AM to 11PM the rest of the year. Three elevators in the legs take people up to the first and second level, and you then transfer to a special elevator to go to the top platform. Tickets are not available in advance - you must buy them on site - no reservations are required. The elevators run about every 8 minutes.
If you are planning a Paris vacation, be sure to include the Tower in your list of sites to see- no trip to Paris would be complete without it!