Nothing so high had been built since the Great Pyramid! Constructed over two years for the Exposition Universelle of 1889 and the centenary of the French Revolution, the Eiffel Tower soars up 300 metres high. And, until the inauguration of the Empire State Building in 1931, was the tallest building in the world!
Built as a technological showcase for France, the audacious and monumental tower propelled the country into modernity. Today it remains Paris’s most visited monument.
An Architectural Shock
During the construction period, Parisians were horrified by the tower. Eminent cultural figures like Émile Zola and Paul Verlaine signed a petition calling the monument a “tragic streetlamp ” and a “graceless skeleton”. Guy de Maupassant even announced he was leaving town because “the Eiffel Tower finally bothered [him] too much”.
Nevertheless, at its inauguration on April 15, 1889, there was a rush to climb to the summit and take advantage of its unprecedented views over the city. Despite its success, the tower was set to be dismantled in 1909, but was luckily preserved as a telegraph antennae then a radio station. Since then, it has watched over the city, with a beacon that sweeps across Paris as night falls. And, for 5 minutes at the start of each hour, the tower lights up and sparkles with thousands of tiny lights.
Three floors, three atmospheres
The first floor, at 57 metres above ground level (345 steps), has been extensively revamped. A highlight of the renovation? The transparent floor across the esplanade that allows you to feel like you’re flying over the crowds below. Three glass-and-steel pavilions have also been added, tilted to follow the curves of the pillars, which house Restaurant 58, actually under renovation until spring 2020, some reception areas, and an immersive film show about the history of the tower.
Climb a further 359 steps and you’ll arrive at the second floor, 115 meters above ground, with its wonderful views over the city… The gourmet Le Jules Verne restaurant offers a refined menu created by Frédéric Anton and has its own dedicated lift in the South Pillar. If you’re in a rush, do at least make a quick stop at the bar à macarons before continuing your ascent.
The third floor is 276 meters high and only accessible by lift – and even then there is a 800-person limit. Try to get there an hour before sunset to enjoy the best light. You can also visit the (reconstituted) office of Gustave Eiffel and the Champagne bar.
Good to know: when going up, you’ll have to choose either stairs or lift. However the lift is obligatory from the second floor, to reach the top level. Visitors are strongly advised to reserve tickets online to avoid long queues.
Access and contact
Metro Bir-Hakeim, line 6 / Trocadéro, lines 6 and 9 / École-Militaire, line 8 RER C Champ-de-Mars – Tour Eiffel Bus 22, 30, 32, 42, 63, 69, 72, 80, 82, 87 Vélib’ stops close to the Eiffel Tower
Days and opening hours
From 01/01 to 31⁄12, daily between 9.30 am and 11.45 pm. Closed exceptionally on July 14th. The Eiffel Tower is open for visits up to the second floor by the stairs or by lift. Visits up to the top floor will be possible from July 15th. Access to the top may be prohibited during harsh weather. Last ascent before 10.30pm.
- Free entry for children < 4 years. Group rate available for > 10 people. Rates for tickets with lift to the second floor and to the top floor.
- Guided tours
Guided tour languages
Documentation languages (home)
Bulletin board languages
Single mean time tour120 mins
Single services tour
- Unguided individual tours available permanently
- Guided individual tours on request
- Hearing disability
- Mental disability
- Visual disability
- Accessible for self-propelled wheelchairs
- Site, building partially accessible
- Magnetic loop available at the reception
- Documentation available in Braille
- Relief map, tactile model or audio device description available at the reception