If you are headed to Paris, a trip to the Eiffel Tower is a must. Now before I share some tips and tricks for visiting her, I think it is important to share a bit of history. (Note for a full history be sure to visit the Eiffel Towers official site.
You see, while the Eiffel tower has become symbol of France and Paris; truth be told, the tower was only meant to be temporary in the Parisian landscape (initially set to stand for 20 years & then to be sold to the French Government). So how/why did the Eiffel tower come to be & how did she stand the test of time? Initially, Gustave’s design was selected out of 107 proposals in a competition to “build on the Champ-de-Mars an iron tower” in 1884. The structure would take 5 years to plan/build being ready for the 1889 Worlds Fair. The structure was meant to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Upon its completion the tower saw millions of visitors, hosted numerous science experiments & was even used as a radio tower. So while the tower was/is actually not Parisians’ favorite landmark, Gustave used the visitors & use to house military antennas to support his argument for her to stay – alas he was successful and in June of 2019 the tower celebrated 130 years!
So now that you know a little bit about the Eiffel tower, below are my tips for making the most out of your visit…..
To get to the Tower you can take the metro to either the Bir-Hakeim or the Trocadero stop. Both have their benefits. The Bir-Hakeim stop is closer to the towers base. My advise is to take the Trocadero stop as the views from here are truly worth the steps down (I mean look at the photos above that L’Amour de Paris were able to capture for us. From this stop you are able to take in the views of the tower, the fountains and enjoy a stroll down the stairs and across the bridge to the towers base.
- If visiting for the first time I suggest visiting the Eiffel tower by day to take in all of the surrounding views, and perhaps enjoy a picnic on the lawn below. However, if you have time during your trip – I highly recommend heading back for night views – as this is when she truly sparkles.
- Buy your tickets in advance, thus reserving your day/time.
- You can do so by visiting the Eiffel Towers official site
- Know that this locks you in, so plan to arrive a few minutes early
- If choosing this open to sure to check the weather as views from the top are best without rain/fog….
- If you you have time. I highly encourage everyone to take the stairs at least once. There are 670 stairs to the second level (this option is free). There is also an option to hop on the elevator at the first level (there is a small fee) This option allows you to stop along the way and take photos both of the structure and of the views.
- If you opt’d for the elevator on the way up/or the way down. I suggest taking a video of the ride. The elevator is glass and the video will be sure to capture amazing views and structure of the tower. (note this isn’t for those scared of heights – like me – I had my husband capture footage and then checked out others videos on here)
- Take time to stop and visit the first & second floor & the top!
- The first floor shares a good deal of history of the tower, along with hosting restaurant 58. The second floor offers great views, gifts shops, a buffet and a Michelin rated restaurant Le Jules Verne . The top of the tower of course offers magnificent views at two tiers. The top also offers a peek into what was once Gustave Eiffel’s office which has been restored to its original condition, along with a champagne bar and maps that allows you to located other French landmarks in the distance.
- Have a plan to capture your visit to the Tower. This one is a new addition to my list and something I’ll be encouraging anyone I know visiting Paris. So much so that I’m sure I’ll end up doing another post all about why & suggestions on how to make a photo shoot your own. In short – for many a visit to Paris is a once in a lifetime experience (and even if you know you’ll be back – each visit to this city is sure to be a special one) While C & I had visited Paris several times before (C actually studying abroad in Paris in high school) we had very few photos in the city, and no high quality (note that I would deem “frame-able”) images together. During our trip back this summer, I did some research, selected a photographer – L’Amour de Paris and booked a session to capture images in the city that would last a lifetime. These images are ones that I will treasure forever…. (note I’ll be doing a post on things I considered when selecting a photographer, how to narrowed down where to shoot, what to wear etc shortly & I’ll be sure to link here when I do) In the mean time if you book with them be sure to let owner Doug and CheyAnne know I sent ya!
- Looking for a place to eat near the Eiffel Tower? I mentioned the two restaurants located in the Eiffel tower above. There will also be a number of street vendors nearby where visitors can pick up a drink, crepes or even a hot dog. But if you are looking for a restaurant in the “neighborhood” below are a few we have tried and enjoyed during our travels. (note I will link the google map location to each.
- Firmine – this is a French Italian Restaurant. We ate here after our evening visit to the Eiffel Tower. It is open 1130am-1130pm. While the overall ambience was nice – I would say it is a bit touristy. I had the pesto pasta & C opt’d for a calzone. The service was fast and from looking around they had the space to accommodate groups inside (we opt’d for outside b/c when in France)
- Cafe De Mars– This place is one we will surely be back to. It combines my love of Mediterranean/Greek with C’s love of Asian fusion.- While this could sound odd at first – it truly made for memorable meals for us both – the server denoted they change their menu weekly – so we will be back to check it out again. The interior is small – but they also offer outside dinning – and service is fantastic. We opt’d for appetizers and dessert – having Foie gras and french onion soup for a starter & goat cheesecake with berries & Chocolate Torte with chocolate glaze for dessert. Note they are closed on Sunday and open noon-230pm/ 730p-11p
- Au Bon Accueil– We stumbled upon this place thanks to a suggestion of a fellow traveler. They offered a great price fix menu (35 Euro for a three course meal) with an excellent wine selection. (we got an excellent bottle for 23 Euro and they corked what we didn’t finish to take back to the hotel) The restaurant was intimate but not stuffy. We of course opt’d to sit out side to take in views of the Eiffel Tower down the street. We both opt’d for the Gaspacho with watermelon & quinoa salad. For our main course I had
Do you have a favorite spot to eat near the tower? or tips for fellow travels visiting this iconic location – be sure to add them in the comments below…