The most visited tourist attraction in Paris, the Eiffel Tower also ranks high on the list of places to visit in France. It’s hard to believe that the structure was dismissed as a monstrosity when it was first unveiled. The iconic tower was designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel for the Paris Exhibition of 1889, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution.
The tower consists of 18,000 sturdy iron sections (weighing over 10,000 tons) held together by 2.5 million rivets. This innovative structure is now considered a masterful architectural feat and is the most emblematic sight in Paris. From the Jardins du Trocadéro and the lawns of the Champs de Mars, there is just the right distance from the Eiffel Tower for a picture-perfect photo-op. Reaching 324 meters in height, the tower was the world’s tallest building until the Empire State Building was erected.
Visitors can take an elevator or walk up the 360 steps to arrive at the first level (at 57 meters) and 344 more steps to the second level (at 115 meters). The outlooks from both the first and second level are spectacular. To reach the top level, at the dizzying elevation of 276 meters, requires an exhilarating elevator ride from the second level. Visiting the top level is one of the most thrilling things to do in Paris, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
For those who’d like to indulge in a gourmet meal, the Jules Verne Restaurant is on the second floor. This restaurant features expansive windows, which allow diners to enjoy the amazing panoramas.
It’s best to purchase tickets in advance especially if visiting during high season. To ensure the best experience possible, tourists can sign up for the Eiffel Tower Priority Access Tour. This one-hour tour allows tourists to avoid standing in several long lines and offers the added benefit of educational commentary. A knowledgable guide will share interesting information and provide historical context.