The Eiffel Tower is the ultimate symbol of Paris and France, and the most visited site in the world. The aesthetic free-standing iron lattice structure rises above the city skyline (it is illegal to build a structure that obscures the tower in central Paris). The tower was originally erected as part of the 1889 World’s Fair which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Designed by Gustave Eiffel it took a little over 2 years to construct and represented engineering prowess and technological advances in Europe’s Industrial Era. Although intended to last only 20 years the tower proved useful as an elevated point for radio transmissions.
Located on the bank of the Seine River on the Champ de Mars the tower is 324 meters tall and one of the world’s tallest structures. The structure has 2,500,000 rivets; 18,000 metal parts and weighs 10,100 tons in all. Although the stairs all the way to the top level are usually closed to the public, there are 1,665 steps in all. For more convenient access there are elevators from the tower’s eastern, northern and western pillars which take visitors to the 2nd level. And a private lift in the southern pillar which takes diners up to the Jules Verne restaurant. There are more elevators which continue on up to the 3rd level.
Although you can visit the Eiffel Tower and simple admire it from below, the tower offers much more than a photo op. There are three levels which visitors can explore with the ultimate third floor observatory platform being the highest accessible level at 279.11 meters. You can take an elevator to the 1st level or walk up 300 steps. The first level (57 meters above ground level) has a restaurant 58 TOUR EIFFEL, events area and balustraded areas from where you can take in the views. Also on this level is exhibition space which is used to showcase the tower’s history and features. From the 2nd floor there are panoramic views and it is possible to reach this level by elevator or by climbing the 704 steps. Also on the 2nd floor is the Michelin star restaurant Le Jules Verne.
Apart from the breathtaking views from each level of the Eiffel Tower the structure has become a symbol of romance, beauty and light. 336 projectors and 20,000 light bulbs shin on the tower for 5 minutes every hour from night fall to 1 am.
The Eiffel Tower is open to visitors daily from 9am to midnight, 15th June to 1st September and the rest of the year from 9:30am to 11pm. An elevator to the 2nd level and entrance costs €8.5 for adults, €7 for 12-24 year olds and €4 for 4-11 year olds. An elevator ride to the top and entrance fee cost €14.5 for adults, €13 for 12-24 year olds and €10 for 4-11 year olds. To take the stairs to the 2nd level it will cost you €5/€3.5/€3.