Champagne on the Eiffel Tower

Many of my friends have been to Paris, but when I ask them, did you go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, inevitably the answer is no. I’m always amazed, but really shouldn’t be. After all, this was my 4th trip to Paris, but first time up the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower evening

The colours of the tower change with the light. Like many things, it looks best closest to dawn or dusk.

Why don’t people go up? It seems like such a cliché. The lines are always miles long. There are too many other things to do in Paris.

Well friends, here’s my advice – unless you’re deathly afraid of heights, go. It’s worth it in every way. After all, the Eiffel Tower has become THE icon of Paris. Yes, you could go up the Tour Montparnasse for great views too, but you’re just at the top of another office building.

Eiffel Tower lace

What were all the jets doing in the air that evening?

Here’s a tip for avoiding the longest lines. You can buy your tickets online ahead of time on the official Eiffel Tower site.

Tickets are available for the two different levels of the tower. You want to go to the top, trust me on that. Don’t go in half measures, you’re in Paris after all. On our laptop we bought the tickets the day before, sent them to my Gmail account, and then went to an internet café to print them out. Easy.

Eiffel Tower on the way up

The Eiffel Tower is all skeleton. You are hyper-aware of this on the way up and down.

Eiffel Tower driving wheel

It's very mechanical on the Eiffel Tower. Not many circuit boards in evidence.

When you get there, you’ll still find lines with ticket holders, but they are much, much shorter than the ones to buy tickets.

Like anything iconic, where the image is embedded in your mind, it’s a bit disorienting the first time you actually see the Eiffel Tower. It’s as if you want to confirm, that yup, looks just like the pictures. When you get close to it, it’s bigger than you might expect. Just as Meccano-like though. Have a good look at all those bolts, just to ensure that the whole thing will hold up, at least while you’re going up.

Eiffel Tower nuts and bolts

You have to marvel at the engineering.

And when you go to the top, cast all of your good sense and penny-pinching instincts to the winds and buy a flute of the delicious over-priced Champagne. For the rest of your life, you’ll remember you drank Champagne on top of the Eiffel Tower. What could be better?

Tourists getting ready for a taste

This must be the place...

Eiffel Tower Champagne

Could it be any more touristy? No, but it was great fun.

View of Pont Alexandre III

You can see Pont Alexandre III quite clearly. Look for the gold statues.

Palais de Chaillot

View of the Palais de Chaillot, more heroic Parisian architecture. Built for the 1937 world exposition. Where so many have posed to get a view of the Eiffel Tower behind them.

Musee Branley

Typical Paris apartment blocks and the rust brown Musée Branley on the left.

If you’re feeling in a really luxe mood, get a reservation at the Jules Verne restaurant in the tower. Unlike other “tourist restaurants”, this one is quite respected by Parisian food critics and under the supervision of super-chef Alain Ducasse. Save your pennies…. lunch is prix fixe at 85 E, and dinner is 200 E. And that’s before you get into their all-French wine list…. but, it’s the Eiffel Tower, non?

Champs de Mars

One last view over the Champs de Mars, a popular spot for a romantic picnic.

Thomas Edison and Gustave Eiffel

When Thomas Edison visited the Eiffel Tower in August 1889 during the World Exposition, he wanted to go up the world's tallest free-standing structure like everyone else. Eiffel built a small office at the top where he entertained guests. Here we see the two great men, with Edison demonstrating his new phonograph. Claire Salles Eiffel is in the background.

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Comments: 2

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  • paul

    That was not Edison’s phonograph… it was weather instruments that Eiffel had up there for monitoring and recording atmospheric conditions.

  • Andy Strote

    Thank you for the comment and clarification. I actually have a book on the Eiffel Tower – it’s time I read it!