eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower is located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 International Exhibition, it is today both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.


Built: 1887-1889
Architect: Gustave Eiffel
Height: 320m (1,050 feet)
Weight: 10,100 tons
Steps: 1,652 to the third level
Annual visitors: 7 million in 2016

...oh, and by the way, while the Eiffel Tower is in the public domain you can take any number of pictures of it during the day. But the night time display is the copyright of the technical designer. So, take pictures at night, and they are strictly speaking illegal. Tant pis!

The tower is the tallest building in Paris, and the most-visited paid monument in the world; more than 7 million people ascended it in 2011. The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.

During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Today, it is the second-tallest structure in France, after the Millau Viaduct.

In 2014, the Eiffel Tower underwent a €30 million refit, that has modernised the pavilions on the first floor, introduced access to the outer platform with its spectacular panoramic views of the city to those in wheelchairs. A cinema room shows historic and recent film of the tower.

The project aimed to reduce the tower's carbon footprint by repositioning glass panels to reduce air-conditioning costs in summer, introducing solar panels, installing a rainwater collection system, and using LED lighting.

The renovated floor, however, has a new attraction that is not for the faint-hearted or those with vertigo. Visitors can now stand on a glass floor and see straight down to the ground from a height of 57 metres, rather as they now can on the Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix, although in Chamonix the drop is rather greater.

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The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by stairs or lift (elevator), to the first and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift - stairs exist but they are not usually open for public use. Both the first and second levels feature restaurants.

There is a ticket office at the foot of the Tower, open every day, but you can buy tickets online. These electronic tickets - which you can print at home or save to your mobile phone - allows you to go directly to the queue for those with tickets. But be aware, that these tickets are date and time specific.

Also, check the website for information about anything that might be causing delays: www.eiffel-tower.com.

Open: all year, daily: mid Jun-early Sept 0900-0045; rest of year 0930-2345, but with extended opening hours at Easter and during Spring holidays.