Bonne Annee mes amis! Happy New Year my friends!
I see no better way to kick off 2016 than with THE icon of Paris – the Eiffel Tower. Nearly everyone who plans a visit to Paris, at the very least, plans to see the Iron Lady if not explore the site. But with 7 million visitors each year, waiting in line to ascend the Eiffel Tower can easily eat up tons of precious sightseeing time.
You can, of course, book in advance your lift tickets which is a must if you plan to take the elevator up the tower but this does restrict you to an exact day and time with no option to change in case of rain or a cloudy day.
However, if you like to maximize your time AND have flexibility in your schedule, I recommend taking the stairs up the Eiffel Tower. Now, before you pass out, it is not as bad as it sounds and is a fantastic way to see the intricate iron work up close.
Buying your ticket and waiting in line:
You can not buy a ticket for climbing the stairs online. You must buy your entrance ticket at the dedicated ticket booth – marked in both French and English.
The wait lines for both purchasing the stair climbing ticket and for the entrance to the stairs is significantly shorter than the line to buy lift tickets and the line to get on the elevator. The main delay for entering the stairs is due to the security checkpoint. The difference in time for taking the stairs can save you hours of waiting in line!
For those of you who are also budget conscious, the ticket price for the stairs is cheaper than the lift ticket price.
Climbing the stairs:
You’ll find people of all ages climbing the stairs. The nice thing is that you can climb at your own pace stopping as necessary to view the scenery at each landing (or taking a quick rest). Some landings even have information to view. Don’t worry about those spry teenagers bounding up past you, they usually get winded too.
Don’t let the 704 steps intimidate you. You don’t ascend them all at once. They are divided up by the first floor where you can stop and explore around before heading up to the second floor. You can not take the stairs to the third floor. There is a ticket booth on the second floor to purchase tickets for the lift to the third floor.
Tidbits on climbing the stairs:
- Bring water with you. You will get thirsty.
- Definitely dress in layers. Despite visiting off season when the weather was cold, I did get hot (and sweaty) climbing the stairs only to get cold when I was exploring each level. It is very windy as you get higher up the tower.
- I found climbing to the first floor pretty easy but climbing to the second floor was a bit more challenging. I know this is common sense but pace yourself and stop at the platforms when you need to rest a bit.
- You can take the elevator down because no one is checking tickets to go down but once again there will be a long line to wait. I found that I enjoyed the view of the scenery and the tower much better going up than going down – mostly because I was watching where I was stepping so that I didn’t go tumbling down the tower.
I absolutely loved the experience of climbing the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. The wait lines are shorter, the price is cheaper and the experience is unique. A win-win-win!
What about you, will you add climbing the stairs of the Eiffel Tower to your Paris itinerary?
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Also part of the monthly #AllAboutFrance hosted by Phoebe of Lou Messugo.