I have fallen in love with the Eiffel Tower. No matter how many times I return to Paris, I feel like it’s unfaithful of me if I don’t fit this remarkable piece of art into my itinerary. Even if I only have 3 days to spend in Paris, I have to make a stop here somehow!
But you can’t just show up to see this iconic structure. You have to really experience it! I’m about to show you how to get to the Eiffel Tower, how to take it in at all angles and appreciate it from all of its best sides.
The best and most memorable way to experience the Eiffel Tower is mid-week when crowds are minimal, and by starting from the affluent 16th arrondissement. Aim for around 6pm, a few hours before dark, to catch the métro to Trocadéro station. Walk up the steps to the surface and turn slightly left just ahead at le Palais de Chaillot. Follow the marble steps up the hilltop toward the wide esplanade. This is the most spectacular open view of the tower (and where you’ll get some of your best photographs!)
If you walk further up to the balcony that over looks Place du Trocadéro and its fountains you’ll be standing in the same historically significant spot Adolf Hitler once posed for his iconic photo with the tower in 1940, and then 8 years later where the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Stroll through Trocadéro gardens below, the romantic path of Lover’s Lane. The Eiffel Tower is only a 15 minute walk from here. Cross over Pont d’Iena into the 7th arrondissement to reach the tower’s entrance.
Don’t opt for the direct elevator. It’s more expensive and the line is always the longest. Instead, climb the first two levels by stairs (along the hand-made wrought iron that has stood over 120 years). It’s also less expensive, quicker, and much more scenic. In fact, some of my best pics were on my climb up to the top, and the 674 spiraling steps it takes to get there is always a nice accomplishment.
Timing is perfect! You’ll get a lighter city view from the first two levels and a more stunning view as the sun begins to set at the top.
If there is anything that brings me back down to earth, it’s always the gusty winds up here.
TIP: Pack a sweater (no matter what time of year!)
My ultimate favourite way to experience the tower is picnic-ing from the Champ de Mars below. Parisians and backpackers alike gather here. Earlier that day, we picked up a bottle of wine and some macarons where we were staying near rue Mouffetard (it beats the over-priced champagne you get atop the tower). The tower sparkles for 10 minutes on the hour until 1am. Once the site of a massacre during the French Revolution, today the lawn’s free open space is by far the most memorable way to experience Paris’ iconic tower.
TIP: You can order tickets (about €10) online to venture up the tower but you’ll be asked to reserve a time slot in advance. It might be more convenient, but if you’d rather take your time with this route your best bet is to buy when you arrive.