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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Everything Eiffel Tower

So, I've been saving some of my Paris trip for this month, because I wanted to get through the holidays, but I also wanted to post for Valentine's Day, since most people think Paris is a very romantic city. I'm not saying I disagree, just that I think any place can be romantic if you're with the right person. This trip saw us visit the Eiffel Tower. This was our third visit, but the first time we did everything.

The Eiffel Tower is for everyone. Whether you're a tourist seeing all the sights, looking for a romantic experience, or just want to learn history.

We saw so many people taking photos in the middle of the street in front of the Eiffel Tower and I just want to say STOP IT. Don't do this. It's dangerous and ridiculous, and there are tons of other places where you can get an amazing photo of you and the tower and you're not in danger of being hit by a car, or just stand on the sidewalk on either side of the road. We took this photo across the bridge and I think it's beautiful with the water behind us. 

Hold on to all your belongings in the crowded platforms and elevators

We didn't buy tickets ahead of our trip, like we would normally do. I did try to book early, but they were sold out for months out, so I decided we'd get up early, head over right as the tower was opening and do our visit that way. We still had to wait about 30 minutes to get in, but that wasn't horrible. You will be going through two security checkpoints, so try not to bring a bunch of stuff with you if you don't have to. 

You don't actually save anything by buying tickets online, and I noticed this time that ticketed and non-ticketed guests merged into the same line at one point, but those with tickets got to bypass the line once it split after the first security point. 

You will go up in a tiny elevator packed with people, so keep this in mind on your visit. I try to bring as little as possible with me and we both wore our masks the whole visit, except for a few photos and while eating.

Behind us is one of the tower's lightning rods

While you don't have to go all the way to the top, I don't see the point of only going halfway up the tower, unless you've already visited and just want to hang out on the second floor where all the food is. The top floor has an inside and and outside portion. Both of them offer a 360-degree view of the city. Inside, look up and you will see how the Eiffel Tower compares to other towers around the world. It can be very windy at the top, so plan accordingly. We were blessed with nice weather. 

You can see quite a lot from the inside and outside platforms, but if you want to see more, pop a coin into one of these gorgeous telescopes. I took some lovely photos through the fencing though. I try not to linger, since I've visited several times before and there are so many people coming out to try to get their own romantic photos and selfies on this iconic landmark. So, I usually pick a spot that isn't crowded to take a break and enjoy the view, then move along the platform until I make it back around.

You'll find a cozy little gift shop at the top. It will always be packed with people. It has cute stuff in it, but I also recommend heading to the bigger shop on the lower floor by the bathrooms. Not only is it bigger, but we actually were able to shop all alone, despite how many people were visiting that day. This bigger shop has higher quality items as well, in case you're looking for gifts to take home. We bought things from both shops and the larger shop was just so much easier to navigate.

Not everything to look at at the top is facing outward. Make sure you take the time to look in the windows so you don't miss this awesome little room. This is an office that Gustav Eiffel designed for meeting important people. You'll see that he maximized the cramped space with a small desk, comfortable chairs and a library wall. It's very cool.

We did something different this time on our visit, which was to take the stairs. Down. We saw people walking, and we decided to check out the stairs between the 3rd floor and the 2nd floor, because the elevators were very busy and it's always nice when we can get extra exercise. We saw quite a few people walking up the stairs while we were going down. I wouldn't suggest doing this unless you are in top shape, because if you change your mind, there's no way to bail. You just live on those stairs now. Going down felt like forever and I saw people out of breath coming up when we were over halfway down and I wanted to tell them there were So. Many. Stairs. to go. Just keep that in mind if you think that walking up will be a fun time.


The second floor is full of interesting things, the least of which is this "glass floor". You can see through it if you look at an angle, but because it has this dotted safety glass, it doesn't really allow you the cool experience it could have. I thought it was funny though, so I took a bunch of photos of our feet.

This floor also has a step down where you can walk around the platform on the outside for (slightly less high) views of the city. Parts were being refurbished, so we couldn't walk along all of it, but if you hate crowds, this is a nicer experience of the tower. 

If you want to eat on the Eiffel Tower, there are a few options. I wanted to eat at Madame Brasserie, but the main dining room is very expensive. If you're lucky, you can get into the café. I wasn't optimistic, because it's first-come first-served, but there wasn't really anyone there right after opening and we were able to get a lovely table, with an amazing view, and get to dive into a French breakfast. (Eric was ecstatic.)

The inside of Madame Brasserie is so plush and feels like you're dining in the 1940s. The menu is small for breakfast, but what you get is excellent.

Our French breakfast consisted of coffee, juice, croissant, and baguette. Usually, you only have the choice of orange juice for this breakfast, but Madame Brasserie had two other selections, including apple juice. I was real skeptical by the color of it when it showed up, but this might be the best apple juice I've ever had.

Your breakfast comes with a selection of personal jams, honey, and real butter. So delicious! I don't know why I always forget how good this combo is when I get home. 

After you're disappointed by the glass floor, go check out the view from the overlook in the middle of the floor and you can see the same thing, but, you know, see it. This is a great catwalk and there were very few people walking around when we were there.

There's a grab-and-go food shop here and outside there's a bar that sells snacky foods, like big pretzels, and there's tons of seating. The view here is also lovely. This might be a great place for a romantic drink date if you don't want to spring for Madame Brasserie and can't get a seat in the café. 

If you visit with little ones, grab a free passport for them and let them do educational activities around the tower. They can learn more about things like architecture while having fun. You'll see these little peeps around that correspond with things in their passport.

We took a second to be nerds and take pictures in the kid back drops. Here's Eric rollerskating down the tower, I guess. It wasn't meant for us (clearly, because we were both way too tall and had to crouch), but we still love a good photo op, so we did it. We're fun like that.

Make sure not to rush through your visit and read the visitor guide. You don't want to miss anything. We didn't see half of these things on our last trips. It's possible some of it is new since 2013, but I don't know. 

The Eiffel Tower can be excellent for everyone. Whether you're a tourist trying to see all the sights, looking for a romantic experience, or just want to learn more history, it's worth the price of admission in my opinion. We have visited in both the day and the evening. If you'd like to do both, I suggest purchasing tickets in advance for an hour or so before sunset and that way you can experience both on one ticket.

What's a touristy landmark that you can't help but love?

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