Fodor's Expert Review Eiffel Tower

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Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower is to Paris what the Statue of Liberty is to New York and what Big Ben is to London: the ultimate civic emblem. French engineer Gustave Eiffel spent two years working to erect this iconic monument for the World Exhibition of 1889. Because its colossal bulk exudes such a feeling of permanence, it's hard to believe that the tower nearly became 7,000 tons of scrap when the concession expired in 1909. Only its potential use as a radio antenna saved the day. Though many prominent Parisians derided it at first, the tower gradually became part of the city's topography. It's most breathtaking at night, when every girder is highlighted in a glittering show of 20,000 golden lights for five minutes every hour on the hour from nightfall until 1 am.

More recent enhancements include a two-year, €30 million renovation of the first level that added a vertigo-inducing "transparent" floor 187 feet above the esplanade and a mini-turbine plant, four vertical turbine windmills,... READ MORE

The Eiffel Tower is to Paris what the Statue of Liberty is to New York and what Big Ben is to London: the ultimate civic emblem. French engineer Gustave Eiffel spent two years working to erect this iconic monument for the World Exhibition of 1889. Because its colossal bulk exudes such a feeling of permanence, it's hard to believe that the tower nearly became 7,000 tons of scrap when the concession expired in 1909. Only its potential use as a radio antenna saved the day. Though many prominent Parisians derided it at first, the tower gradually became part of the city's topography. It's most breathtaking at night, when every girder is highlighted in a glittering show of 20,000 golden lights for five minutes every hour on the hour from nightfall until 1 am.

More recent enhancements include a two-year, €30 million renovation of the first level that added a vertigo-inducing "transparent" floor 187 feet above the esplanade and a mini-turbine plant, four vertical turbine windmills, and eco-friendly solar panels to minimize the tower's carbon footprint over time. You can stride up 704 steps as far as the second level, but only the elevator goes to the top. The view of the flat sweep of Paris at 1,000 feet is sublime—especially if you come in the late evening, after the crowds have dispersed. Beat the crushing lines by reserving your ticket online, or book a skip-the-line guided tour offered by many companies (from €37). On the tower's second floor, the Jules Verne restaurant—with its Michelin star—is about as dramatic a lunch or dinner spot as you'll find. Or you can watch the glimmering lights from the top of the tower over bubbly, or a nonalcoholic drink, at the Bar à Champagne (there's also a sit-down bistro from Jules Verne chef Thierry Marx on the first floor and small "Buffet" snack shops on the esplanade and the first and second floors). 

At the tower's tippy top, you'll also find Gustave Eiffel's "secret apartment," which he used as his office, including wax mannequins of Eiffel, Thomas Edison, and a blonde woman in the background who represents Claire, Eiffel's oldest daughter, with whom he was very close.

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Fodor's Choice Family Notable Building

Quick Facts

Quai Branly
Paris, Île-de-France  75007, France

- 08–92–70–12–39 - €0.35 per min

www.toureiffel.paris

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: By elevator from €17.10; by stairs from €10.70, Stairs close at 6 pm in off-season (Oct.–June). Closed last 2 wks in Jan. for annual maintenance

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