What we love…
- The most iconic symbol in France is, of course, the Eiffel Tower. It's grand and majestic, and no first time visit is complete without taking in its breathtaking beauty.
- Most guidebooks will tell you about the spectacular views from the top, and yes while they are great, like most tourist attractions it can be slightly under whelming—especially after the long lines and hordes of pushy tourists.
- We aren't really fans of climbing the tower, but there are many other ways to get your fill of the monument in a more civilized way. Instead shop a local market for snacks and take in the views with an evening picnic from one of the prime viewing locations around the city. Once the sun sets you'll be able to view the wonderful light show that happens at the top of every hour until 2 am.
- If picnics aren't your thing a stroll along the River Seine will also provide wonderful views of the tower and river that are very peaceful and can be tourist free.
- The top of the Arc de Triomphe also has spectacular views of both the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées. If you go in the evening when all the lights line the street and begin to pulsate on the tower you'll see why we call Paris "La Ville-Lumière" (The City of Lights).
- If a visit to the tower itself is a must on your list we suggest going early in the morning or late in the evening when crowds are a bit more tame. There are three levels you can access, it will cost you €14 for the elevator to the top level, €8.50 for the second floor, and €5 for the stairs to the first viewing platform. Opening hours run an hour later during the summer months.
- Eiffel Tower was built in 1886 as part of the World's Fair, it's the tallest structure in Paris and the most visited paid monument in the world.
- The tower was not popular with the art world at the time of construction, in fact many Parisian artists objected to the building of such a “useless and monstrous” structure. Some switched their stories once the tower was built, but others did not. Guy de Maupassant famously ate at the restaurant inside the tower often saying it was the only place in Paris he could go to avoid seeing the monument. Now doesn't he sound like a fun dinner date?