You will need a ticket to get into the Eiffel Tower, and there are 4 different types of tickets available for the Eiffel Tower, each with an adult, child, and reduced prices.
EIFFEL TOWER TICKETS
Reduced Rate (4-11)
Stairs Entrance (2nd Floor)
Elevator Entrance (2nd Floor)
Stairs Entrance (2nd Floor) w/ Elevator Entrance (Top)
Elevator Entrance (Top)
Ticket Options Explained
But, before we get into the 4 options, it's important to understand what a priority ticket is.
These tickets (what the Eiffel Tower calls e-tickets) are only for the two ticket options that involve the elevator from the ground floor and are not available (nor usually needed) for tickets with stairs entrance.
There are no additional fees for these tickets.
It is highly recommended that you purchase them in advance if you want or need to take the elevators.
These are timed tickets, so wait times for the elevators to the 1st and 2nd floors of the Eiffel Tower for those with reservations (e-tickets) are minimal.
The queues for those without reservations (therefore, those who need to wait in the ticket line) have been reported to stretch over 2 hours at peak season (just watch this video).
There are a limited number of priority tickets each day and they can sell out a month in advance, sometimes even longer.
Some of the companies that offer tours of the Eiffel Tower will include priority e-tickets for the elevator to the 1st and 2nd floors.
SOLD-OUT TICKETS AND GUIDED TOURS
Technically, Eiffel Tower tickets never sell out.
What actually gets sold out are the priority e-tickets for the elevators that one can purchase on the main website.
If those are sold out, you can still queue up for the elevator, but these lines can take over two hours in the high season.
If you don't want to use the stairs and there are no elevator tickets available during the time of your visit from the official ticket site, then you will need to consider using a 3rd party seller.
This will almost certainly mean higher prices but will mean you have a better chance of getting tickets.
However, with the higher prices come both priority e-tickets as well as on-site concierge services and guided tours.
Additionally, you can also add on a number of other amenities such as a dining experience, or have your visit to the Eiffel Tower combined with a number of other activities such as a river cruise for a discounted rate.
Second Floor Priority E-ticket Elevator Access with a Guided Tour
Meet your tour guide at the base of the Eiffel Tower and get priority access to the elevator plus a tour of the 2nd floor.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular destinations in Paris, so you can expect a crowd no matter when you come.
That being said, there are times when things are a bit quieter at this famous landmark.
June 21 - September 2nd
09:00 am - 00:46 (12:45 am)
23:00 (11 pm) - last elevator to the top
Rest of the Year
09:30 am - 23:46 (11:45 pm)
22:30 (10:30 pm) - last elevator to the top
As with most popular attractions in the world, you can rely on a few golden rules when it comes to the Eiffel Tower.
The first thing to keep in mind is that it will always be busier over the weekend when compared to most weekdays.
The second thing to note is that crowd sizes are at their smallest during the early morning and after dark.
If you’re trying to avoid the busiest hours, plan on a weekday visit between the hours of 9:00 am - 11:00 am in the morning or 22:00 (10 pm) - 00:00 (12 am) in the evening.
Considering that the tower is lit up once the sun goes down, you may want to go later rather than earlier.
Many visitors try to get tickets for the Eiffel Tower at sunset hoping to get to the top and see the city as the sun goes down, but it’s not as easy as you might think.
This is a pretty popular time of day to visit the landmark, so you can expect a large crowd.
Lift tickets (whether you purchase them online or when you arrive) require you to wait in line for the elevator to the 1st & 2nd floors as well as the line for the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
If you don’t want to miss the sunset, we recommend getting a priority ticket so that you can at least skip the ticket line.
Priority tickets (purchased before arriving) allow you to skip the elevator ticket line at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower.
You’ll still have to wait in a shorter line for the elevator, but you’ll be saving time by avoiding the ticket line, sometimes hours.
If you want to come at sunset, make sure to get one of these tickets and show up a little early just in case and use this service to find out when you can expect the sun to set in Paris.
Several tourists note that weather can also play a factor in picking the best time to visit.
If you come at a time when it is windy, rainy, or foggy, chances are that you won’t enjoy the experience as much.
At times the wind and rain can get bad enough that they will actually close off the top of the tower.
Priority tickets for the 1st & 2nd-floor elevator will allow you to save some time that you might have otherwise spent in the ticket line, and you won’t need to climb up the stairs.
The line for visitors without priority elevator tickets.
Many visitors indicate that it can take an additional hour or more to get on the elevator from the 1st and 2nd floors to the very top, and you should keep that in mind if you want to get to the top in time for sunset.
There are no priority tickets for this elevator.
As a result, if you want to see everything and take the elevator to the very top floor, you should set aside at least 2 - 2 ½ hours.
This timeframe assumes that you have purchased priority access to the ground floor elevator or choose to take the stairs to the 1st & 2nd floor.
If you take the elevator from the ground floor without a reservation (priority e-ticket), you may need more than 3 hours total depending on the time of day and year.
If you want to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower at a specific time, and you don’t want to walk up any stairs, make sure to purchase a priority ticket (skip-the-line) for entry at least 1 ½ - 2 hours in advance of your desired time.
There is no time limit on your tickets, so you are free to stay as long as you wish.
Parking is limited around the Eiffel Tower, so we recommend that you park in an underground carpark instead.
The Quai Branly car park is the closest, just 300 meters away!
Shopping/Dining and Amenities
One of the easiest ways to get priority access to the Eiffel Tower is by reserving a table at one of the restaurants on either the first or second floor.
Guests having a meal at one of these locations will be given access to a private lift which will take them to the floor in question.
Even if you don’t feel like going to a fancy restaurant, there are a few other places where you can grab a bite.
There are buffets located on the Esplanade and the 1st & 2nd floors. You will also find a macaroon bar on the second floor and a champagne bar at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
In addition to all of these dining options, there are also gift shops on the Esplanade and the 1st & 2nd floors.
There are restrooms with baby changing facilities on each floor of the tower – including the summit.
STAIRS VS. ELEVATOR
If you’re trying to decide whether to take the elevator or climb the stairs, there are a few things to consider.
Many visitors get frustrated by the amount of time it takes to wait for the elevator, particularly if a visitor doesn't have a reservation (a priority e-ticket).
Without a reservation, it can take an hour or more just to get in the lift from the ground and reach the 1st & 2nd floors – not to mention the 60-90 minute wait you can expect to get on the elevator to the top floor.
Unfortunately, tickets for stairs access are only available at the Eiffel Tower, so you won’t be able to purchase them in advance.
However, lines for stairs access are usually non-existent or very short, especially when compared to the ticket lines for the elevators.
You can also purchase tickets for some tours online which provide tickets for stairs access, allowing you to buy them in advance.
There are a total of 328 stairs to the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. To reach the second floor, you will need to climb another 341 steps.
In total, there are 669 steps to climb. For details on how high each floor is, make sure to read our levels explained section.
As you slowly head to the first and second floors of the Eiffel Tower, you’ll also have the opportunity to look around and see the city below at various heights.
Some guests recommend taking the elevator up and walking back down on the stairs for both experiences.
THE LEVELS EXPLAINED
There are four levels to the Eiffel Tower and you will need to purchase tickets to reach at least three of them.
Here is a breakdown of what you can expect on each level.
The Esplanade(Ground Level)
This is where you will enter the Eiffel Tower. You can also purchase tickets here and there are buffets & gift shops in the area as well.
Make sure to stop by the bust of Gustave Eiffel before heading up the tower!
1st Floor (57m/187ft)
You will require tickets to get to this level and these tickets will also grant you access to the next level as well.
This section has a transparent floor that will allow you to look down and see everyone walking underneath.
There are also relaxation areas and exhibits at various locations on this floor.
Although there aren’t as many activities on this floor, you will have one of the greatest views of the city from this level.
There are telescopes at regular intervals to give you an even better look at Paris.
This is the last leg of the journey before heading to the top.
Also referred to as the summit, this is the highest point that anyone is allowed to visit on the Eiffel Tower. An additional ticket will be required to see this level.
There is a champagne bar and a fully restored representation of Gustave Eiffel’s office on this level.
You will find a few other exhibits on the top floor, but the main attraction is definitely the unforgettable view of Paris.
This is one of the more popular tourist passes in Paris, and it's an all-inclusive pass. That means you'll have access to every attraction and activity included on the pass for the entire length of the service.
You can purchase this pass for 2, 3, 4, or 6 days at a time. In addition to covering the cost of an Eiffel Tower visit, it also includes the following attractions:
The Eiffel Tower usually isn't included on any tourist passes, but this attraction was recently added to the new Paris City Card. This is a prepackaged pass which covers the cost of several specific attractions. In a way, it's a lot like a combo package.
Here are the activities included with this pass:
Cruise on the Seine
City Tour of Paris
10% discount on other attractions
At just €63, this is actually cheaper than most of the other combo tickets on our list, and it includes more things to see and do.
The addition of a 10% off coupon allows you to save even more money on other activities in Paris, so if you're planning to visit sites like Versailles, Musée d'Orsay, and many other popular locations.
Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers.
Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.