The Eiffel Tower - Le Tour Eiffel - symbolizes the city of Paris to the world.  The 7+ million visitors who visit each year prove its enduring popularity!

If you are planning to be among them during your trip to Paris, you've probably heard horror stories about long waits in the ticket lines - up to 4 hours and even longer during the busiest (and often the hottest) times.

Unfortunately, these stories are true. 

Especially if you visit during the summer or on a sunny weekend without a reservation that lets you skip the ticket line, you'll swear at least half of those 7 million visitors are waiting to buy tickets on the same day you are.  

Book Your Eiffel Tower Tickets Now: Our Top Picks

But don't worry - this is where our list of eight easy ways to see the Eiffel Tower comes in. 

Once you know all the ways to avoid waiting in line for tickets, you can choose the best strategy for your visit, and spend your time enjoying the views as you create priceless memories. 

Because after all, there's nothing else quite like the thrill of experiencing the Eiffel Tower!

Book your Eiffel Tower tickets now:

Top photo: The Eiffel Tower, seen from Trocadero Gardens, (c) Paris Discovery Guide

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Eiffel Tower Ticket Requirements:  A Quick Overview

Eiffel Tower in Paris - 3 platforms
A view of the Eiffel Tower's 3 upper levels from the ground

Let's start with a quick refresher of what you can experience inside the Eiffel Tower, how to get to each of the three floors above ground level, and available ticket types.

As you may already know, the Eiffel Tower offers visits to three platforms, or floors, above ground level for you to visit.  Each level about the ground offers unique amenities and of course, its spectacular 360 degree views of Paris - and beyond, if you go up to the Summit level on top.

You can reach the 1st and 2nd Levels by either stairs or elevators.  Going up, elevators stop only at the 2nd Level, but do stop at the 1st Level on the way down.  You must have a ticket to access the 1st and 2nd Levels.  Several types of tickets are offered, based on whether you want to take the elevator and/or stairs. 

You can go up to the Summit (3rd and highest) Level by elevator only - but because it is a separate elevator from those going from the Ground Level to the 2nd Level, you always have to change elevators and must have a separate ticket if you plan to go to the Summit.

If you visited in the past, you may remember how you could buy Eiffel Tower Summit tickets from yellow ticket machines on the 2nd Level - but they have been removed. 

Now, if you want to visit the 3rd Level, you must purchase a Summit ticket in advance.

You can also choose to join a guided tour to the 2nd Level (which also allows you to visit the 1st Level) or to the Summit (which includes access to the 1st and 2nd Levels. 

If you want to go only to the 1st Level, you can get priority entry to that platform by making a reservation at the Madame Brasserie restaurant or by getting tickets to one of the relatively rare Eiffel Tower concerts (more about that in a moment).

Popular Eiffel Tower Experiences:

Eiffel Ticket Types

You must have Eiffel Tower reservations such as a ticket (or a tour voucher, or Eiffel Tower restaurant reservation confirmation or concert ticket) to enter the Eiffel Tower.

Four basic types of tickets are available (in addition to 1st Level-only access provided by restaurant reservations or concert tickets) based on which floors you want to explore, and whether you want to ride or climb. 

Here are your ticket choices to access Levels 2 and 3:

1.  Ticket to 2nd Level by elevator (elevator stops at the 1st Level on the way down)

2.  Ticket to the 3rd Level, the Summit (Top) by elevator (elevator goes to the 2nd Level; you change to another elevator to go to the top; on the way down, you get off the elevator on the 2nd Level and change to another that also stops at the 1st Level on the way down)

3.  Ticket to the 1st and 2nd Level by stairs

4.  Ticket to the 1st and 2nd Levels by stairs, and to the Summit (Top) Level by elevator; coming down, you get off the elevator at Level 2 and take the stairs down to the Ground Level (and no, you can't sneak onto the other elevator).

So how do our 8 easy ways to avoid the Eiffel Tower ticket lines help you?  Well, they all let you get your ticket without standing in long lines. 

We'll show you the pros and cons of each option - including a couple of lesser-known ways to experience the Eiffel Tower without regular tickets. 

During summer months, crowds waiting in Eiffel Tower ticket lines fill all the space around the "Iron Lady"
What you want to avoid: massive crowds waiting in Eiffel Tower ticket lines around the "Iron Lady"

Option 1:  Buy Your Eiffel Tower Entrance Tickets in Advance

You can choose from 2 ways to buy your tickets in advance online:

Buy Your Tickets on the Eiffel Tower Website

Go to the Eiffel Tower's website and make your Eiffel Tower reservations by buying your tickets online for a specific date and time, and print it on your home printer. 

You'll pay the same price as you would at the Eiffel Tower's ticket window. 

When you arrive at the Eiffel Tower, you skip the ticket line, although you'll still need to go through a couple of security checks and perhaps wait for the elevator to the 2nd Level. 

Sounds good, right?  It is - but be aware of these 3 "catches":

Catch #1:  Only a limited number of tickets are offered online.  They become available 60 days in advance for elevator access and usually sell out almost immediately during peak seasons. 

Tickets to access Level 2 by stairs go on sale 14 days in advance.  So to get the best (or any) date/time reservation choice, you need to start looking for tickets as soon as they are available. 

If you can't get them for the date/time you want, sometimes a few become available later (typically about 1 week before the visit date) - but they also sell out very quickly.

Catch #2:  These tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for another date or time slot. 

Even worse, you may have to forfeit your tickets for reasons beyond your control such as bad weather which delays your arrival, illness, delayed flights, or a transportation strike. 

Likewise, you forfeit the cost of your tickets if you arrive more than half an hour late for your time slot due to an unexpected delay on the metro, an extra-long time spent getting through the security check line before you reach the entrance line (which you could rightfully claim is not your fault), or any other delay beyond your control.

That means you usually lose the opportunity to go up inside the tower, since unless you want to chance standing in the very long line to buy another ticket in case a few may still be available, which is highly unlikely during the busiest seasons.

Catch #3:  The Summit occasionally closes due to strong winds or other dicy weather conditions.  Less frequently, the entire Eiffel Tower closes due to labor strikes or security precautions.  Occasionally, a celebrity will buy out the whole place and host a wedding or some other event there. 

If you have already purchased tickets, getting a refund can be hit or miss.  (Although in fairness, the Eiffel Tower now issues refunds more reliably than they used to.)

Buy "Skip-the-Line" Eiffel Tower Tickets through a Tour Company

Tour companies are much more likely to have skip-the-line Tour Eiffel reservation tickets available until almost the last moment, long after the last time slots get snapped up on the Eiffel Tower's website.  (That's because they're able to buy them in bulk in advance.  Is that fair?  Probably not - but that's the reality.)  They also come with a couple of perks that speed up your entry.

Do "skip-the-line" tickets really let you skip the long lines? 

Yes... and no.  You do get to skip the very long lines of people waiting to buy tickets on site.  You do NOT get to skip the security lines, but those lines are much shorter and typically move more quickly. 

And, you get two "bonuses."  You usually get to go through a faster "groups only" security line and up on a tour groups-only elevator with a shorter waiting line - so while you don't skip these lines entirely, you do avoid the longer lines.

Skip-the-line tickets bought through tour companies typically include the services of a "host" or "greeter" who will escort you and your group through the "groups" security line, which is almost always faster than the non-group entry. 

A host or greeter does not actually provide a tour, but will expedite your entry.  A tour guide does give you interesting information about the Tower, and depending on the tour, may take you to see areas you can't access on your own.

You can choose skip-the-line tickets to the 2nd Level or 2nd Level plus Summit - just like the options offered on the Eiffel Tower's website.  

Tour companies also offer stairs-only tickets.  You can usually select a "Summit" option, which means that after you've climbed the 704 steps to the Tower's 2nd floor, you will take an elevator to the top.  Or, alternately, once you've enjoyed the second floor views, you can take the elevator down to the first floor. 

Some skip-the-line tickets through a tour company may even be refundable up until 24 hours before your visit (read the details very carefully when booking to make sure). 

Tickets booked through tour companies typically cost more. However, because you usually can buy them much closer to your preferred date and you may be able to cancel or change them if your plans change (or if you want to avoid a rainy day), you have a much better chance of getting tickets for the date/time you want, and you reduce the risk of not being able to use them. 

And because the tour host or greeter can usually take you through a tours-only security line and up a tours-only elevator, they usually speed up your entry time - important if you are on a tight schedule and want to squeeze in as many Paris experiences as possible.  You are literally buying yourself some time.

Get your tickets now

Option 2:  Tour the Eiffel Tower with a Guided Tour

For the fastest and most stress-free access to the Eiffel Tower as well as an enjoyable and informative experience, book a tour with a guide. 

Your guide will make the Eiffel Tower reservations and will bring you (and a small group of usually 10-20 others) to the site, expedite your entrance through a special (and faster) security check, accompany you onto (usually) the groups-only elevator up to the 2nd Level, and give you lots of interesting information about the Eiffel Tower. 

If your chosen tour includes the Summit, you'll either do it on your own or accompanied by your guide, depending on your particular tour.

Here are two of the most popular guided Eiffel Tower tours:

More Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Experiences

Option 3:  Make Lunch or Dinner Reservations at an Eiffel Tower Restaurant

View from the Eiffel Tower's 1st Level in late November
View from the Eiffel Tower's 1st Level in late November

You can choose from two enticing restaurants within the Eiffel Tower where you'll enjoy wonderful skyline views of Paris while you enjoy your meal:

  • Jules Verne - Located on the Tower's second level above the ground, the Michelin-starred Jules Verne offers unforgettable contemporary gastronomic cuisine and sweeping city views and expedited entry through special Ground Level entrances and private elevators (once you pass through the security check); reservations required
  • Madame Brasserie - On the Tower's first level above the ground, Madame Brasserie offers wonderful views and several appealing lunch and dinner options for enjoying the contemporary cuisine overseen by Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx; reservations required

These reservations give you restaurant access only; if you want to spend time exploring the Eiffel Tower beyond the restaurant, you'll need to get admission tickets.  

In case you've heard or read that in the past, restaurant reservations would get you into the rest of the Eiffel Tower, that was indeed true... but that's now in the past.  Today, that perk is no longer possible due to security barriers.

Are Jules Verne and Madame Brasserie expensive restaurants?  Yes - but you get a wonderful experience.  In addition to a delicious meal, you also get priceless city skyline views from an iconic Paris location - without the crowds elsewhere on the Tower.

Make reservations 

Does the Eiffel Tower have other less-expensive places to eat? 

Yes - although you'll need to enter the Tower with a regular admission ticket or group. 

Snack bars on the ground, first, and 2nd (in the U.S. and Canada, that would be first, second, and third, or summit) levels provide a variety of affordable although still somewhat pricey casual choices.  On the 2nd floor, you can also stop by the tempting Pierre Hermé macaron bar. 

And don't forget the Champagne Bar on the Eiffel Tower's top level - the perfect spot to toast the City of Light.

Option 4:  Get Eiffel Tower Skip-the-Line Tickets in Combo with the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, Louvre Museum, or Seine River Cruise

If you want to combine an Eiffel Tower visit with sightseeing to other top Paris attractions, look for a combination tour package to make the most of your time.   You'll find a variety of options with skip-the-line tickets, so pick the one you like the best.  

These combos can also be a good strategy when other Eiffel Tower ticket options are sold out but since they can also save you a few (or more) euros, they're also a good deal.

Here are 3 of the most popular tour combinations:

Option 5:  Stand in Line to Get Your Tickets

Standing in line to buy Eiffel Tower admission tickets is sometimes a feasible option - but ONLY if there are no crowds or you have the time and patience to spend in line for hours. 

Those "only if" conditions generally rule out summer, weekends as well as many week days during other months popular with tourists such as April, May, September, and October, French and other European school holiday weeks, and periods around major events attracting visitors such as the Paris Marathon.

Avoid the wait - get skip-the-line tickets

So what does that leave?  

  - Bright, sunny (although chilly) days in March and November when the sky is crystal-clear.  

  -  Those special winter days in January or February when gently falling snowflakes transform the city (but don't accumulate enough for the Tower's 3rd level to close).     

  -  December evenings when you want an aerial view of the sparkling holiday lights twinkling across the city - except from about mid-December through New Year's Day, when everyone else has the same idea.

In fairness, at many times of the year, you can occasionally find shorter lines, especially late at night close to closing time - but you can't count on it, even on those chilly, rainy Paris evenings when you might think no one else other than you would be crazy enough to be there (but they are!). 

If you're visiting Paris for a short time and don't want to risk the hassle and stress of standing in line for hours, you're far better off getting skip-the-line tickets in advance.  Think of it as insurance against wasting hours of your precious time in Paris.

Update:  Please be aware that the Eiffel Tower now urges visitors to get their tickets for a specified date and timeslot in advance.

Option 6:  Buy Walk-Up Stairs-Only Eiffel Tower Tickets - Bonus:  Great Exercise & Usually No Ticket Line!

View from the Eiffel Tower's stairs between the ground and the 1st Level
View from the Eiffel Tower's stairs between the ground and the 1st Level

If you want Stairs-Only tickets to the 2nd Level, you used to have to buy them onsite or through a tour operator because they weren't offered on the Eiffel Tour's website. 

The good news:  1) now, sometimes you can buy them online (but sometimes not, depending on your date), and 2) but if you do decide to buy onsite, there is often a dedicated line for Stairs-only tickets and it usually moves quickly - so this is the one time (other than winter months) when buying your tickets onsite makes sense.

Don't forget, though, you can usually get stairs-only tickets online through a tour company even if the Eiffel Tower's website is sold out, or if you want the options of taking the elevator to the Summit level at the top (which requires its own ticket).

Assuming you're reasonably fit and don't mind heights, climbing the stairs is a fabulous experience because of the wonderful perspectives of Paris as well as close-up views of Eiffel Tower mechanics. 

Stair tickets are a particularly popular choice of families visiting with kids (beyond the toddler stage) and teens since the climb burns up a lot of excess energy.

Pro Tip:  If heights and/or tilted perspectives make you feel even slightly queasy, do yourself a huge favor and go up by elevator, and maybe also consider skipping the Summit.

Option 7:  Get Tickets for an Eiffel Tower Concert

Concert in the Eiffel Tower
Concert in the Eiffel Tower

We almost hesitate to include this option because only a few concerts take place at the Eiffel Tower each year. 

But if you happen to be in Paris at a time when one is scheduled (usually around Christmas or New Year's Day, but also random times as well), don't miss the chance to combine beautiful music with sweeping views of Paris from the 1st Level for an unforgettable evening. 

Check our Paris concert schedule by month for the period when you'll be here to see if any concerts are listed.  Pro tip: although each year may be different, they typically take place in January (usually on New Year's Day), April, June, and December - but if you'll be in Paris during a different month, check the concert lists from that month as well because again, the pattern does sometimes vary.

Concerts take place in the Gustave Eiffel Salon, located on the 1st Level platform inside the tower.  The Salon has floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides and offers fantastic views. 

You can usually order Champagne when you book your ticket, and sip it before the concert begins while you enjoy the skyline views of Montmartre and other parts of Paris.  The Champagne comes in a cute plastic flute, which you can keep as a souvenir if you want.

A quartet or quintet of professional musicians perform the concerts, which usually last about an hour plus another 5-6 minutes for an encore if everyone claps long enough at the end.

The tower lights up once the sky turns dark, so depending on the time of the year, you may experience the tower sparkling around you. 

After the concert ends, you can walk around the 1st Level for as long as you wish and take advantage of all the things to do: enjoy the panoramic views, stop by the Champagne Bar for another glass of bubbly, get something to eat at the snack bar, or peer straight down at the ground through one of the glass floor areas.

Although the Eiffel Tower's concert schedule is mostly unpredictable, several concerts almost always take place in November, December, and January, especially around the holidays, plus a few will also occur during other months - April and June are usually good bets.   

To find Eiffel Tower concerts, check our Paris concert schedule which lists what's on each month.  They always sell out, sometimes faster than you might expect, so book as soon as you're sure of your dates.

Option 8:  See the Eiffel Tower Without Eiffel Tower Tickets

This is the easiest of all our 8 Eiffel Ticket ticket options - avoid the need for a ticket altogether.

If you're in Paris for just a short time and want to see the famous "Iron Lady" but not tour it - or maybe you don't like heights - you'll have plenty of opportunities to get wonderful views of the famous Paris attraction from the ground or even from the top of other buildings and monuments.

Here are just a few of the many excellent Eiffel Tower viewing locations around the city:

  • Trocadero, directly across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower - head to the marble viewing platform by the Musée de l'Homme (Anthropology Museum) at Palais de Chaillot, or walk around the gardens until you find the perfect spot
  • Hop On / Hop Off Bus Tours - You'll get plenty of great views from the top of these fun open top double-decker buses - plus the drivers usually pause in the best spots for taking photos - Get your tickets
  • Montparnasse Tower - Go to the Observation Tower and Rooftop Terrace (get your tickets) or even better, enjoy the panoramic views during a delicious meal at the gourmet restaurant Le Ciel de Paris on the Tower's 56th floor
  • Top of the Arc de Triomphe - Get skip the line Arc de Triomphe rooftop tickets in advance    
  • Hotels - Choose a room with a view, and you can watch the Tower sparkle every night during your stay                
  • Place de la Concorde - Almost anywhere around the plaza - or walk over to the adjacent bridge across the Seine for even more spectacular views
  • Segway Tour with Eiffel Tower Views - Combine fun with great views!
  • Seine River cruises with Eiffel Tower Views:

More Articles about How to See the Eiffel Tower

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