Eiffel Tower

Locally nicknamed “La dame de fer” (French for “Iron Lady”), it was constructed from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair and was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognisable structures in the world.

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Tourist information about Paris

Basic information

The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel, map) is a wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars (map) in Paris. It is named after the engineer *Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.

The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building, and the tallest structure in Paris.

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The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. The top level’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground – the highest observation deck accessible to the public in the European Union. -> LES RESTAURANTS DE LA TOUR EIFFEL

Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the climb from the first level to the second. Although there is a staircase to the top level, it is usually accessible only by lift.

A petition called “Artists against the Eiffel Tower” was sent to the Minister of Works and Commissioner for the Exposition, Adolphe Alphand, and it was published by Le Temps on 14 February 1887:

We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection … of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower … To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years … we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal. 

Some of the protesters changed their minds when the tower was built; others remained unconvinced. The main structural work was completed at the end of March 1889. Guy de Maupassant supposedly ate lunch in the tower’s restaurant every day because it was the one place in Paris where the tower was not visible.

The nearest Paris Métro station is Bir-Hakeim (map) and the nearest RER station is Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel (map).

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Transport around Paris

sobus.travel — sells bus tickets for all the bus companies.

The Noctilien (Map of Noctilien) is a night bus service that operates in Paris and the Paris region from 12.30am to 5.30am. OuibusIsilinesFlixBusEurolinesMegabus >> (*Intercity buses in France)

Trains are a great way to get around in France. For regional trains, schedules can be found at ter.sncf.com. You can get from pretty much anywhere to anywhere else by train.

For long distances, use the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, or High-speed train) on which reservations are obligatory. TGVThelloOuigo. + RailEurope • EurostarThalysizy (Paris-Brussels) • TGV Lyria (Switzerland) • DB (Germany) • RENFE (Barcelona) >> *Rail travel in France

Several weekends throughout the year in France are known as ‘Black Saturday’ (Samedi noir) because of the start or end of school holidays and the coinciding traffic jams on French roads caused by thousands of tourists travelling to and from their holiday destinations. When possible it is wise to avoid these days. For traffic reports, see the website of the French traffic service.

⇒ Driving in France (wikivoyage)

aeroport.fr – list of airports in France. / parisaeroport.fr – Paris airport information.

Brittany FerriesP&O FerriesDFDS Seaways

England ⇔ France:

  • P&O Ferries – operate freight and passenger services from Dover to Calais.
  • DFDS Seaways – operate freight and passenger services from Dover to Dunkirk.
  • LD Lines – operate freight and passenger services from Portsmouth to Le Havre.
  • Brittany Ferries – operate freight and passenger services from Portsmouth to Caen, Cherbourg, andSt Malo, from Poole to Cherbourg and from Plymouth to Roscoff.
  • Condor Ferries – operate freight and passenger services from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, Poole to St Malo and Weymouth to St Malo.

Ireland ⇔ France:

  • Brittany Ferries – operate ferry services from Cork to Roscoff.
  • Celtic Link Ferries – operate ferry services from Rosslare to Cherbourg.
  • Irish Ferries – operate ferry services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and from Rosslare to Roscoff.

Video source: La tour Eiffel

Links to additional resources with useful information for planning your trip.