Despite bunker-worthy security (including a soon-to-be-built 2,5 metre bullet-proof glass wall), unspeakable queues, jam-packed elevators and interminable waits between each level, there is no getting out of this one!
One of the world’s most easily identifiable monuments and Paris’ most symbolic landmark, Mr Eiffel’s Dame de Fer should be on any visitor’s agenda even if it is just for a photo opportunity at ground level (especially recommended in the evening when sumptuous night lights twinkle for five minutes on the hour until 1 am).
If a view from upstairs is on the cards:
- Buy your tickets online and arrive (very) early.
- A keen sporty? Opt to climb the stairs. Waiting times for this will be (surprise, surprise) short. The added benefit? Being able to admire Gustave’s ingenious engineering rivet by riveting rivet as you pant your way ever upward. If the thought of the full 704-step ascent to Level 2 is too gruesome to contemplate, stop at Level 1, pay a small supplement and head on up by elevator. Et voila! Queue avoided.
- To avoid the hoi polloi at the lifts, join the very informative “Behind the Scenes” guided tour (1h30), which whizzes straight through the lines. Alternatively, hit two birds with one baguette by booking a table at Alain Ducasse’s Jules Verne restaurant where you will enjoy i) a gourmet feast and ii) private lift access to Level 2.
- Bear in mind that while Levels 1 and 2 are fine for little feet, the same cannot be said for Level 3, which can feel crowded and claustrophobic.
- For a very snazzy postmark, send a postcard from the Tour Eiffel post office.
- To prepare your visit http://www.toureiffel.paris.
Eiffel Tower Addresses
- Le Casse Noix, 56 Rue de la Fédération, 75015- A cosy retro atmosphere and homey, heart-warming cuisine. Add smiling, efficient service and excellent value for money and you've got a slam-dunk.
- Arnaud Nicolas, 46 Avenue de la Bourdonnais, 75007- Mouth-watering terrines and charcuteries from a young, talented and discreet Meilleur Ouvrier de France Charcutier whose deliciously refined creations can be found on the tables of big-name chefs (Alain Ducasse) and swanky dinners (the Trump-Macron Eiffel Tower doodah).
- Café Constant, 139 Rue St. Dominique, 75007- A bustling vintage-themed bistro with a laid-back atmosphere, unpretentious, impeccably executed comfort food, stellar service and incredible value for money: a master-class demonstration by chef Christian Constant of what a neighbourhood bistro should be about. No reservations so arrive early if you don't want to prop up the bar.
- Les Cocottes, 135 rue St. Dominique, 75007- A more contemporary but equally welcoming Constant outlet where seasonal ingredients cooked in traditional Staub cocottes take centre stage (Again no reservations).
- Le Café de Mars, 11 Rue Augerau, 75007- A warm and relaxed neighbourhood bistro with cheerful red banquettes and a vintage mosaic floor. A short well-balanced menu and efficient service.
- Les Deux Abeilles, 189 Rue de l'Université, 75007 ✆ (0)1 45556404 - A charmingly old-fashioned, lavender-and-lace salon de thé offering tempting homemade tarts, crumbles and scones.
- Terres des Cafés, 67 Avenue de la Bourdonnais, 75007- If you are serious about coffee, you will love this stamp-sized coffee bar offering artisan specialty coffees from one of the city's best roasters.
- Carette, 4 Place du Trocadero, 75016- Heavy-on-the-gilt decor, white-aproned waitresses, dainty pastries and hot chocolate à l'ancienne.