If you’ve never been to Paris before, or even if you have, you need to visit the Eiffel Tower, at least once. It may seem touristy and cliched but once you reach the top of this iconic steel wonder, you’ll see why it’s the most visited paid monument in the world. Unfortunately, the wait to get in can take hours. And since you don’t want to waste your day standing in line, here’s how to skip it.
1. Buy Tickets In Advance
Anyone can purchase tickets via the official Eiffel Tower website up two months in advance, choose a specific entry time, and decide if you want to go all the way to the summit ($19, or €17) or just to the 2nd floor ($12, or €11). Just beware because tickets sell out quickly and if you’re more than 30 minutes late to your reservation, you lose your spot.
2. Eat a Meal
For multitaskers, consider booking a lunch or dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Whether you choose the informal 58 Tour Eiffel on the first level or the formal dining experience at Le Jules Verne on the second level, you’ll get to skip the line because they have separate entrances. Meal prices range from $48 to $260 (€42.50 to €230).
3. Buy A Package Through The Paris Tourism Office
Because Paris is a walkable city filled with hidden charms and sights, it can feel a bit overwhelming planning a sightseeing itinerary. That’s why The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau created the Paris Passlib available for one, two, three or five days. The package includes things like a one-hour boat cruise and one-day bus tour, but also, for an additional $17, you can get access to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower without the wait. Packages start at $45 (or €40).
4. Book A Tour
Using a private tour operator on any vacation can be helpful with organizing and planning a trip. They also can help you skip lines at attractions. Companies like Trafalgar offer comprehensive France itineraries where a visit to the Eiffel Tower without lines is included. Fat Tire Tours advertises their “Skip the Line” tour where you get access to all three levels, and City Wonders has a “Guided Eiffel Tower Tour” available that lets you walk straight to the front of the line with a local expert.
5. Take The Stairs
While everyone else is rushing the elevator, you can put in a little leg work by climbing the stairs to the first (330 steps) or second level (670 steps). From those points, you can take the elevator up to the next level where you’ll only wait a matter of minutes rather than hours. Stair tickets are only $8 and one writer said it was one of the best experiences of her trip. Extra bonus? You get to burn off your morning pain au chocolat.