Get To The Top Of The Eiffel Tower In 20 Minutes!

Eiffel Tower
So, you finally take that trip to Paris that you have always been dreaming about, but when you get to the Eiffel Tower your heart sinks when you see the ridiculously long queue. You approach the ticket booth only to hear the dreaded excuses confirming what your mind is already telling you – you will not be able to get to the top of the tower, at least not today.
I have been to Paris a few times, and this is the best kept secret to getting to the top of the Eiffel Tower in twenty minutes!

Be Prepared For Loads Of Excuses

Honestly, I love Paris and I have found the Parisians to be some of the nicest people on earth, but the employees at the Eiffel Tower never cease to amaze me.
 

Every time I go, I hear one of several excuses. “The elevator is broken,” “The queue is four hours long,” “You can only get to the Mezzanine.”

It is as if they are so proud of their landmark, they do not want any tourists near it.

Well, I am here to tell you that I have heard all of those excuses and every time I’m in Paris, I’ve made it to the top of the tower well inside of an hour each time. 
a photo of the base of the Eiffel Tower

photo from Ellen Phillips archive

Here Is The Secret

First, smile and politely tell the people at the ticket booth you want to buy a ticket to the top of the tower.
 
You may hear them say that you can only get a ticket to the first level and if they get the elevator working, you will have to buy another ticket to the top. Smile and buy your ticket. No sense making enemies when you are on a quest!
Next, DO NOT get in line. The queue easily takes a couple of hours
 
Go straight to the stairs and start making your way up. You will need to climb about 700 steps. I am in good shape and it definitely winded me, but hey, you are in Paris, and this IS the Eiffel Tower, so get going!
 
This portion will take you about 15 minutes and it is a bit exhausting but keep telling yourself that you are in Paris, and this IS the Eiffel Tower.
Welcome to the Eiffel Tower

photo from Ellen Phillips archive

The Mezzanine Level

When you finish that climb, you will be on the mezzanine level and the views are actually pretty good from here.
 
You will notice however that there are plenty of employees walking around in a very stoic manner and they will be telling one of two stories.
 
The first is that the elevator is broken, and you cannot go any higher. The second is that you need to stand in another long line to purchase a second ticket.
 
Ignore both of these, unless you truly do not see the elevator working.

This Is What No One Will Tell You!

The first ticket that you bought at the main ticket booth will get you all the way to the top. No one tells you this.
 
So, once you are on the mezzanine, just go straight to the elevator. That line is super short, less than five minutes. Each time we have been has been the same!
 
Hop in and you are at the top of the tower in no time flat!
A photo of the Arc de Triomphe from the Eiffel Tower

photo from Ellen Phillips archive

I have had a few friends who take that once in a lifetime trip to the City of Lights. When they get there, the queues are overwhelming so they miss going up to the top of the tower. Such a shame!

The views of Paris are extraordinary! One other thing that is not often mentioned about the Eiffel Tower and that is the stability. Because of the wide-base design, the highest viewing platform is incredibly stable. I could have stayed up there for hours.

I hope you get to take that fabulous trip to Paris one day. If you do, please make an effort to go to the top of the tower. It is spectacular! If you found this helpful, please check out my travel page for more insights from my trips! 

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Designer, Organizer, Mom, Retired Athlete, Yoga Junkie, and Travel Enthusiast

Ellen Phillips

Living a Beautiful Life