Short description

The Eiffel Tower, an iconic symbol of France and a masterpiece of engineering, was constructed by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Universal Exhibition held in Paris. Completed in a remarkable timeframe of 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days, the tower stands as a testament to Eiffel's visionary brilliance. Originally intended to last only 20 years, it was repurposed for scientific experiments and later telecommunications, becoming a vital part of national infrastructure.

Throughout its history, the Eiffel Tower has hosted numerous events, illuminations, and prestigious visitors, cementing its status as a cultural icon and a symbol of Paris. Today, it remains the most visited paid monument globally, attracting millions of tourists annually.

Gustave Eiffel, a renowned engineer, was instrumental in the tower's design and construction, alongside engineers Émile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin. Despite facing opposition from traditionalists favoring stone and concrete structures, Eiffel's innovative use of metal prevailed.

The tower's construction marked a significant milestone in architectural history, showcasing the potential of metal structures on a monumental scale. Eiffel's involvement in various scientific endeavors, including meteorology and aerodynamics, further demonstrated his commitment to advancing knowledge and technology.

Despite facing challenges such as the Panama Canal scandal, Eiffel's legacy endures through his contributions to engineering and scientific research. His dedication to the Eiffel Tower's preservation and its transformation into a hub for scientific exploration underscore his enduring impact on modern engineering and innovation.

Open hours

In the context of the COVID-19 epidemic and due to the government health measures announced, the Eiffel Tower will be closed to the public until further notice as of Friday, October 30, 2020 inclusive.

14 September - 15 October
10:30 - 17:30
Last ascent before 5:15 pm

  • Except Saturdays: 9:30 am - 11:45 pm (last ascent at 10:30 pm)
  • Except Sundays: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm (last ascent at 5:15 pm)
    10:30 - 17:30
    Last ascent before 5:00 pm

Except Saturdays and Sundays: 9:30 am - 6:30 pm (last ascent at 5 pm)

The rest of the year
10:30 - 17:15

10:30 - 17:15
Last ascent before 4:45 pm

Before Covid : Ouverture : toute l'année, de 9h00 à 24h00 l'été (mi-juin à début septembre) et 9h30 à 23h00 en hiver
Fermeture : pas de jour de fermeture

Before Covid: Open: all year round, from 9:00 am to midnight in summer (mid-June to early September) and 9:30 am to 11:00 pm in winter
Closing: no closing day

  • Métro :
    • Lines 6 and 9: Station Trocadéro to 500 m (15 mn)
    • Line 6 : Bir-Hakeim station is also 500 m away (11 mn). The subway line 6 is overhead and runs in the open air. It crosses the Seine just before arriving at Bir Hakeim station. You will also be able to see the Eiffet Tower when you get there. Always an exciting moment !)
    • Line 8 : Ecole Militaire Station (15 mn)
  • RER : line C - Station "Tour Eiffel-Champ de Mars"
  • Bus : 82, 42, 87, 69
  • Batobus : Service de navettes sur la Seine. Escale Tour Eiffel (
  • Parking : à proximité (Prévoir réservation)
    You can also click here to get the access map.

Eiffel Tower
Champs de Mars, Avenue Gustave Eiffel and 5 Avenue Anatole France
Paris, 75007

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 30″ N 2° 17′ 40″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.85881 2.29459

Address of the operator of the Eiffel Tower:
Eiffel Tower Operating Company (SETE)
1 Quai de Grenelle,
75015 Paris


To visit the Eiffel Tower : click on Reservation

General information to visit the Eiffel Tower : You have the following possibilities:

  • Go up to the 1st floor (57 m)
  • Go up to the 2nd floor (115 m)
  • Go up to the 3rd floor (274 m)
  • Guided tour of the basement (Machine room and "bunker" under the Tower and up to the 2nd floor (Roof of the restaurant "Jules Vernes" on the 2nd floor) + Wire cutter / no waiting girl)

You can go up by the elevators or the stairs (with a ticket)

Types of available tickets:

  • by elevator from the ground to the 2nd floor
  • by stairs from the ground to the 2nd floor
  • by stairs from the ground to the 2nd floor + elevator to the top (On sale only on site).
  • by elevators from the floor to the top
  • it is not allowed to take only the stairs from the ground to the top or the 2nd floor to the top.

Buy your tickets in advance at the online ticket office to avoid queuing at the cash registers

You will be able to buy your e-tickets for the top and the 2nd floor (by elevator) at a best price. So by buying time-stamped e-tickets, you will also save time on the spot! You can book up to 2 months in advance: a must to book during the summer months (July and August) which are the busiest.

For those who want to visit unexpectedly, our online ticket office offers e-tickets for a same day visit (if available): up to 3 hours before the visit for elevator tickets.

Location of the entrances to the Eiffel Tower (to save time)

To get on the elevator, go to the EAST or WEST pillars.

  • Visitors with tickets will need to look for the lines with green flags to go directly to the pillar entrance.
  • Visitors without tickets will have to go through the lines to the cash registers (yellow flag). Cash desks are generally open at both pillars (East and West).

Visitors wishing to take the stairs will go to the SOUTH pillar (blue flag).

  • Visitors without tickets will be able to access cash desks to purchase staircase tickets to the 2nd floor (blue flag).
  • Open also for visitors to purchase  staircase tickets to the 2nd floor + elevator to the top - Option on sale only on site (blue flag).

New service! If you have lost or found an object, we invite you to report it online here:

Full description

The Eiffel Tower was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Universal Exhibition, spread over 96 hectares in Paris: the Champ-de-Mars and the Palais du Trocadéro.

Origin of the Eiffel Tower

The Second Empire (1852 - 1870) and Napoleon III chose the Champ-de-Mars for the great universal exhibitions of 1867, then 1878, and finally 1889 (Centenary of the revolution of 1789). At the 1889 exhibition, the highlight of the show was the Eiffel Tower.

The year 1889 was also the celebration of the first centenary of the French Revolution. The construction of the Eiffel Tower in 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days, by 250 workers, was a truly technical and architectural performance. This exceptional heritage still attests to Gustave Eiffel's visionary genius.

Intended to last only 20 years, it was saved by the scientific experiments that Gustave Eiffel promoted, in particular the first radio transmissions and later telecommunications. At first a meteorological laboratory, then a radio and TV station (1925). From the open gallery, you can see the two lighthouses and the TV antennas, installed in 1957.

A central role for more than 130 years

Over the decades, the Eiffel Tower has known exploits, extraordinary illuminations, and prestigious visitors. The mythical and audacious site has always inspired artists and challenges.

It is the theater of many events of international scope: lighting, the centenary of the Tower, a pyrotechnic show of the year 2000, painting campaigns, glittering. It became Blue Tower for the French Presidency of the European Union or multicolored for its 120 years. It was also the sites of installations such as an ice rink, a garden...

The monument is the symbol of France and showcase of Paris. Today it receives nearly 7 million visitors per year (of which about 75% are foreigners), making it the most visited paying monument in the world. Nearly 300 million visitors, regardless of age or origin, have come from all over the world to discover it since it opened in 1889.

Eiffel Tower: the symbol of France

The 360° panoramic view of Paris is unique, especially from the 2nd floor. On this floor is the Jules Verne restaurant, starred in the Michelin Guide. On the 1st floor, there is a brasserie that will reopen in 2021. On the 3rd floor, the "Champagne Bar" offers glasses of rosé or white champagne, served chilled as desired. Your glass can be accompanied by caviar! But you can also find homemade lemonade and mineral water. Open from 11 am to 10:30 pm (until midnight in July and August).

The builder, the engineer Gustave Eiffel

Gustave Eiffel's exceptional career as a builder is marked by technical feats. He was born on December 15, 1832 in Dijon and died on December 27, 1923 in Paris.

In 1876, he built the Porto viaduct over the Douro River in Portugal, then the Garabit viaduct (France) in 1884, as well as the Pest railway station in Hungary, the dome of the Nice Observatory, and the ingenious structure of the Statue of Liberty in New York. The highest building he built remains the Eiffel Tower in 1889. This date marks the end of his career as an entrepreneur when he became embroiled, in spite of himself, in the scandal of the Panama Canal. But before that, he was the initiator of "portable bridges", sold in "kits" all over the world.

After the Exposition Universelle of 1889, he tried to find a use for the Eiffel Tower, which had lost interest . He researched air resistance, building a wind tunnel at the very foot of the Tower, then a larger one in 1909 in rue Boileau in Paris, which is still in operation. The Tower also became a meteorological observation station in parallel with the collection of meteorological data in the stations installed in its various properties. Last but not least, the Eiffel Tower became a giant antenna for the nascent radio and "a strategic interest for national defense. Gustave Eiffel died on December 27, 1923, at the age of 91.

School debates "between architects" before its construction

Steel structures already existed, but were "horizontal" (Maria Pia bridges over the Douro in Porto, built by Gustave Eiffel in 1877; in France, the Garabit viaduct in 1884, and several dozen others in Europe). Vertical structures had been used in buildings and railway stations, but covered in stone, concrete or sheet metal (Skeleton of the Statue of Liberty designed by Auguste Bartholdi and inaugurated in New York in 1886).

It was in fact a quarrel between architects who favored stone and concrete, and engineers who wanted to showcase the metal structure in a modernist approach. Statue of Liberty frame. As for the Eiffel Tower, the main competitor was architect Jules Bourdais, who opposed Eiffel with a 370 m-high masonry column. This impractical column was surmounted by a lighthouse that was supposed to illuminate Paris all the way to the Bois de Vincennes - an impossible task, given the technology available at the time. The difficulties were obvious, but this dream of a tower haunted many architects of the time, without success. Jules Bourdais was best known for the Palais du Trocadéro, built with architect Davioud for the 1878 Universal Exhibition. It was dismantled in 1935 for the 1937 exhibition.

Bourdais and Eiffel were both alumni of the Centrale engineering school, graduating in 1857 and 1855 respectively. They were 3 years apart.

The 1000-foot tower

The ambition to build a tower "over a thousand feet high" is on the minds of the world's most daring architects. However, they came up against countless technical problems. In 1885, for example, the masonry construction of the 169-metre-high Washington Obelisk came to an abrupt end. But "the idea of a monumental tower haunts the air...". In 1874, Clarke and Reeves claimed they wanted to build a tower of over 1,000 feet in Philadelphia, but it never saw the light of day.

In France, after the defeat at Sedan and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, the reborn and still-fragile Republic needed a coup to mark the centenary of the 1789 Revolution. The project to build a tower over 1,000 feet high for the 1889 Universal Exhibition was finally adopted in 1883.

The Eiffel project

For this 1889 project, adopted in 1883, two Eiffel engineers, Émile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin, came up with the idea of a metal tower. Among their sources of inspiration was the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. Their sketch, completed on June 6, 1884, was embellished by the collaboration of architect Stephen Sauvestre, who refined and decorated the building.

Initially reluctant, Gustave Eiffel accepted the idea of his collaborators (Maurice Koechlin), buying back the patent registered on September 18, 1884. Now he had to sell his tower. Under the above label, he first proposed it to the mayor of Barcelona - soon to host another world's fair - who refused, deeming the project "unrealistic and, above all, far too expensive". To avoid another failure, the entrepreneur realized that he had to make his project credible not only in the eyes of the mayors, but also in the eyes of public opinion. So he spent a fortune on press articles, advertising and public relations (notably with Édouard Lockroy, Minister of Commerce and general commissioner of the exhibition).

On May 1, 1886, Eiffel's project won unanimous approval (after "adapting" the specifications in favor of Eiffel's project) and won out over all other candidates. In fact, the selection committee was divided, which delayed the signing of the contract and penalized competing projects that were less "astute" than Eiffel's. The agreement with the government, dated January 8 1887, specifies the financing and the location, on the banks of the Seine - in line with the Pont d'Iéna - in other words, in the center of the capital.

The final construction contract awarded to Mr. Eiffel

It's a contract of just 12 pages, signed on January 8, 1887.
"On January 8, 1887, Messrs Lockroy, Minister, General Commissioner of the Exhibition, Poubelle, Prefect of the Seine, duly authorized by the City Council, and Eiffel, the bidder, signed an agreement under which the latter definitively undertook to build the 300-meter Tower and to put it into operation at the opening of the 1889 Exhibition.
Mr. Eiffel remained under the control of the Exhibition engineers and the Special Commission set up on May 12, 1886. He received :
1. A subsidy of 1,500,000 francs, to be paid in three instalments, with the final instalment due on acceptance of the work;
2. Authorization to operate the Tower for the duration of the Exhibition, both in terms of public climbing and the installation of restaurants, cafés or similar establishments, on the twofold condition that the price of climbing would be limited, on ordinary days, to 5 francs for the top and 2 francs for the second floor, and on Sundays and public holidays, to 2 francs for the top and 1 franc for the second floor, and that concessions for cafés, restaurants, etc., would be approved by the Minister;
3. Continued enjoyment for twenty years from January 1, 1890.

At the end of this last period, the enjoyment of the Tower was to revert to the City of Paris, which was moreover substituted for the State in the ownership of the monument, as soon as the Exhibition was over."

Financial constraints on the Eiffel company

Eiffel had an excellent reputation, with numerous references for bridges, viaducts and stations in France and throughout Europe. He knew how to surround himself with remarkable men, such as Émile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin. He's a workaholic, a respected man. He went far and fast with new, simple ideas. But the City of Paris could only subsidize the construction to the tune of 1.5 million francs. Gustave Eiffel put up 80% of the cost, estimated at 6.5 million francs, out of his own pocket - a major financial risk. In return, the authorities granted him a twenty-year concession starting January 1, 1890, after which the tower would revert to the City of Paris.

In fact, in 1888, Gustave Eiffel turned to 3 banks, signing an agreement on September 3, 1888 (seven months before the end of construction) with the Banque franco-égyptienne, the Crédit industriel et commercial and the Société générale. This led to the creation of the Société de la tour Eiffel (STE), to which Eiffel contributed his right to operate the tower.

The figures behind the construction of the Eiffel Tower

The building site
Start of construction and foundations: January 26, 1887
Pile erection began: July 1, 1887
Completion of 1st floor: April 1, 1888
Completion of 2nd floor: August 14, 1888
Completion of top and construction: March 31, 1889
Construction time: 2 years, 2 months and 5 days (A true technical feat)

18,038 metal parts
5,300 shop drawings
50 engineers and draughtsmen

150 workers at the Levallois-Perret plant
Between 150 and 300 workers on site
2,500,000 rivets
7,300 tonnes of puddled iron (puddling to remove excess carbon from the cast iron)
60 tonnes of paint
5 elevators

The construction of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel company won the competition which was to "study the possibility of erecting on the Champ-de-Mars an iron tower, with a square base, 125 meters wide and 300 meters high", in front of 107 competitors. It is the project of Gustave Eiffel, contractor, Maurice Koechlin, and Emile Nouguier, engineers, and Stephen Sauvestre, an architect who is retained.

The foundations started in January 1887 and the structure of the piers began on July 1, 1887. The completion of the top and construction was 21 months later, on March 31, 1889.

This speed of execution is due to the trick used by the manufacturer. All the elements are prepared at the Levallois-Perret factory next to Paris, headquarters of the Eiffel company. Each of the Tower's 18,000 parts is drawn and calculated before being manufactured to the tenth of a millimeter. It is then assembled in sections of about five meters. On the site, between 150 and 300 workers only, supervised by a team of veterans of the great metal viaducts made earlier by Eiffel, take care of the assembly of this gigantic Meccano. Only a third of the 2,500,000 rivets that make up the Tower have been placed directly on the site.

The Eiffel Tower exerts a ground pressure of only 3 to 4 kilos per square centimeter. "Sandboxes" and hydraulic cylinders - replaced after use by fixed wedges - allow the exact vertical position of the steel structure under construction to be adjusted to the nearest millimeter.

The debates at the time of the construction of the Eiffel Tower

Even before Gustave Eiffel was named winner of the competition, the controversy over the tower to be built was extreme. It was led mainly by the architects' council, which was not in favor of a visible metal structure, and by Jules Bourdais, who was a competitor of Gustave Eiffel but also a member of the council. At the time, it was customary to eventually use a metal structure, but under stone or concrete protection.

After Gustave Eiffel was named builder of the Tower, the controversy continued unabated. The Tower's construction project continued to arouse fierce hostility. As soon as the first sod was turned, in January 1887, an "Artists' Protest" against its construction was signed by some of the most notable names :  Charles GounodCharles GarnierVictorien SardouAlexandre Dumas filsFrançois CoppéeSully PrudhommeLeconte de LisleGuy de MaupassantHuysmans…   "Let's be wary of great men! Let us beware of great men", Eiffel would have said at the time.

During its construction, the Tower was already at the heart of debates. Criticism from the great names in the world of literature and the arts finally brought the Tower to the forefront while being met with the success it deserved. The polemics will fade away of their own accord once the Tower is completed, given the indisputable presence of the completed work and the immense popular success it was met with. It received two million visitors during the 1889 Exhibition.

The Eiffel Tower in figures to remember

Current height: 324 meters (with antennas).
Initial height: 312 meters (see below)
1st floor at 57 meters, 4415 m2 of floor space
2nd floor at 115 meters and 1430 m2 of floor space
3rd floor at 276 meters and 250 m2 of floor space

Elevators: 5 elevators from the ground to the 2nd floor, 2 batteries of 2 duo-lifts (special elevators) from the 2nd floor to the top.

Weight of the steel structure: 7,300 tons
Total weight: 10,100 tons
Number of rivets used: 2 500 000
Number of iron pieces: 18 038
Pillars: The 4 pillars form a square of 125 meters on each side.

Why does the Eiffel Tower change height throughout the year?

Static Code
Open hours today: 9:30 am - 10:45 pm
  • Monday

    9:30 am - 10:45 pm

  • Tuesday

    9:30 am - 10:45 pm

  • Wednesday

    9:30 am - 10:45 pm

  • Thursday

    9:30 am - 10:45 pm

  • Friday

    9:30 am - 10:45 pm

  • Saturday

    9:30 am - 10:45 pm

  • Sunday

    9:30 am - 10:45 pm

  • July 24, 2024 12:02 pm local time

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