Bonjour, mon ami (wiggles mustache suggestively)! Today we’re traveling to Paris, France, and dishing out tips for visiting the Eiffel Tower. This massive metal structure was originally designed to be the entrance to the World Fair in 1889. Named for its engineer, Gustave Eiffel, the tower stands a staggering 1050 feet tall and weighs over 22 million pounds. Yes, you read that correctly–22 million pounds.
But before you get caught up in the mighty majesty of the monument, you’re going to have to find your way there, and avoid the 7 million other people who visit each year. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Eiffel Tower:
1. Timing is everything
The attraction opens at 9 a.m. each day. During the summer (June-September), the Eiffel Tower closes at midnight. Throughout the rest of the year, tourists can visit until 11 p.m. Skip the crowds and come either early in the morning or right before closing. Personally, I’d shoot for a morning visit. If the skies are clear, you’ll be able to see up to 40 miles in any direction (this 360 degree view can’t be beat).
2. Deboarding the metro
If you’re getting around town via public transportation, you have three metro exit options. Hop of the train at either Ecole Militaire, Bir Hakeim, or Trocadero. Ecole Militaire and Bir Hakeim lie at either end of the Champ de Mars (the sprawling green lawn in front of the tower). However, lots of locals recommend approaching from Trocadero. It’s not as close as the other two exits, but you’ll take in sweeping views of the tower that are perfect for photo opps.
3. Pay up front
Buy cheap Eiffel Tower tickets online before making your way to the monument. Tickets are just $17.50 for tourists, and free for French citizens to visit. Select the time you’ll be visiting and bust out your plastic, you’re booked and ready to go. And the best part is, you won’t have to wait in line at the ticket booth when you arrive. Looking to save money in Paris? Shop around for a city pass. City passes bundle multiple attractions and offer them at one low price. Some items on your city pass itinerary could include the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, or a boat ride down the Seine.
4. Skip the snacks
With more than four different restaurants within the tower, you’re going to be tempted to snack during your visit. Resist the urge! Although the views are stunning, the Eiffel’s eateries are known for being expensive and running long wait times. Eat a meal before your trip so you have stamina for a lengthy visit, then head into the city and stop at a local cafe for a light meal. You’ll get to see more of gay Paris and keep some cash in your pocket to boot.