For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower. Perhaps it’s because Paris has always been painted as the City of Love in books and movies (and I’m a big romantic at heart), and the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris!
The Eiffel Tower draws 7 million visitors each year, and if you’re wondering what’s the fuss about and if it should be on your travel bucket list, I'd say yes! I’ve been blessed to visit the Eiffel Tower three times in the past 10 years. While I did have my share of less positive experiences, I really enjoyed visiting the tower and would return in a heartbeat ?
P.S. Did you know the Eiffel Tower was meant to be a temporary exhibit and removed in 20 years? It was built in 1889 by engineer Gustave Eiffel for the World’s Fair. Thankfully, it was saved by its scientific uses as it was used for radio transmissions and telecommunication.
If you’re all set to visit and want to make the most of your trip, here are three of my takeaways from my past visits:
1. The best spots to take photos
Let’s be honest, you’re not leaving the Eiffel Tower until you’ve taken that perfect picture. I wasn't as well-informed the first time I visited in 2009 but I did my research beforehand for my subsequent trips, and these are three of the best places to take photos in my opinion!
If you want that iconic photo with the Eiffel Tower in the background – Place du Trocadéro
Always wondered where do people get that shot where they’re seated with the Eiffel Tower in the background? This is one of the best spots with an unobstructed view of the tower but expect to wait for your turn, especially if you want a photo by the ledge.
P.S. You have to hop a bit to get up on the ledge so be careful or ask your travel buddy for help!
If you want a photo without the crowds – Pont De Bir Hakeim
Pont De Bir Hakeim is perfect with equally breathtaking views of the tower, if you don’t mind that the base of the Eiffel Tower is covered by the trees!
I took a short stroll from Place du Trocadéro and found out that the path towards Pont De Bir Hakeim is great for pictures too. Perhaps this place would look prettier in other seasons when the trees are not bare ?
Fun fact: Pont De Bir Hakeim is the filming spot for Inception too!
If you want a romantic photo of the Eiffel Tower – Carousel De Tour Eiffel
A colourful carousel with gold accents paired with the Eiffel Tower against the clear blue sky… Can it get any dreamier than this??
While I’ve seen plenty of couples taking their wedding portraits around the Eiffel Tower, this photo is my favourite!
2. Visit the Eiffel Tower twice
If time permits, I highly recommend visiting the Eiffel Tower in the day and night! Visit in the day for brighter photos but if you have a flexible itinerary, try to visit on a day when it isn't cloudy or foggy. It was super gloomy on my second trip :(
Visit again at night because the Eiffel Tower looks absolutely different! Time your visit because the tower sparkles for the first five minutes of every hour till 1 am, as its beacon lights up the French capital.
The best spot to view this is Place duTrocadéro.
If making two separate trips is out of the question, visit close to sunset so that you’ll get the best of both worlds!
3. Beware of pickpockets and scams
I guess we all have a friend (or a friend of a friend) who has been pickpocketed in Paris (I’ll save my story for another time). If you’re determined not to visit the city because of this, I know how you feel but Paris is worth it! My advice is to be well-prepared so you can avoid this as much as possible.
That's Mikhail holding on to his backpack very tightly. Spot the vendors in the background!
Be prepared to find overly enthusiastic vendors trying to sell you keychains and souvenirs as you walk from the Metro station all the way to the tower. If you decide to stop to purchase something, there's a chance that their accomplices might grab your wallet or steal something off you while you’re deciding what to purchase. However, not all of these vendors are out to get you!
In fact, when I visited the Eiffel Tower with my family, my dad was so pleased to purchase these keychains from the vendor who came to us as we were waiting in line to get to the elevator. They were reasonably priced and the perfect gift for our extended family!
The helpful photographer/Broken camera scam
As you’re busy taking selfies, photos of the Eiffel Tower or your travel buddy, someone may approach you to offer to help you take a photo. I recommend that you reject this helpful person as he/she may demand a fee or worse still, run off with your camera.
Instead, ask a fellow tourist for help!
On the other hand, someone might ask you for help to take a picture of him/her. I experienced this on my second trip and on hindsight, I was silly! Just as I helped a family take a photo, another guy came along and requested that I helped him take a photo with his “son”. I didn’t want to judge but his son did not resemble him at all. I tried to refuse but he insisted multiple times. Giving him the benefit of doubt, I decided to help him but I whispered to my travel buddy to keep an eye on all our belongings (we had two DSLRs with us). Thankfully, nothing went missing and we saw him and his son hanging around suspiciously after that. I later found out that he could have insisted that I spoilt his camera or his accomplice could have stolen something while I was preoccupied.
So as you take in the beautiful sight of the tower, keep an eye out for your belongings and try not to put anything in your pockets! From my experience, a sling bag that you can carry it in front is the best way to keep your valuables close to you.
I hope that you'll get to visit it one day (if you haven't already) and my tips and experiences will help you prepare better for your trip!?