I went to the Eiffel Tower web site looking to buy tickets for an upcoming visit, and found that, except for a few days, it is sold out for basically two months. I am guessing that it is not truly sold out because a friend was recently in Paris and said he was able to walk up and buy tickets on the spot. Of course, he was visiting it at night on a weekday. I'll be visiting in the daytime on a weekend. Does anyone have any suggestions for alternative sources of tickets, or recommendations for when to arrive to have a chance of buying tickets on the day of the visit?

Update: Read my answer below for my experiences visiting the Eiffel Tower.

  • Why just daytime? Do try to visit during the night as well. Maybe not to climb. Just to see the tower lit up. And the glittering every hour (the first five minutes). Its worth it. ;) Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 12:53
  • Go to the Tour Montparnasse. You have a much better view from there. tourmontparnasse56.com Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 17:49

3 Answers 3


The site explains:

If all the times are taken, the following message will be displayed: "no tickets available for the date requested". Choose another day (or purchase your ticket for immediate entry at the monument ticket counters).

That says to me that if you can't buy online, you can still go up, but you'll have to wait in a (possibly long) line.

This is a Monday morning, 9 years ago - I wouldn't mind waiting in this line (in fact, I waited in one just like it before I got the picture):

enter image description here

However, it can clearly get much longer. Investigate those pictures more closely to see what your chances might be like on a weekend.


How to possibly avoid waiting at the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower consists of several stages. The lower part can be done either by stairs or by lift. The higher part can normally only be done by lift. There's usually a big queue for the lift at the ground floor, but not much of a queue for the stairs.

When I climbed the Eiffel Tower, I didn't know that, and I wanted to take the stairs all the way. This was not possible, and I turned around at the end of the stairs. However, I also noticed that at this stage, tickets were being sold for the elevator, and there was no queue at all. I'm not 100% sure, but it appears very likely that you can jump the queue by walking up the stairs as far as possible and then taking the lift from there.

Note that I did not try to get a ticket for the lift, but I had the impression that it was possible.

  • 3
    I remember that as well. You could climb up by stairs and then buy the elevator tickets from the second level. Which has lesser queue than on the ground. Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 12:54
  • 1
    When I was there, spring 2015, the queue for the lift tickets on the second floor was so long that I did not even try, it was indicated that is would be more than an hour.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 21:08
  • 1
    @Willeke Interesting. Perhaps too many people have learned the trick, or perhaps it works better in winter...
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 9:24

When we arrived on a Sunday afternoon (April 7, 2013) we were (after waiting in a long line) able to buy tickets for an immediate visit. Unfortunately, you must go up the tower immediately after buying your tickets, so having one person wait in line while others explore nearby is not practical unless you can coordinate with mobile phones, etc.

The line for the elevator was 2-3 times as long as the one for the stairs.

While we were waiting in line, they announced that the third floor (i.e. the top) was closed. When we got to the head of the line, we asked and they said it would open up in 30 minutes. On the second floor we waited in another line to buy tickets to the top. Tedious, slow, and crowded, but we got what we wanted.

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