Eiffel Tower queue

 

Visit Paris without mounting to the summit of the Eiffel Tower? Who would suggest something so unthinkable? I do. I urge it if you want to have an enjoyable visit with the Iron Lady. Do not fall for the skip-the-line tickets scam that so many websites tout for the tower. They often do not spare you an onerously long queue on the second platform to board the elevator that take you to the summit, and back.

Skip-the-line tickets work reasonably well to get you from the ground level to the first or second platforms. They entitle you to by-pass the long queues of visitors who do not have them, and proceed directly to a pillar of the tower that is reserved for holders of timed-entry tickets. Those tickets provide a half-hour period of priority entrance. At that pillar you join a relatively short queue waiting to clear security, before proceeding to a longer queue to board the elevator that will take you to the first and second platforms. Be prepared, nevertheless, for a wait of 10-30 minutes before you are actually in the elevator.

Once you are on the second platform, however, your wait to board the elevator to the summit is likely to be another hour, depending on the flux of other visitors. Moreover, it is a queue that is a maze-like affair in which you shuffle on your feet from aisle to aisle for what seems an eternity. Worse, you will have to repeat the same process to descend from the summit to the second platform.

Who needs that? Is it your idea of something enjoyable to do? Certainly not. True, the view from the summit is marginally better than from the second platform; but that is it— only marginally better, whereas your equanimity will be so perturbed that, by the time you reach the summit, the only thing for which you are now prepared is how to escape your self-inflicted torture as soon as possible. The last thing I was able to do at that point was to relax and enjoy the view.

This last month I had the misfortune of going to the summit three times, and each time the just-described scenario played out. Do not imagine that you are likely to have a different experience, unless, perhaps, you are there the first thing in the morning, or at the end of the night. As long as the tower is the victim of its success that it is, you are better off enjoying the view from the second platform.

 

S.A.