Eiffel Tower … awful tower … lifts not working …

I have this idea in my head: I want to go and drink Champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower… Something however is preventing me from doing so. What? Seven hundred and four narrow, spiral, steel stairs. Right now – and for some weeks to come still – of the tower’s three lifts (elevators) […]

Eiffel Tower from Place de la Concorde (copyright: Marilyn Z. Tomlins)

I have this idea in my head: I want to go and drink Champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower

Something however is preventing me from doing so.


Seven hundred and four narrow, spiral, steel stairs.

Right now – and for some weeks to come still – of the tower’s three lifts (elevators) one only is working. Therefore unless I want to line up for 3 hours waiting my turn to step into the lift, I will have to climb those stairs.

Each day – yes day and not week or month – 25,000 people go up the Eiffel Tower.

See the moon? The Eiffel Tower from Luxembourg Gardens on a December day. (Copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

I’ve been up there lots of times, and once one could walk straight over to the ticket office and from there straight to the lift and up you went.

Or one could go to the tower’s very chic restaurant for dinner and only a few souls would be walking around up there looking as if they have lost their way.

But these days – and I risk execution saying this – when someone tells me that he/she would like to go up the Eiffel Tower and can I come too, I look the other way because frankly, the Eiffel Tower has become a mess. Not the tower itself, but the crowds under its belly. And believe me there are crowds there every day and I feel sorry for the people who live around the tower and who have that on their doorstep every day.

But what’s up with the lifts?

The lift in the tower’s ‘west’ leg is being renovated.

The lift in the tower’s ‘north’ leg has broken down. During the night of Tuesday, March 20, it tumbled some 15 meters (50 ft) during a control. No one was hurt because the lift was empty at the moment of the fall.

Now listen to this: One of those lifts can transport 90 people at a time. This means that with only one lift working only 13,000-14,000 people can go up the tower daily.

And what does this tell you?

This tells you that very very many people line up there every day waiting for a turn to step into the lift.

I would say that being in control of a monument like the Eiffel Tower means never having to say you are sorry.

Yet, you will see the following notice and apology on their website. (Yes, in red.)

A technical incident leads us to operate currently with one single lift.
Therefore, the access to the monument is very difficult :
• – Very few tickets are available through our online ticketing system.
• – Waiting time to the monument is likely to be over 2 hours.

Know that the waiting time at the tower is more likely to be 3 hours than two.

Normally the Eiffel Tower is open from 9 a.m. to midnight. In the winter it opens at 9.30 a.m. and at 11 p.m everyone must be down.

A ticket costs €8.50 ($11 / $7) to the 2nd floor and €12.50 ($16.50/ £10.50) to the top. That’s for an adult. If you really want to climb the stairs you will have to pay to do so too. That will cost you €5 ($6.50 / £4).

There are actually other high buildings in Paris where the view of the city is as good, but I am not going to tell you where those are because I am going to go there and I do not want 25,000 people turning up.

By the way a glass of Champagne will cost you about €15 ($19.60 / £12.50) up on the Eiffel Tower.



The Eiffel Tower’s 300 staff are now threatening to go on a total strike next week.  This means that the tower will close to visitors.

The reason for the threatened strike action? The current chaotic situation at the tower.

Said Diana Davoine, the staff’s representative in the CE (Comité Exploitation de la tour Eiffel) which runs the tower and chief of the tower’s group in the CGT (Confédération générale du travail) – General Federation of Labor – trade union: “All our questions remain unanswered. We can not go on like this. For four years now management has not been listening to us.”

Visitors to the tower have been lining up for up to 3 hours (even more at times) to reach the tower’s one remaining working elevator (lift) to ascend and then another long long wait to descend and tempers have been exploding.

“We have been warning management since 2010 that work on the lifts are urgently needed. Now, we are the ones who have to deal with angry tourists,” says Ms. Davoine.

So, if you plan to visit the Eiffel Tower, know that you are going to need a full day to do so.


Marilyn Z. Tomlins

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