The image that is most synonymous with Paris has to be of the Eiffel Tower. The graceful spire and elegant shape of la Tour Eiffel have been copied in various corners of the globe but never bettering the original 320m French landmark. Since opening in 1889, over 250 million people have visited the tower.
Built in just over two years by Gustave Eiffel for the World Exposition of 1889 and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, it was only supposed to be a temporary structure but was maintained as a radio tower and later for telecommunications. The design was also originally much derided by Parisians but has now become part of the cityscape and a renowned romantic rendezvous site at that. Throughout the ‘80s the site underwent numerous renovations and restorations and has also played host to pyrotechnic shows, light displays and even an ice rink.
The first floor offers a history of the tower, the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant, souvenir shop and Cineiffel cinema and interactive display. You can climb the 704 steps from the base to the second floor around the centre of the tower's metal structure to experience a panoramic view around Paris. A lift will also take you to the second floor where you'll need to change lifts to ascend to the top.
Take the glass lifts to the top to spy Paris' monuments and a breathtaking view of the city. For the romantically inclined, there's also a champagne bar at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Visit at night when the tower lights up and sparkles for five minutes every hour on the hour until 1am. The Eiffel Tower is a hugely popular attraction so it's recommended to book online to avoid the lift ticket queues and also slightly cheaper. An online lift entrance ticket with access to the top is €14 for adults, €12.50 for 12 to 24 year olds and €9.5 for children aged four to 11 years. Under fours can visit the tower for free. The closest metro station is Bir-Hakeim. From here it's an 11-minute walk down Quai Branly to la Tour Eiffel.