Take the stairs and discover the Eiffel Tower in a new way!
Friday 15 April 2022
Modified the 24/06/22
A bit of history
The stairs have existed since the very beginning of construction as the first means of ascension, at the heart of the Eiffel Tower's structure.
When the "300-Meter Tower” opened its doors to the public for the Paris World Exhibition on May 15, 1889, the only way to climb up was via the stairs, to the first or second floor. The lifts entered into service on May 26, 1889. Inside the pillars, from the ground to the first floor, visitors found staircases with 360 steps, interspersed with landings. From the first to the second floor was a very narrow, spiral staircase, with 380 steps.
Between the second floor and the top, a spiral staircase was also installed, featuring a single guardrail and 1,062 steps, which could not be accessed by the public as it was not safe enough.
What are the stairs like today?
Since then, the stairs between the ground and the second floor have been modified, secured and made decidedly more “comfortable". Wide landings allow the less sporty among us to take breaks, and everyone to simply admire the monument's fascinating structure. Nowadays, our visitors can still access the first, then the second floor from the ground via the stairs.
The spiral staircase between the second floor and the top was dismantled in 1983 and replaced by a more traditional staircase. You can admire a section of the historic staircase, exhibited on the first floor, still with its original color! The other sections were sold at auction, and some even continue to turn up in prestigious auctions nowadays!
Read more: How can you climb the Eiffel Tower on foot?
Visiting the Eiffel Tower on foot: how many stairs, how long does it take and how far up can you go?
While the Tower has a total of 1,665 steps from the ground to the top, you can only climb 674 of them, from the ground to the second floor (327, then 347 steps). You cannot take the stairs all the way to the top from the second floor, as this section is not open to the public for safety reasons. To go from the second floor to the top, you have to take the Duolift elevators, awaiting you on the upper platform of the second floor.
It will take you around 15 to 20 minutes to climb one floor. Those keen for a sports challenge can try to make it in under 10 minutes per floor!
Did you know? Great athletes can climb the stairs all the way from the ground to the top in less than 10 minutes! A race named the "Vertical Race” regularly takes place at the Tower, with dozens of athletes from all over the world competing to climb the 1,665 stairs to the top as fast as possible. The men's record is held by Poland’s Piotr Lobodzinski, who came in under 8 minutes, and the women's by Australian Suzy Walsham, at under 10 minutes!
What ticket do you need to take the stairs?
Climbing the stairs is the most budget-friendly way to visit the Tower! You can purchase stair-access tickets to the second floor for €10.70 for adults and €5.40 for 12-24 year-olds. These tickets are generally available both online (time-stamped, available up to two weeks in advance) and in-person, at the monument's ticket office on the day of your visit to go up immediately. Please note, you cannot go all the way to the top with one of these tickets. There is no complementary ticket from the second floor to the top.The other option, if you wish to go to the top, is to buy a ticket to the top, with stair access to the second floor then lift access from the second floor to the top. This kind of ticket is only sold at the monument's ticket office for an immediate visit.
Lift or stairs: what to choose?
Feeling unsure? In any case, we recommend trying both experiences at least once in your life, if you can!
Of course, there are cases where climbing the stairs is ill-advised, or even non-authorized. If you are visiting as a family, in particular with young children or with a stroller, we would not recommend the stairs: it will be difficult for the little ones and yourself, if you have to carry them, and there are no baggage lockers to leave strollers or large items. It is also important to know that the stairs are not accessible for people with reduced mobility, and strongly discouraged for the elderly or people with health or cardiac issues.
If this applies to you, we advise going up via the lifts.
In all other cases, even if you are not super sporty, climbing the stairs is nothing to be scared of. It is a very stimulating, freeing experience in the fresh air, which you can do at your own speed, surrounded by the impressive structure of the Tower's pillars. As you go up, you will discover more and more of the surrounding area, the Seine, and Parisian roofs and buildings. There are also signs in the stairs, encouraging you and providing exciting information. Once you arrive at the first floor, it's the perfect place to take a break and there is everything you need: a terrace with seats, bar, bistro, store, toilets and museum exhibit. Upon resuming your climb to the second floor, you will gradually be able to take in the sight of all of Paris and the city's great monuments.
As the Eiffel Tower is open until late evening, we also advise that you try the experience at sunset or nighttime, when the Tower is lit up and sparkling (at every hour on the hour), with a magical view over the City of Lights. It is an exceptional moment to savor, especially since there are fewer visitors in the evening.
For those who wish to opt to go up via lift, you can also enjoy taking the stairs down: from the second to first floor, then the first floor to the esplanade. Think about it - there is no reason you have to go down by lift as well.