Visiting the Eiffel Tower is not just about getting on the structure and admiring the landscape, as beautiful as it is. By buying a ticket, the tourist will discover a number of very interesting things (most often) about the history of the tower, its construction, the difficulties that the designers encountered, but also about the context of the industrial revolution, comparisons with other monuments of the world, etc.
All these tourist interests are scattered all over the floors, so depending on where you go we do not necessarily see everything. There are also items like machines that are only accessible by reservation, and that are not necessarily often organized, but the list below does not take them into account. Here is what you can see on the Eiffel Tower, floor by floor. You can also read story of a typical visit, and see the photos that have been drawn.
To see at the ground level
The forecourt of the Eiffel Tower is not interesting in itself, it is only a large esplanade of tar prohibited to any vehicle, whose space is occupied vertically. It's strange, but it is: If the esplanade is empty, it seems very cluttered by the structure of the tower above our heads, when we are there. Besides, there is nothing special to do, except to see the 4 pillars in detail, and to find that they are very similar.
The main interest of the forecourt to see allow the view of the first floor facilities. They are 50m higher and, even if we do not see much, we recognize the modern pavilions and their glass facades. We also see the glass railings, slightly bent over the void, which gives good feelings to who has the courage to face the glass, leaning towards emptiness. From the forecourt we can see both the stairs that go up to the first floor, making it possible to judge the effort to be made to go there, and the elevators, two in number (pillars East and West). If you want to climb on the monument, it is at the forecourt that you can estimate the waiting time, depending on the length of the tail.
Otherwise the forecourt is not particularly interesting, it is populated by sellers on the sly and contains no explanatory panel or fun attraction, for example for children.
The bust of Mr Eiffel
It is at the foot of the North Pillar, the one that does not serve the climb, that is the bust of Gustave Eiffel. It is golden and rather well done, consistent with the photos made at the time of the construction of the tower. It is perched on a very high pedestal, a sort of square column at least 2m high. There is nothing special to say about it, except that it is probably the only tourist element in relation to the Eiffel Tower that has voluntarily been placed in free access, at the foot of the monument.
The machines of 1889
In each of the two pillars hosting an elevator there is a sign showing a machine from 1899. It is one of the engines that has been replaced by a more efficient, more modern, too, in the 80s. But it is not for all that an original machine, it is rather a machine having was set up in 1899 during the modernization of the Eiffel Tower for the exhibition of 1900, and remained there for the entire twentieth century.
These two machines (one per pillar) are not really highlighted, they are at the bottom of steps, not very accessible when you are waiting for the cabin. But, if you want, we can go anyway.
As there are few tourist items on the ground floor, you have to hang on to something special. Elevator installations are, precisely.
Lifts are available in the East and West Pillars, but the South Pillar also has one, but it is reserved for guests of the 2nd floor restaurant, the "Jules Verne". When one is in a pillar, one can see the 3 tanks that serve as a counterweight to the lifts. Two are in yellow, they are really used. The 3rd has not been since the climb mechanism was changed in the 80s. It is identified because it is red. It is quite curious to see that the counterweights go up and down slowly, depending on the position of the cab. We see them slowly emerging from their supports, and re-enter the next cycle. This mechanism is inherited from the construction. What is really impressive is the size of these tanks. They measure in the 3m diameter to 5m high, which as said before, we do not necessarily see them completely out.
If the visitor can also see the rails on which slide the carriage carrying the cabin. As they are inclined differently depending on the altitude, the cabin is not directly placed on the rails, otherwise the ground would tilt over the climb. There is therefore a balancing process that ensures the stability of the cabin.
Finally, when the cabin arrives, you will see a mannequin, outside. It was the post occupied by the machinist to raise or lower the elevator. Yes, summer and winter, he was outside!
To see at the 1st floor
The cinema room is a large rectangular room (large in relation to others, but small compared to a real movie theater) with white walls on which are projected, with the help of several projectors, images reminiscent of first the context in which the tower was built, then some pictures of the building, then there is an important part on the illuminations over time. The film ends with images of several fireworks that were shot there.
This film lasts about 10 to 12 minutes, and it is continuous projection, that is to say that at the end of the film, the walls remain empty for 10 seconds, then receive a pattern announcing the next session in 1 minute. The interest of the film does not reside in the quality of the images, beautiful but without conducting wire, the interest is more in the impression of greatness than there is, the images being projected on the 3 sides of the rooms at the same time. time. The opposite wall is the main screen, but the two side walls receive the rest of the image, so the eye can turn 180 ° at any time. It is advisable to stand in the center of the room, leaning against the back wall so as not to disturb the other spectators, because it is also one of the characteristics of this room: There are no armchairs. The spectators remain standing, or sit on the carpet, against the back wall. The two openings in this wall allow visitors to enter and exit at will, at any time.
This room is a curiosity, it allows to rest a little while watching beautiful pictures. But the quality of the film could have been better, it is not worth, for example, that of the film projected at the top of Tower Brigde of London, film which tells its construction, the expression of the need to the present day, and that to the a large amount of computer-generated images that mingle with real images.
The information wall
This wall is inside the Ferrié pavilion, so it is accessible by everyone. It is on the right when you enter the pavilion, impossible to miss. The information covers the entire wall separating the main hallway from the shop. It is a wall that we see from a distance since the facade of the pavilion is glazed: So, we see it from the outside, even on the other side of the 1st floor!
It recognizes itself because it is black, and filled with photos, images, drawings, and various texts. In the center, within reach of man, there is a widescreen television screen, touch. This screen displays Gustave Eiffel's book "The Tower of 300m". This is the book he wrote 11 years after the construction of the tower, after the 1900 World's Fair, and in which he relates absolutely everything about his monument: reasons for its construction, the obstacles encountered during the project, the cost of each part, the choice of materials, the organization of the building site, the human resources, the salaries, the scientific experiments that were made there, the modifications made for the 1900 exhibition, the description of the elevators stairs, the least piece, and especially the technical plans accurate, in a fiftieth of double boards. This book was the starting point for the creation of this website, hence the many links above.
This tactile book may interest more than one, we can for example have fun looking for specific information, such as the name of the chairman of the commission in charge of choosing the supplier of the future tour of the exhibition, or that of the person who installed a free air pressure gauge on the tower, when it was built.
Other information is more varied. For example, there is a small text by Roland Barthès, in "La tour Eiffel" (Edition Delpire, 1964, et du Seuil, 2011)
Look, object, symbol, the Tower is all that man puts in it, and this is all infinite. A spectacle watched and looking, useless and irreplaceable edifice, familiar world and heroic symbol, witness of a century and monument always new, inimitable object and constantly reproduced, it is the pure sign, open to all times, all images and in every sense, the metaphor without restraint; Throughout the Tower, men exercise this great function of the imaginary, which is their freedom, since no story, however gloomy, has ever been able to take it away from them.
This text is written on the background of old-time plates decorated with an Eiffel Tower. The wall also shows silver timpani (or that seems to be), a Paris Jazz Festival poster, a curious full Moon on an Eiffel Tower background, and a whole lot of other objects related to the tower. : Scissors, shovels, fans, etc.
The pavilion of the restaurant 58
Second floor pavilion, this building is identical to other pavilions, except that it has a different interior layout. It has three levels (the Ferrié has 2, the Eiffel has only one), and especially was a restaurant. It is not really accessible to the general public. The interest of eating here is essentially the view overlooking Paris on one side, the first floor of the Eiffel Tower on the other, view that is not stopped by the walls since they are transparent on the facades. The style of the restaurant is classy but not excessive, it is not the equivalent of the gourmet restaurant of the 2nd floor, anyway. Still, yeller is the guarantee of a good moment of rest, combined with a meal with a splendid view.
The name of the "58" comes from the distance to the ground, it is 58m high from the forecourt of the tower. Not very original, but fun ...
The Eiffel Pavilion
The Eiffel Pavilion is identical to the others, but it is only a large empty space, praiseworthy at will by private companies, public bodies, or by anyone who needs an original room in Paris . Because of this status it is difficult to enter without having been invited. On the other hand, there is not much to see as its layout depends on the activity that takes place, usually a seminar, a conference, a public meeting, etc.