I couldn't believe the news. I had sat down to eat Risotto with my French exchange student. We hadn't seen each other in 12 years and now I was sitting eating the food he prepared petting his sweet cat Chaman. I told him about how massive security guards yelled the instant the elevator touched the ground for everyone to move quickly.
There were police with massive guns all around the bottom of the Eiffel Tower and people were shoving to get out. Huge security guards were pushing me to run faster and telling everyone to get away. Of course my first thought was, 'there's got to be a terrorist' or something.
The air was tense and the police were not messing around. It wasn't until after I had made it far across the street and was eating a crepe that I had asked around to figure out what exactly had happened.
My exchange student shrugged and said he hadn't heard anything. The cat even looked at me funny.
So I decided to Google it, and that's when I saw it... a tiger was running loose around the Eiffel Tower and so they had to evacuate everyone out. The tiger had escaped the circus and was lurking in the area. The news couldn't pinpoint where it was at the time but sadly, they shot and killed it. A lot of people were furious.. I was. I never understand why animals can't be tranquilized instead of killed.
After a moment of silence, conversation eventually moved back to food and how the trip to le tour Eiffel went.
IT. WAS. SPECTACULAR.
No matter how many times you see the Eiffel Tower, there's something insanely magical about it. You can see it from all different angles and still each time it's as if it's the first time.
I would suggest that you make reservations to see the tower. If you don't you'll end up waiting in the standby line which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2.5 hours depending on which leg of the tower is open and how many people are in line. There's also security you'll have to pass through before you reach the elevator, which add to your time in line. A reservation will speed this entire process up.
You can go during the day time to see the Tower and then have a picnic at the Champs de Mars. You'll also get stunning views and photo ops of the tower at Trocadero.
I prefer to go at twilight because you get the best of both worlds. Although you have to see the tower at night when it lights up. It's gorgeous.
You can get your tickets here. If you only want to visit the second floor, it'll cost you 16 Euros via elevator. It's 10 Euros to the second floor via stairs.
An elevator ride to the top (sommet) is 25 euros. It's worth every penny to visit, I promise. If you walk part of the way and then take the elevator, it'll cost you 19 Euros.
There are two restaurants (The 58 Tour Eiffel & The Jules Verne) you can eat at when you are on the various levels of the tower. Make sure to look into reservations for dinner.
You can also get food before you get in line for the tower.
Alternatively, I find a picnic or eating at a crepe stand to be my personal preference. There's nothing like hot chocolate and a crepe to make you feel like all is right in the world.
There are a million people selling trinket Eiffel towers everywhere you walk. They make great keychain gifts if you're looking for something quick and easy. You'll find gift shops within the tower as well. Items may be marked up, I would check a couple of places before you buy anything.
That's pretty much what you need to know before you go. Bring your camera, comfy walking shoes, and be ready to have quiet moments to drink in the city, kiss your partner, or enjoy that solo trip you've always wanted to take. Paris is waiting for you.