How going up the Eiffel Tower became a disappointment

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When I finally arrived in Paris for the first time, there was one thing I couldn’t wait to do! Not only was I going to see it for the first time, but I was also going up the Eiffel Tower! I could not believe it was happening!

Going up the Eiffel Tower

There are two choices for going up the Eiffel Tower. One is to walk up using the stairs; the other is to go up by lift. For us, the cost was a consideration, but the timing was a more important factor. With only a few hours left in Paris, we had to choose what we did and how we did carefully.

We arrived there early in the morning, thinking we were early enough to skip the queues! But we were not! There were at least 100 people ahead of us, and the ticket office was not even open yet! And it was not peak holiday season!

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Eiffel Tower During Roland Gaross

Fortunately, the line moved fast, and within 30 minutes we were at the front of the line, ready for going up the Eiffel Tower. I was excited! The moment had finally arrived.


The view from the Eiffel Tower

We decided first to go up to the first level before heading to the top. The view from the first level was already fantastic. We were lucky; it was a sunny day with clear skies, and we could see far. We walked right around and took lots of pictures from every angle.

View from the first level of the Eiffel Tower

About 20 minutes later we went up to the top level. The view from here was even more amazing. The platform was filling up quickly as more and more people came up.

View from the top of the Eiffel Tower

We walked around again, snapping every angle.

Being forced to go down

Suddenly there was a lot of commotion. The security staff told us to leave the tower immediately as they were doing an evacuation. Everyone tried to be on the first lift going down, but this was impossible as the number of people far exceeded the capacity of the lift. People were pushing each other out of the way to get in first. No one knew what was going on! Was there a fire? A bomb threat? What was happening? The security staff said nothing except to go down as quickly as we could.

Some people thought it was a big joke and made comments about the Twin Towers in New York. I thought this was in bad taste as it just made others panic even more!

Eventually, we got into the third lift and made it downstairs safely. The security staff told us to leave the premises of the Eiffel Tower and go towards the river’s side. They closed all the entrances of the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower

What had happened?

We stood around, hoping to hear what was going on and wondering if we would be allowed to go back up again since we never got to finish our sightseeing at the top.

After about 30 minutes they opened the gates again, and we asked the security staff about going up the Eiffel Tower again. No! If you want to go up again, stand in line again and purchase another ticket. We were not impressed! This experience was a disappointing ending to what was supposed to have been an incredible outing. I felt bad for the people who had been on going up the Eiffel Tower, never reached the top and then had to vacate it without even getting to the top.




We tried to find out what had been the reason for the evacuation but never heard anything else. To this day it remains a mystery to us. Since then I have seen several news articles about the evacuation of the Eiffel Tower, but the day we were there? No news.

Eiffel-Tower

But, looking at the bright side, I bet not many people can say they were on the Eiffel Tower when there was an evacuation?!

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Maybe you visited a well-known site that was being evacuated? Tell me more!

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41 thoughts on “How going up the Eiffel Tower became a disappointment”

  1. Sounds like your first trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower was quite a trip. The trip down the tower must of have been scary with all the commotion. The picture you took of the view looks fabulous, love it!

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    • Marcie, I will never forget the day I first went up the Eiffel Tower. The view is absolutely fabulous from both levels.

      Reply
  2. Oh no! What a rubbish end to what should have been a lovely experience. I was hurried out of the Leaning Tower of Pisa as it was about to close and managed to twist my ankle on the way down the slippery steps. Not fun.

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  3. very informative post. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to go up they started to piss me off with security control because I had my bag so I just left it without going up. But next time I’ll go up for sure specially after watching your post I feel so much like going back to Paris

    Reply
  4. That is very disappointing indeed 🙁 Worse still, not knowing why to this day must leave a bad taste in the mouth. Me, I was forced to go back down sooner than I would have liked as well – but that was because a bad thunderstorm struck, and we were obliged to go down for safety reasons. We did get some great views before we did, though, and looks like you did too 🙂

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  5. Well at least you didn’t walk up the stairs just to be told to evacuate. Unfortunately in today’s world of nutcases, tourist sites are targets and security has to be overly protective and suspicious.

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  6. Oh gosh! That sounds stressful. The one thing that I hate most about tourist attractions like this one is the crowds of people. It becomes so much less enjoyable when there are crowds of people also trying to enjoy it!

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  7. Wow! What a story. And a disappointment. As much as I hate the fact that they wouldn’t let people back up I suppose it make sense. But what bad luck for you.

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  8. We actually were at the Eiffel. tower when an evacuation happened and for us it was good as we ended up being the first lift up when it reopened. We raced to the top and had it to ourselves for all of two lifts when it was packed.

    The evacuations seem to be more frequent and the day we were there was due to demonstrations and smoke bombs (before they added new security perimeters)

    It sucks you couldn’t go back in but at least you saw a good portion – imagine those who had just arrived to be forced out .

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  9. I was just in Paris a few months ago. We thought of going up but didn’t bother due to the tight security. Definitely a disappointing situation you were in. Glad it wasn’t anything serious obviously… The views you did get on camera are pretty awesome.

    Reply
  10. That is very interesting. I can understand them not sharing what the reason for the evacuation was, but to not let you return when they had opened up? Not okay. I would hate to think it was a way for them to clear it out and get more people in (ticket sales).

    Reply
    • I also thought that was a bit unfair, especially for the people who had just arrived to the top and didn’t even get a chance to look around.

      Reply
  11. I have been to to the Eiffel Tower twice. I went to the very top the first time, but am afraid of heights. So, I did it to say I did 🙂 The second time, my husband and I went to the mid-level so he could experience the view. I went in the gift shops, but took a quick peek out. It is a stunning view. I just get dizzy. We did a skip-the-line tour package, which helped with the crowd. I would have been terrified, though, if I had to evacuate it quickly! Sounds like a crazy experience and it is disappointing they wouldn’t let you return.

    Reply
    • You are very lucky to have been up the Eiffel tower twice! I am also scared of heights, but that view is definitely worth it!

      Reply
  12. Very disappointing experience …

    I actually listed “going up the eiffel tower” as something you can skip in your Paris trip https://travelcenter.io/firas/paris-travel-mistakes#10-spending-too-much-time-and-money-at-the-eiffel-tower.

    Too many people there, lines are too long, very very crowed attraction…
    I live in Paris and I only climbed the eiffel tower twice in my whole life. I prefer Montparnasse Tower and the classic Sacré-Coeur, to see Paris from an elevated place.

    Cheers,
    Firas

    Reply

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