Eiffel Tower Elevators | History, How to Access & More
Visitors can go up to the second floor by stairs or by taking one of the lifts. While having an elevator seems commonplace today, what makes the Eiffel Tower unique is the fact that visitors could access the various levels of the monument using the lift right from 1889. At the time, the existence of these lifts was seen as a great technical feat. Read on to know more about the elevators at Eiffel Tower and how one can access them.
Eiffel Tower Lifts
Almost since the very opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 at the Paris World Exhibition, guests could access the various floors of the monument via lifts. At the time, it was a technical triumph, since very few lifts had been built to go that high.
Currently, there are 7 lifts at the Eiffel Tower, three of these lifts go from the ground floor to the second floor, and two lifts go from the second floor to the top floor. There is one lift dedicated to the customers of the Jules Verne restaurant, which is located on the first floor. The last lift is located on the South Pillar and is reserved for the staff at Eiffel Tower.
Why Take an Eiffel Tower Elevator to the Top?
- The lifts offer a quick and convenient way to get to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.
- The glass lifts also offer stunning views of the Paris landscape, through the ironwork of the tower.
- Taking the elevator also ensures you don’t reach the second floor by huffing and puffing, having climbed the 600 odd steps using the stairs.
- The ride up the Eiffel Tower is a one-of-a-kind experience and is something that every person going to Paris must experience.
History of the Eiffel Tower Lifts
The lifts came into existence very soon after the Eiffel Tower was opened in 1889. Originally, there were 5 lifts, one for each pillar of the tower, and another one that went to the summit from the second floor. A one-of-a-kind Edoux elevator was put into service between the second and third floors. It was dismounted in 1983.
The original hydraulic lifts were renovated for the 1900 World Exhibition. The lifts in the North and South pillars were replaced with Otis elevators, and in 1983 were replaced with double cabins. They were dismantled in 1910. In 1965, a new Schneider lift was installed on the North pillar, which is still running today.
In the East and West pillars, Roux-Combaluzier elevators were in service and were replaced in 1899 by Five-Lille hydraulic elevators, which are still in use today.
In 2008, the project of replacing the West pillar elevators and returning to the original machines imagined by Gustave Eiffel in collaboration with the Fives-Lille company was taken up.
Modernization of the original lifts
The project that began in October 2008, was only completed in 2014. The aim was to improve the performance of this historic machinery because of its unique prototype. For the Société d’Exploitation de la tour Eiffel (SETE), it was important that the modernity of the tower went hand-in-hand with respecting its heritage. Reducing the tower's carbon footprint and taking on sustainable developmental practices were also equally important to SETE. To this end, while renovating the original lift, an eco-friendly system was put in place by replacing the fluid, which would allow reducing the quantity of water used in the cooling process.
Eiffel Tower Lifts Today
The Eiffel Tower lifts are an important part of the monument and are one of the most highly used sections of the tower. There are three elevators, on the North, East, and West Pillars each, dedicated to visitors, and an electric elevator that is dedicated to those visiting the Jules Verne restaurant. The fifth lift, located on the South pillar, is a 4-ton freight elevator that is used by the Eiffel Tower staff. There are also two double-cabin electric elevators located between the second and third floors of the tower.
Combined, the elevators travel a distance that is equal to 2.5 times around the world., or a little more than 103,000 kilometers. Because of the regular use, the lifts are constantly monitored and maintained.
Mechanism of the Eiffel Tower Lift
The passenger cabin is carried by a cab attached to cables. This is kept level by a recovery system powered by hydraulics kept underground that sets two pistons in motion generating level movements for the cab. The cab then carries the cables that in turn pulls the cabin using a system of pulleys.
Until 1986, the hydraulic system was powered by three large accumulators of 200 tonnes each. They ensured that the water pressure was kept under 40-60 bars, and that the counterweight mechanism operated in a smooth manner.
This system went through a change in 1986 and high pressure oil hydraulic motors were put in place to move the pistons. The accumulators continue to be used as counterweight.
How to Take the Eiffel Elevators?
When to Take The Eiffel Tower Lifts?
The Eiffel Tower lifts are open from 9:30 AM to 11:45 PM. The ticket offices close at 12 AM and the monument closes at 12:45 PM.
Best Time to Take the Lift
The best time to take the lift is either early in the morning, before 10:30 AM, or at the end of the day after 5:00 PM. Avoid Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays since these are the busiest days. The best days to visit the Eiffel Tower to avoid crowds are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Where is The Eiffel Tower Elevator Located?
The lifts taking visitors to the second floor can be found on the North, East, and West Pillars of the Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower Elevator vs Stairs | Which to Choose
- The lifts are the most convenient way to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower.
- The ride in the elevators gives you access to some incredible views of the city, with numerous photo opportunities in the glass elevator.
- However, the wait times for the lifts can be quite long, especially in the peak season.
- The stairs offer great views of the city as well and have nearly no waiting times.
- However, taking the stairs can be quite a challenge and guarantees to leave you sweating and panting as you reach the second floor.
- Remember to shoot a video of the elevator ride. The glass doors offer great views which you can capture very well on your phone.
- Plan your visit early in the mornings on weekdays to avoid roads and long waiting times.
- To save time you can take the stairs down from the second floor to the ground floor. The climb down isn't too hard, and only takes about 10 minutes. You will also get a chance to stop at the landings and take some photographs of Paris.
Frequently Asked Questions About Eiffel Tower Elevators
A. You can access the Eiffel Tower elevator from the North, West, and East Pillars of the tower.
A. It will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower from the ground floor, without any crowds. If it's a busy day, it may take up to 2.5 hours in total to reach the top.
A. Taking the elevator up the Eiffel Tower is the most convenient and hassle-free way to get to the top.
A. You can catch panoramic views of Paris and its urban landscape while going to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
A. The Eiffel Tower elevator is open from 9:30 AM to 12:45 PM every day, with the last admission at 11:45 PM.
A. The Eiffel Tower elevators are under constant surveillance by technicians and are well maintained and checked thoroughly every day. As a result, there is almost no chance of getting stuck in the elevator.
A. The best way to avoid long waiting times at the Eiffel Tower is to book tickets online and visit during nonpeak hours of the day and week.
A. The Eiffel Tower elevator from the ground floor to the second floor can take a maximum of 46 people at a time.
A. Yes, there is a stop at the first and a final stop at the second floor when taking the elevator from the ground floor. On the second floor, visits will need to take a different elevator to reach the top.