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What to do while in Paris: Eiffel Tower, Seine Cruise and the Arc de Triomphe

What to do while in Paris: Eiffel Tower, Seine Cruise and the Arc de Triomphe

Eiffel Tower, Seine Cruise and the Arc de Triomphe – The ideal trinity to include in your Paris Itinerary

The Eiffel Tower is one of the famous landmarks in not only Paris. As an iconic landmark and attraction, it often appears on itineraries for Paris. Instead of just being another destination to check off your list, here are my tips on how to make your next visit to the Eiffel Tower more memorable and how also on how best to maximise your Paris itinerary.

Arc de Triomphe

Omne trium perfectum (Latin for “the rule of three”). No visit to Paris will be complete if you have not gone on top of the Eiffel Tower, or enjoyed a cruise down the river Seine and visited the iconic Arc de Triomphe.

One way to complete this rule of three is to hit the Arc de Triomphe first.

Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. The arch honours those who fought for France during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The inner and outer surfaces are inscribed with the names of all French victories and her generals.

Situated at the middle of a busy roundabout, the arch is accessed via one of two underpasses located at the Champs Élysées and the Avenue de la Grande Armée. Visiting the Arc de Triomphe is free but there is a 12 Euros charge to go to the top of the monument. The queue is typically long (I visited the Arc de Triomphe all three times when I was in Paris and the only occasion where I saw no queue was when I visited early in the morning before the ticket booth started its daily operations). So if you intend to go on top, either be prepared to wait or go early to beat the crowds).

If you are a history buff and are into the Napoleonic Wars, the visit offers an opportunity for an Easter Egg hunt with you trying to identify as many of the victories and also the different generals inscribed on the walls (like I did while I was there). If you are not a history buff, the monument offers a great opportunity for photographs for your keepsake and/or FB and/or Instagram.

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How to get to Arc de Triomphe? The arch is accessible by the RER and Metro, with exit at the Charles de Gaulle—Étoile station.

Eiffel Tower

Once you are done with your visit to the Arc de Triomphe, the next stop is the Eiffel Tower.

There are two ways you can get to the Eiffel Tower.

You can take the Metro to one of these few stations: Trocadéro, Passy, Alma-Marceau or Bir Hakeim and then walk over to the Eiffel Tower. Download Paris Metro Map here.

Or you can just take a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower via Avenue d’Iéna.

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Personally, while the walk appears to be long (2.1km), the Metro alternative is not much shorter and will involve walking quite a bit as well. So, if you don’t mind walking and/or the weather in Paris is bearable, it may be better to just walk over to the Eiffel Tower. Not only do you get an opportunity to save on the metro tickets but also a chance to take in different views of the Eiffel Tower. If you took the path through Avenue d’Iéna, you should get different views of the tower and from different perspectives. Your first sighting of the tower should be somewhere close to the Trocadéro Gardens with the Eiffel Tower towering over the trees in the gardens. As you get closer, the Eiffel Tower would be just across the Seine and will be nicely framed by the Pont d’Iéna. At this point, you will be close enough to the Eiffel Tower for a few selfies with the tower as the backdrop.

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Now, you have a choice: You can either go up the Eiffel Tower using the lifts or you can also choose the stairs if you want a more unique experience. There are three lifts (North, East, and West) that will take you up to the 1st and 2nd floors (115m). If you intend to visit the top (276m), you need to change lifts at the 2nd floor. If lifts are not your thing, the stairs go up to the 2nd floor (115m) before you have to take the lifts to the top floor. Either way, be prepared to wait as the queues leading up to the ticket booths will be long. A few pointers to bear in mind:

  1. The cost of going up by stairs is cheaper than taking the lifts up (so for those on a budget, you can consider taking the stairs up to the 2nd floor before swapping for the lifts);
  2. The queue for a “stairs” ticket is generally shorter than the “lift” ticket queue;
  3. There appears to be no restriction preventing a person who bought a “stairs” ticket from taking the lifts on the way down;
  4. The top floor is not always open and is subject to the weather (when I was there, the top floor was closed and only opened just about when it was my turn to buy my ticket) so if you want to go all the way to the top, make sure the weather is fair on the day you are visiting; and
  5. Have your meal or snack before going up the Eiffel Tower. Food prices are quite exorbitant there.

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My special photos taken from the Eiffel Tower using my awesome camera. Be sure to look out for the many landmarks scattered around Paris:

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For couples only:

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Seine Cruise

The cruises start off just beside the Eiffel Tower. Remember the bridge you crossed? The ticket booths for the cruises can be found around the bridge area. There are a few companies offering cruises. Whether you intend to indulge yourself with a dinner cruise down the Seine or just a simple no frills river cruise, there should be an option available for you.

Personally, on the two occasions I cruised along the Seine, I used the services provided by Bateaux Parisiens, at Pier 3. The tickets are affordable at 15 Euros per pax for a no frills river cruise. The boats depart half hourly (April to September) and hourly (October to March). They open from 10am to 10pm.

Bateaux Parisiens also offers other packages.

River Cruise + Meal at Le Bistro Parisien along the quay

All in 27.50 Euros (lunch) and 38 Euros (dinner)

Lunch/Dinner Cruise

Lunch @12.45pm: 59 Euros to 89 Euros  

Dinner @8.30: 99 Euros to 205 Euros

My suggestion is no matter which option you take (unless it’s a lunch/dinner cruise) to always go on the upper deck (open deck). It allows you to have a more immersive experience without the glass windows acting as a barrier. You get to feel the breeze in your hair and also take in the sights and sounds around you (and also be able to wave at those love birds sitting along the river edge).

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Try timing your cruise so that when it’s all over, you get to see the Eiffel Tower with its night lights on. This allows you to avoid having to go back for a “night shot” of the Eiffel Tower.

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Signing off, from Paris with love.

If you enjoyed reading this or found it useful, please like and follow for more content. The eventual goal of this blog is to build up a collection of such articles on locations around the world. But meanwhile, this article forms part of my series on Paris.

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