Tourist spots are obviously famous for a reason, and as much as I love going to the off-the-beaten paths when I travel, I still think it’s sometimes worth going to the famous spots at least once, despite the hordes of tourists and the lack of authenticity. This was the reason why I still decided to go to the Eiffel Tower when I was in Paris, even though I had already known how touristy it is. The Eiffel Tower really is a marvel to look at… from afar, because the closer you get to it, the bigger the crowds and the more scammers there are. I knew it would be bad, but I didn’t realise how extreme it truly was.
The line was INSANE. It was VEEEEERRRRRRRY LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG, I’m not exaggerating; and the price to go up the Eiffel Tower is crazy as well! No offence, but who would be in their right minds to pay more than 10 Euros only to wait for god knows how long, then to take an overcrowded elevator to an overcrowded view post atop the crown jewel of Paris? I thought there would be less people taking the stairs, and while I was correct, it was still a lot of people, so I decided to ditch that too. It simply isn’t worth it to me (again, no offence to people who actually went to the top). Besides, what would I be looking up once I’m up there? The ugly Montparnasse building? Sure the city of Paris is beautiful, but obviously you’d like to see the Eiffel Tower when looking at the view of the city and you get robbed of that opportunity when you’re already on the tower.
Staying around the Eiffel Tower grounds isn’t exactly a pleasant experience either. Be wary of those people asking you if you can speak English and will ask you to sign a survey. Those are pickpockets who try to distract you in order to steal your wallets. I’m not kidding either when I say there are a lot of those around the area. I’m pretty sure there are other scammers and con-men around the area as well since it’s teeming with tourists. It’s sad actually, because it really is beautiful to look from up close, but I couldn’t help but feel claustrophobic because of the crowds and annoyed because of the scammers; and it does give a rather “synthetic” “French” vibe because of how touristy it already is.
I liked looking at the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero because there were less tourists, although that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot. In fact I went to Trocadero twice, once during the daytime, and second during the light show. I enjoyed looking at the Eiffel Tower during the Seine River cruise as well, despite the tourists; it was even worse when I was there because the roof deck was half filled with noisy, teenage, American tourists (not stereotyping American tourists, promise!).
I’m not saying the Eiffel Tower is not worth going to, it (kind of) is, but it’s one of those really famous and touristy areas that would be enough to go just once in your life. The Eiffel Tower really is a marvel, but I’ll never go up to the observation deck, nor will I ever go back to the Eiffel Tower grounds. Instead, I’ll spend my time wandering around the beautiful, tourist-less arrondissements.
*Check out this post from Condé Nast Traveler, there it’s a list of places with the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
Photo courtesy of Condé Nast Traveler