The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world and a must-see for most visitors to Paris. The average day for a visitor will include a wait for either the elevator or the stairs to get up to the viewing levels, some time taking photographs and enjoying the Paris skyline, and a wait back at the elevator to get down. Or, you can make the most of your trip to the 1,063-ft high steel tower (324m or approx. 81 stories) and have a leisurely lunch or dinner there.
There are two restaurants in the Eiffel Tower, the Michelin-starred Jules Verne on the 2nd platform and 58 Tour Eiffel on the 1st platform. The Jules Verne is very pricey, as you might imagine, but offers high quality French food with an unforgettable view. 58 Tour Eiffel on the 1st platform is more reasonably priced, with prix fixe options and a la carte options for lunch and dinner. You don’t need reservations for lunch, and snagging a seat at the restaurant allows you to skip the line at the bottom of the tower and hop right into the elevator.
On my Paris trip, I opted for a visit to 58 Tour Eiffel, as I hadn’t thought ahead to try for reservations at the Jules Verne. The views from the restaurant are good, as is the food, but the concept is a little strange. The restaurant is elegant looking, but you order your food at a counter, like a very upscale cafeteria. The appetizers and desserts are cold and they hand those off to you right away, along with some bread, then bring out the main courses after a few minutes. The dishes pictured above include Smoked Salmon with Blini, an Asparagus Salad with Smoked Duck, an Apricot Almond Tarte and a Lamb Shepards Pie. The tart and the pie were both hits.
I can see how this format works out for a busy tourist destination to get people in-and-out quickly but still give them a nice lunch. That said, I don’t think I’d love it in another venue even though it worked out just fine with the view. As far as I can tell, they only use this format for lunch, and offer regular service during dinner.
There are also a couple of snack bars serving cold sandwiches, chips and drinks in the tower, with seating that is very nice, even if it doesn’t quite offer you the same view. If you’re going early, or on a day that is relatively quiet, it’s a great idea to bring some food up with you and sit out to enjoy it. The tower is generally busy every day during the summer, but it is always busier Friday-Sunday than the other days. Mondays are relatively quiet, as many tourists head home at the end of the weekend. If it’s a very busy day or time of the day, you’re going to have a tough time getting a table and might just be better off waiting until you’re back on the ground and having a picnic in the lovely Champs de Mars Park.