When it opened in 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World's Fair), it was the world's tallest human-made construction, rising 324 metres (1,063 ft) above the land. The Tower maintained the status for 41 years until the New York City took over by Chrysler Building in 1930. Today the Eiffel Tower is the most important icon of France and one of the most recognisable landmarks around the world. Probably everyone who eventually makes it to the French capital doesn't leave it without visiting its iconic monument or at least catching a glimpse of it. The yearly tourist flow to the Eiffel Tower exceeds 7 million which makes it the world's most visited paid-for monument.
Great popularity lead to year-round lines, therefore it's wise to purchase a bypass line ticket. The peak season between July and August offers extended operating hours—9:00 am to 12:45 am, with the last elevator ascent at 11 pm. During the extremely busy summer months, booking your tickets online might be the only possible way to get to the top. The rest of the year, admission time is reduced to 9:30 am and 11:45 pm, the last ride departing at 10:30 pm.
Apart from the elevator, it's also possible to use the staircase, climbing 330 steps to the first level, and 670 steps to the second level. To reach the very top of the tower, you'll have to proceed by elevator anyway. Climbing the stairs allows you to stop at every point you like and observe the views around. You'll have the privilege of being high enough to enjoy Paris from the bird's perspective, but at the same time low enough to recognise its monuments scattered below. Just note that in peak season the opening hours coincide with the elevator's, while for the remainder of the year the staircase access closes at 6:30 pm.
Though the time of year isn't that relevant, visitors face another dilemma—what time of the day is the best to ascend the Eiffel Tower? The daylight is better for photos, but the City of Lights has its own charm. Not to miss any experience, you could always visit it twice. But to kill two birds with one stone, opt for the late afternoon time, an hour or so before the sunset. You'll have the unique opportunity to behold everything—daytime Paris, urban sunset, evening blues, and finally the magnificent lighting.
Also, you might be interested in how to approach the landmark for the best distant views. Take Metro, but don't get out at Bir-Hakeim stop, even though it's the closest one. Instead, opt for Trocadéro stop. You'll love the views.