I've been here twice: two days ago and about 20 years ago. Nothing has changed in the meantime. The best way to see the tower is to take the STAIRS to the 1st and 2nd level, at the bargain price of €4. (Honestly, I would do it just for the exercise.) Two days ago, there were no lines and no waiting to take the stairs but a HUGE line to take the elevators. (You could climb the stairs twice in the time people must have waited for the elevator.) At the 1st or 2nd level, you can buy a supplemental ticket to take you to the top, probably saving a little money overall. (I think the supplement was about €8.) It's 328 steps to the first level and about 500 to the second (total).
Once you're at the 1st or 2nd level, you can take the elevator down for free.
See my photos at http://www.roamingphotos.com/album?eiffel
BTW: Here are the rules to follow at the Eiffel Tower (a nice little language exercise, photographed by me at the base of the tower, then corrected in Photoshop).