Paris is a city that enraptures visitors both young and old, and there is no site more intriguing than the Eiffel Tower. Whether you are a first time visitor, or a long time lover of the city, the first glimpse of the tower offers a tiny, breathtaking thrill. If you are traveling with children, a little insider information will go a long way to helping you and your family to have treasured memories of your visit to the most recognizable monument in Paris.
Love at First Sight
Successful family traveling begins before the bags are packed and the tickets are purchased. Before your trip, familiarize your family with the Eiffel Tower to whet their appetite for the main event.
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Visiting the Eiffel Tower
First time visitors to the Eiffel Tower generally have two things in common. They are enamored by the iconic structure and they are baffled by the ticket process. If you happen to speak French, the ticket buying process can be somewhat convoluted. If you are an Anglophone, it is downright dizzying.
You will have a litany of ticket options including stairs or elevator, a mid way climb or all the way to the top. Views of the city are best from the second floor, so do not feel that you need to go all the way to the top to enjoy the best. Once you have purchased your ticket, you face the lines. Be prepared for lines up to 1.5 hours for the climb up and an additional 1.5 for your return to the ground. Queuing begins outside, so be sure you are prepared for the weather and the wait.
Tips for Families
- Buy your tickets in advance, so you can skip the ticket line.
- Strollers are allowed, but must be collapsed for the elevator and are unwieldy in most of the lines. If at all possible, leave your stroller behind or use a soft baby carrier.
- Bring snacks. There are a limited number of snack bars available for treats while you wait. If you are in need of kid friendly food, there is a hot dog stand near the carousel and a panini stand directly under the tower.
- Older kids will enjoy Following Gus , a downloadable booklet with games and tour information for kids, ages 6-10. The map guides kids through a tour of the tower, with interesting facts at each stop. Best of all, the booklet is chock full of games to entertain your young travelers as they wait in line.
- Bring binoculars. Peeping out at Paris through a set of binoculars can be endless fascinating for little ones (and big kids too).
- Buying a guided tour will allow you to skip the lines and shorten your wait.
- A playground and a carousel can be found in shadows of the Eiffel Tower. Visit either of these fun stops before or after your trip to the top.
- Bring along a picnic lunch and feel like a proper citizen of Paris as you picnic on the lawn.
- Twinkling lights on the tower begin at dark and continue every hour on the hour. Children who loved the tower during the day will be delighted by the night time display.
- There are no bathrooms at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Pay toilets are located in the park near the playground.
- Avoid the lines altogether by touring the base of the tower and then climbing the Arc de Triomphe for great views of the city, including the Tower. Elevators are available at the Arc if you are traveling with a stroller. The lines are much shorter at the Arc and the views of the city are just as spectacular.