When you think about Paris, it’s hard not to think about the Eiffel Tower. It is the iconic landmark of the city, that anyone recognizes from the silhouette alone. My kids recognized the Eiffel Tower right away, though I suspect it’s because it was often featured in “The Miraculous Ladybug”. When my daughter decided on what she wanted for her 10th birthday trip, the first item on her list of must dos was the Eiffel Tower. “I want to see the tower, go to the top, and see out all over Paris”. Well, how can I say no to a request like that! Here are some things we did to make it one of the best experiences for all in our party who attended.
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Tip #1: Book Timed Entry Tickets
The queues in Paris for its favorite sites can become hours long as the day progresses. And the Eiffel Tower is one of the few sites that is NOT part of the Paris Museum Pass, so everyone has to queue to buy a ticket. In addition, the Eiffel Tower does not allow children for free so you must purchase a ticket for all in your party over the age of four. When you go to purchase your tickets, it provides a number of options which leads me to my next tip…
Tip #2: Purchase the Elevator Ride
You might be tempted to save money, exercise the little legs, and walk up the steps. Maybe you feel like you don’t need to go all the way to the top. You could not be more wrong. You cannot purchase a combo stair to 2nd Floor / Lift to Summit Ticket ahead of time (only the day of). And you must take an elevator to the Summit. Yes, it costs more, but it’s totally worth it. You will get a spectacular view and you will not waste all your energy walking all 674 steps to the level with the subpar view. I did that in my 20s. Never again.
Tip #3: Book a Morning Time
We booked 10am, which was one of the earlier times, but not the earliest. If you have early risers I would try and get one of the first slots. Security will be easier as they will not yet be backed up, there are less crowds in the morning, and you get a beautiful view without too much sun and heat. Some people suggest a time slot where you can see the sunset, which is also nice. But there will likely be more people as some from earlier time slots will linger. In the summer, sunset is as late as 10 PM, and if you have younger kids, that can be hard for them. We ourselves, only ever managed to stay out and see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night once. Instead, head to the grounds of the Eiffel Tower after sunset and see the nightly lights show, once every hour on the hour.
Tip #4: Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes before your timed entry ticket.
There is security you have to go through before you can enter your timed entry line. Once past security, there is a pre-line for your time slot. People are queueing before they actually let you up to elevator queue.
Tip #5: Try and Arrive by the Trocadéro Metro Stop
I know it depends on where you are coming from in the city, but if you arrive from the Trocadéro Metro Stop, you walk out, turn a corner, and see the most spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower in front of the Trocadéro Gardens. It builds the excitement for what you are able to see and create the opportunities to take some epic photographs.
Tip #6: Go Straight Up to the Summit
The top level is rather small and can only fit so many people. By going as soon as you get there, you get a chance to see it with less people. You also avoid disappointment, if you spend time on the 2nd Floor and find that you have to wait a long time to go up to the top level if it’s full. The top level was crazy with its dizzying heights but provides spectacular views of the city of Paris. Also, since it’s a smaller level, the kids went through each side to see all views but didn’t get impatient because it was shorter walks on each side.
Tip #7: Give Your Kids the Camera
I love seeing what the kids choose to take pictures of. Both mine are at the age where they have phones, and now can take pictures with their own phones. But when they were younger, I’d make sure to give them an old camera or my phone to take pictures. It’s awesome to see what they find most interesting. And sometimes, they take adorable photos of you! (Photo shoots are always a lot of fun)
Tip #8: Make Sure to Point Out Eiffel’s Apartment
On the top level, you can view in the glass the apartment of Mr. Gustave Eiffel. He used to work out of this office once the tower was built. It’s still decorated as he had it, and it’s a fun little story, plus lets your kids imagine what it must have been like to live up in a tower
Tip #9: Take your break at the 2nd Floor
The Summit has lot of stunning views, but no real place to sit and rest. Once you go down to the 2nd floor, there are cool views, but also places to sit and get a snack, or simply rest.
Tip #10: Get your meal away from the Eiffel Tower
Once you are done and ready to leave, it’s tempting to visit one of those cute, street side cafes right by outside security, with their traditional French Menus. DON’T DO IT! They are mediocre food at best and overpriced for use. They don’t have to be good; their bread-and-butter customers are tourists who are hungry after visiting the Eiffel Tower. Go just 2-3 blocks over and choose a restaurant where you CAN’T see the Eiffel Tower. Yes, it won’t be a picturesque, but you’ll get much better food at a much better price (though this is Paris, so expect everything to be expensive). Better yet, you can pick up cheese, bread, and meat from the local market, and have a picnic lunch at Garden of the Eiffel Tower, and you’ll get a cheaper meal in the shadows of this beautiful tower.
The Eiffel Tower was my daughter’s desire, but a dream come true for all seeing it for the first time on this trip. My mom loved the views. My son enjoyed taking photos and staring off into the distance. My daughter just enjoyed being in the moment and being in the city of her dreams. You couldn’t ask for a better introduction to Paris, the city of love and the city of lights. Seeing the tower, you can understand love at first sight.
* Starred Photos taken by Atma Photography
Editor: SKS (Son)
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