If you’re planning a trip to Paris as a family then you’ll probably want to see the biggest tourist attraction. Here are some top tips for visiting the Eiffel Tower with kids.
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Tickets and prices
The best way to secure your tickets to visit the Eiffel Tower is through the official website. You are able to check availability on a variety of dates, see what tickets are available and pick a time slot for your visit. The website is quite clear and you can easily see whether any tickets are already sold out.
Tickets are available 60 days ahead but they sell out FAST so you need you need to be organised. The most popular tickets are those to the top level and those that use the lifts rather than the stairs. Although it can be hard to buy tickets via the official website, it does help to avoid long lines on the day. If you can be a bit flexible you might have better luck booking this way.
Prices from official website (2023)
|Child under 4 Rate
|Ticket with access lift
|Ticket with access stairs
|Ticket with access lift
|Ticket with access stairs 2nd floor
Sadly, we had missed out on booking tickets that included a trip up to the summit on the official website. This meant that I had to go elsewhere. This was the only thing Erin had asked to do so I knew I had to get the tickets somehow. Now, going through a third party will generally mean that you pay more for tickets so be prepared for this ahead of booking.
A friend had recommended Viator to us, as another option for tickets. Viator had lots of different options to choose from and I did find the tickets I wanted. However, it was a bit of a strange way of booking. First you pick your tickets as well as the date and time you would like to visit and then you pay. You get a confirmation email from Viator which explains that your tickets are pending. You’ll get another email a couple of days later to let you know that your tickets have been confirmed. Once you have this, you then find out you don’t get your actual tickets until a couple of days before the visit date.
The Viator website isn’t very clear with all of this and I didn’t realise the tickets actually come through a different tour company. However, even with all of the confusion we had no issues and we got our tickets fine in the end. I just think it’s a bit confusing for anyone who hasn’t booked tickets like this before and Viator could be clearer on how it’s done. We also paid around double what it would have cost us from the Eiffel Tower official ticket office.
Buy on the day
If you don’t want to book tickets in advance there is the option to buy them on the day at the venue. There are ticket machines at the base of the tower, which a lot of people were using when we visited. The problem with this option is that you are not guaranteed to get the kind of ticket you want. Our visit was in the middle of October half term (for the UK) at around 4pm. At this time, tickets were no longer being sold to the summit as capacity had been reached already. Buying tickets this way could result in quite upset children if they already have an expectation of what they’re going to do.
If you do have to buy tickets on the day instead of booking in advance, try to arrive earlier in the day as you’re more likely to be able to get better tickets.
When is the best time to visit?
This is really subjective, depending on what you want to see and when you are in Paris. Busier tourist seasons such as summer will mean that the Eiffel Tower is busy no matter what time of day you go. However, there are times when you’ll find the crowds to be a bit better.
Although it can be hard with children, visiting either first thing in the morning or last thing at night are good idea if you have pre-booked tickets. In the morning you’ll have a bit more space on the viewing decks however, at night you’ll be able to see both the Eiffel Tower and Paris all lit up.
Visiting at 4pm at the end of October (on a weekday during UK half term), it was quite busy. At this time, tickets had stopped being sold to the summit due to capacity limits. We were lucky that we already had ours. Each floor we visited was busy with little room to move around easily, or without getting in anyones way. However, I expected this at a tourist attraction such as this one. I think it’s best to go with the expectation of crowd levels being fairly high and if they’re not, it’s a bit of a bonus.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower with kids
Unlike when I visited the Eiffel Tower years ago, there is now a lot of security around the base. The view of the most recognizable monument in Paris is not quite the same as it used to be sadly. While I understand that these measures need to be in place, it does ruin the view somewhat.
You do not need a ticket to visit the ground level of the Eiffel Tower. There are two entry points where you’ll need to pass through security first though. Here, you’ll find queues for those with tickets and those without tickets. Security consists of a bag check and walking through a scanner. We arrived about 30 minutes before our visit time and we got through security in around 10-15 minutes. Queues will likely be longer during busier periods like summer.
On the ground level there is quite a bit going on. You can buy tickets if you need them, visit a gift shop and grab some food. I really liked that there were options even before you go up the Eiffel Tower. The visit can take quite some time and you might get hungry while you’re there. It’s also nice to have a gift shop where you don’t have to rush looking. There are toilets on the ground floor too, which is always a good idea when you’re visiting with young children.
The first floor of the Eiffel Tower is home to the Madame Brasserie restaurant, serving both lunch and dinner. There is a very limited children’s menu if you plan to dine as a family. It is advisable to a reservation and this does not include tickets for the Eiffel Tower.
In order to get to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower you will have to pass through more security and show your tickets. As we had tickets that included the lifts, we were shown to a particular queue. This queue does take longer compared to if you have tickets that only include the stairs. There is a short wait for the lifts as they can only hold so many people at a time. We only waited around 10-15 minutes though.
The second floor is where you really get to experience what the Eiffel Tower is all about. As a first time visitor, you will be blown away by the view you get as soon as you walk to the exterior of the tower. You can walk the whole way around the tower so you’ll experience the best views no matter where you stand. This is a great place to pick out some of Paris’ other attractions such as Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the river Seine and Arc de Triomphe.
We found there to be quite a lot of space on this level of the Eiffel Tower and although it was busy, we had space to stand and take our time. It was nice to not feel rushed somewhere like this, which is something I was a little bit worried about. Both young kids and older children might enjoy looking through the tower viewers to get a closer look at some of Paris. You could turn this into a bit of a treasure hunt and ask the kids to find a lost of things in Paris while they’re looking out.
On the second floor you’ll also find the Michelin-starred Jules Verne Restaurant, souvenir shop, macaron shop, toilets and more options for food. Although we didn’t eat during our visit to the Eiffel Tower, I did have a quick look at what was available and was happy to see there was family friendly options such as pizza and sandwiches.
If you have tickets to go up to the summit, the top of the Eiffel Tower then you’ll need to go through another quick ticket check. This was really simple and didn’t take any time at all. Again, you have to queue to use the lift to get up to the top floor. If you want a good view when in the lift then try to be one of the first to get in. You’ll be able to see a great view of Paris as you travel all the way to the top.
The top floor of the Eiffel Tower is a massive 276m high and there’s only the needle above the observation deck. Immediately, there was a strong gust of wind that we weren’t expecting. I had to constantly hold my dress down to stop it from blowing up! This was something we weren’t prepared for. I would advise wearing sensible clothes and maybe something to put your hair up if you can. I had trouble seeing at times because my hair was in my face, depending on which way I stood.
Tickets to the top are limited, for good reason. The area here is very small and cramped compared with the second floor. There is very little space to move around and if you want to get any kind of nice pictures, you have to be really patient or hope other people are. Small children might find it overwhelming, especially as there isn’t space for pushchairs or prams.
Although the space is small and quite cramped, the views of the city are absolutely worth it. You can see for miles and miles and on a clear day, it is really spectacular. We were very lucky that the rain and cloud cleared while we were there and had some glorious light over Paris. We even saw a rainbow! Visiting the top floor is such a great way to get one of the best views of Paris.
Although there isn’t much on the top floor, you will find a small champagne bar which also sells macarons. This is a lovely idea if you want to do something special during your visit.
- Book well in advance – tickets sell out online
- Visit first thing in the morning if you need to buy tickets on the day
- Consider the stairs if you are visiting with older children
- There are plenty of toilets before and during your visit
- Food and drink is family-friendly and not too overpriced
- The gift shops have some great souvenirs but there are people outside selling cheap alternatives
As this was the one thing Erin was asking to do, I am so glad we managed to arrange this. Being our first trip to Paris as a family, I wanted it to be special. If you can get tickets to the top floor they are absolutely worth it. We would have been sad had we missed out on this experience. From the first glimpse of the tower to that view from the very top, it’s something the whole family will remember forever.