Paris Sightseeing with Kids

  • 01 of 06

    Sightseeing Introduction

    A gargoyle atop Notre Dame Cathedral contemplates life. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• A gargoyle atop Notre Dame Cathedral contemplates life. Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    Welcome to Paris, City of Light! And a wonderful place to visit with kids.

    The pages on this Paris "photo tour" combine pictures with tourist advice for families. The photos were taken in September, when Paris was bathed in glorious sun.

    One caution about visiting in September, though: it's high season in Paris, and the city is more crowded than in summertime. So if you're planning a visit in September, book your hotel well ahead.

    If you're tempted to travel later than September, learn the words "il pleut" -- it's raining. Families are probably better to stick to summer, September, May or June. Even July and August have an average of 8 rainy days, in Paris!

    Visitors in summer get an extra bonus: "Paris Plage", that is, "Paris Beach". Yes, beach: an artificial beach, with sand, is actually created along the Seine, with deck-chairs, ice cream stands -- the whole beach scene.

    For our visit to Paris, I used the Unofficial Guide to Paris guidebook:...MORE it's main merit for family travelers is that it rates attractions according to six age groups, from Preschoolers up.

    Continue to the Eiffel Tower; or click on other popular Paris sightseeing spots on the links below.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    The Eiffel Tower: Introduction

    Eiffel Tower, photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    When we visited Paris, all three of the kids agreed: we had to see the Eiffel Tower first.

    And they were right.

    The Eiffel Tower-- in French, La Tour Eiffel, pronounced toor ee-fell-- is a much more wonderful piece of architecture than any pictures convey: massive, but airy. Try to visit the Eiffel Tower during daytime, and also do a night visit too: the Tower is open late, often until midnight, and is a delightful experience, lit up in the dark with thousands of lights.

    The Eiffel Tower also has a fascinating history, including a stint as a radio transmitter during World War I. You'll find information displays on different platforms at the Eiffel Tower: allow plenty of time during your visit to learn about this landmark which, incidentally, was much criticized during it's early years.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    The Eiffel Tower - Base

    Eiffel Tower. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    The base of the Eiffel Tower (seen here from the Place du Trocodero) encompasses a wide area, with ticket booths at several corners. Check around and see which one has the shortest line-ups.

    Lots of people will be milling around beneath the Tower, and some will be trying hard to sell you souvenirs. f you're not interested, don't give the slightest encouragement: even a smiling "I don't think so" is an invitation for more dialogue.

    On the other hand, you might wish to buy. Generally prices will be highly inflated, but will drop quickly with bargaining. We bought souvenirs in the Tower giftshop, and later were offered similar items by vendors at half the price. We adults may turn up our noses at tourist trinkets, but many kids really treasure their little souvenirs.

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  • 04 of 06

    The Eiffel Tower: View over Paris

    Eiffel Tower. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    Once you've reached the upper platforms of the Tower, you can walk around and admire the view, with the city of Paris at your feet. You'll find both an outer (possibly windy) walkway, and an inner area as well. Strategically placed photos point out the landmarks you're seeing, far below. 

    Be sure to take the elevator all the way to the top level, at least once!

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Place du Trocadero: View from Eiffel Tower

    Place du Trocadero: View from Eiffel Tower. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    View of the Place du Trocadero, from the Eiffel Tower. 

    The Place du Trocadero is a great place to view the Eiffel Tower, and is especially fun on summer nights: you might see African dancers, in addition to sure sightings of Parisien lovers and the lit-up Tower!

    Near the top of the photo is the Palais de Chaillot.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    The Eiffel Tower-- fun

    The Eiffel Tower is a playful place to visit: for example, check out the "dummy" construction worker, above.  

    In many spots, you'll find signs with curious or amusing facts about the Tower's history. Visitors will learn, for instance, that the Eiffel Tower was used as a radio tower during WW1. Makes sense!