The Arc de Triomphe is definitely a must-see attraction in Paris. However, it’s located on one of the busiest intersections in Paris and there are no sidewalks. This can be intimidating for families with small children. I’m here to assure you that it’s not only doable, but it can be a blast with a baby and preschooler. See our full itinerary here.
First off, there is an underground pedestrian tunnel to get to the base of the Arc de Triomphe. It’s on the Avenue de la Grande Armee side of the circle. You can access this tunnel from the Wagram exit of the Metro.There are stairs to get down, so be prepared if you have a stroller. Once you are in the tunnel, you will see a line forming. This is to pay to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
We bought our tickets and then headed up more stairs to get to the base of the Arc de Triomphe. From here, we had to choices: Walk around the Arc de Triomphe or head up to the observation area. We decided to start at the top. My husband parked our stroller in the designated area near security. We went through security and they told my husband that his camera bag was okay to bring up. That meant we just left the empty stroller.
When we got through security, the ticket taker saw that I had a baby and told me to wait for the lift. We waited for awhile in that area until an employee invited us to head to the elevator on the other side. The elevator ride was surprisingly quick and brought us to Attic Room. This area housed the gift shop as well as a video and displays of the Arc de Triomphe.
Next, we climbed the 46 steps to get up to the Terrace. The stairway was a bit narrow. Thankfully, it was one-way and we had to encourage our 3-year-old to climb as quickly as he could.
As we walked out onto the Terrace, we were in awe. Not only is there an incredible view of the Champs Elysées, but you can also see the Eiffel Tower. The whole Terrace felt very safe to me. We let our 3-year-old explore a bit. He even climbed up on the protected ledge they had so he could see a bit better.
The Terrace was very well contained and there were lots of places to sit down. There were also telescopes available, which was a hit with our preschooler. Our baby napped the whole time we were up there. I put a red beret on our baby thinking it would be cute for photos. We ended up using it to keep his head warm in the chilly wind.
One of my favorite things we did on the Terrace, was take a selfie. I know that sounds super cliche, but they have a raised platform that is especially for taking selfies. It’s set up so the background is the Eiffel Tower. I feel like this is the ultimate travel selfie spot in Paris.
Once we saw as much as we wanted, we headed back down to the Attic Room. My husband and preschooler perused the gift shop while I nursed our baby. Then, we headed back near the elevator and waited for a staff member to take us back down.
We decided to spend some time walking around the base of the Arc de Triomphe. My preschooler is pretty cautious, so I wasn’t worried about him running into traffic. Instead, he ran around me to burn off some energy. We tried to take some photos of our family in front of the Arc de Triomphe, but we were just too close. After spending a bit of time staring up at this massive monument, we decided to continue exploring Paris.
Finally, as we left Paris a few days later to go to the airport, our taxi driver actually drove us around the Arc de Triomphe. It was the first time we’d been near it in a car. It was the best way to end a phenomenal trip to Paris.
6 Tips for Arc de Triomphe with a Baby + Preschooler
- Children age 17 and under get free admission. That’s almost reason enough to bring your kids. It was 12 Euro each for my husband and I to enter.
- Park your stroller. They have a designated area to stow your stroller while you go up to the top. It’s right outside the security area.
- Take the elevator. As soon as we passed through security, were were told to wait for the lift. They said it was because we had a baby. That’s all we were told. We ended up waiting at least 5 minutes near security before a security staff member came inside and asked us to meet up with the rest of the elevator riders. The elevator is located away from the regular entrance. The elevator will let you out on the gift shop level. You will still need to take a flight of narrow stairs to get to the top.
- Bring a carrier. Strollers aren’t allowed inside the monument. It makes sense because even though you can take the elevator, you still need to take 46 steps to get to the observation deck. Wearing our son in his carrier made it easier for us to climb the steps and help our 3-year-old climb at a reasonable pace.
- Visit the gift shop. My husband’s motto is “I haven’t met a gift shop I didn’t like.” I’m more discerning, however I was impressed with their selection of children’s items. They also had lots of Eiffel Tower souvenirs, in case you aren’t planning on going up to their gift shop.
- Take a photo from across the street. This was the best way for us to get photos of the kids in front of the Arc de Triomphe without getting a weird angle. Plus you get the whole traffic circle, which is cool.