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Avoiding the Crowds: How to Experience Paris Without the Long Lines (Yes, Even the Eiffel Tower!)

Avoiding the Crowds: How to Experience Paris Without the Long Lines (Yes, Even the Eiffel Tower!)

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Are you planning a trip to Paris and are worried about crowds? Keep scrolling to check out my top tips for visiting Paris during their peak seasons!
This list of Paris travel tips was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Oh, Paris! The City of Light, love, and… lines. Miles and miles of lines.

I totally get if just the thought of standing in a queue for hours with your energetic kids makes you want to click “cancel” on that dream Parisian vacation.

As a mom of two boys with ADHD, I’ve had my fair share of travel challenges. But fear not!

Over several trips to Paris during the bustling spring and summer seasons, I’ve discovered some secret strategies to bypass those daunting lines and make the most out of our family adventures.

Yes, even at the most popular attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Orsay, and the grand Palace of Versailles.

Photo credit: Kirill in Paris for Flytographer

How to Enjoy Paris Without the Crowds

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

This one’s a classic for a reason. Getting to attractions right when they open—especially places like the Louvre or the Notre Dame (it should re-open later in 2024)—can significantly cut down on waiting times.

The early mornings in Paris have a quiet charm, and watching the city wake up is a unique experience in itself.

Plus, the kids are usually more refreshed and cooperative in the morning, making it the perfect time to explore.

Skip-the-Line: Your New Best Friend

When planning our trips, I quickly learned the value of “skip-the-line” tickets. Many popular tourist sites offer these at a slightly higher price, but trust me, they’re worth every penny.

My kids loved going to the top of the Eiffel Tower with minimal waiting. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We booked tickets online about two months in advance for the Eiffel Tower. Not only did we skip the main line, but we also got access to a lovely guide who shared fun facts about the tower that kept the boys engaged and entertained.

Semi-Private and Private Tours Are Golden

Given the boys’ ADHD, waiting in long lines is just not an option for us. We found that private or semi-private tours offered through various companies were a game-changer.

These tours might cost a bit more, but they often include skip-the-line access and a more personalized experience.

My kids loved sketching paintings at the Musee d’Orsay. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

At the Musee d’Orsay, our guide whisked us past the long line and straight into a world of Impressionist masterpieces, capturing the boys’ attention with intriguing stories behind the art.

Here are our favorite kid-friendly tours in Paris that are worth every dime.

Picnic Like a Parisian

One of our favorite ways to avoid the lunchtime crowds at cafes and restaurants is to have a picnic.

Paris is dotted with beautiful parks and gardens—Luxembourg Gardens and the Tuileries Garden are just a couple of our favorites.

We love grabbing sandwiches to eat at the park. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

We’d pick up some sandwiches, fresh fruit, and maybe a pastry or two from a local boulangerie and find a quiet spot to enjoy.

Not only does this save time (and stress), but it also allows us to soak up the Parisian atmosphere in a more relaxed setting.

We actually did this a few times for dinner, as well. Luxembourg Gardens has a really nice playground that’s perfect for get the final wiggles out.

Discovering the Road Less Traveled

Paris is full of hidden gems that are often overlooked by the usual tourist crowd.

Exploring neighborhoods like the Marais or Canal Saint-Martin offered us a glimpse into the everyday life of Parisians without the hustle and bustle.

We stumbled upon quaint shops, charming cafes, and peaceful little squares where the kids could take a break and just play.

Late Nights at the Louvre

Did you know that the Louvre is open until 9:45 PM on Wednesdays and Fridays?

Visiting this world-renowned museum in the evening is an excellent way to dodge the daytime crowds. The atmosphere is calmer, and seeing the iconic Mona Lisa without ten rows of people in front of you is something special.

Image of A horizontal shot of the lit-up Louvre pyramid during the night in Paris, France
Head to the Louvre Museum at night to avoid the large crowds.

Plus, your kids will think it’s super cool to be in a museum at night—it will feel like an adventure out of a storybook. I mean, jet lag has to be good for something, right?

Go Beyond Paris

While Paris is undeniably magical, some of our most memorable experiences came from day trips to less crowded locations.

The Palace of Versailles, for example, can be incredibly busy, but by booking a private guided tour, you can enjoy a more intimate exploration of the palace and gardens.

You’ve got to check out Monet’s house at Giverny. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Another favorite was Giverny, where we visited Claude Monet’s home and gardens. It was peaceful, beautiful, and a hit with the whole family.

Flexible Planning is Key

With kids, and especially when trying to navigate around crowds, maintaining some flexibility in your plans is crucial.

Image of a boy pushing a toy boat in Paris
I highly recommend renting the toy boats! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

There were days we had to swap activities around based on the kids’ moods, the weather, or just because we found something else we wanted to explore.

And that’s perfectly okay! Some of our best experiences in Paris came from spontaneous decisions.

Keeping Cool and Staying Patient

Lastly, no matter how well you plan, there will be moments of frustration—missed turns, unexpected closures, the occasional meltdown (from kids and parents alike!).

The key is to stay patient and keep a sense of humor about it all. After all, you’re in Paris, creating unforgettable memories with your family. A little hiccup here and there just adds to the story.

Paris Without the Crowds Wrap-Up

Paris with kids, without losing your cool amid the summer crowds, is entirely possible.

It takes some planning, yes, and maybe a bit of splurging on skip-the-line tickets or tours, but seeing the joy and wonder on your kids’ faces as they experience the magic of Paris is priceless.

So go ahead, book that trip, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime in the heart of France. Bon voyage!

Looking for more Paris travel tips? Check out How to Navigate Paris with Kids Without Speaking French, How to Get to Disneyland Paris from Central Paris: A Local’s Guide, How to Plan a Trip to Paris: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide, and 10 Tried and True Paris Family Tours Worth Booking!

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