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 Arc de Triomphe with kids is not only doable, but it can be a blast even with babies and toddlers. See our full Paris itinerary here.
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Our Visit to the Arc de Triomphe with Kids
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 two 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. This was the tricky part for our family. The stairway was a bit narrow. I’m glad I had our baby in a carrier, so I could hold the handrail. Thankfully, the stairway was one-way. But, we had to encourage our 3 year old to climb as quickly as he could so we wouldn’t hold up other visitors.
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.
Arc de Triomphe Tips with Kids
ARC DE TRIOMPHE TICKETS
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 BABY 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. So, if you have a baby or toddler, bring a baby carrier. Wearing our 6 month old 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. If you find items you love but don’t want to pack home, take a photo of it and see if you can buy online later.
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.
10 Arc de Triomphe Facts for Kids
- The Arc de Triomphe costed 9.3 million French francs (around 1.6 million USD) a huge amount of money in the 1800s.
- The white walls under the vault contain the names of 128 battles of the first French Republic and Napoleon’s Empire plus the names of the generals who took part in them.
- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from WW1 is located under the vault. It represents the 1.5 million soldiers who died during the war.
- Andre Maginot lit the eternal flame of remembrance on November 11, 1923 and it’s never been extinguished. If you go at 6:20pm, you can see the flame rekindled and veterans laying wreaths.
- It was the largest triumphal arch until 1982, when North Korea deliberately built a larger one.
- There are 284 steps from the ground level to the top of the arc.
- Although Napoleon is the one who commission the Arc de Triomphe, the construction was completed many years after he died. But, he got to pass through the completed Arc de Triomphe in 1840 when his body was moved to Les Invalides, his final resting place.
- At the end of WW1, pilot Charles Godefroy flew his fighter plane through the Arc in tribute to the airmen killed in the war.
- The Arc de Triomphe almost didn’t happen. French architect Charles Ribart tried to build an elephant-shaped building where people could climb inside, but the French government denied his request.
- It’s rarely cleaned. The last cleaning happened in 2011 and it had been almost 50 years since the prior cleaning.
Arc de Triomphe Tours for Families
Get the inside story of one of Paris’s most iconic monuments with a one-hour guided tour and climb of the Arc de Triomphe. Plus, save time with skip-the-line access.
If your kids have the stamina for an all day tour, this one combines a visit to the spectacular gold-domed Invalides, home of the army museum and Napoleon’s final resting place, the charming Chateau de Malmaison where he shared his private life with the love of his life Josephine, and the monumental Arc de Triomphe, built to celebrate his glorious victories.
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