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Arc de Triomphe Exploration Guide for You and Your Kids

Arc de Triomphe Exploration Guide for You and Your Kids

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Heading to Arc de Triomphe soon? Here’s a complete guide on how you can enjoy exploring this world wonder with your kids!
This post about Arc de Triomphe Exploration Guide 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.

The Arc de Triomphe is a must-see attraction in Paris, France. However, it’s located on one of the busiest intersections in Paris, with 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.

About Arc de Triomphe

Nestled at the heart of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly known as Place de l’Etoile, the Arc de Triomphe stands as a beacon of French pride and history. This triumphal arch, one of the world’s most famous monuments, marks the western terminus of the Champs-Élysées and is a symbol of French victories throughout history.

Despite its location at one of Paris’s busiest intersections, devoid of sidewalks and bustling with activity, visiting this iconic monument with children is an enriching experience that offers a unique blend of educational and entertaining opportunities.

Famous Paris avenue Champs-Elysees and the Triumphal Arch, symbol of the glory on sunny day with sunbeams in sky. Iconic touristic landmark and romantic travel destinations in France. Long exposure.
You’ll want to snap a photo of the Arc de Triomphe.

The Arc de Triomphe’s inner and outer surfaces are adorned with intricate sculptures and inscriptions commemorating French victories and World War heroes.

For families, this presents a tangible connection to history, allowing parents and children alike to explore the layers of stories etched into its stones. The monument’s design and significance make it stand out among the world’s triumphal arches, offering a glimpse into the past and a panoramic view of the present from its rooftop.

Visiting this famous monument with kids is manageable and highly rewarding. With careful planning and awareness of the surroundings, families can navigate the busy intersection safely, thanks to an underground tunnel that provides direct access to the monument, bypassing the traffic above.

Once inside, the Arc de Triomphe becomes a playground of historical exploration, where every corner tells a story of bravery, triumph, and the enduring spirit of the French people.

The Arc de Triomphe is not just a site to tick off your Paris itinerary; it’s a place where history comes alive, making it a must-visit destination for families looking to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of French culture and achievements.

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. The Metro’s Wagram exit allows you to access this tunnel.

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 line is for the entry fee to go to the top of the arc.

Photo of the Arc de Triomphe, which is a top kid-friendly attraction in Paris, France #arcdetriomphe #paris #pariswithkids #familytravel #parisattractions
View of the Arc de Triomphe from across the street. Photo credit: Philippe Berthé / Centre des monuments nationaux

We bought our tickets and headed up more stairs to get to the base.

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 his camera bag was okay to bring up. That meant we just left the empty stroller.

Photo of the stroller parking at Arc de Triomphe, a great tip for traveling to Paris with kids #arcdetriomphe #pariswithkids #parisattractions #familytravel
This is the security area at the base of the Arc de Triomphe. To the right is the stroller parking area. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

When we got through security, the ticket taker saw I had a baby and told me to wait for the lift. We waited for a while in that area until an employee invited us to head to the elevator on the other side.

Inside the Attic Room

The elevator ride was surprisingly quick and brought us to the Attic Room. This area housed the gift shop, a video, and displays of the famous arc.

Phot of the Attic Room at the Arc de Triomphe with kids, a stop on our self-guided Arc de Triomphe tour #arcdetriomphe #pariswithkids #visitparis #parismonument
Our 3-year-old studied this model very carefully in the Attic Room. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

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 possible so we wouldn’t hold up other visitors.

Photo of the Arc de Triomphe Terrace, overlooking the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées in Paris, France #eiffeltower #champselysees #arcdetriomphe #paristour #pariswithkids
One of the many views from the Terrace of the Arc de Triomphe. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

The Awe-Inspiring Terrace of Arc de Triomphe

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 their protected ledge so he could see a bit better.

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Photo of kis on the Terrace of Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, which is a kid-friendly attraction in Paris #eiffeltower #arcdetriomphe #pariswithkids #familytravel
Our 3-year-old enjoyed the wind in his face as he soaked in the awe-inspiring view at the top. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

The Terrace was very well-contained, and there were many places to sit down. There were also telescopes available, which was a hit with our preschoolers.

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 used it to keep his head warm in the chilly wind.

Photo of the Selfie Spot at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France #parisselfie #parisphotospot #arcdetriomphe #parisfrance #familytravel #familyselfie
This is the ultimate selfie spot on the observation area at the Arc de Triomphe. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

One of my favorite things we did on the Terrace was taking 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 to the elevator and waited for a staff member to take us back down.

Photo of the roses under the Arc de Triomphe, a top Paris attraction for families #arcdetriomphe #napoleon #parismonument #visitparis
One of the many detailed views from underneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Exploring the Base

We decided to spend some time walking around the base of the arc. 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.

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6 Arc de Triomphe Tips with Kids

Photo of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc de Triomphe on a Paris family vacation with kids #eiffeltower #arcdetriomphe #pariswithkids #familytravel
Exploring the Arc de Triomphe with kids was a highlight of our Paris family vacation! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

1. ARC DE TRIOMPHE TICKETS

Children aged 17 and under get free admission. That’s almost reason enough to bring your kids. It was 12 Euros each for my husband and me to enter.

2. 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.

3. TAKE THE ELEVATOR

As soon as we passed through security, we 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 them and see if you can buy them online later.

6. 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.

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Tops Questions About the Arc de Triomphe From Parents

IS THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE FREE?

Yes and no. It’s free to walk around the base and under the arches and take photos in front of it. However, you’ll need to pay to climb up inside it and experience the views from the top.

HOW MANY STEPS IN THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE?

There are 284 steps to get from the base to the viewing platform on top of the arch.
 

IS THERE AN ELEVATOR IN THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE?

Yes, there is an elevator, however it only goes up to the middle level inside the Arc de Triomphe. You’ll still need to climb up the staircase to get to the viewing platform.

WHY IS THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE SO FAMOUS?

If you don’t remember from your high school history class, this might be your top question when visiting Paris!

The Arc de Triomphe was built in the early 1800s after Napoleon decided to honor the French army, who had defeated most of Europe. It’s supposed to represent a powerful and unified country.

10 Arc de Triomphe Facts for Kids

  1. The Arc de Triomphe costed 9.3 million French francs (around 1.6 million USD) a huge amount of money in the 1800s.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Andre Maginot lit the eternal flame of remembrance on November 11, 1923, and it’s never been extinguished. If you go at 6:20 pm, you can see the flame rekindled and veterans laying wreaths.
  5. It was the largest triumphal arch until 1982 when North Korea deliberately built a larger one.
  6. There are 284 steps from the ground level to the top of the arc.
  7. Although Napoleon was the one who commissioned 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.
  8. At the end of WW1, pilot Charles Godefroy flew his fighter plane through the Arc in tribute to the airmen killed in the war.
  9. 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.
  10. It’s rarely cleaned. The last cleaning happened in 2011, and it had been almost 50 years since the prior cleaning.
Photo across the street from the Arc de Triomphe, which is a top photo spot in Paris, France #parisphoto #parisphotospot #parisattraction #visitparis #pariswithkids
We were so excited to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Arc de Triomphe Tours for Families

Paris Skip-the-Line Arc de Triomphe Guided Tour and Climb

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.

Napoleon: the Man and the Legend – Full-day tour including Arc de Triomphe

If your kids have the stamina for an all-day tour, this one hits all the highlights:

  • A visit to the spectacular gold-domed Invalides, home of the army museum and Napoleon’s final resting place.
  • The charming Chateau de Malmaison is where he shared his private life with the love of his life, Josephine.
  • And the monumental Arc de Triomphe was built to celebrate his glorious victories.

Segway Tour of Paris

If your kids are a bit older (at least 88 lbs), this segway tour of Paris sounds like a blast! You can pick a 45-minute, 90-minute, or 3-hour tour.

The route includes: Eiffel Tower, Field of Mars, The National Residence of the Invalides, The Pont Alexandre III Place de la Concorde, Louvre Museum, Mussée d’Orsay, Grand Palais, Small Palais Champs-Elysées, The Torch of Freedom, Arc de Triomphe, Place du Trocadéro.

Kid-Friendly Hotels Near the Arc de Triomphe

SUITES & HOTEL HELZEAR CHAMPS-ELYSEES

If you are visiting Paris with kids, this hotel offers an array of rooms from studios to 3-bedroom suites. And some of the rooms connect, which is helpful if you are traveling with extended family.

Plus, free WIFI and a kitchenette with a mini-fridge and microwave.

HOTEL NAPOLEON PARIS

For a splurge, this 5-star hotel is steps away from the Arc de Triomphe, and the decor is inspired by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte himself!

They have large, connecting rooms perfect for traveling to Paris with kids.

HOTEL SPLENDID ETOILE

Recently renovated, this hotel has an epic view of the Arc and the rooms are designed in fun, bright colors!

Plus, they have babysitting in case you want a romantic dinner without your kids!

Things to do in Paris with Kids

Top tips for the Arc de Triomphe with Kids, which is a top Paris attraction for families #arcdetriomphe #paris #pariswithkid #familytravel #paris
Heading to Paris with a baby or toddler? Find out my top tips for the Arc de Triomphe with kids #arcdetriomphe #paris #parisfrance #familytravel #parisattractions
Wondering if the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is kid-friendly? Find out how you and your family can easily get to the top of the Arc de Triomphe with my tips for families #arcdetriomphe #pariswithkids #familytravel #parisfrance #parisattractions #visitparis
6 Tips for Exploring Arc de Triomphe with a Baby + Preschooler

Looking for more Paris itinerary tips for your next family vacation? Check out these blogs:

What to Do in Paris in 3 Days with a Baby and Toddler: Tips + Itinerary
25 Things To Do on a Paris Family Vacation Besides the Eiffel Tower
10 Tips for Visiting Paris with Kids: What Every Parent Should Know
Get an Insider’s View of Paris with a Paris Greeters Walking Tour
11 Most Instagrammable Spots in Paris Worth a Selfie
Paris After Dark: 10 Enchanting Things to Do in Paris at Night
Paris by TukTuk is the Ultimate Way to Sightsee with Children
15 Tips for a Disneyland Paris Day Trip with a Baby and Preschooler

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    Nili

    Wednesday 13th of March 2019

    I so wish I knew about the underpass tunnel to the Arc de Triumphe. It was only when I was on the other side , and absolutely impossible to cross that I realised I came the wrong way. Brilliant photos, and awesome tips, I love your blog.

    marciecheung

    Thursday 14th of March 2019

    It's such a crazy intersection area, right? Thanks so much for your kind words! I hope we can get back to Paris soon!

    madelain

    Wednesday 6th of June 2018

    What a fun trip to do! I didn't know the arc was tourable? Then again I went to Paris for one day, haha Thanks for the info.

    Madelain

    marciecheung

    Wednesday 6th of June 2018

    Oh yes! You can go to the very top!

    Tina Hogan Grant

    Tuesday 5th of June 2018

    Paris is such a beautiful city. and so much to do with kids. I have fond memories of my visit there.

    marciecheung

    Tuesday 5th of June 2018

    It's much more kid-friendly than I expected!

    Kelli A

    Monday 4th of June 2018

    Sounds like a lot to explore on this tour! Lots of great sites and views too! Awesome!

    marciecheung

    Monday 4th of June 2018

    We did a self-guided tour and it was so fun!

    Daisy

    Monday 4th of June 2018

    Wow! What a wonderful and amazing trip!!! I love seeing all your happy photos and it looks like a fabulous time!

    marciecheung

    Monday 4th of June 2018

    Thanks! My 3 year old still talks about it!

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