If there was one “must see” sight us on for this trip, it was the Eiffel Tower. It’s such a Parisian icon that I couldn’t imagine coming here and not at least making a serious attempt at getting to the top.
Of course, with two little kids, this is not small feat. Being as iconic as it is, everyone visiting Paris seems to want to scale the Tour Eiffel, and, to make matters more grueling, one of the two elevators is currently broken, significantly increasing wait times. It’s possible to make ticket reservations ahead of time, and therefore to skip most of the line, but by the time we finalized our trip, the soonest tickets available were for mid-June, so that wasn’t an option.
So, we set our alarm this morning and set off to wait in line with the rest of the tourists in Paris.
Getting there was piece of cake. We took the bus from the end of our street and it took us all the way to the tower. (The bus, by the way, is fantastic and easy to use and is miles simpler to negotiate with the stroller than the Métro.)
We arrived, and we joined the line. We got there at 9:04. It was a long line. Honestly, though, the wait wasn’t too terrible. The line moved pretty steadily (once the tower opened at 9:30) and, first thing in the morning, it was pretty shaded. Dan and I took turns alternately holding our place in line and walking around with Liam, since B was happy to curl up and rest in the stroller. Other than the ever-present worry about pick-pocketers and the constant stream of would-be line cutters, it wasn’t bad. And, we got to admire the very impressive tower while we waited (B said it looked like it was made of train tracks — an astute observation).
It took us three hours to get to the ticket window, though, by which point, Liam had lost all patience with the whole “waiting in line” business. He cried. He screamed. He thrashed. He flailed. Nothing could make him happy. The last 20 minutes or so of the line process was pretty torturous for us (and everyone around us) but we finally made it to the front of the line.
We went up, waited in another line, bought another ticket, waited in another line and then took the last elevator to the summit. We had been there maybe 2 minutes when B decided he wanted to go home (we talked him into staying a bit longer than that).
We enjoyed the view from the top, then made our way down to the middle (“second”) level, which I really liked. It was easier to make out the sights, and was significantly less crowded. We then descended to the first level and enjoyed some very windy ice cream before returning to earth.
We were worn out, and very much done with waiting in line and being ‘en garde’ for having our pockets picked. But, I’m really glad we went. It was definitely not to be missed (but would have been even better with a reserved ticket). Although Liam resented the restriction on his freedom for a few hours, he liked walking around and climbing on everything. B, who quickly became bored with the process of waiting, liked looking down at Paris — we looked through a telescope at boats n the Seine, checked out the Arc de Triomphe from above and watched some really tiny soccer players practice. And, all afternoon and evening, he’s been pointing out every Eiffel Tower he sees (quite a few) and exclaiming that we went there today.
It was, without question, a significant undertaking, and a bit of a challenge. But, if we leave Paris not having visited another major location, it would be ok. We took our boys to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and lived to tell the tale.