We are heading to Europe tomorrow for a family vacation – (actually we are there right now while you read this!) and there are some great sites that I couldn’t wait to share that really helped me in researching our trip. One of our stops is Paris, and when searching for tips about Paris with kids, I found some serious gems!
The first one is from Wendy Perrin’s blog The Perrin Post. She had some super tips on skipping the lines at two VERY popular ( ie. 2-hour-long wait lines to get in) tourist spots: The Eiffel Tower and The Louvre. I encourage you to read her original post because she goes into better detail, has great pictures, and links to other helpful posts. You can read it here. The others are the attractions themselves. It really is worth going right to the source sometimes.
Tips on visiting the Louvre:
Wendy points out that the Louvre has more than one entrance. Says so right on their website. And the other entrances don’t have the long lines that the front Pyramid entrance has. In fact, in her case, there was no line at all! But, for those who want the experience of going through the front door, they will have a 2 hour wait. Once inside the Louvre, there’s no real way to avoid the crowds and lines to see the Mona Lisa. However, there are thousands of other beautiful works of art housed here that are more than worth viewing if you choose to skip this. Our plan is to have my husband (who is tall) take a zoomed in photo from the back of the line and move on. 😉 If you do brave the room, I feel it’s fair to warn you of potential pickpockets. There’s some great advice on staying safe here.
On the Louvre website, there are a few ‘trails’ you can follow, and one I though might be fun is the Da Vinci Code, Between Fiction and Fact. My 9-yr-old son loves Leonardo Da Vinci, and would love to see the Mona Lisa, but this may be a bit more fun. He’s not quite old enough to read the book or see the movie, but when he is, it might be fun for him to have seen these paintings up close. Either way, it’s a great way to connect art, history and fiction, with a little mystery thrown in. And some of the artwork on the trail is actually by Da Vinci.
Tips on visiting the Eiffel Tower:
Wendy – like us – only wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower on a clear day. You can’t determine that completely when buying tickets ahead of time, but – also as noted on the Eiffel Tower website – you can take the stairs whenever you want without worrying about long lines. There are a LOT of stairs, I will admit. But you can take your time, and you don’t have to walk all the way up to the second level (which is not the second floor – it’s much higher). You can take the elevator (lift) from the first level to the second and then up to the top. But there is so much to do, and the view of the city is terrific, on the first and second levels, (and I’m already super afraid of heights), there is no driving need to go all the way to the top. Our plan is to walk up to the second level and have dinner at one of the restaurants there (one is named after one of my son’s favorite authors, Jules Verne) and watch the sunset. Well, sunset is pretty late, so we may just do dessert. There is a children’s section to the website that hosts lots of trivia and games for kids that can help them build excitement for the trip, that unfortunately I’m finding too late. Luckily thanks to Ratatouille, I don’t have to build excitement at all. He’ll be dragging me all the way up.
I hope you find these tips as helpful as I will. If you have more tidbits for me, please leave them in the comments below!