Last month, before we flew to Rome, we stayed in Paris for couple of days. While we were there, we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower with the kids for the first time! I thought I’d share a few helpful tips for any of you with an Eiffel Tower climb in your future. (I hope it’s lots of you!)

Tip 1: Take the stairs.

The lines for the elevator can be crazy long, so I highly recommend buying tickets for the stairs instead. You’ll probably still have a line, but it will be much shorter. The climb isn’t too difficult and the stairs aren’t crowded. Plus you get amazing views of how the tower is put together, and you’ll feel cool breezes if it’s a hot day. For a final bonus, stair tickets are less expensive. Hooray!

The staircase option is actually half stairs, half elevator. You climb to the first the level, then you take an elevator to the top.

Tip 2: Take a rest.

Plan on spending a most of your time on the first level. It’s much bigger than the upper level, so there’s more room to move around and it’s less crowded. You can buy water bottles there if you’re worn out from the climb, or you can even buy a sandwich or snack. There are displays and exhibits to study, and of course, the views are incredible!

Tip 3: Take a snack.

After you’ve had your fill of the first level, it’s time to stand in line again. Everyone — both stair ticket holders and elevator ticket holders — will need to queue up to take the elevator to the top level. The line here can feel long, especially if you weren’t expecting it, so pulling out a favorite treat will help keep kids in good spirits while you wait your turn.

Be aware: the elevators will be packed. So if you’re claustrophobic, make sure you’re by a window. Bonus: you’ll be rewarded with amazing views on your way up!

Tip 4: Beat the clock.

Unless you’ve made dinner reservations, you probably won’t need to spend much time on the top level. It’s crowded! Here’s what I recommend: walk the circumference, identify a few of your favorite Paris landmarks, take a peek through the window at Gustave Eiffel’s office (he has an American visitor!), and snap a few photos.

If it feels like a bummer to start the trip down, make a game of it. We set the timers on our phone for 10 minutes and did our best to beat the clock.

Plan on 2-3 hours for the entire adventure, from getting in line to buy tickets to arriving back down on the ground.

Have you ever been to the top? Was it daytime or evening? Any other tips you’d add?

P.S. — Baby June was tired that day, so she napped at my sister’s house while the rest of us climbed. Also, the image of the Eiffel Tower at night is by Wendy of Blue Lily. Did you know that when it’s dark, the tower sparkles for 3 minutes on the hour. It’s a must see!