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I was surprised to find out that our tour of the Eiffel Tower Tour and Seine River Cruise with CityWonders would take two hours - and then I was nervous that my kids would be bored.
I had assumed that we would just walk over, cut the line and go up into the tower, look out and there would be a history lesson, some pictures and, voila, we would be tooling down the Seine on our river cruise, but there was a lot more to it and that was a good thing for kids and adults alike.
The tour met at the Palais de Chaillot across from the Eiffel Tower. A couple of guides wearing CityWonders jackets were at the appointed location and were easy to find. We checked in with our guide, John, who was a young British gentleman and who welcomed my daughters to the tour, ages 7 and 9.
While the tour was not necessarily for kids, this tour turned out great for them and John made it a point to make sure they understood the context of what he was saying and to include them in questions he put to the group. It might as well have been a kid-friendly tour because the girls loved the whole experience.
We began walking to the Eiffel Tower from the Palais de Chaillot. If you've ever seen friends' photos of them standing with the tower looming in back of them this is likely where they were standing. The views of the Eiffel Tower from the Palais de Chaillot are stunning - and, in the wintertime, while there are still crowds, they are far fewer in number.
Our guide stopped us here for a few moments to talk about the history of the tower from the perspective of the Exposition Universelle, a world's fair taking place in 1889, 100 years after the storming of the Bastille. The Eiffel Tower was the most prominent symbol of the fair.
The Eiffel Tower didn't come without controversy. Just like every other government project, one of the biggest things about new construction is who is going to pay for it. Gustave Eiffel ended up paying for most of the tower's construction and, in return, he wanted to collect the proceeds for the first 20 years that the tower would stand - after that, the city of Paris would receive the proceeds from the tower. Eiffel made his money back within the first six months and continued to receive profits from the tower for the following years. He also had a small flat at the very top of the tower for entertaining.
[READMORE]READ MORE: Taking the Kids to Montmartre, Paris [/READMORE]
My kids relished these details of the tower as well as many more. The entire tour took a little less than two hours. We visited the second floor of the tower and then paid the extra few euros to go all the way to the top. The tour also included tickets for the Seine river cruise with Vedettes de Paris. The tickets were good anytime and we saved them for a nighttime cruise when the city is lit up, which made the whole experience seem even more magical.
Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles...
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