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Paris with teens

We will be spending 34 days in Paris with our boys (15,17) in Nov/Dec. Right now we are planning on Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, Orsay, Pompidou, Louvre (some of the above, we will be only seeing portions).

We would love input on.....

Places we should've miss

Places to stay (will probably check out Airbnb)

Places to eat

Thanks!!

Posted by
8234 posts

Put the boys in charge of coming up with things to do while you are there; you may be surprised at what you do. Definitely put St. Denis on your list -- reached on Paris metro -- oldest Gothic church in Europe -- burial place of the Kings of France.
https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/confronting-mortality-at-st-denis/
My son loved Arts et Metiers. There are a few place to eat that have beautiful rooms and in my experience teens tend to find those restaurant memorable e.g. Bofinger, Train Bleau and Les Ombres come to mind. Good crepe restaurants in Montparnasse on Rue Montparnasse (not Blvd) Josselin perhaps the best known.

There are dozens of interesting towns within easy train distance of Paris. Get everyone a Navigo Decouverte and visit those that interest you. Here is one we did in November just to demonstrate that even in less gorgeous times of year, there are interesting places to visit.
https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/moret-sur-loing-for-charm-always-follow-the-impressionists/

Posted by
1806 posts

I'd take them to the Catacombs and the Army Museum with Napoleon's Tomb. With a full month, I'd also throw in some smaller, less "famous" sights like the Museum of Natural History, Deyrolle, Museum of Hunting & Nature and the Gallery of Paleontology and Comparative Anatomy -most of these sights are small enough to be done in less than 2 hours (which is about the maximum attention span for most teens before they get bored and want to move on) and the admission costs are low to free.

Outside of Paris, I think Vaux le Vicomte has some pretty elaborate Christmas light displays throughout December. Even though it is not in "season", if the weather is not too cold, I would try to make arrangements for a side trip to Normandy.

For a month, you most definitely want to base yourself in an apartment or at least an apart'hotel (like Citadines) so you have access to a kitchen and washer/dryer. If you do a search of these boards, you'll find lots of recommendations on specific agencies that people have worked with to obtain apartment rentals (some even mail you the keys to the unit prior to your arrival in Paris). We just stayed in an apartment in the Marais for the last 2 weeks, but I still prefer the 10th. Less touristy, less expensive in the 10th.

Posted by
11507 posts

My sons bith got one on one trips with us to Paris, one son at 13 one at 14.
I also took our dzighter for first time when she was 11.

One son loved the Louvre ( and asked for a second visit, and no, he is not scholarly , lol, he was a skateboarded who pulled down C+ s except in woodwooding class lol).
The other son was not taken there . ( he has some issues so his trip was tailored to his needs) , but he liked going to a special exhibit of davinci drawings,,different strokes.

Both boys loved visiting th Catacombs, it was the elder boy who found out about them and put them on his list( all three of my children were required to compose a list with at least three sites on it, other than the ET lol)

All three kids liked the Invalids Army Museum.

Two of them loved Versailles , middle son was not taken there.

Daugnter loved the Orsay and liked the Cluny.

We all thought visit to the Shoah Memorial was touching..and no we are not jewish.

Oldest son and daughtter loved visiting Chantilly. Especially the Royal stables.

Took one son to Provins, world heritage site , entact anicent ramparts, saw the Birds of Prey show ( live outdoor shows) unfortunately think they limit winter hours.

Posted by
768 posts

I think the teens will also like the Sewer Tour (near the Orsay)--mine did. It's on the Museum Pass.

Posted by
115 posts

I would second the Army Museum, my three boys ( 2 kids, 1 husband) loved it. I would also suggest going to a local sporting event. November/ December is prime football (soccer) season and Paris Saint Germain is the best and biggest club in France. But there are many clubs you could go see play.

Posted by
1825 posts

34 days is a long trip. If all you do is tourist stuff you'll burn out after a week. What do you have planned for all the down time? At 16 I know what my priorities would have been and it wouldn't have included a military museum.

Posted by
370 posts

Oh my goodness!! I was wondering why so much info was geared toward a month!! I meant 3-4 days!!!!

3 - 4 days!!

Sorry

Posted by
115 posts

Hah! Too funny. I still stick by my suggestion of the Army Museum, but a football match would probably take too much time away from other sites, although it would be a great experience!

Posted by
8234 posts

3 or 4 days is just enough for a tiny dip into Paris - definitely put the boys in charge of planning one activity each and sit down as a family and compare wish lists. You really don't want to try to cover too much -- focus on everyone's top choice and stop and have coffee, or pastries, or ice cream and stroll in a park or two as well as hitting tourist spots. And choose the things that really appeal to the family.

Posted by
15684 posts

Christmas decorations and markets may be up by then. Allow time to enjoy them. If they are anything like the ones in Alsace and Germany, you'll want to "graze" through them for lunch and dinner too.

Posted by
370 posts

Such great info!!! @kbachtell - we would love to fit in a soccer match. We are huge fans....I work for the Portland Timbers (MLS). Any suggestions on the best way to get tickets? Was looking at the possibility in Germany, but their seemed to be a lottery system?? I finally gave up!!

Posted by
115 posts

I PMed you the info I have on that while watching Italy - Germany. Let's go Azzuri!

Posted by
11507 posts

To clarify.. the Invalids Army Museum has some very cool sections.. like medieval weapons.. most kids love seeing battleaxes.. jousting lances, etc..
And the horse armour section is interesting..
And the Samurai swords and suits of armor..

Posted by
799 posts

With only 3-4 days, I would suggest skipping Versailles, unless they have a real historic interest in a visit.

AirBnB is not legal in Paris; it is a city that is having issues with so many absentee owners renting out places for short-term rentals that actual city residents have a difficult time finding affordable housing. As I understand it, renters would never get kicked out, but you could find yourself without a place to stay if a place that you arranged to stay at was investigated right before your stay. Google for more information.

Our son and daughter (now 21 and 17yo) have enjoyed eating everywhere that we do; we usually eat at one fancy place, and other nights a mixture of modern bistros and usually one more old-fashioned bistro.

Posted by
796 posts

Along the Champs Ellysees, there is a Renault showroom and perhaps a Citroen or Peugeot showroom. At least one of these has some historical cars, some old race cars and some new concept cars. I found them quite interesting, to stroll through. There are also large Adidas, Nike and Lacoste shops with zillions of choices in sneakers; that might interest the boys. You might need to put a $$$ limit though!

Perhaps they would like a bike tour, " Fat Tire Bike tours" seem popular. I saw many people near the Eiffel Tower as part of that tour. There are also Segway tours.

The architecture of the George Pompidou museum might interest them also. If they have seen the Da Vinci Code, they might be interested in sites seen in that movie.

I suggest going to the public library and getting some tourist guide books that have more color photos that Rick's guides and let them pursue them and decide what they might want to do. Then go to Rick's guide for the most up to date information (opening times, etc) for your trip.

Enjoy Paris!

Posted by
5260 posts

You've received great advice!

Make sure you book your Eiffel Tower tickets 90 days in advance.

You may want to check Hotel Diana, in the Latin Quarter, very close to La Sorbonne University & the Cluny Museum.

Have a wonderful trip!