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Traveling with 13 year old daughter

Hello all,

I’m planning a coming of age trip for my daughter. She will be 13 in August 2025 and wants to go to France. I’m thinking we’ll be traveling sometime between August and September.

We are thinking roughly 10 days but we have wiggle room. Do you all have recommendations of what places we should definitely visit?

Thanks for your suggestions!!

Posted by
789 posts

WOW that's awesome! I would actually say to ask her. You have time, you even have time to figure out which locations before many hotels start opening their reservations for next year. If y'all can decide on what TYPES of things you want to do, city, countryside, seaside, wandering/shopping vs tourist attractions, guided tours, active adventures, art, history, trendy instagram things, you can start narrowing it down to where you might want to actually end up. I bet she already has something awesome in her mind :)

One thing is that it is best for you to be in your departure city at least the night before your flight out, so if you are going somewhere into the countryside or far away from an easy airport, do that part first and return to the "big airport city" (easy to say Paris) to wrap up the trip.

Posted by
8210 posts

13 years old is a great age to go. I always suggest flying into London and spending a few days there and then taking the Eurostar down to Paris for a first trip.

Decide where you're going and then go to the library and check out a travel guide for the city. That will point you in a proper direction.

Posted by
5005 posts

...13 in August 2025 and wants to go to France...

My first thought is "What 13 yr. old girl wouldn't like to go to Paris?". So that should probably be a "must". You could actually spend the whole time there and do several day trips to other areas. That would eliminate losing time relocating. But aside from Paris itself, get her involved to see what she would most like to see and do. The more involved she is the better the trip will be. Not that 13 yr. old girls are ever a problem.

But I also like David's idea of London and Paris.

Posted by
907 posts

If your daughter is "girly" I have done a couple things in Paris that are fun. As the mother of sons, I have not been able to share all these experiences that I have done solo or with a girlfriend!

1) Make your own perfume at Fragonard Perfume shop and museum. The workshops are reasonably priced, in English, small group. You also are given a guided tour of their museum quality displays of perfume and perfume -making items. If not interested in a make it yourself workshop, you can see the museum for free. When I was there 2 years ago, there were full families of all ages making perfume and having fun.
https://musee-parfum-paris.fragonard.com/en/book-your-workshop/

2) La Galerie Dior - exhibits of clothes, workshops, and Dior's office. Tea shop - expensive. https://www.galeriedior.com/en

3) Musee des Art Décoratif, The Palais Galliera, and a couple other venues host fairly frequent displays of designer clothes in a museum context. If she/you like fashion you might do a general google for exhibitions going on during your stay.

4) I generally also check publications to see what unique exhibitions might be on when I travel to Paris. You might try some like these to start with if you like museums/exhibits. There are many other such websites if you do a general google search:
https://parisjetaime.com/eng/article/exhibitions-in-paris-a955
https://www.parisdiscoveryguide.com/paris-museum-exhibitions.html
https://www.timeout.com/paris/en/arts-culture

5) If she likes horses and chateaux, an easy day trip is Chantilly. Horse museum, shows, chateau with incredible art collection, lovely grounds.

What are her interests?

Posted by
907 posts

I, personally, would not combine London and Paris if she is interested in "France". If you can summarize the reasons for her "France pick", I'm sure you will get suggestions outside of Paris. (I have a few in mind, but will save them!)

Paris and London would work in 10 or so days if she wants big cities. Easy to move between the two with Eurostar, as noted. Open-jaw flight.

P.S. What a nice mom you are!!!!

Posted by
4441 posts

Have her look at the videos of France on this website to see what appeals to her. I think she would enjoy Chenenceux(sp?) chateau in the Loire Valley-it's built over a river! My college-aged daughter loved the Secret Food Tour of Paris.

Posted by
2463 posts

What a lucky girl! I would have given my eye teeth to go to Paris at her age. A visit to Sainte Chapelle is a must in my estimation. If she is craving a burger, Indiana Cafe in Montparnasse is very good. They have other selections besides burgers plus Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I was going to recommend my favorite hotel but it is closed for renovation.

Posted by
450 posts

Mary, my California head is spinning reading about Tex-Mex in Paris called Indiana? Heading to Paris soon, and usually write down all suggestions, but this one is interesting. Looks good with nice decor though.

Posted by
1359 posts

Your daughter is a very lucky girl to be going to France with her mom. I wonder also if you will be in Paris during your visit. Because if you are, I echo the idea of going to Fragonard perfumery museum. In 2017 I took my then 11 yo granddaughter there and we loved it. Also, if your daughter is into fashion at all, check out the Friday fashion show at Galleries Lafayette. There is a wonderful food “court” to pick up lunch items to enjoy on the rooftop cafe area. I had a wonderful time in Paris in 2017 with my GD. She is now 17 and has so far traveled to Paris, London, Austria, and Czechia and will be returning to London and then Wales for another tour with her choir.

Whatever you and your daughter plan, I’m sure you both will have a memorable trip.

Posted by
7663 posts

I will give an alternate view. We planned a trip with our 13 year old daughter, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, London, York area, Ireland, A bit of Cornwall, a bit over 3 weeks. We tried to include her in planning, but by the time we made it to Paris, she wanted to fly home by herself. We made her stick it out, she had a fine time, but traveling with someone of that age takes some doing.

First and foremost, what ever fantasies you might have about traveling to Europe, "What girl would not want to go to Paris", believe me, they just do not feel that way. Do not confuse your wishes with what they may have. You really need to engage them early, find what they might be interested in, and expose them to what they do not know about. You can go on and on about the Louvre, but to them it is just an old building with boring pictures, unless they have context. Great food? Sorry, its not whatever fast food they love.

You really need to figure out what interests them, and be prepared for mundane (for Europe) responses. Just spending time shopping was fine. Going to see a movie that they could see in the US...Fine. Eating fast food, especially American chains? Fine.

Do try to prep them, if going to Paris, have them develop a list of things to do. Try to expose them to art, food, the various sights and see what interests them. Let them come up with part of the itinerary. Basically the more they are involved, the better it will be.

Posted by
2463 posts

@Paul I’m sorry your experience traveling to Europe with your 13 year old was so trying. That is a very difficult age for sure. But every kid is different. I am assuming that Lori has traveled with her daughter and knows her daughter’s limits, attention span and tolerance. If her daughter suggested she wanted to go to France then that is where she wants to go. I loved travel from a very young age so maybe Lori’s daughter will be a good traveler as well. I think the key is to find some kid friendly activities, allow her some down time, etc. Lori knows her daughter better than any of us here on the forum. They will only be gone for 10 days so it will be a good test.

Posted by
10 posts

I am taking my 6 year-old daughter to Paris, the south of France, and Rome for her first international trip in June. Assuredly, there is a vast age difference between 6 and 13, but my thinking has echoed some of what others have written. We'd like to introduce her to what we love: good food, lots of walking, getting the vibe of a town, romantic evenings. We are trying to imagine the reality of traveling with a child, however, who'd be content to eat macaroni and cheese or toast everyday, who is a good walker but certainly not in our range, and who'd also be content watching her Ipad for portions of each day. We've found a Babar (the elephant) story set in Paris, and as a result she can now say bateaux mouche, etc. Additionally, I've looked up the location of playgrounds in each area we'll visit, and in some cases can pair a playground visit with what we'd like to do. Really, I anticipate one or two activities per day, cushioned by play and chill time. Maybe we can bribe her into more activity with offers of gelato. Plus, we'll take her to Euro Disney on her birthday.
Hopefully by getting our daughter traveling at a young age by the time she's thirteen she'll have caught the travel bug.

Good luck to you!

Posted by
547 posts

What does this lucky 13-year-old enjoy doing when she's at home? That would guide my thinking a great deal.

Posted by
2463 posts

We have traveled with a number of children internationally (not our own) aged 7 to 18. They were invariably engaged, cheerful, outgoing, curious about the world and a pleasure to be with. And they were all very well traveled. They were happy to be traveling and seeing the world. I am sure there were some meltdowns behind the scenes but we rarely saw this. They are kids after all. One of the youngsters we traveled with has now been to 7 continents. One more than we have been to. If a kid has the travel bug, you will know it. Edited to add- our young nephews are also inveterate travelers and have traveled internationally from a young age.

Posted by
26 posts

We took our 13 and 11 year old grandchildren to France last year with their parents. In Paris their favorite things were going on a Seine Riverboat Cruise, going to the top of the Eiffel tower as well as seeing it from Trocadero at night, and sailing a miniature sailboat on the pond at Luxembourg Garden. We made sure to stop for macaroons, pastries, and crepes and enjoyed outdoor cafes. Before we went to Paris we went to London and there they loved the Tower of London with the Crown Jewels and the Beefeater Yeoman Warder tour, also a tour of Buckingham Palace, changing of the guard, and riding on the London Eye. They thought it was cool to take the Eurostar between London and Paris. Before we went on the trip we listed several options of things that we could do, and they told us what they wished to see, so we made reservations for those things and added more after we were there.

Posted by
19 posts

This reminds me of traveling with my two sons in Italy, 12 and 15. Wow, the 12 year old had a hard time being flexible with travel plans, changes, everything but pasta and gelato! The 15 yr old was relaxed, enjoyed himself, could easily adjust. Both absolutely hated museums and wanted out fast! I think it’s also their personalities, not just ages, though. You’ll have a great time!

Posted by
4 posts

I just got back on Sunday from a one week trip to France with my 13 year old daughter. We spent 3.5 days in Paris and then 3.5 days in Provence. Her favorite stops were:

  • Sunset concert at Sainte Chapelle
  • Galerie Dior
  • Musée d’Orsay (we did a 2 hour private tour with Iris from Paris Walks)
  • Macarons from Pierre Herme and chocolate & caramels from Jacques Genin near Rue de Bretagne
  • E-bike tour with Paris Charms and Secrets
  • Thrift store shopping along Rue Tiquetonne (especially Kiliwatch), followed by pastries from Stohrer on Rue Montorgueil
  • Lebanese ice cream at Bachir

In Provence:

  • All the markets in the small villages (we visited the markets in St. Remy-de-Provence, Lourmarin, and Uzès)
  • The beautiful pink ochre village of Roussillon
  • Pont du Gard
  • Theatre Antique d’Orange
Posted by
8 posts

Thanks so much everyone!

I love the suggestions so far. I’ll have her watch some videos with me.

She loves the perfume making idea and the horses.

She loves to shop. She loves music and is a theatre girl all the way. She loves anything that has to do with animals. She also likes art. She loves French pastries and sweets, macron and crepes.

We’ve done a lot of traveling as a family so she has done a lot of museums and places of interest and I know she’d be happy to go to some important places, although she would get bored if we went to too many.

As for the idea of doing London as well, we hadn’t thought about that at all so I’ll chat with her and see if she’d rather just to France or add London as well.

Thanks!!

Posted by
57 posts

In London, your teen might enjoy a play at the open air theatre in Regents Park. Book early to get close to the front row.

Posted by
805 posts

lori.e.b.marston,
For the theater girl, the Opera Garnier would blow her away, especially if you can snag a tour. If not, a self-guided look is worth the time...just beautiful! And it is close to the Galeries Lafayette.