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Would love feedback on our Paris Itinerary in Early June with 4 Teens/Tween

Paris is our 2nd stop in our 2 week Europe trip, so we will be coming from Belgium on the train. We are going to Switzerland after Paris.
Our lodging is in the 6th, a few blocks north of Luxemburg Gardens. Kids are 19, 17, 14, 11. We love exploring cities by bike and love flea markets/finding little treasures.
Here are some descriptions of what our interests are:
Mom & Dad: History, flea markets, chocolat chaud, cheese. Mom speaks un peu francais and is a bit of a francophile.
19 yo College Girl: Old/beautifully bound books (in English), History, Versailles, music, fashion/shoes
17 yo Boy: History, SOCCER, being active
14 yo boy: ART, food, comics
11 yo girl: fashion, WW2 History, food

Day 1, Thursday: Arrive by train, drop luggage.
Visit Louvre, max 3 hrs? Best place to purchase tixs?
Eiffel Tower, is it worth it to go to the top or just 2nd level?
Evening river/dinner cruise. Any recommendations?

Day 2, Friday: Montemartre/Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame
We can walk to Notre Dame from our apartment I believe.
Wouldn't mind wandering around the Marais

Day 3: Saturday: Flea Market?
Musee D'orsey & L'orangerie
Luxemburg Gardens

Day 4, Sunday: Versailles (maybe just 19 yo and Dad?)

Day 5, Monday: Open day just exploring shops and neighborhoods.
Maybe a shorter neighborhood tour? Marais? Jewish Quarter? A bike tour?

Posted by
1997 posts

Day 1 - You can purchase Louvre tickets in advance here. Le Louvre is free for those under 18.

Purchase Eiffel Tower tickets here. ET tickets are available 2 to 3 months in advance and sell quickly when they are released.

For Seine River cruises, purchase reduced price tickets for the Vedettes du Pont Neuf from their website.

For a dinner cruise I can only recommend the Ducasse cruises which are reltively new and reported to be excellent. I will be going in May. They are not inexpensive but neither is any of the Ducasse restaurants.

Day 3 - The Jardin du Luxembourg is absolutely packed with people during the weekend. I would do this on Monday.

Day 4 - Versailles has become a madhouse of tourists. Consider Chantilly, Fontainebleau, or Vaux le Vicomte rather than Versailles.

Posted by
1198 posts

The Eiffel tower is great, but you do need to get ticket sin time for your visit, or wait in line for them when you arrive (Ive done both. The line allowed us to the second floor - not the top - via the stairs. This was fine. On our second visit I did a better job of anticipating the purchase and got elevator to the top and this was better ;)
You will be able to walk many places. We find ( we have kids similar ages) that walking from site to site is a great way to see Paris, plus you may want to do this naturally as you will want to eat between sites and you can find local places as you walk. You can certainly walk to Notre Dame from the 6th, and to the Marais if you choose, and from d'orsay to Luxembourg, etc etc. We've never done a cruise, preferring to walk around and sit on the islands and people watch. The Army museum/Napolean's tomb was surprisingly enjoyable for all. Also the catacombs! The latter two were with my son in mind but everyone liked them

Posted by
837 posts

This is going to sound like heresy, but here goes. I wouldn't take teens/tweens to the Louvre right off the train arriving in Paris. It doesn't make my top ten museums list...and I'm an artist. The crowds in June.... Orsay and l'Orangerie so much more interesting for most, I think, and I would try to be there when they open.

And for something truly fun and amazing, art-wise, check out This is a new digital art installation with music in an industrial space in the general area of Pere Lachaise. I saw the Gustaf Klimt in December, and now they are doing Van Gogh, which looks wonderful. (It's not the easiest place to find. In a nondescript neighborhood. If we had not taken a taxi we probably would have missed our time slot. Easy enough to Metro back.)

I think Giverny in June would be wonderful. Think there are bike tours going there. I've enjoyed the big flea/antique markets in Paris, but their fleas are pretty expensive compared to markets in the US.

Enjoy your trip! I loved taking my kids to Europe, but was usually brave enough only for one at a time. Now traveling with the grandkids, which may be even better.

Posted by
8293 posts

Very likely all four of your children would enjoy the Science Park at La Villette. You can get there by metro or by a cruise on the Canal St. Martin.

Posted by
33 posts

This is excellent feedback everyone! I love it!
Honestly the Louvre just feels like we have to check it off and that is why I put it first. The kids pretty much demand we go there "just because" I love D'orsey and L'orangerie and they will too!
Prior to Paris we will have done some art in Amsterdam at Van Gogh,etc so can't overwhelm them with too much art!
But I will take a look at these other art suggestions and the science museum.
I really love just "being" in Paris and think my kids will too so don't want to fill up our time too much with indoor places.
I have warned my 19 yo about the Versailles crowds but she insists she wants to go b/c of a history class she took. I love Giverny but have heard it is very crowded now too? And not sure I want to leave the city!

Posted by
1065 posts

Parc Monceau is another nice outdoor space.

From the website:

The construction of Parc Monceau dates back to the 17th century, under the orders of the Duke of Chartres. Situated in the 8th arrondissement, today it is one of the most elegant gardens in Paris, and a reflection of the district. Visitors can enter through the great wrought iron gates embellished with gold. Walking around the park, you’ll find many beautiful surprises: numerous statues, a Renaissance archway belonging to the former Paris City Hall, spectacular trees, a wide variety of birds and a large pond. Parc Monceau is surrounded by luxury buildings and sumptuous mansions, including the Musée Cernuschi (Museum of Asian Arts). A peaceful and pleasant park visited by Parisians and tourists. The park also features playgrounds for children.

The park is in the 8th arrondissement, and can be reached via Metro Line 2 (Monceau stop)

Posted by
21062 posts

I have never been to Versailles (my reaction to palace interiors ranges from boredom to active dislike), but several posters on this forum have highly recommended the King's Apartments tour as a way to enjoy part of the palace without being caught up in a mob. I think it puts you in a shorter security line, too--but don't hold me to that. The additional cost seems to be 10 euros per person.

Posted by
370 posts

I think your overall itinerary looks good. Our family (with two early 20s daughters a few years ago) left the Louvre after a very short time because we couldn't take the crowds, but we greatly enjoyed d'Orsay (twice), L'Orangerie, Musee Marmottan, and the Rodin museum. Both daughters found Versailles fascinating, and loved wandering around various neighborhoods, including the Marais and other RS walks. The river cruise was great when we needed a break.

Posted by
5261 posts

Lucky kids! I like the flexibility and free time you've built in. I agree that the Louvre might not be the best choice for day 1 just because it's so big and you'll be coming off the train. That's the day you might want to walk around and see Notre Dame, Ste-Chappelle, Conciergerie, Marais and such (especially if the weather's nice), saving the Louvre for another day or maybe that evening if it's one of the two per week the Louvre stays open.

Maybe the Ducasse cruise is worth it for great food but my feeling is that you're riding the boat for the scenery. Any time you're looking at your plate you're missing something outside. Vedettes du Pont Neuf has a great cruise, no advance tickets needed, day or evening (or both if you really like it).

You know your kids, but it seems like this family of six could split up at different times based on different interests as long as the two youngest are with someone older. The Metro makes it easy to get around. Buses are slower but give you lots to look at on the way.