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Paris with Teens

We're planning a trip to Paris in February with our 14 year old and 16 year old. They're old enough to do the regular touristy things (never been to Paris before) but I want to make sure there's a few things they will particularly enjoy. Along with the usual sights, we'll probably visit the catacombs and the Pere Lachaise cemetery. Any other suggestions? Night life that is appropriate for teens? Or place they can hang out without mom and dad? Shows? What about a cabaret (corny by oh so parisian!)? (btw, they aren't big shoppers)

Posted by
9429 posts

You don't say what sex...My son and I have been going to Paris every year or every other year since he was 11 yrs old. What he liked at 14 & 16: The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, the Eiffel Tower, Climbing the stairs to the top of Notre Dame, Mike's Bike Tours (aka Fat Tire), Seine Boat Cruise, the Champ-Elysees, Watching all the entertainers, especially the amazing roller-bladers outside Notre Dame at night (don't know if they'll be there in Feb), the entertainers on the pedestrian bridge behind Notre Dame leading to Ile Saint Louis, Walking through the 6th arrondissement at night, especially the old windy streets with lots of nightlife going on, Place du Tertre with all the artists, and just generally walking around Paris...he's always loved that. You mention a cabaret...we went to the Moulin Rouge when he was 16 and we both really enjoyed it. I've heard the Lido, on the Champs Elysees, is even better.

Posted by
11507 posts

Fat Tire Bike tours,, the night one is a blast and a good start to a trip. I haven't taken the day one,, but sure it is fun too. I did their tour to Versailles also.

Climbing up and down things, by stairs. The Eiffel Tower( the views are cool through the bars), NOtre Dame Towers, and Arc De Triomphe.

Catacombs and Invalids Army museam were big hits with my 14 yr old sons.

12 yr dd found the Shoah ( Holocaust) Musuem very moving.. we have nothing like that here. She also enjoyed the day trip to Versailles( that was not the bike tour,, I did that with a friend),, we spend an hour or two just wandering around Marie Antionettes Hamlet,, perhaps in Feb the weather would make that not as fun. LOL

We have taken all three of our kids to Europe,, one by one,, one on one.( I took first son at 14, then hubby took next son at 14, then I took dd at 12).. we had them put a little effort into the trip. It is a TREAT and PRIVILIDGE to travel abroad,, so we told kids we expected them to find three items THEY researched that they wanted to see. Of course first son found the Catacombs,, ugh for me,, LOL but I think kids need to INVEST in the trip,, not just feel they are being dragged along. Have them participate.

Even my 12 yr old learned how to navigate the Metro.. I didn't let her off on her own, but she did the leading!
We did let our boys run down the street to grab burgers and snacks on their own,, partly as they are older, and partly as we are a bit sexist anyways,( joking ,, sort of,, ) ,

Posted by
2349 posts

I think they'd really enjoy going out by themselves to get a meal or hit a bakery. They may not be big shoppers, but my girls really liked the book stalls along the Seine. They did not much care for the Illuminations bus tour.

Posted by
71 posts

My son is 16, my daughter will turn 14 while in Paris!

Thanks for the replies. I agree with Pat - the kids are going to be required to read a guide book and choose a couple of things themselves. I'm sure there will be plenty to interest them but I don't want it to be the kind of vacation where I'm the tour guide and they're just following.

Are the catacombs closed permanently? My son was interested in that!

Posted by
71 posts

Oh yeah, the guide book recommended ice skating! That sounds fun, let me know if you have any tips.

Posted by
12 posts

My teens were not bored at all in Paris. We had an apt. right by Rue Cler which made it easy for them to walk around on their own. They both loved Versailles, boy included.

Posted by
73 posts

One thing they will really love is being offered wine whenever you go out! You need to be prepared for this and decide how you will handle it. My DD is 14 and we did let her have a few sips in her own glass whenever we were having it. The novelty wore off pretty quickly, just as we'd hoped. But decide in advance what you will do so you aren't surprised.
If your kids are interested in history, they will enjoy the Cluny Museum (mine loved it). Both kids also enjoyed Sainte-Chapelle just because it is so astonishingly beautiful and there is nothing like it anywhere else. My daughter also loved the Gibert Jeune bookstores on the Blvd St Michel. You can also see just about any movie in any language in Paris, so if they are interested in foreign films, you'll be in the right city.

Posted by
9429 posts

Rudy, what is le paradis du fruit? It sounds fun.

Don't the Velibs require a cc with a chip?

Posted by
108 posts

Le paradis du fruit have a website with an English version from http://www.leparadisdufruit.fr/

On the homepage they explain the concept. On the left hand side menu, click on 'restaurants' to see where you can find one. There are quite a few in Paris. The one in St Michel, quai des grands augustins, is nice but probably the others, too. St Michel is a lovely neighborhood. In that area, you can also find 2 cafés, the Deux Magots and Café de Flore, both used to be haunts of expatriate American literary figures.
Yes vélib work with a credit card

Posted by
1358 posts

Are the catacombs the same as the sewer tours? Bummer, those sounded cool.

Posted by
11507 posts

No, the Sewer tours and the Catacombs are not the same thing, and not actually near each other. The Musee Des Egouts( sewers) tour start point in near the river, 93 Quai D'Orsay, metro Alma Marceau. Open 11-4 in the winter, closed fri and sat, and last three weeks in January.

The Catacombs are in the 14th, right by metro Denfort Rochereau. They are apparently temporarily closed,, due to some stupid vandals who did some major damage to them . You should wait till you arrive in Paris and then call and see it they have reopened. What a shame ,, my boys really loved visiting them,, so unique.

Good luck.

Posted by
9429 posts

Thanks for the website Rudy. I see Le Paradis du Fruit is a fruit restaurant. Interesting concept.

From what I understand, Velibs require a cc with a chip. American cc's don't have chips.