Some Top Tips on how to Enjoy Your Holiday in Paris with Your Impressionable and Independent Teenager.
Paris is an endless oasis of experiences for people of all ages and interests. There is a plethora of activities you and your teenage children could engage in to make your trip more memorable including experiencing “must do” attractions in slightly different ways. Gone are the days they will happily follow you wherever you go as they become more independent and actually have a vested interest in their travel experience.
Before you land in Paris for your holiday, I recommend checking out the Paris City Pass. You can get 20% discount on most museums, attractions, guided tours and excursions plus the ability to skip the lines on some attractions. There is nothing better than being able to bypass some of the horrendous queues, especially in the summer months! Paris City Pass can also help you organise metro cards and airport transfers. One stop shop really! Here are 15 tips on how to enjoy Paris with your teenager.
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Girls Day Out. Paris for Girls Tour is the perfect way to spend half a day with your teenager. This is a private and intimate tour of only up to 6 people with a personal shopper to find the best discounts in the fashion districts of Saint Germain des Pres and the Marias. The tour includes a gourmet snack break and concludes with a perfume workshop. How delightful!
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Different Type of Wheels. Want a different and fun way to explore Paris? Hop on a Segway! You and your family could get on a private Segway tour where your private guide will glide you through the picturesque streets and gardens.
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Treasure Hunt @ the Louvre. The Louvre is categorically one of the greatest museums in the world visited by millions who aren’t even art lovers. If one of them happens to be your teenager, a fun and interactive way to visit the museum is to join THATlou, which is a treasure hunt designed to encourage visitors to view more than just the Mona Lisa. According to THATlou, the treasure hunt consists of following a list of clues that lead them to works of art – or “treasures” – in the museum. Team members photograph themselves in front of as many works of art on the list as possible, earning varied points per treasure. Sometimes bonus questions are embedded in the accompanying texts – either requiring silly poses for photos, drawing on articles from our blog or from the Louvre’s own information sheets.
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Step by Step. Enjoy the Eiffel Tower by admiring the steel structure from within. Climb 704 steps to get you up to the 2nd floor of the tower which is 115m off the ground. From then on, get to the top via the lifts. If the climb is too strenuous, consider taking it slowly on the way down. That way you’ll get to see the tower and Paris from a completely different perspective.
Another great climb is to the top of the Arc de Triomphe which stands at the centre of Place de l’Étoile of which it’s the best vantage point to admire the 12 grand avenues, including the Champs Élysées.
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Satisfying the Intellect. Do you have an intellectually curious teenager who is easily dulled by the superficial, snubs at the tourist hypes and require stimulation of a different kind? Check out Context Travel. Here you will be able to find small private tours such as a historian led tour of Paris’ Revolutionary History, a tour to unveil the Sun King’s impact on Parisian cityscape or for the bookworms and poets, an Ernest Hemingway tour of his time in this beautiful city.
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World’s Largest Grave. Certainly not something you could have done when the kids were younger but a visit to Paris’ underground ossuaries where the remains of over 7 million people are held would surely be an eye opener! Created some 220 years ago due to a lack of space, the walls of the Catacombes is carefully lined human bones and skulls will definitely make for an unusual experience.
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Grab a Bargain. Parisian flea markets are a great way to get out and about. Head to Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, considered to be one of the largest flea markets in the world. Starting in 1885, this flea market now commands over 3000 traders and gets about 180,000 visitors over a weekend. If you’re in for a vintage find and have eclectic tastes, this market is definitely for you.
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Sporty Teens. Home of Paris Saint-Germain, head to Parc des Princes for a game of European soccer. At reasonable prices, you can enjoy the real soccer experience with the locals. Check out the French Open around May/June at Stade Roland-Garros, the arrival of the Tour de France for the coveted yellow jersey in July or even participate in the Paris International Marathon in April. It’s a never ending melting pot of sporting events to cater for the active teenager.
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Rollerblading. Another great way to experience Paris is on rollerblades! Pari-roller organises a Friday evening get together for proficient skaters or for beginners, you can meet on Sunday afternoons. The Friday night escapade will see you travelling at about 15km/hour as you zoom past Paris by night with 10,000 other enthusiasts. Commencing in Montparnasse, the expedition starts at 10pm and finishing well over midnight. Perfect for your little dare-devils!
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Foodie Teens. For the culinary teenager, there is no better place to participate in a cooking class than the city that began the Michelin Star accolades. La Cuisine can show you how to make the perfect croissant or macaron but we also highly recommend combining that with a market tour to explore the many open air markets and their fresh produce. Cook’n With Class also offer many interesting classes such as Mad about Choux, Foie Gras class and of course the all-important Chocolate class!
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Bike Tour. A great way to explore Paris is by bike and the Fat Tire Bike Tours are renowned for providing a myriad of interesting tours for you to select from. Apart from the normal touring of the city, you could embark on a Tour de France tour, Monet’s garden bike tour or enjoy Paris by night.
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Street Art. Do you have a Banksy teenager in the making or one who may be fascinated by street art? The Belleville Street Art Tour delves into the history of tagging, culture of Parisian street art and explores famous street art in the neighbourhoods of Oberkampf, Belleville and Ménilmontant. Slightly off the beaten track, this tour takes about 2.5 hours and definitely worth a look in to get a different view of Paris.
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Museums of a Different Kind. Can’t convince your teen to trek down the Lourve or Musee D’Orsay? Thankfully you are in Paris, home to art forms of all kinds and here are some avant garde museums that may appeal to their cultural sides:
- Musée de la Magie (Museum of Magic) on Rue Saint Paul in the 4th arrondissement. With its warped ceilings and chequered floors, it showcases the history of magic and old paraphernalia used by illusionists.
- Musée de la Chasse et la Nature (The Museum of Hunting and Nature) boasts a huge collection of elks, lions and cheetahs as well as an array of disturbing hunting equipment.
- Musée des Arts Forains (Carnival Arts Museum). Started by Jean-Paul Favand this museum holds all things associated with funfairs and is located in the 12th arrondissement.
- The Edith Piaf Museum. An intimate collection of Edith Piaf memorabilia, commemorating her life and her music.
- Musée de Montmartre. Enjoy this small little museum that tells the history of Montmarte which also includes a gorgeous garden which was once painted by Renoir.
- The Musée Dupuytren. This is for those you are fascinated by biological deformities. To say it’s disturbing is truly an understatement with hundreds of exhibits on show.
- Musée des Égouts de Paris (Paris Sewer Museum). Surely this is one of the weirdest museums in the world! The tour takes you to the deep underground paths of Paris and looking at a sewerage system that started back in the 12th century.
- Musée des Vampires (Vampire Museum). With the recent explosion of Young Adult vampire inspired novels, TV shows and movies, surely a creepy collection of all things spooky might appeal.
- Musee Grevin. One of the oldest wax museum showcasing over 450 characters. Also includes a Hall of Mirrors and a theatre for magic shows.
- Musee de la mode (Museum of Fashion). For the fashion minded who are interested in historical collections of clothing worn by different eras. All collections are temporary exhibits so one can never tire of visiting this museum
- La cité des sciences et de l’industrie (Science Museum). The largest Science Museum in Europe is an unforgettable experience with loads of interactive activities.
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Snap Happy. Paris offers a multitude of photography tours you could hop on to satisfy the photographer in your teen. Seeing Paris through a lens provides for an intimate experience and a different viewpoint. It will also solidify their memories as they would be able to produce tangible evidence of their holiday.
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Beach! Beach! Beach! If you’re in Paris from mid-July to mid-August, you’re in for a sandy treat right in the heart of the city. Paris Plage (Paris Beach) can be found on the banks of the Seine River, which are usually reserved for cars, are transformed into a great summer event filled with sandy beaches and rows of deck chairs. There are some great things to do such as sand castle competitions, playing on a pentaque field, bogeying on the dancefloor and sporting activities such as beach volley and rugby. An event on the Seine wouldn’t be the same without some water activities such as row boats, pedal boats and zip lining and roller tubes for kids.
Paris is a dynamic city and one that should be visited on numerous occasions throughout the course of your life as it can offer you different experiences and satiate your changing travel desires. Paris is the perfect melting pot of attractions to occupy teenagers with all sorts of interests. It’s a wonderful place for them to embark on some of these activities on their own or to be enjoyed as a family.
Do you have any other great Paris tips for teenagers to add to the list? Tell us in the comments below!
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