Paris With Teenagers - A Survivors Guide
Top ten things to do in Paris with teenagers. It doesn't suck here Mum!
Considering a Paris trip this Spring? Good for you! But trudging all over Paris with teenagers won't be a walk in the park. Of course not, because walks in the park suck. Right?
Art galleries? They suck. Eiffel tower? How boring. "Seriously Mum, if you make me, like look at one more museum, I'm gonna hurl myself head first into the Seine!"
But face facts "ye 'ole dinosaur", you are there for one reason and one reason only. ATM duties. Armed only with your wit and a cell phone, you're going to need help.
Viewed through the prism of teenage angst, discover the delicious delights and probable perils of a Paris far beyond the traditional attractions we all know and love. From Centre Pompidou's big red rhino, to pet ferrets on leads, teenage eyes evoke a paradigm view of the city of lights.
Still remain determined to torture them with boring culture and weird food? Then you need a plan. A cunning plan. A plan incorporating sneaky methods. A plan so well designed it coerces them not only into displaying acceptable behaviour, but also ensures an unwitting absorption of some culture along the way.
So back away from that ledge, take a leap off the cobblestone street and steel your gaze down the road less travelled. Who knows, if you get it right you could find yourself blessed with the joyous proclamation "Well done Mum. It doesn't suck here!"
Quick and easy to check .
Office Du Tourisme - Paris Tourist Office
Your one stop shop for everything important . Hotels & apartments, shopping, eating, tours, transport, free museum days, Oo la la!
Allez ! On y vas!
Let's take this show on the road. Discover just what and what not do with usually tired, often bored and always hungry teenagers in Paris.
Things to do in Paris with Teenagers
1: Canal Saint Martin
2: Stade deFrance
3: Shop Galeries Lafayette
day after day after day
4: Bastille day
Day and evening
5: Le Musee de Orsay
Full day-combine Dali museum
7: Dali Museum
9: Paris Disneyland
10: Le Louvre
1: Canal Saint Martin Sunday Markets
Reggae bands perform in the streets. This would be far from cool at home, but in Paris, it was agreed, it doesn't suck. Catch the Metro to Strasbourg. See Paris metro links further down
2 : Stade De France
- Stade de France - The Stadium Guide
Key facts Club: none | Opening: 1998 | Capacity: 80,000 seats History and description Stade de France is the largest stadium in France and the stadium where
For sports tragics everywhere. Tour the stadium where " Le Bleus" somehow won the World Cup in 1998. They haven't done so well since then, leaving the 2010 World Cup in disgrace, however they redeemed themselves at Euro 2012 & World Cup Brasil.
Better still stay for Le Tour de France as well.
3: Galeries Lafayette - Where to shop in Paris
- Galeries Lafayette
The famous department store on the Boulevard Haussmann . Retail therapy ladies? Oui merci! A jaded retail environment needs all the help it can get. Leave the boys at home for this one or send them to any nearby cafe to watch Parisian girls. Also get
- Le Bon March
Le Bon Marche is the oldest department store in Paris and definitely worth a visit.
Yes, you can wander happily for days, particularly with daughters, shopping up a storm. Why not target an area and deploy your attack with military precision?
Shop 'Til You Drop in Paris
Warning: Greek style debt crisis may ensue. Apply to Germany or China for a loan prior to departure.Whether you choose Rue Saint Honore for designer delights or the rough and ready Northern Paris markets for that bespoke must have trinket, shopping in Paris is a delight.
Who doesn't love a market? The French termed the phrase "flea market". Aristocrats of a bygone, pre guillotine era, donated their clothes to markets. Parisians were yet to discover the joys of hygiene ensuring the clothes were filthy and flea ridden. Hence the term. Things have improved these days.
"Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite".
Be there for Bastille Day. July 14th. Okay, you missed 2014. How about this year?
4: Visit Paris on Bastille Day - Paris On Parade - Arc de Triomphe
Festooned with the tri-couleur, on Bastille Day," the Champs" transforms into a colourful tribute to French pride. From flyovers to street parades, visiting dignitaries join the pomp and ceremony whilst soldiers galore take centre stage as they fill the streets.
Immerse yourself in Gallic pride and soak up the entertainment including everything from live rock bands to symphony orchestras. Top it off with the evening crescendo of deafening fireworks shooting in all directions from the Eiffel Tower. A great vantage point is from the hills of Montmartre.
Celebrations continue long into the night. Don't expect any sleep and resist romantic notions of enlisting in the French Foreign Legion. Unattended teens may also be recruited. The "it seemed like a good idea at the time" defense will not cut it with child protective services.
5: Check Out the View from Le Musee De Orsay
A don't call me " Mum" in public moment.
Wander the converted railway station now known as the delightful Musee D'Orsay.
Wait up dude.... Isn't that the painting Mr.Bean stole? Good grief! Whose children are these?
Remember the havoc Mr. Bean wreaked on Anglo French relations when he stole the painting of Whistlers mother? Bereft of even the teensiest sceric of art history knowledge, Rowan Atkinson's celluloid shenanigans were the only point of reference for this teen entourage.
Stumbling around corners, amazed by a masterpiece at every turn, the teens in contrast, dismissed all the Mussee D'Orsay has to offer as "like totally boring". Bestowed with the dubious honour of greatest point of interest, "like you know, ever!" poor Mrs. Whistler remains stoic in her chair, the hapless victim of Mr. Bean's adventures. Meanwhile, I needed the wine bar.
Every gallery, museum, shop, corner or indeed any flat surface in Paris has a wine bar in it, on it, or behind it.
Wander Paris streets on Friday afternoons to discover market style tables hastily assembled on every corner. Parisians neighbours and passersby congregate around them to drink wine in a convivial fashion unknown in my country.
Alarming statistics are printed regularly in "Le Monde", the respected local broadsheet, confirming Parisians are the loneliest citizens in the world. They tend to live alone with their dogs, or ferrets. Perhaps this is preferable to co-habiting with a fellow Parisian? Ask any
Englishman. Or it seems, Parisian.
6: Tour Montmartre - Retrace Toulouse-Lautrecs tiny footsteps winding around Montmartre hills to the Moulin-Rouge. Views across Parisian rooftops, bustling bis
Feet to sore to move? Stay at home and soak up the view whilst the family photoshops fluffy friends left behind, "A la Aristocats" on to Parisian rooftops . This greatly amusing pastime allows parents time to quaff back a wine or two whilst the youngsters aren't counting.
- About Montmartre
A little bit of history and need to know type stuff.
Le Tour De France
Le Tour De France - Never mind,you just missed it! How about next year? Rolling into Paris July 2015.
Congratulations to Vincenzo Nibali, winner of the 101st tour.
The Tour de France annually wheels and weaves it's way across gasp inducing scenery and collisions before rolling into Paris in a blaze of glory and the usual dose of intriguing controversy.
Check here for dates, maps and general information.
- Le Tour de France 2015
Latest news and schedules to assist with planning.
7: Salvador Dali Museum in Montmartre - Try your own touch of surrealism - fun for all the family
The sign says "Svp ne vous reposez pas sur le divan" or "Please don't sit on the couch". The French cat (left) obviously read the sign and ignored it. See right, our cats, not yet fluent in French, are photoshopped in.
Photo credit: Thoughtless teens - sleeping French cat model.
- Salvador Dali - Espace Dali Museum
Descend into the strange world of Salavador Dali in this edgy, surrealistic space. Discover the alarming combination of Dalis creative genius and artistic passion tucked away behind the Place du Tertre where Amelie Poulain dreamed of finding love.
Stay in Montmartre - Saint Pierre.
With views over the city why not nestle under the meringue cloud shadows of the Sacre Couer Cathedral. Picturesque and perfect, Montmartre is ideally situated for your Paris trip. Apartments of all sizes are available for short and long term stays.
Rent an apartment in Montmartre
- Perfectly Paris - Montmartre Apartments
We stayed here for over a month. Simply the best in my book. Friendly, helpful service, gorgeous apartments. Well located near metro stations and all things exciting for teens.
8: Day Trip - Visit Fantastical Fontainebleau Forest & Chateau - Send out the search party, you may never want to go home
Blessed by a fairy godmother, fabulous Fontainebleau, former royal hunting park, is a magical maze of palatial perfection situated just 50 klms outside Paris. Take a boat rowing expedition on the ornamental ponds before you visit the neo-classical style castle. Goldilocks had the right idea, from Marie-Antoinette to Napoleon; all tried this one on for size too. Just about every Louis from 1 -18 used the surrounding forests as a favoured hunting ground and enjoyed the charming palace as a small home away from home. Who could blame them?
Take your young dauphins and dauphines to visit throne rooms designed to suit the young queen, Marie Antoinette. Buy a map from the Insitut Geographique Nationale to hike the trails with confidence or jump aboard a horse drawn carriage to experience the smelly, uncomfortable transport methods of days gone by. There's fun for all the family here!
A great alternative, far less crowded than Palace Versailles and with much better furniture, a day here doesn't suck!
- Fontainbleau Chateaux
With over 1500 rooms in the heart of 130 acres of parkland and gardens, Fontainebleau is the only royal and imperial castle inhabited continuously for seven centuries. Visit Fontainebleau is granted an outstanding presentation of history, the history
Hiking in Fontainebleau
Expect Robin Hood (oops wrong country, maybe the Scarlet Pimpernel?) or Bambi to leap out from behind a tree as you lose your way on a walk through the dappled shade woods .
Easily accessible via the A6 autoroute or a catch direct train from the Gare de Lyon (about 50 minutes). The train clacks to halt in the middle of the forest just outside the station for those in the know or locals wishing to partake in a spot of exercise. Don't disembark just yet, there is a bus waiting at the station to drive you the long way round through the town.
Opening days and times :
Open daily except Tuesdays
Closed on 1st January, 1st May and 25 December
Open from 9.30 am to 5pm (6pm from June to September)
Last admission 45 minutes before closure
Ride the Carousel in Fontainebleau Town
9: Day Trip - Visit Paris Disneyland. - You know you want to, even if the French don't.
- Paris Disneyland
Have a hankering to indulge your inner child? Surprisingly, this is not mission impossible. Multi story cinema complexes. 15 screens! Imax! The biggest screen in Paris! Freakin' scary rides like Twilight Zone. Tower Of Terrooooorrrr, the Indiana Jone
Hold on to your hats! - Take an exhilarating ride before you even arrive. Catch theTGV right to the door.
The RER A (Regional Express Train) drops you off just 100 metres from the entrance to the DisneyÂ® Parks - and it only takes 35 minutes from Paris! There is a frequent service to and from the Resort all day long. Or stay over.
10: Le Louvre.
What's with the Mona Lisa Mum?
Terrified by the prospect of a visit to "Le Louvre"? You should be. Even the French admit it's too big and are busy rushing about moving priceless masterpieces stolen, or err, sourced from all over the world, as fast as they can into smaller, more visitor friendly exhibits.
But the Louvre is on everyones bucket list and must be ticked off.
Be warned, that Mona Lisa is tiny, surrounded by a seething mosh pit of camera crazed fans and generally speaking hardly worth the fuss. So say the teens, and this time, they are quite right.
Take a tour, it's all too confusing if you don't.
- Buy Le Louvre tix online
With careful planning and a guided tour the Louvre may just be enjoyable rather than a "let's get this outta the way" type affair.
Free Museum Days in Paris
- Free Museum Days
Save those euros. Don't pay if you don't have to.
Things You"ll Need in Paris with Teens
Travel Diaries for Teenagers - Parents won't let you join the French Foreign Legion? Well that sucks! Write it in your journal oppressed teens
Pocket Size Perfection.
Teenagers can't wait for anything so give them a travel diary. You'll be rewarded with instant silence. Anytime's the right time to fill one in detailing daily exploits, complaints and parental mistreatment. Sulking in cafes, sulking in the park, even when you're not really sulking but it's something you're good at so why not?
Better still, as my bestie loves to do, do it before turning in for the night. Then read it all back to me............
Speak French Fast - Best French - English Language Books from Lonely Planet
Encourage the children to speak and learn a little French. It's great to have a little book with you to help with translation. Ecoute et parle Francais mes amiis.
Take one with you or learn a little before you leave with an additional audio cd.
You'll have to speak to a Parisian at some stage. Easy references here for day to day negotiations. Funny too!
Top Ten Things that Suck
- Ad lib street performance art, including off key, gyrating rappers with boom boxes riding the Metro and demanding euros.
- Off key Edith Piaf impersonators riding the Metro demanding euros. Teens don't know who she was and now they don't care
- Performance art. "OMG Mum, I wanna, like kill these lame street performers with my bare hands. In any country." Plus moi!.
- Parisian Summer days-see pix
- Speaking French to the French. It like, so doesn't work.
- El fresco (is that italian?) cafes who serve bees in your lemonade.
- World War 2 commerative plaques (way sad) unless they commemorate the French Resistance getting a few potshots off at the Nazis.
- Symphony orchestras unleashing canonfire with an enthusiasm unseen since 1812, in preparation for Bastille Day celebrations.
- Waiters flirting with dinosaur aged Mum. Puke. Her flirting back. Double puke.
- French attitude.
About French Rudeness:
A charming Parisian friend, sometimes driven to rudeness Parisian friend explains:
Oui cherie, eets twue, we deeslike zee touweests, 'owever, we deeslike each erther even more. Ewe merst know zees abert Pawis. Eet ees so 'ard to live 'ere, so we are equally rude to everywern! Voila! Comprenez vous?"
What to Avoid in Paris & How to Avoid it
The # 1 Thing that Sucked the Most - French Dogs Merde! Le Problem Avec Poo.
Beware the open shoe. Don't get me wrong. I love a nice dog. But gimme a break.
Parisian dog-owners face on-the-spot fines if their canines are caught adding to the 15 TONNES of poo dumped on the capital's streets every day. Henceforth declaring dog poo "illegal" in 2002, nothing much has changed. Yep, 15 TONNES!
In all, one official estimated, Paris spends Â£6-10m a year clearing up its dog excrement. An in-depth 1998 study by the hygiene department calculated that the cost to the taxpayer worked out at some Â£3.70 a kilo, or roughly 30p a turd. For the equivalent sum, the city renovated the entire Avenue d'Italie in 1999.
Snack Deprivation Sucks
The French don't snack. Australians do. Particularly teenaged ones. Snack deprived teens are insufferable. Pack your own, let them starve, or pay about 12 euros each for a can of lemonade in a cafe. Correct. 12 euros.
More Top Teenager Approved Activities - #HotParisTickets -
- Tour - Paris tours. Hop on Hop off Bus Tours.
The bus driver refrains from drinking wine until oh, at least lunch time.
- Horror - History:-The Catacombs
Better than any scary Disney ride. Real dead people haunt the labyrinth narrow corridors here. Six million of them! Due to the unimaginable stench, dead Parisians were transferred from inner city graveyards between the end of the18th century and the
- Tours-Ile-De-France Tours
Information on just about everything including events, monuments and all things Parisian.
- Day Trip - Monet's Garden at Giverny
Take a day trip to visit Giverny, the provincial home of master impressionist, Claude Monet. Never in living history has an Australian teenager been interested in a garden. Imagine my surprise when this day trip made the list. Take the detour to Auve
- Day Trip - French History - Cathedral at Saint Denis
Though low key in presentation, buried here is just about every King and Queen you can name throughout French history. Unlke many other attractions in Paris the atmosphere is quiet and reverant, as it it should be. A worthwhile day trip from Paris on
Paris Transport. Getting Around Town - Teens Love Trains. Well in Paris anyway.
Paris Metro Map - Download a free Metro phone app to navigate the system on the run.
Catch the met to anywhere, or change on to RER. It's easy, affordable and entertaining. Okay so the entertainment can be bothersome .
- Paris Metro Phone App
For IOS 7 - My favourite. Lifesaver on recent trip sans teens.
- Paris Metro Maps
Don't be scared. 14 main Metro lines and 2 secondary "bis" lines, RER lines A through E and Trams lines 1, 2 and 3. You don't need to change trains for destinations inside the peripherique more than once. Three lines? Look more closely.
- Everything you need to know in one handy link. In English!
Paris public transport maps, timetables, and fare information.
Paris Street Maps - Don't leave home without one. Laminated is best.
Ever tried getting around a breezy, drizzly city with a non laminated map? If your answer is yes, then you know " it's like totally lame" and you won't do it again.
Put your superior knowledge on display. Demonstrate you know exactly what you're doing because YOU are the proud owner of a laminated map. Smart thinking! Number 1 best , non lame map for getting around the city of love. This map, because it's laminated, is the best map for Paris, therefore, does not suck.
Small free maps are available everywhere if you prefer the tried and true, pre smart phone era methods. I fit in somewhere in between and still love a weatherproof,durable laminated map in my bag as a precaution.
Paris Guide Books - With or without teens these handy guides are great for getting around town sans guides.
It's just a fact. Lonely Planet steers you around town with unequalled expertise and a touch of humour.
What's the Weather Like in Paris?
Rotten actually. But hey, I I'm a bi-urban Sydney and Marrakech dweller, where the weather shows off continuously, delighting residents with about the second BEST climate in the world. So what would I know about crappy weather? Plenty actually. Growing up in Melbourne, which has about the second WORST climate in the world, ensures I am in the know when it comes to "le temps est mauvais".
Like Melbourne, Paris is changeable, even in Summer. Layer your clothes, take the best walking shoes you can afford, at least 55 umbrellas, as the wind blows them continuously inside out, oh and a raincoat! And a coat and a cardigan! Okay, just pack the contents of your wardrobe, you'll be just fine.
Melburnians have a saying, "If you don't like the weather right now, that's fine, just wait a minute". The same applies to Paris. Go prepared.
What to Wear in Paris - Fashion tips & practical advice on how to dress in Paris
How to Dress like a Parisian? Here's how! Includes practical tips about the weather and boring stuff like that. Even for men.
Parisians will be less rude to you if you represent sartorial elegance. It's simply fact. Don't believe me? Try it and see!
- Check the weather in Paris today
It's probably drizzling but take a look-see anyway.
- What to wear in Paris In the Summer
More than just the weather! Includes crucial fashion tips on everything you need to know about "What to Wear in Paris" .
- What to wear in Paris in the Winter
As above with a most excellent section on "How Young People Dress in France in the Winter".
- What to wear in Paris in the Spring
Start with your umbrella and take it from there.
- What to wear in Paris for men
Parisian men worry about this and so should you.
Travel Umbrellas for France - It's raining, it's pouring.......
This one is perfect! Gustproof for the belligerent breeze, sunproof for the hot days and rainproof for the dreadful drizzle!
Up Up and Away- How to Get to Paris - Paris Transport. How to get in and out of Paris.
Fly, ferry, chunnel or take the train to Paris. Or drive. It's all up to you and depends where in the world you are of course.
- Web Jet
Cheapest flights available from everywhere in the world. Loved by cheapskates worldwide.
Scary fast trains. Teens love them and so do I. London to Paris in 2 1/2 hours! That's better than a Disneyland ride for the price. Site includes timetables, prices and pre-purchase, online ticketing.
- Rail and museum passes
Buy a pass and save.
- Best Flights Europe - Find Ryanair here.
Formerly Irish owned airline notorious for suggesting they might begin charging passengers Â£1 to use the toilet on their flights. Not true but they are cheap, cheap,cheap.
What's an arrondissment?" An administrative district of French cities, in particular Paris.
Bash this bad boy around in your travel bag. This tough guy doesn't care one bit!
Standard issue for the French Foreign Legion. They won't go home without it. Actually, they won't go home fullstop. I believe it's the whole point of enlisting?
Buy one anyway. Paris is full of tricky arrondissments in need of exploration.
Is Marrakech the 21st arrondissment of Paris?
No. But it could be. Sshhhh....Don't tell the Moroccans.
Why not see for yourself? You certainly won't need the umbrellas but can re-use your "Speak French Fast" books. Fly in and fly out, like a true Parisian, for a long weekend. It's all you need and well worth the trip.
Ryanair and other budget carriers fly for virtually nothing direct from Paris.
Visit my blog on the subject (links below) to discover why to visit this "glam and gritty, Islamic, desert city" so close to the hearts of the French.
Morocco Links - My Stories & Top Things to do In Marrakech
- "Marrakech is simply the nicest place on Earth to spend an afternoon", so said Winston Churchill.
Winston was really on to something. From hippies to the international jet set, from fashion guru Yves Saint Laurent to rapper P.Diddy, all were seduced by this ancient desert city perched on the edge of nowhere. Visit Marrakech and you'll discover he
- Majorelle Gardens Marrakech - The gardens of Yves Saint-Laurent
Visiting Morocco? Don't miss the tranquil Majorelle Gardens, Marrakech, former residence and inspiration to French designer Yves Saint-Laurent and business partner/agent provoceteur Pierre Berge.
- Day trips from Marrakech - Essaouira
Perfectly poised as a day trip launching point , Marrakech nestles under the Atlas mountains, perched on the Saharas edge, and close enough to surf the Atlantic coast of Essaouira .
Henri le Chat Noir
Buying these products probably won't restrain the growing ennui in your soul...but it can't hurt.
More French Cats
Watch and listen as Henri the French cat articulates and wrestles with the pain of existence.
- Le Gallerie de Henri
Cool Henri products