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When visiting Paris with teenagers you might think, and for good reason, that you’ll be spoiled for choice. There are so many things to do and see, from exploring the city’s famous landmarks to trying some of the delicious local food or shopping at trendy boutiques. But as we all know, teens’ tastes are quite different from their parents’. While it is tempting to choose experiences for them, encourage your kids to do their own research and propose activities that they find appealing — and only do some gentle guiding once their ideas are exhausted.
10 Things to Do with Teens in Paris:
The iconic landmark offers spectacular 360-degree views of Paris from its three observation decks. Yes, there are elevators of course, and they will take you all the way to the top. Climbing the stairs, however, is a completely different experience that will reveal the beautiful and intricate structure of the tower from the inside out. Once you arrive at the first level, stop by the pizzeria and grab a quick and affordable bite to eat — you know your teenagers will want a snack after all that effort. For more sophisticated palates, a Pierre Hermé boutique offers outstanding macarons, while Madame Brasserie by Thierry Marx is the right place for a decadent meal.
For a more unconventional experience, take your teens to visit the catacombs of Paris. The underground tunnels hold the remains of more than 6 million people in what used to be old stone quarries. Make sure you pack an extra jacket as the tunnels are quite a bit colder than the temperature above ground.
Enjoyed by adults and adolescents, a walk on the banks of the Seine can offer a delightful experience. For an extra wow factor, try to be there during the golden hour (this will vary with the seasons). The sun setting on the river is bound to be something they won’t forget.
For teens who are interested in fashion and shopping, Paris is a great place to visit. The city is home to some of the world’s most famous fashion designers and boutiques, and the streets of Paris are filled with trendy shops and designer brands. For a condensed experience, the city’s largest department stores offer all the shopping opportunities you could wish for, with the added benefit of boasting some tremendous views of the Paris rooftops from their upper-floor terraces.
This will give you a unique perspective of the city and allow you to sightsee from a different angle. For a budget-friendly option, consider the Batobus. This is a hop-on, hop-off boat that cruises from Jardin des Plantes to the Eiffel Tower and back, with nine stops at the most significant landmarks along the Seine. Click here to purchase your tickets.
While the Louvre is the uncontested must-see for adults, teens might find its vastness a bit much — unless they’re the very artistic type. To keep them interested and engaged, try a smaller place like Musée d’Orsay, or private mansions turned museums, such as Nissim de Camondo or Jacquemart-André. They are charming, and much easier to explore in the span of a couple of hours.
The streets of Paris host a multitude of cafés, restaurants, bakeries, and pastry shops. Some of the best options are Rue Rambuteau, Rue Montorgueil, Rue Cler, and Rue Mouffetard. No matter what your food preferences are, you will probably find what you want.
This blood-pumping, leg-straining experience will appeal to any budding athlete. Climbing 300 worn stone steps on a narrow spiral staircase might be a bit of a physical challenge but it is so worth the effort. Once you reach the summit, you and your teens will be rewarded with excellent panoramic views of Paris.
Nothing better than a short break from the crowds in a serene, green place. After the hustle and bustle of activities, a peaceful hour spent in one of the many parks of Paris will be welcomed by teenagers and adults alike. Grab some picnic fare and find a quiet spot in Place des Vosges or the gardens of Palais-Royal, where you can serve your teens a jambon beurre sandwich with a side of fascinating French history and some superb architecture.
Like in any big city, gift shops are everywhere in Paris but what they offer can often be a bit cheap and inauthentic. Your teens might appreciate edible souvenirs more. Try La Cure Gourmande for cookies and confections, La Mère de Famille, or Maison Larnicol for chocolate and candied fruit, Pierre Hermé or Ladurée for macarons.
If you and your family really enjoy the many tasty treats Paris has to offer, why not learn to make them yourself so you can relive your Parisian experience back home?
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