Chef Greg Martin’s 5 essential tips for traveling with a teen to Paris

 

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Traveling to the city of light is easy for those culture loving, French food and wine appreciating adults that are ready to immerse themselves in the Parisian way of life.  But what considerations should you take when traveling with a teenager on their first visit to Paris as to not bore them to tears in an endless parade of museums, including meals they recognize and are receptive to and limiting the touring so they don’t imagine themselves on an endless march?

Here are my essential tips:

1.  Have a clear plan along with a centrally located home base: 
Before the vacation, have a clear itinerary that includes pictures and a bit of history/background so you can gather some enthusiasm for the sights and museums you should not miss.  I would suggest renting an apartment in or near the Marais area so that walking to the main sights or hopping on the metro is easy.  Also with an apartment, your teenager will feel a bit more settled and you can stock the fridge with what they like.  Most rental apartments feature wifi that everyone will appreciate.

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2.  Vary meals—French food, a variety of ethnic and yes, American food:
Traveling with a teenager that might not appreciate the finer points of French food can be tough, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind partaking of crepes, croissants, or pain du chocolat.  You can find every cuisine under the sun including excellent Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine in the museum and Marais areas, with Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern food found through the city that is fresh and delicious. My recommended casual lunch eateries for teens are listed below and includes Kraft, an American style hot-dog joint that was very popular.

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tour 58

I highly recommend taking your teenager to the Crystal Room at Baccarat and definitely do the picnic lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant.  Both have great visual appeal.  The crystal room is located in the former private hotel of Marie-laure de Noailles and is adorned with beautiful chandeliers and provides the ideal Parisian lunch experience.  Lunch at 58 Tour gives you the opportunity to overlook the city and enjoy a fun picnic style lunch that begins with champagne or a non-alcoholic drink for your teenager.  Be sure to book reservations with the view of the Trocadero.  For pastries with a decidedly French environment without the crowds try Odette Paris for beautiful little cream puffs (choux a la creme).  The best thing to do is trade off lunch for what your teen wants and dinner for the French bistros and restaurants you want to try.

 

3.  Don’t overdo the museums, hit the highlights:
Visit the Louvre as soon as it opens and make a beeline to the Mona Lisa.  If you wait too long, you will never get near her.  Enter at the Denon entrance and enjoy the view of winged victory of Samothrace before following the signs to the salon housing the Mona Lisa.  Make your way back as the crowds gather and peruse the paintings by Raphael and Michelangelo you passed up before.
  Since you hit the most popular paintings first, you can relax and enjoy the rest of the museum.  Museums that typically feature modern and cool exhibits that your teen may appreciate include the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais, and the Centre Pompidou.  The Center Pompidou is my favorite plus you get a great view of the city at the top of the entrance escalator.  Must see museums: Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, L’Orangerie, Rodin, Picasso.

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4.  Find the unexpected:
Check out
paris.eventful.com and see what music concerts might be happening while on your visit.  Catching a favorite artist on their European tour is certainly something to talk about.  For something a little more low key, try the Sunday bird market in the Ile de Cite, it certainly is lively and colorful with the various variety of birds.

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5.  Shop, shop, shop:
It doesn’t have to be high end, but if you teenager is really into fashion you can’t miss the Bon Marche for designer clothes fresh off the runway.  If you don’t want to break the bank and are staying in the Marais area, there are plenty of shops on Rue des Rosiers and Rue Vieille du Temple that are actually affordable. On rue Rosiers, Suncoo was particularly nice with low prices   If your teen is into modern design you shouldn’t miss Fleux’ near the Centre Pompidou.  A great shop for everything from souvenirs to designer housewares and furniture you won’t find at home.  Merci is another can’t miss shop for the teen looking for everything from clothes and jewelry to electronic accessories.  If it is perfume your teen is looking for, try L’Artisan Parfumeur in the Maris for unique scents at very affordable prices.

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Our experience has been traveling with a 15 year old girl that was not that food adventurous but very much open to visiting museums and other sights.  As she gets older I’m sure she will be more open to trying new foods.  She thoroughly enjoyed her birthday Paris trip and it forced us to view the city through younger eyes, in a fresh new way.  A win-win for everyone.

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Food:

Kraft Hot Dog:  15 Rue des Archives, 75004 Paris, France krafthotdog.com

Udon Jubey:  39 Rue Sainte-Anne, 75001 Paris, France

Au Petit Thai:  10 Rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004 Paris, France

L’As du Fallafel:  Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France

Hanoi:  41 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, France; parishanoi.fr

Baccarat:  11 Place des États-Unis, 75116 Paris, France, baccarat.frcristalroom.com

58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant:  1, Tour Eiffel, Champ de Mars, 75007 Paris, France, restaurants-toureiffel.com

Odette Paris:  77 Rue Galande, 75005 Paris, France, odette-paris.com

Museums:

Louvre: 75001 Paris, France, louvre.fr

Palais de Tokyo:  13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France, palaisdetokyo.com

Grand Palais: 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris, France, grandpalais.fr

The Centre Pompidou:  Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France, centrepompidou.fr

Musee d’Orsay:  1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris, France, musee-orsay.fr

L’Orangerie:  Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France, musee-orangerie.fr

Musee Rodin:  79 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France, musee-rodin.fr

Picasso National Museum:  5 Rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris, France, museepicassoparis.fr

Shops:

Le Bon marché:  24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris, France, lebonmarche.com

Suncoo:  22 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France, suncoo-paris.com

Fleux’:  39 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, France, fleux.com

L’Artisan Parfumeur: 32 Rue du Bourg Tibourg, 75004 Paris, France, artisanparfumeur.com

Merci:  111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France, merci-merci.com

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