Insider Inspiration for visiting Paris with Teenagers by Paris Teens
Inspired by a blogging friend asking for tips on what to do in Paris with teenagers I took the brief seriously and got to work asking all the teens I know in Paris for ideas. You see we used to live there, in the city that’s “always a good idea” to quote Audrey Hepburn; we lived in Paris for 10 years but we lived there as young newly weds, as young new parents and through until our first born, now a teenager, and referred to in this blog as the Teen, was 7. Our personal experience of Paris for littlies is extensive but Paris with teens is limited. However, having lived there for so many years we have plenty of friends with similar aged kids as ours and know a great many Parisian teens.
With their help I have put together some insiders’ tips for Paris for teenagers, listing some off the beaten track places to visit, go, hang out, shop and eat, and some not so off the beaten track. All these places come recommended by real Parisian teenagers. It goes without saying that if you are visiting Paris for the first and possibly only time there are places not on this list that pretty much have to be seen, no matter what, you know what I’m talking about… the Louvre, Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur, the Seine, the Eiffel Tower and the ilk. But teenagers probably won’t want to do the rounds of endless museums, churches and historical sights without a bit of what takes their fancy thrown in too. It’s a balancing act; hopefully by adding a few of these ideas into your schedule, and giving them some independence, you’ll have happy teens which means happy families (doesn’t it?)
Foodie Paris: places to admire food, shop for it and eat…
It can be overwhelming knowing where to start with Paris food; there’s so much choice, so here’s just a tiny, tiny selection to get you started!
La Grande Epicerie – the food halls of Paris’s oldest department store le Bon Marché.
Organic market on Bld Raspail on Sundays.
La Chocolaterie Cyril Lignac – chocolate café from a Michelin starred TV chef.
Chocolate heaven at La Chocolaterie in the 11th arrondissement
Ober Mamma – delicious Italian food in trendy Oberkampf quarter.
Five Guys – US burger chain, the one on the Champs-Elysée is the biggest in the world. It may not be where you imagine eating on the most famous of Parisian avenues but honestly the Champs-Elysée is over run with fast food joints so you might as well indulge the teens with this one. 49-51 Ave des Champs-Elyées.
Have a picnic! Grab a baguette, some cheese, charcuterie, chips and more from a local market/supermarket and find your perfect spot. For ideas of top locations check out this guide.
Paname Brewing Company – on the basin de la Villette, good for after/before hiring a canal boat….
*Fun fact: did you know Paname is a nickname for Paris? It’s very commonly used in regular speech.
some of our Paris teens outside the Paname Brewing Company on the Bassin de la Villette
General areas to visit, to mooch and mosey around…
Les Buttes-Chaumont – a lesser known park, with very few tourists and good views over the city.
Père Lachaise cemetery – many famous people buried here including Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Chopin.
Ménilmontant, Oberkampf and especially Belleville for street art (for a thorough guide to Paris street art, including addresses for locations I recommend this article The Parisian Street art Movement)
Street art in Belleville photo credit
Rue Rambuteau, rue Berger, rue Montorgueil around Les Halles for drinks.
Jussieu for drinks in a student area.
La Villette – canals, museums, park, open space.
The “je t’aime” wall. 250 languages saying “I love you” on a 40 m2 enamel work of art located at Square Jean Rictus, Place des Abessess.
I love you wall in the18th arrondissement photo credit
Citadium – 6000 m2 of the latest streetwear located behind les Grands Magasins (Printemps & Galeries Lafayette).
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann – department store worth visiting for its beautiful stained glass dome as well as its fashion, shoe and beauty departments.
The dome in Galeries Lafayette
Châtelet and the Marais for “friperies” (secondhand/vintage clothing stores).
Supreme store – mythical New York skate/hip-hop store.
Shakespeare and Company – legendary bookshop for English language & second-hand books, a Paris institution, open in this location on the Left Bank since 1951. Tea is served every Sunday at 4pm with discussions on literature.
Shakespeare & Co photo credit
Fun things to do…
Rent Velib’ bikes (the almost free city bike share scheme) for a fun and liberating way to get around, but if not confident enough then take a cycle tour. **Update Jan 2019, the Velib scheme has had many problems over the past year and may not be functioning as well as it used to.
Go rollerblading with thousands of other people on Friday nights at 10 pm for a 3 hour exhilarating speed through the streets of Paris with Pari-Roller. Or without the gang along the banks of the Seine on Sundays when the road is pedestrianised. There are places to rent rollerblades near Bastille.
Rent an electric self-drive boat on the Canal de l’Ourcq or Canal St Martin.
Take a Segway tour as a fun original way to see Paris.
mass rollerblading outing in Paris photo credit
Museums / places of interest…
Fondation Louis Vuitton – ultra modern building designed by Frank Gehry in the Bois de Boulogne housing a contemporary art museum. Go for the exterior even if not interested in the art inside (photo at the bottom of post for the Pin shows its unique shape).
Musée de la Mode et du Textile – fashion and textiles museum with changing exhibitions, in the Louvre building.
Deyrolle – legendary taxidermy shop, full of stuffed animals and curiosities. Being a shop it’s free to enter and quite bizarrely fascinating to look around. Tends to appeal to teens’ sense of the macabre!
Deyrolle taxidermy shop in the 7th arrondissement photo credit
Musée des Egouts de Paris (sewers museum) – yes you really get to walk around in the Paris sewers, which are bigger, more interesting and less smelly than you might think!
Musée du Quai Branly (museum of art and civilisations of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas) – interesting living wall and gardens as well as permanent collection in another spectacular architect designed building (Jean Nouvel).
Catacombs – an underground warren of bones and skulls removed from overflowing cemeteries in the 13th century. Need to book and go early as queues get huge.
- Always carry a Student Card as many (most) historical buildings/museums are free/reduced for students, particularly from the EU. A passport/ID is not enough, it really has to be a student card.
Louis Vuitton Foundation
My first trip with friends only, no parents involved, was to Paris for a week aged 16. I went with two friends from school, we took the ferry and train from England, stayed in a beautiful apartment on Bld St Michel, walked our little feet off and loved every minute of Paris as teenagers. I’ve never forgotten that week, it was my first truly independent adventure. I could never have imagined then that I’d end up living there many years later and that my own children would be born in Paris. It’s one of the most special places on earth for me and I hope other travelling teenagers can capture even just a smidgen of my passion for it. Paris is always a good idea!
With special thanks to all our lovely Paris friends for so many great ideas: Ella, Lily, Christine, Cameron, Kate, Ann, Gabriella, Jo, Louis, Yacine, Lucas, Natasha, Julie, Hugo, Martin, Felix, Valérie, Tony, Emile and Camille, you rock!
Have you been to Paris with teenagers? Please add your experiences and suggestions in the comments.
For more family-friendly Paris inspiration I recommend the following blog articles:
The best things to do with kids in Paris by Suitcases and Sandcastles
Paris with kids in one day by Our Globetrotters
Paris with kids – the ultimate guide by Wanderlust Crew
PIN it for later!
Thx for your post. Unfortunately I didn’t find it until now – our last night in Paris… But we (me and my 12-years-old daughter) did do the Segway guided trip and we both loved it! A real hit 🙂
We’ll see if we can “check” 1 or 2 of your other suggestions tomorrow before heading back home. Otherwise – next time… 😉
Wow I am so happy I stumbled across your post! I am taking my daughter 10 and her best friend 11 in 3 weeks to Frace for 16 days.7 of those days will be in Paris and I was wanting some fun regular stuff to do! Have you ever gone to the Leonardo Di Vincenci home/ garden? That sound fun but not sure?
What a great post. We are off to Paris to shop for stock for our Berlin store (with our teen) I’ve added many of the tips to a personal Google map on my phone, which is an easy way to carry lots of info around town- (!but not something you check on the street!) Many thanks.
Great blogpost Phoebe, will definitely add some extra fun to our trip to Paris.
Eat and stroll! Paris by night is lovely.
Thanks for this list – I have added lots of your suggestions! We are going to be in Paris mid-June with our 14, 15, and 16 year olds (girl, girl, boy). Any ideas on what we can do with them in the evenings apart from stroll around? TY!
Phoebe this is fantastic for us as a family as we are currently planning a city vacation for the summer with Teen 2 whilst Teen 1 heads off with his mates to celebrate the end of his exams and Paris is on the list. We have never taken her which is shocking really as it is so easy to get to. Also a girlfriend is taking me there as a gift for my 50th so am particularly interested in the shopping! Thanks for joining us and hope to see you again next week. #TweensTeensBeyond
What a super useful post. I think we need more ‘travel with teens’ type posts – many people assume that you just leave your teens at home but that is not actually true. I love the look of these myself! Thanks so much for linking up with us at #TweensTeensBeyond
Oh this is so timely as I’m off to Paris with my eldest in June – amazing list of ideas – I’m printing this off (I’m so old school!) and planning our trip for sure! Will let you know the places we visit that are on here. Amazing photos and inspiration so thank you! #TweensTeensBeyond
I agree, the teens came up with lots of fun ideas for all ages. Happy to have discovered your linky.
I hope you get there soon Keryn
Ooh never mind the Teens, there are some grand ideas here for the parents too! Trip 3 to manual!! We have had two wonderful trips, one with and one without our daughter. Always something else to discover and in keeping with your theme and having a daughter ‘Zara is always a good idea’ too. Great post and thanks for coming to join us at #TweensTeensBeyond. We are delighted to have you here. Nicky
Thanks for the tips Phoebe!
Very interesting 😉
Still dying to get back to Paris to dig in deeper to all there is to do with kids.
Yes, the boat would appeal to younger kids too.
Thanks Wilbur, my local teens came up with some great ideas didn’t they.
I bet you loved the idea that you could get a beer in MacDo! I wonder where the hill was….
I’m so pleased to hear that Alex; I wonder how old your kids are.
Hopefully some of these will still be relevant in 10 years time, though I guess the restaurants might have changed!
Thanks Urska 🙂
Next time you’ll have to give it a go Catherine!
We are a few years away from bringing teenagers to Paris but I enjoy reading posts like these for general ideas. I didn’t realize it was possible to rent an electric self-drive boat. What a fabulous idea!
Excellent ideas. I have been to Paris many times and I learned lots, thank you. Wilbur. #citytripping
What a great post Phoebe! I first visited Paris when I was 13 on a school trip. I remember being amazed by the Sacre Coeur and Versailles but also being intrigued by the alternative menu in McDonalds and rolling down a massive hill with my friends (no idea where that was)! Teens do need some alternative options so this is incredibly helpful. I know I would have been fascinated to see the catacombs back then too. #citytripping
What an absolutely fantastic post, I’m so glad I came across it – it’s made me want to book a trip for the kids now and I’m not even that big a fan of Paris (i know, I know, how dare I say that, but what can I say!?) Nice one, you have totally changed my perspective! #citytripping
Paris is always a good idea – a city I never tire of visiting so I shall be pinning this for a decade in the future. Although I feel unexpectedly cool that we stayed in Belleville last time on my daughter’s first visit when she wasn’t quite 18 months. I am determined to get to the Catacombs some time too . Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
Great tips Phoebe! #CityTripping
These are great tips even if you don’t have teenagers! I was never a teenager in Paris, I didn’t go to France for the first time until I was 22. I love going to the Bon Marché épicerie for gifts! I’m glad to know that the sewers museum isn’t as smelly as you would think – one time I had a friend who wanted to go and I absolutely refused! #FarawayFiles
I’m so happy you enjoyed this Erin, thanks for inspiring it. Would you care to add any other ideas fro your recent trip?
I agree, thanks Eileen, teen can be just as hard work as toddlers if their own way!
Maybe you’ll go back again one day Michele? I’m sure your teen will always remember his trip to Paris fondly no matter if it was heavy on culture
I love pretty much most of these idea too, young at heart, eh!
Oh you should definitely give it a second chance, Paris is too lovely to write off after only one go.
Thanks Trish 🙂
Boats of all descriptions are usually pretty popular with mine too.
Haha Kat, it’s probably not a bad idea some days!
You know I loved this post! We followed some of your tips and a great time in Paris with our teens! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin
I love the idea of you as a nerdy teen Clare!
Yes and no! France LOVES MacDonalds and I believe it’s the 2nd biggest consumer in the word, so to embrace another US burger chain isn’t so surprising. It’s all part of the French paradox!
Great list! I can hardly believe that the biggest Five Guys is in Paris!? It seems so unlikely, so un-France.
Fabulous post, Phoebe! I was so looking forward to reading this. I was nearly a teen, (19) when I moved to Paris as a student and had the most fantastic time – nerdy teens like I was will enjoy following in the trail of Sartre and de Beauvoir and frequenting the jazz bars. I’d love to take my teenage goddaughter to the hip bars of Le Marais and sit outside on the pavement watching everyone pass by. When I took my 11-year-old he fell in love with Shakespeare & Company. I love so many of the ideas on your fabulous list. Thanks for sharing this on #farawayfiles
I was hoping it was going to be “lose them in the Louvre”. Hehe, which is entirely possible, given the size and complexity of that place. But your teens look like they’re lovely people so I guess that wasn’t a consideration. #FarawayFiles
Great post with top tips! My two enjoyed the Batobus, floating along with lots of opportunities to take pictures and then modify them on their phones. #FarawayFiles
You’ve got it just right – teens need a mix of things to do and a day of ‘must-sees’ just doesn’t cut it. Some fantastic ideas here.
We had a bad experience in Paris but I think we should give it a secod chance. Looks like you had a good time. #farawayfiles
I must be a teenager because I love all these ideas. Hee. Paris is so wonderful. After reading this and hearing about Erin’s gallivanting I can’t wait to get there again. Working on my hubby who needs to have some work meetings there soon! I went to Sydney on my first trip away on my own and boy did we get up to some mischief..
My oldest was a teen when we visited Paris, and I will admit that there’s only so many museums and historical sites that he could take. The Catacombs fascinated everyone, though! Looking over this list, I think that if we had visited a few more of these places, my son would have enjoyed it a tad more. #WkendTravelInspiration
these are great insights. So much is written about traveling with small children, but parents with teens need advice and insights, too! #wkendtravelinspiration
Lol Catherine! :o;):D
I used to love the Friday night rollers, haven’t seen it for a while so I was happy when some of my teens suggested it.
Fab list Phoebe… I missed doing the rollerblading on Friday night when I was last in Paris. It is certainly something that I want to do. It certainly looks awesome seeing the wave of rollers coming down the street. I think a bit of practice by myself and my teenage boys before we go is a good idea so we avoid any holiday injuries. #TheWeeklyPostcard
We didn’t know what to do with teenagers in Paris. What a pity we hadn’t read this blog. Well blogs didn’t exist then. All sounds very good.
I think Paris might have changed since that particular baby was born….a very long time ago! However Deyrolle and Shakespeare & Co were already open back then, did you know about them?
I’m happy to hear that Christine, let me know if you try out anything new from this list!
That’s great to hear Lolo.
Oh yes you will Hilary, Paris can be visited over and over!
Sounds like my kind of teenager!
Thanks Ruth, I agree with you!
I agree that these ideas would appeal to many ages!
That’s the hazzard of riding in a big city and I know it’s not for everyone, but I have also known plenty of teens who’ve hired vélib’ bikes and had a great time, safely!
I agree that most of these things would appeal to a wider group than just teens, I certainly want to do most!
Boom! You hit it completely right! Food, shopping, and doing things….although honestly except for the shopping bit that’s me too. I think every single teenager would love Deyrolles….so interesting!
Looks like you’ve come up with some fun ideas. I’d nix the bike tour. Last time we were in Paris we saw the bike tours nearly get picked off by traffic.
great tips! and not just for the teens:) #wkdtravelinspiration
What a fabulous post! I would say these are recommendations for anyone that want to get the youthful and fun vibe of the city. There are so many things in here I want to do! #TheWeeklyPostcard
These are so many great ideas! A great resource for people with teenagers. I remember when my son was a teenager and we took him to Paris. He couldn’t be more in awe of everything he saw. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Fabulous post!! Wish I’d had it before my most recent visit! Guess I’ll just have to come back!
I’m definitely not a teenager, but I’d love to do much of this! The few times I’ve been to Paris, we only did the super touristy things, so it would be nice to see other things I missed. #TheWeeklyPostcard
This is great Phoebe! Having contributed to this and currently living in Paris with teens, I wasn’t expecting to pick up so many great ideas. Thank you!
We lived there too. And our first child (well known to readers of this blog) was born there, but as we moved to Brussels when she was only a couple of weeks old, and it was all rather a long time ago, I am unable to offer much, if any, useful advice. These tips however sound good.