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…
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.
TOP TIP! 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
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