Although pleasing teens may not always be easy, when you hit the mark with their first trip to Paris, it can be a family travel experience everyone will always remember.
There are no one-size-fits-all itineraries in Paris, certainly not for teens, so begin by letting their expectations be your first guide. What have they heard about and want to see? Don’t begin with a list of the top tourist sights.
They may have their own vision of Paris — smart fashions, little Montmartre streets, a left bank sidewalk café. What are their interests? Begin there.
Suggest some of the popular stereotypes so they don’t get home and wonder if they’ve really been there, but also don’t insist on “you must see the Louvre” just because it’s on everyone’s list. Maybe they’ll want to see it someday, but there’s no need to push it when they couldn’t care less at the moment. Teen reactions to the Eiffel Tower vary from gotta-go-to-the-top to ho-hum. Make suggestions and listen.
Avenue Montaigne is for window shopping, an enclave of high-end fashion names including Prada, Chanel, Fendi and Dior. While the Champs-Élysées has the same glamour, teens can find approachable prices at stores like H&M and Zara’s new flagship store, opened April 2023.
Or browse and shop where the Parisians do among the small boutiques of Chatelet. This oldest quarter of Paris is filled with street life and local shops, especially on Rue Saint-Martin and Rue de la Verrerie, where teens may find bargains and treasures among the second-hand and vintage clothes.
Don’t overlook grandes magasins, or department stores, like Galéries Lafayette and Printemps on Boulevard Haussman, with their flashy buildings and window displays. The hustle-bustle on the boulevard will make impressionable fashionistas feel in the thick of things.
For Hip Hoppers
Hip hop is tres fashionable in Paris, and you can find several areas with street art and impromptu break-dancing, as well as staged shows. A massive cultural center called Centquartre emphasizes urban art, with regular breakdance showcases, events, activities and even workshops where teens can polish their moves.
You’re likely to see breakdancing in the nearby streets and parks, as well as plenty of street art. Devoted street art fans can take an organized tour, or you can find your own, from giant murals to tiny mosaics, with the help of ParisInfo.
Paris is the right place for those with a taste for things spooky, creepy and dark. Begin at one of the city’s most popular attractions, Père-Lachaise cemetery. While teens seek out monuments with skulls, demons, bats and even winged skeletons, you might look for graves of famous writers, musicians and heroes. Teens might also like Musée Grevin, Paris’s wax museum, with its lights-and-mirrors show; on the first Saturday of every month is a Night at the Museum event.
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