Paris with boys 11 and 13

Old Jun 6th, 2009, 10:54 AM
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Paris with boys 11 and 13

We will spend a week this summer in Paris with our sons ages 11 and 13. My husband and I have been to Paris, but the boys have not (they have been to Europe several times). We plan to do all of the usual tourist sites such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre, Notre Dame, etc. Does anyone have suggestions of any places, activities, restaurants, etc. that their tweens and teens enjoyed in Paris?

The boys like medieval history, modern art, and will take the stairs to the top of any monument or church. They are not interested in shopping unless it's a sporting goods store that sells French Football (soccer) jerseys (they loved shopping in Lilywhites in London last summer).

Thank you for any suggestions.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 11:02 AM
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When mine was that age he loved the sports shops and the outdoor performers and artists around the Place Beaubourg, the mosquée de Paris, Deyrolles, the Musée de l'Armée, the bâteaux-mouches, and the Cité de Science.

If they're interested in medieval history, you should take them to the Musée de Cluny.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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Agree on the Musee de Cluny - my step-daughters loved it. Have you looked into Segway tours? And what about visiting one or more of the castles (not palaces) in the Loire? You can hit a couple in a day with a rented car.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 11:24 AM
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Also for modern art the Centre Pompidou is wonderful (and it's right there in the Place Beaubourg that I mentioned).
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Check out Fat Tire Bike Tours. We like to do bike tours when we arrive in new cities. It is a nice way to burn some energy and to learn about sights in the city.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 12:47 PM
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How 'bout the sewers and catacombs? Pierre Lachaise and Montparnesse cemeteries? Also, they might wish to see the Arenes de Lutece, the skeletal remains of a roman era arena in/near the latin quarter. And, nearby, the natural history museum and zoo inside the Jardin des Plantes.

If they are interested in the French Revolution, they might enjoy the Concergerie, where Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette and, to be fair and balanced, Danton and Robespierre enjoyed their last days in this world, the Bastille, where the prison once stood, and the Place de la "Concorde" (once "Revolution"), where many were ushered into the beyond with the assistance of the guillotine. A plaque on the street marks the place where the death machine stood.

Have a great trip.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 08:02 PM
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When our boys were 14 and 17 we visited the Aerospace Museum at Le Bourget. We caught the train to Gare du Bourget then bus #152 to the museum. Spent a few hours there on a drizzly Paris winter's day and enjoyed it immensely.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 08:10 PM
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What is it about kids and climbing up to the top of monuments? We enjoyed walking down the steps of the Eiffel Tower (after taking the elevator up) and climbing to the tops of Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 08:20 PM
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We took our son to Paris when he was 10, then returned there for the end of another trip, when he was 12.

On the first trip, we visited Montmartre, because we'd never been to that part of Paris, and he loves the Impressionists. We also visited the Pantheon, to see Victor Hugo's tomb (he'd read the Hunchback of Notre Dame). (We also visited the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay, of course.) He wasn't interested in any of the underground sites or the military museum (though on that same trip, we all enjoyed the War Museum in London).

Going to the top of Notre Dame was a must, as was the Eiffel Tower. One of the special moments of that first trip was a nighttime cruise on the Seine, so that his first view of the Eiffel Tower was from the river, at night.

On his second visit to Paris, he chose to re-visit the Musee d'Orsay. We also went to Musee Marmatton, which has a lot of Monets - I loved it, but he didn't, for some reason, though he enjoyed the residential neighborhood. On that trip, we also went to the Pompidou, which he loved, loved, loved. Us adults were less enthused - there was a reason we'd been to Paris a number of times, and hadn't yet visited there!

He enjoyed eating crepes, both from the carts and at creperies, though we mostly ate at nicer places.

Buying a football (soccer) shirt in Europe has become a tradition for him - though last year, when we were in Budapest during some European championship set of games, he was stopped by an Italian who commented (in Italian) the Barcelona soccer shirt our son was wearing!
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 09:13 PM
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My children loved the catacombs... It is perfect for your boys.

They also really liked Montmarte area - they went back twice.
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Old Jun 6th, 2009, 10:34 PM
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Find out the route for the Friday night rollerblade excursion.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 03:17 AM
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I agree about the roller-blades:
http://www.pari-roller.com/index.php?p=101

It always starts by the Gare Montparnasse, but there's a different route every week, announced on the Thursday. I think you might get a better sense of it about, say, a kilometre from the start.

Don't forget to see the Eiffel Tower lit up (on the hour, every hour from 9pm) - best seen from the Palais de Chaillot, or the Champ de Mars.

It doesn't sound rom what you say as though they are science-oriented, but if they like machines and such, there's the Cité des Sciences at La Villette:

http://www.cite-sciences.fr/english/index.php
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 07:19 AM
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My kids adore Paris! Yours will, too. We first took our children to the city when they were 10 and 13 - when we returned last summer they were two years older, and they loved it even more.

My son and husband enjoyed the Museum of Natural History, located near the Jardin des Plantes (M. Gare d'Austerlitz).

I just visited the Pere Lachaise cemetery in March for the first time - there are some really cool (and famous) tombs and it's quite a sight to see (like a little tomb city). The scenery is beautiful and there's quite a bit of climbing up and down moderately hilly strees (fun for the kids). (M. Pere Lachaise).

I love French history so I love the Musee Carnavalet and the Musee Cluny.

Do your boys like military history? Both of my kids like history and I think their favorite museum in Paris is the Musee de l'Armee in Les Invalides. We always stay close by and during our last visit they ventured there by themselves.

Also, if you will be in Paris during the soldes (annual sales), you'll find lots of great soccer jerseys on sale. My son, during our last trip, picked up two for a pittance. He, too, has a collection of soccer jerseys from France.

One final suggestion, if your children don't speak any French, teach them the basics, such as "Bonjour Monsieur, Madame, etc.", "Je voudrais" (I would like, used to order in a restaurant), "S'il vous plait", and "Merci". My kids used these simple phrases to great effect with the restaurant servers in Paris, and we received many positive comments on their manners. It made us, and the kids, feel proud.

Bon voyage.
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Old Jun 12th, 2009, 07:18 AM
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Many thanks for the excellent ideas! I am sure we will do as many as we can pack into our week in Paris.
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