Paris with older teens

Jul 24th, 2005, 08:23 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Paris with older teens

We are heading to Paris and Amsterdam at the end of August- wanting to show our teen son and daughter 20 a bit of Europe. we love to travel but want to centre this trip around them -any suggestions for typical Canadian teens -places to see, where to eat , shopping etc. Thanks a million.
patted is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 10:36 AM
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ttt to see if my response appears now...
julia_t is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 10:45 AM
  #3  
 
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Well, my response comes up on this post reply page, but not on the actual forum.

To recap, I'm just back from a few days in Paris with 3 youngsters at the other end of the teen scale. I did post a trip report which you could find by clicking on my name.

Anyway, apart from all the usual sights in Paris, the one thing I cannot recommend highly enough is taking a Fat Tire Bike Tour. We found it so much fun, and there were lots of other young people and students from all over the world on it. We did the evening tour which includes a bateau mouche cruise and lots of wine. There is also a segway tour which people talk about, but it is almost 3 times as expensive, and I don't think it includes the boat trip.

www.fattirebiketoursparis.com

You will find many threads on Paris and Amsterdam using fodor's search engine - there is a wealth of information in there that you will not find anywhere else.
julia_t is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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we are barely back from 10 days in Paris - 2 teen girls, 16 & 17. Repeat trips for 3 of us - 1st time for our niece. We stayed in Paris itself this trip for hotels, altho went to Versailles and Giverny/countryside 1 day each. We were doing exactly as you said: centering the trip around the teens.
Here were the highlights:

1st, I was the hero to all (including my husband, a retired Navy pilot) for booking the Fat Tire company's Segway tour mentioned above. Met at Eiffel tower @ 6:30pm, finished about 10:45pm. I cannot say anything but: book this. I'm actually a tad "timid" (no depth perception, a slowpoke) and even I never stopped grinning and trying to go faster! Guide was terrific (recent Univ Tx grad who was dreadfully serious about learning about the sites he was to point out), we covered Eiffel to Invalides to Louvre (all left bank). Skimmed along the Seine, occasionally used the bike path on streets. My 6th time in Paris, but I still learned good trivia level history items. 2 different nites we saw the bike group mentioned above - we noticed none of them had the same level of grins we wore the whole time, and my group said we'd chosen the best tour. (bike tour takes many more people: our night, we 4 had a guide, other groups were 6 and 9, vs bike group I think goes to about 25 or so.) Yes, it's more than the bike trip, but it's an incredible memory - we also liked the evening trip over our original plan of the morning trip - traffic was less, the city's just settling into the evening, etc. (btw: it's a Canadian company, many of the staff seemed to be Vancouver area.)

2nd highlight for the girls: my daughter had never been up the Eiffel Tower because the elevator lines are just so long, consistently. They just said: we're climbing. Husband & I ended up sitting on a bench to wait for them - we'd have preferred to at the least climb to the 1st level (beverage @ Altitude 95), would probably have gone the whole route, but this was a great chance for the girls to ditch the adults and just be on their own. Next trip: we'll probably climb it also.

3rd fave & a lovely surprise: 2 teens who love to sleep consistently chose to get up by 9am (1 morning 10am) and hit museums! Why? because we'd do the museum for a very manageable time, then head to wandering, shopping, whatever they chose. Favorites: of course the Louvre (about 2 1/2 hours), Rodin (1 hr + lunch at the cafe), Picasso (a huge hit, probably 2 hours plus cafe time), Orsay (a crowded afternoon, only about 1hr 30minutes). We hit Louvre on a free day (Bastille Day). I only picked up the Museum pass for the Orsay - lost a bit of money, but it was our last afternoon and line-skipping was important to us. Keep in mind: typically, under 18 is free for museums. Again, the girls loved all of the museums. There are lots of others but these are all we got to.

#4 favorite: the fact that we so rarely ate around other Americans, or even English-speakers! The only dinner where it happened was, sadly, at a spot often recommended here, Allard, which was 100% English speaking. My niece was especially surprised how easy this was. Don't know where you're staying, but 2 of our favorites this trip were Le Pre Verre (mentioned on Fodors) and a drop-in along the Champs Elysees, Cafe Le Notre - totally cute w/large outdoor terrasse, great variety of fun & tasty food, and not an English tongue heard (except when our waitress tried to help out on menu ideas).

#5. Okay, they're girls: shopping. Every single store seemed to say "SOLDE" (sales) and they had a blast finding some clothing items - and they were fall items, to boot. They splurged on quite expensive purses at original price, because at the 70% reduction, the price fit their budgets. Loved the Agatha B shops - very reasonable. 90% of the shopping was small shops, not chains, quite fun. They got great, slightly different items, that will be great memories this fall as school starts.

#6. This is a group that dislikes walking in general, but we never stopped, & they never complained! Took breaks for ice cream cones or cokes periodically, but kept plugging! We did some walking tours, the rest of the time I was picking the routes and pushing us along. One of the walking tours was Pere Lachaise, for example: enjoyable to my group probably only because we had a guide steering us along and they know they'll never have to go there again (this was a pick for me...)

#7: We all loved the arcades (check here, I think there are threads calling them "passages") and various market streets. Just gave a great feel for the different culture we're visiting.

#8. Riding the buses - same price/ticket as metro. Metro was hot, and you don't get to see anything. So, we spent as much time on buses as in metro, and also used cabs.
(Note: if you try to cab, which isn't much more than the buses, especially after 5pm: drivers are only required to take 3 people, and will frequently refuse 4. I had run into this 2 trips ago, when my mother was with us. I'm the only french speaker in the group, so splitting up's a bore. I stumbled on a new fact early on this time - one evening, I jokingly asked our 3rd try-driver, once he finally rolled down his window to speak to me - if there was a price that would get him to take 4 people. Since I was smiling & shoulder-swiveling, to try to get some humor into this proposition, and could ask it in french, he grinned back, gave a "well, there's always a price"... and then told me there's a set supplemental price of 3 euros (seemed to be only 2 in the evenings) to do this! So, if you're trying for a taxi, I had 100% success rate after that by going up to the window, putting a question mark in my voice, and just saying "Quatre personnes avec le supplement, s'il vous plait?" Bingo, we would have no problem - I gathered that the drivers as a whole just don't like to try to explain the supplement system to non-french speakers. Since the metro/bus runs 1.3 euros, the supplement just didn't bother us to pay, since again: we liked to see the street scenes.

Daytrips: Versailles - I had thought that seeing all the fountains come on and hearing music play would be interesting. Evidently, only to me.
However, the girls got a real kick out of Marie Antoinette's hamlet - that she actually built it for pretend fun! But, overall, I think the day would have been better spent in Paris.
Other day trip was better for my group: Giverny for about 2 hrs, then headed to lunch 20 minutes away along a river at an old mill, and then toured a fascinating old chateau, Roche Guyon (history ranges from tower probably used to watch for nasty vikings to Rommel's use of headquarters/munition storage in WWII, with loads of info in between). For this, though, you'd really need a car - so even though it was a "highlight" day to us, don't know that this works for you. Our prior trips have been 1/2 Paris, 1/2 countryside (bike trip for 8 days in Normandy was the last one) so altho we all adore Paris, it is nice to be reminded of the countryside, which Versailles doesn't pull off.
In my current groggy state, these are the high points I recall. Overall, the teens took less managing/entertaining than I probably expected because Paris is just so incredible - I've heard that about Amsterdam, too, so I'm betting you'll find this to be the case for your family also.

I would highly recommend having a precise dinner plan for the evenings - one surprise to me was that the girls didn't get a kick out of wandering one of the busy streets (example: St Andre des Arts, many dozens of choices) to casually pick a spot for dinner. When you've toured each day, walking along reading menus @ 8:30 or so just didn't appeal. But, if they knew I had a reservation, they were ready to go, and would window shop or grab an ice cream on the way back to hotel very very happily. I had picked up most of my ideas from this site (trying to get notes together to post a full report soon) and we had great food & fun.

Sorry this got so long - Have a superb time!
jo_ann is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 12:37 PM
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Great trip report Jo-ann, really enjoyed reading it. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time. Maybe you should copy it and post it as a thread of its own. How did the London part of it go?
julia_t is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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Hi, Julia - thanks for the comment; I was trying to be more brief for "patted" but daughter & husband walked thru the room, added ideas/comments, and it got so long!
London: well, disappointment. We ended up not doing that part, and I was pleased not to be blasted earlier on this forum when I posted that we had rearranged the trip to drop London and just get more time in Paris. we were packed and 2 hours from heading to airport when we got news of the bombings that Thursday morning. DH is retired military - did Vietnam & defense work, and just dug in his heels that we couldn't take daughter & niece into London at that time. (we would have been en route as more news could have broken, remembering disruptions at 9/11, plus: he's just protective of us all. Life experiences have let us all know how brief life can be, to put it very briefly.) So, in 30 mins at office that morning, Delta let us go direct to Paris instead of London, Covent Garden Hotel told me we were making the right decision ("it's rather chaotic here at this time"), and I managed to get into our 1st Paris hotel a night early. Right or wrong, that's what we did. If we'd had even 48 hours (geez, even 24 hours!) and more importantly if it had just been us 2 middle-agers, we might have done differently, but - honestly - Paris is our great love!
I'm already planning a full 2 weeks next summer in London/Scotland (and only back 2 days!) since I figured out that the 4 days there was too short, anyway!
I am assembling all notes and hope to do a more full Paris report during this next week. I've used and loved this board, but usually get caught up in resuming work and feeling less capable versus other posters, but got such good ideas for this trip, that I will payback! What an amazing 10 days we had!
Jo Ann
jo_ann is offline  
Jul 24th, 2005, 07:31 PM
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Most teens i know will revel in going to Amsterdam and trying the legal coffeeshops! When in Rome do like the Romans do!
PalQ is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 04:38 AM
  #8  
 
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Here's an idea for Paris that may or may not fly - the Friday night roller-blade rally: check the route at www.pari-roller.com (follow the link "parcours"), and don't overestimate the time they take from the start at 10pm - they seemed to be prompt starting and quick around at least the earlier stages. But, impressive though it is, it's passed on in 10-15 minutes.

Amsterdam is bike city, so they could hire bikes quite easily; and I've seen people routing the canals in what appeared to be hired pedalos. Is your son old enough (in your terms, not his) for the brewery tour?
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jul 25th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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I don't know if this is helpful or not, but here is the link to my trip report, "Paris with teens."

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...een_name=wliwl

You are going to have a blast.
wliwl is offline  

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