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Are you planning a family trip to Paris with teens and wondering how to keep your teenagers engaged and excited?
Worry not, because the City of Love and Lights has something for everyone, including your teens. From the captivating history and architecture to the mouthwatering cuisine and vibrant street culture, Paris is an ideal destination for families with teenagers.
The tips in this guide are also applicable to the tween in your family, as it was with ours.
At the time of visiting Paris (2023) our girls were 15 (Kalyra) and 11 (Savannah). Our youngest is mature and well-traveled so loved all these Paris attractions as well.
In this guide, we’ll explore why teens would love the City of Light, share some special tips for a smooth trip, and list the top things to do in Paris with teenagers.
- Why Teens Love Paris?
- Best Things To Do in Paris With Teenagers
- 1. Climb the Eiffel Tower
- 2. Visit Montmartre (Including a Food Tour)
- 3. Climb Arc de Triomphe
- 4. Explore the Louvre Museum
- 5. Be Wowed by the Stunning Sainte-Chapelle Cathedrale
- 6. Relax in Paris Gardens
- 7. Explore Trendy Neighborhoods
- 8. Take a Seine River Cruise
- 9. Freak yourself out at the Paris Catacombs
- 10. Stroll the Champs-Élysées
- 11. Day Trip to the Palace of Versailles
- Special Tips for Teens traveling to Paris
- Where to Stay in Paris
- Final Thoughts on Visiting Paris with Teens
Why Teens Love Paris?
Teens aren’t too different from the adults in the family when it comes to travel. I’m pretty sure you’re going to love Paris for all these reasons too.
But if you’re wondering why teens love Paris, these were the reasons my daughters spoke about the most.
Paris boasts some of the world’s most famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral. Teens will enjoy exploring these iconic places and taking selfies to share on social media.
One memory of our trip to Paris that stands out to me is the girls squealing at each other when they first glimpsed the Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower.
That enamor with it continued throughout our four days in Paris when it first appeared on our Seine River Cruise, from atop the Arc De Triomphe, and when we finally visited.
Savannah had planned out her Eiffel Tower outfit for days and was very excited to take lots of photos of the iconic Paris landmark. You can bet their selfie photos were shared on social media.
Delicious Food and Pretty Cafes
Obviously, any trip to Paris will involve multiple food experiences. France wins for best pastries in the world without a doubt. And if you order them To Go, it’s so cheap.
Indulge in croissants and macarons, and taste sweet hot chocolate at cozy cafés. Your teens will appreciate the sweet treats and relaxed atmosphere. We pastry ate our way around the city. Consider a food tour of Paris or a cooking class.
Paris cafes are far too cute for teens to ignore. On our first day, we had planned to go to a café for lunch, until our teen spied the pretty Montparnasse Café next door filled with an abundance of pink flowers.
Kalyra begged us to go there as it was just so pretty and we were in Paris, and that’s what our trip was for! She would never have noticed that a few years ago.
Art and Culture
Teens interested in art, history, and culture will find themselves in paradise. Museums like the Louvre house masterpieces, while the Palace of Versailles offers a glimpse into France’s opulent past.
Museums abound showcasing artistic treasures from Picasso, Monet, Da Vinci, Van Gogh and more.
Just walking around the city will lead you past palaces, exquisite architecture, grand parks, and vibrancy on the streets.
A Long Interesting History
France has a long, complicated, and fascinating history, and many of its most famous stories come from within the boundaries of Paris.
Teens are more likely to know some of the history and its historical figures already thanks to school curriculum, movies, TV shows and books.
They’re also more able to comprehend what their learning and see how it fits in with their current views on life – or perhaps help shape them. Seeing all the opulence of the French palaces certainly had Kalyra understanding why there was a revolution!
Our girls already knew quite a bit about the Medieval period and Maria Antoinette, so they enjoyed various attractions that connected to that. Find out which historical periods or stories your teen is interested in and book those attractions that tell that story more in-depth.
Paris Fashion & Shopping
Paris is a fashion mecca, with world-famous boutiques and department stores like Galeries Lafayette
Paris is known to be a leader of fashion trends, so teens will love just walking around the streets seeing what Parisians are wearing and perhaps showing off their own style.
Teens can shop for unique fashion items and souvenirs, not just in the big-name stores but hip concept stores, vintage shops, flea markets and art nouveau department stores.
You may even want to see if any Paris fashion events are happening during your visit (or plan around it) Kalyra was devastated that we missed the Paris Fashion Show by two weeks!
Best Things To Do in Paris With Teenagers
Here is what think are the best things to do in Paris with teens or tweens. This is based on what our daughters enjoyed the most on our four days in Paris.
I have included a few other suggestions I know teens will love, but we didn’t get to do – either because of time or interest levels.
Go with your teen’s personality and let them help you plan for the ultimate Paris trip, incorporating activities and attractions they want to do.
1. Climb the Eiffel Tower
There is only one way to experience the Eiffel Tower and that is up. It’s one of Paris’ most famous monuments for a reason.
You can take an elevator to the first, second and third floors to enjoy those breathtaking panoramic views of the city, but we highly recommend climbing the stairs to the first and second level stairs instead.
It turns a visit to the Eiffel Tower into more of an adventure. Our tween especially loved climbing up the stairs – more opportunities for selfies.
Teens and tweens will also love the ice cream stop on the first floor with gorgeous views all round. Don’t forget to get your photos at the bottom of the tower as well.
2. Visit Montmartre (Including a Food Tour)
Visit the artistic neighborhood of Montmartre, where teens can enjoy street art, visit the stunning Sacré-Coeur Basilica, and explore charming cafés. Montmartre is so pretty with its narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings, quaint shops and bistros, and art galleries.
We visited on our first day in Paris, stopping first for a chocolate croissant and coffee before meandering through the Artist’s Square. Kalyra whipped her phone out straight to capture its fairy-tale charm. That continued all the way to the steps of the basilica and its Paris views.
One of our favorite things to do in Paris was a food tour of Montmartre – local style (check availability here). We learned so much about Paris culture in this trendy neighborhood and tried delicious food from baguettes and cheese to omelets and croissants.
We also recommend climbing up the dome of the Basilica – another Paris attraction our older kids loved. This is a little less touristy and gives a different perspective of the basilica and incredible views.
3. Climb Arc de Triomphe
When I asked my girls their favorite Paris attractions, I wasn’t surprised that Arc De Triomphe was in their top 5 list.
It landed in mine as well and I wasn’t expecting it. In fact, this was my third visit to Paris, and the first time I went up it.
Standing tall at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, this iconic monument allows visitors to not only learn about the country’s military history, but offers panoramic views from the observation deck, which are simply breathtaking.
4. Explore the Louvre Museum
Speaking about the third trip to Paris, I still have not visited the Louvre!! So, we missed this one on our Paris trip, but I know for sure that teens who love art will love exploring the world-famous Louvre Museum, home to the Mona Lisa and countless other masterpieces.
I asked the girls several times if they wanted to visit the Louvre, but they had no interest in it all. We have been to so many museums and art galleries around the world, they’re very tired of it. So tired that even the Louvre – arguably the world’s best art museum and home of Mona Lisa – could not entice them.
I’d rather spend all those hours you need seeing the Louvre sitting in a Parisian café watching the world go by.
We did, however, enjoy seeing the Louvre from the outside. And the girls loved learning all about Leonardo Da Vinci at the Chateau du Clos Luce in the Loire Valley where he spent the last three years of his life. That’s how the Mona Lisa came to be in France (learn more in this Loire Valley post)
Teens who love modern art may want to visit Centre Pompidou, Europe’s largest modern and contemporary art museum. It has quite a funky architectural design.
Teen artists will probably also want to visit Musee d’Orsay, which has the most extensive collection of Impressionism artwork. Kalyra actually likes this kind of art, and had we more time in our schedule, we would have visited here.
I did my very best to make it work, but since we flew over on the red eye and were like Zombies, I had to drop a few attractions in favor for slower, mind-numbing activities.
Tours and Tickets
Advanced reservations are now required for many of Paris’s museums. Plus, the timed entry and skip the line passes are invaluable for such popular European cities!
We love the small group, walking tours with local guides offered through Take Walks and LivTours. Here are some of their options for The Louvre
- Closing Time at the Louvre: Mona Lisa at Her Most Peaceful (go when the crowds leave)
- Mona Lisa First Viewing | Louvre Museum Semi-Private Tour Arrive before the crowds! OR do a private version of the tour.
- Meet the Impressionists: Musée d’Orsay Skip-the-Line Fully Guided Tour
5. Be Wowed by the Stunning Sainte-Chapelle Cathedrale
This is a Paris attraction that does not require a lot of time – which your teen will love even more – but it packs a punch with its wow factor.
The Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral in Conciergerie is famous for its beautiful stained-glass windows, which depict scenes from the Bible and cover almost the entirety of the walls and reach up to 40 meters in height.
The light that streams through the windows casts beautiful colors throughout the cathedral, making it a truly magical place.
It is one of the most beautiful places in Paris, so don’t make sure you have it on your Paris itinerary! It was one of our tween’s favorites.
Sainte-Chapelle is a Gothic cathedral located on the Île de la Cité, which is one of the two remaining natural islands in Paris.
You can see it on your way to the Latin District. Find ticket availability here.
6. Relax in Paris Gardens
Teens need rest on your daily explorations. There is no better place to do that in Paris than in one of their many delightful gardens. You can find shady spots to rest, and odds are there’ll be a palace or two to look at.
Our favorites were the Luxembourg Gardens with views of Luxembourg Palace and the pretty and lush Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries) with views of the Louvre.
Parc de la Villette is also a lovely garden to explore and have a picnic in.
7. Explore Trendy Neighborhoods
While we did not make Le Marais on this trip, I’ve heard from numerous people that this trendy Paris district is known for its boutiques, street art, gay and Jewish communities, medieval architecture, and trendy youth culture. I’ve also heard it has a great food and café scene.
Not far from here we walked through the Les Passages Couverts, or Covered Passages of Paris, one of the best places in Paris for Shopping. This is a shopping arcade full of several stunning passages that are architecturally beautiful.
We found them a little underwhelming. If you have more time and budget for shopping, I think the teen in your family will love it.
If your teenagers are into art, then they may enjoy walking around the Belleville district which is famous for its street art murals. You can even enjoy a street-art tour of Belleville with a local artists, which is a great way to introduce your teens to the artistic community in Paris.
Our girls loved the Latin District – as did I. I really wish we had stayed here – so take that as an insider’s Paris tip from me. It’s the student area, so expect a lively atmosphere amongst its narrow streets filled with restaurants, cafes, museums, and churches.
Kalyra especially loved Shakespeare and Company, an independent, English-language bookshop located on the banks of the Seine in the Latin District. It’s been a meeting place for famous writers and readers since 1951 and makes the best bookstores in the world list!
It’s highly likely there will be a line, but it moves quickly. We lost Kalyra there for a while as she explored all the book nooks and crannies and bought another book for her pile. Her suitcase for our Europe trip was mostly books!!!!
I also had Canal St Martin on our list to explore. Its quaint canal setting lures artists and students, so expect to find art collectives, vintage boutiques and quirky cafes.
8. Take a Seine River Cruise
Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Seine River, Paris’ most beautiful Boulevard. It flows through the heart of the city and is flanked by some of Pari’s most beautiful buildings and iconic structures.
It’s a great way to get an overview of the city and a more romantic perspective, especially if you do a evening cruise to see Paris lit up. Why not do both?
We highly recommend one with narration so you can learn a little bit about Paris and France as you float down the Seine River!
If you’re traveling in the high season, make sure you get your tickets ahead of time, and confirm your departure point, because each company’s boats leave from different wharves.
9. Freak yourself out at the Paris Catacombs
We did not get to visit the Paris Catacombs and Kalyra was annoyed. The opening times were strange, and we could not get it to align with our itinerary so added it to our Paris bucket list for next visit.
I certainly don’t want your teen to get annoyed as exploring The Catacombs is one of the most unique things to do in Paris. Teens will love it as it’s more of a heart racing activity (especially if you’ve seen the horror movie, As Above, So Below).
The catacombs are a series of underground ossuaries that hold the remains of more than six million people. Each of their graves is placed in the rock walls inside the tunnel network.
The catacombs were built to deal with the overflowing cemetery problem in the late 1700s.
In the 19th century, strangely, the catacombs became a venue for events and concerts. Today, it serves as a museum.
It’s best to take a guided tour or at the least an audioguide, so you can learn all about its creation and uses, as well as to find your way around this underground maze! One of the most iconic sights inside the Catacombs is the wall made from skulls and bones – creepy!
- OUR RECOMMENDED TOUR: Skip-the-Line Paris Catacombs Tour with Special Access With Take Walks. We love their small-group size See Rates and Availability
- Catacombs Skip-the-Ticket-Line Ticket and Audio Guide: Skip the ticket line AND listen to commentary from your informative audio guide, available in 4 languages. Get your ticket here.
- VIP Skip-the-Line Restricted Access Tour: Skip the long lines and unlock gates to hidden rooms in the Catacombs on this small group VIP tour. Book your tour here.
10. Stroll the Champs-Élysées
Okay. It’s Paris. A top thing to do is stroll down the famous Champs-Élysées. It is a pretty tree-lined with restaurants cafés, and big luxury brand name stores.
On Champs Elysee you’ll find long lines outside Laduree Bakery and Tearoom for their famous macarons. Unless you’re a devout fan, get your macarons elsewhere – you have loads of choice. WE found delicious ones at Pierre Hermé in Paris St Germain with no lines.
It is one of the most famous streets in the world, and if you are visiting the Arc de Triomphe it’s an easy addition to our Paris itinerary. The best view of it is from up there.
But, on the ground, I find it underwhelming. Pretty to look at but no real interesting stories there I didn’t like Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles either. All those expensive brand name stores are just not my style.
I’d much rather the charming cobblestone streets filled with French people strolling, zipping around on bikes and motorbikes, and buzzing bars and cafes in St Germain, Latin Quarter and Montmartre.
But this is a Paris with teens post? Yep, which is why I put it on our Paris itinerary. I thought the girls would LOVE it, but it was a ho hum for them.
I think many other teens would enjoy walking on Chams Elysee though. We had a great craft coffee just off Champs Elysee at Azur Cafe just off the Champs Elysée. They had other drinks that teens are sure to love like smoothies and ice coffees. Everything they serve here (including food) is very pretty and Instagrammable – capturing the heart of most teens.
11. Day Trip to the Palace of Versailles
Take a day trip to the opulent Palace of Versailles and explore the grandeur of French history. Our teen, Kalyra was very eager to learn more about Marie Antoinette on this trip, as she’d seen, and loved the movie.
We made sure to spend time looking at her apartment in the Palace of Versailles – Kalyra got her selfie in her bedroom.
We biked out to the Petit Trianon -her second palace – and the Queen’s Hamlet, which was her farm village she created to escape and forget she was the Queen.
You can read our full guide on how to spend a day in Versailles with loads of essential tips. It’s a really big day so plan well!
Special Tips for Teens traveling to Paris
Before you go, here are some tips for visiting Paris with teenagers to make the experience smooth and memorable for all the family…
- Encourage your teens to learn basic French phrases. It not only helps in navigating the city but also adds an educational element to the trip. Plus, it’s a great way to connect to local Parisians and it’s a lot of fun!
- Teach your teenagers how to use the efficient Parisian public transport system. The metro is the quickest way to move around the city, and teenagers often enjoy mastering it.
- Paris is a city where technology can be quite handy. Utilize translation apps, navigation tools, and ride-sharing services to make the trip smoother.
- Y’all know teens love to sleep. So, plan for a lot of breaks in between attractions – Paris parks are ideal for this. We recommend staying closer to the heart of Paris to avoid commuting exhaustion. Even the glamor of Paris can go unseen with a tired teen.
- Even though your child is older, in Paris, they’ll still get free entry to many museums and attractions. Many give free admission to tourists under 25!! Check each attraction and make sure you have ID on hand as they’ll want proof.
- Avoid Disneyland Paris, unless your teen is a die-hard Disney fan. It’s crowded and overrated, there are better things to do in Paris than visit the theme parks!
- If you have artsy teens, take them to The Centre Pompidou art gallery, which is free on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm-6pm.
Where to Stay in Paris
We stayed at the Novotel Gare Montparnasse, only a five-minute walk to one of the biggest train and metro stations. We could easily get around and were only a 15-minute train ride to Versailles and could walk to Luxembourg Gardens in 20 minutes and the Eiffel Tower in 30 minutes.
HOWEVER, Craig and I both agreed we wished we stayed either in St Germain or the Latin Quarter as both neighborhoods were close to the river and the most central part of Paris. I’ve also heard Le Marais is a great place to stay. All three would be perfect for teenagers.
And if they’re tired at night and just want to crash in the hotel room and message their friends, it’s easier for parents to just duck out into the bustling streets of these districts for dinner or a drink.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Paris with Teens
Paris is a city that never fails to captivate and inspire, making it an excellent choice for a family vacation with teenagers.
And as parents of teens, how nice is it to move away from playgrounds to more adult-type activities that you can have mature conversations about with your kids. It’s a lovely new age of travel we now find ourselves in.
With the right planning and a mix of culture, history, and modern attractions, your teens are sure to have a memorable and enjoyable time in the City of Lights, or also known as the City of Love.