Contrary to what some may assume, Paris is actually a family friendly city. As we discussed in a previous article, there are many wonderful outings and activities for children that families can do while visiting Paris. But what about teenagers, who are notoriously hard to please? My Private Paris has designed custom tours and visits that take place in both trendy neighborhoods and off the beaten path locations, focusing on artists who defied the conventions of their time and contemporary street art.
While a visit to the Louvre may not be on the top of the list of things to do for every teenager, exploring Montmartre is usually a hit. You’ll get to discover an iconic area of Paris and still get to learn about art history at the same time. A former village on the outskirts of Paris, Montmartre did not officially become part of the city until 1860. Even after being incorporated into Paris, Montmartre still keep its bohemian atmosphere. Because it had been located outside of the former city limits, there were numerous bars and cabarets where Parisians would go to have a fun time where they didn’t have to always follow rules of polite society. Some of the iconic cabarets located around the neighborhood include the famous Moulin Rouge.
With its great nightlife and less expensive apartments, Montmartre always attracted artists. In the late 19th century many of the Impressionists and Post Impressionist artists were based in Montmartre. As you make your way up the hilly former village you’ll be walking in the steps of artists like Renoir and Van Gogh. You’ll also get to see the locations that were immortalized in Impressionist artworks, like the Moulin de la Galette, made famous by the Renoir painting. It is also possible to see where these artists lived and worked in Montmartre. You can find the former apartment that Van Gogh shared with his brother Theo on the Rue Lepic. Further up the hill you’ll find the location of the Bateau Lavoir, the former studio of important early 20th century artists like Picasso. Just as it did in the 19th and 20th century, Montmartre continues to attract young and upcoming artists to this day. In addition to important art historical sites, as you make your way through Montmartre you’ll discover a multitude of contemporary art installations as well as street art, sometimes called “Urban Art.” These urban artists create their works on the sides of buildings, stairs, street signs and lamposts. A highlight of Montmartre and a great photo spot is the Wall of Love, located within a garden square in Montmartre. Here you’ll see “I love you’ written in 250 different languages.
If urban art is of interest to your family, My Private Paris has designed a special “Street Art Tour” which will lead you through diverse districts of Paris on a hunt for the best street art the city has to offer. Among the famous works you’ll get to see are murals by internationally known street artists like Shepherd Fairey as well as local French artists. Teenagers will learn how these works of art are expressions of political and cultural ideas as well as reactions or protests.
The Louvre Museum and the Orsay Museum are the two most popular museums in Paris, but there are so many more museums to discover which might be bigger hits for teens.. For example, Les Arts Decoratifs, a design museum often has fashion exhibitions. Other fashion museums are the Palais Galleria and the Yves St. Laurent museum, dedicated to the work of the designer. There is even a perfume museum in Paris where you can create your own scents! For modern art, check out the Pompidou Center and the Palais de Tokyo. Another really cool museum located next to the Eiffel Tower is the Quai Branly Museum which features indigenous art from the Americas, Asia and Africa. There is also the Fondation Louis Vuitton, in the Bois de Boulogne, which is worth the trip just to see its amazing architecture by Frank Gehry.
Other great neighborhoods in Paris that are always trendy are Le Marais and St. Germain-des-Pres, in both of which you’ll find a plethora of contemporary art and design galleries as well as hip cafes and fashion boutiques. Teens might also like to explore more diverse parts of Paris like Bastille and Republique, as well as check out the Canal St. Martin where many young people like to hang out in the city. Other outings could include exploring the neighborhood of Belleville in the 19th and 20th arrondissements. Here you’ll find a lot of good street food, outdoor markets and art galleries.
While the Paris Catacombs are probably not appropriate for young children, teenagers may find them very fascinating. Along the same lines, the Pere Lachaise Cemetery is a visitor favorite and teens could think its pretty cool to go see the famous gravesites of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde.
For teens that are fans of fashion and pop-culture, one of My Private Paris’ newest additions to their tour repertoire is the Emily in Paris tour. On this visit you’ll get a chance to follow in Emily’s footsteps as you visit the coolest locations from the very popular TV show. From the elegant Palais Royal to the very fashionable department store La Samaritaine, the Emily in Paris tour is a fun way to spend an afternoon or morning in Paris!
If your teenagers want to go shopping in Paris, in addition to the trendy boutiques you’ll find in Le Marais and St. Germain-des-Pres, check out the designer boutiques on the Rue St. Honore. It is also worth it to visit iconic Parisian department stores: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Le Bon Marche. Both Galeries Lafayette and Printemps have cafes on their terraces with amazing views of Paris. On the weekends you might consider taking the family to Paris Flea Market, Les Puces, located just north of the city in St. Ouen. Here you’ll find vintage clothing, record shops and antiques. My Private Paris also offers a special tour of the Paris Flea Markets, which is the largest flea market in the world!
If you want to book a tour with My Private Paris: click here.
Article written by Sarah