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What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

North Potomac...
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What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

I have been to Paris and other European cities. Now, my 8 year-old son wants to visit Paris, but I'm not sure if he is at the right age yet. I know that he loves the french language, and he kind of fall in love with the stories that I told him of my trip.

Could anyone give me some advice please?

Debary
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1. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

I'm sure many will disagree with me, but I think you should wait until he reaches an age that he will remember the trip, which would put him in the early teens, best I can recall! Really, when he's an adult, what will he recall from anything that happened when he was eight? Based on my own experiences, very little. But like I said, I'm sure most will disagree.

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2. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

If you are willing to gear activities and pace to those of an 8 year old you may both have a delightful time. Seeing things through the eyes of a child can add a dimension to your own experience. We took a 4 and 3 year old to Denmark and then same two to England and Scotland when they were 8 and 9, 11 and 12 and 15 and 16. These trips were in the 1960s and 70s. One of them continued to travel in the 80s and 90s on his own.

We took our oldest grandchild beginning when she was 6 and she is a great traveler. The middle one is now 8 and has also been to Europe several times.

If you take your son, there is much in Paris to appeal to an 8 year old. It sounds as if he is ready. You just need to recognize what any child's limitations for food, etc. might be. I actually think that starting now could be a wonderful time to get him invlved in art , history, etc.

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3. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

I might have been tempted to say that 8 seems young except that you said that he "fell in love" with your stories, loves french and wants to go. I say that if an 8 year old boy expresses that kind of interest and you have the means to do it, then by all means do it!!

We just took our 3 teens (14, 15 and 17)...there were some people who questioned why we would spend that kind of money to take the kids to Paris. I can tell you that despite some bumpy times it was worth every penny. My daughter (who had some health problems while there) can't wait to go back and talks about it all the time. And more surprisingly, the 15 year old boy is trying to figure out how he can fit French into his schedule at school - his dad and I were shocked!! He just fell in love with Paris. I think that all 3 of them got a lot out of the trip...and I know that we did.

If your son as interested as you say, you could involve him in planning the trip , which would mean spending time together. You could both study french together too. And if you do things that interest him when you're there, I know he'll remember the experience...and you certainly will. Kids are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for...my daughter remembers things that surprise me.

So yes, I would most certainly do it if you can!

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4. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

I say go for it. An 8 year old is still so curious about everything, wants to learn, and even if he won't remember every detail, a trip like this could really shape his way of thinking about the world as he grows up.

My first trip I was 14 and I don't remember much of it, but it was what led me to take French seriously and now I teach college level French. Every experience matters!

Ohio, USA
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5. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

He is way more than old enough. Children should be exposed to different cultures and environments from the day they are born IMO. Do they remember every detail from day one? Of course not — well, all except for Compton Mackenzie, that is. Do all those experiences make a difference to who they will grow up to be? Of course!

I rest my case...

Sunshine Coast...
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6. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

If this is to be a once in a lifetime trip then you should probably wait a few years as flahagan suggested.

But if this is to be the start of a lifelong interest in travel and other cultures especially France then go for it.

Three years ago we spent 2 months in Europe with our then 8 and 10 year olds. Many people thought we were mad to spend that much time and money taking 2 children to Europe. It was an amazing trip and we are currently planning a winter trip for Dec this year with our now 11 and 13 year olds.

You MUST realise that a trip with an 8 year old is different to a trip without a child. Involve your son in the planning right from the start. Find out what he wants to do and see. Allow lots of down time so that he doesn't get too tired. There are lots of threads on this forum about what to do with kids in Paris. My kids LOVED the Eiffel Tower, Musee D'Orsay, Disneyland Paris (groan!!), eating crepes and ordering their food in French. They hated the Louvre and visiting churches so we stopped doing that. They really enjoyed watching French cartoons on TV. My son saw one of his favourite episodes of the Simpsons in French and still manages to quote Homer in French!

As my children missed almost a full term of school they needed to keep a daily diary which we filled with tickets, pictures, and all sorts of bits and pieces that they collected. These diaries are fantastic souvenirs and are still read regularly especially now that we are planning the next trip.

Just a few tips - I strongly recommend that you stay in an apartment. You will have so much more room and if your son needs to go to sleep earlier you can be in another room or on the balcony sipping wine. I found it much easier to dine in a restaurant with children at lunch time and then eat in at night. However on our last evening in Paris (after almost a month in France) my son was still going strong after midnight scamming a second desert from the waiter who thought he was very cute and had the best French accent at the table. Yes I knew my accent was appalling but my friends (who have lived in France for several years) were a bit insulted! LOL! We had no problems at all ordering smaller meals, plainer meals without the sauces or having the children share a meal.

If you remember that this is your son's trip and you let him set the pace and the itinerary then you will see Paris through his eyes. It will be different to what you might do without him but it will be wonderful!!

Enjoy your trip HarleyB

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7. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

Our daughter is 4 years old and she has been to France 8 times. She already has a list of what she wants to do on our next trip in June. I am not sure why you are hesitating but do not. 8 is more than old enough to visit almost anywhere. There are plenty of things to visit for children of this age.

Debary
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8. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

Yes, it is as HarleyB says, "if you can only do it once, wait until he's older." Obviously, if money's not a problem, and you can continue to take him on wonderful trips, then there's no question, is there?

I keep forgetting just how many people have SO much money! I was looking at your situation through my own eyes, and for us, that would have been a one-time thing, or possibly a once in 10 years event. In fact, we were never able to take such a trip ourselves until we were well into our 50's, and could never have thought to be able to take our children, young or grown. But evidently, as demonstrated by the responses here, we must be in the minority on this board.

Our goal now is to be able to take each grandchild on one memorable trip, and it is taking every penny we can get hold of! Next month is our first such trip, and we're taking our almost- 17 and 15 year old grandsons (brothers) to Paris for 3 days and Rome for 5 days during their spring break. Then we'll have to save for a few more years to take the next 2 in line, and so on. I just hope our health holds out!

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9. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

Over 20 years ago my parents took my younger sister and I (7 & 9) to Europe for our first time. I loved the trip, (while I remember only bits of it now-we did not take enought pictures). My sister and I were loved the experience. we were not picky eaters so that was not a problem. I do remember that it was hard on my parents to go at our pace but they don't regret it...I asked ; )

I loved the trip so much that I have been back almost 15 times, have lived with a family in east france for 3 summers and went to school in Paris.

I think 8 is a great age if your child is interested and open to new experiences. I plan to take my neice next spring and she will be 7 1/2!

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10. Re: What age is appropiate to take a child to visit Europe?

We certainly did not have much money when we were taking our own children but we had family in Denmark and then we were doing research and professional work in Britain during the 70s. Not

taking our children was not an option since each time we were gone for two-three months.

Our daughter did not benefit as much as our son in many ways but certainly made friends overseas. He still recalls experiences from the first trip when he was 4 and certainly from the later ones. Went on to become an archaeologist. Different children take away different elements from experiences.

As to our granddaughter, she loves to travel and adores art and art history and eating new foods. Like her grandmother, she also likes to shop!

We are enjoying beginning to expose the two younger ones. they both look forward to going to new places. What children formally recall and what just becomes a part of how they experience the world and dealing with the unfamiliar are not identical.

This can be in Europe or here in the U.S. The young ones will go to Canada this summer for a few days. They have also been to Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and regularly to museums and restaurants. Eight year old visited family in Denmark at 3 and 5. He does recall Tivoli, his cousins and his great-grandmother.