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paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

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paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

In March 2015, we are taking our granddaughter to Paris for her 13th birthday (her pick). I've planned similar trips for 3 others before, to other places. But Paris seems daunting for me to plan a week there. I could buy an organized tour, but those are exhausting for us 67yr old grandparents. So, please help. I'd like to stay in an apartment (2bds), so we can eat some meals in. And we would like to go to London for 2-3 days since we are so close. Budget is not a big issue.

What do you think? We could buy tours for each day? Is there a trip review on site that I could go to for a similar need?

Thanks everyone!

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

I would not do tours especially with a teen -- Paris is so easy to do on your own. If it were me and I hope it will be in a few years (and I remember taking my own daughter to London at age 12 and Paris at age 13) Iwould work with your granddaughter to plan. Get her an accessible guidebook of Paris -- perhaps insight guides-- one with pictures and have her begin to identify the things she wants to do. Do the same yourself. Look at sample itineraries here and elsewhere to get ideas. Look at picture books of Paris. And slowly put together your list of things that are important to you.

If you schedule your week from Monday to Sunday, you can get a Navigo Decouverte metro pass which will make zipping around town easy and you won't have to give any thought to keeping track of tickets or the cost of any particular ride.

Book your Eiffel Tower tickets the moment they become available which is 90 days in advance as they sell out instantly. Nothing else needs to be booked ahead unless there is a particular fancy restaurant you want to visit one night.

My daughter wanted to see the Cluny, climb the tower at Notre Dame and go up the Eiffel Tower all of which we did on that first trip. She also wanted to go to Monet's Gardens at Giverny because she had a read a book about it. Your granddaughter will have things that appeal to her.

We also made a ritual of choosing a fancy pastry from a bakery each afternoon and having that as a snack in the park. (if you have an apartment then choosing a pastry when you get the bread for breakfast and having it as a dessert treat in the evening is another option).

What a great tradition you have -- I will be 76 by the time my granddaughter is 10 -- hope I am still up for this type of trip so I can do the same things with her, that we did with her mother and her uncle.



Paris, France
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2. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

If you really want to add London, then it would be best to fly into London and home from Paris. This way you avoid wasting time backtracking to Paris. But with only a week, I'd probably just stay in Paris. Your arrival day will be lost to jetlag, giving you only 6 good days in Paris. This is assuming that you are leaving on day 8.

I agree that you don't really need any tours in Paris, beyond a possible HOHO bus to get acclimated and one or two walking tours, or other organized activity. You would also have time for a day trip to someplace like Versailles or Giverny.

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3. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

I might suggest that, if you'd like to stay in an apartment, which I recommend btw, have a look at both parisvacationapartments.com and guestapartments.com.

Both are high-end rental agencies with top-notch service. They have a variety of two bedroom apartments. Just make sure they have an elevator, as a few of them don't, but it's specifically mentioned.

You might narrow down a few and come back for some experienced eyes to have a look.

los angeles
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4. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

If you do prefer an apartment, then I have read many experienced renters say that booking a year ahead is none too soon--so I guess you can start looking!

Sounds like a great trip.

(I also recommend the open jaw trip if you are planning to include London. When you get ready to look at fares, you will check the "multiple destination" option. Then you'll take the Eurostar from London to Paris.)

New Hampshire
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5. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

It's definitely more efficient, and usually also more economical, to fly into one city and home from the other. That would give you an extra day.

I'm another who would recommend against an organized or escorted tour, especially for London and Paris, which can be easily planned on your own. Not only are those tours too restrictive, and often hectic, they may include places not of interest and omit places you'd really like to include.

You have plenty of time between now and then to plan. And, your granddaughter is old enough to participate in the planning.

While Monday-Sunday does coincide with Navigo Decouverte (and we are huge fans of that), especially if budget is not a huge issue, it's still a great convenience, even if you don't get full use of either weekly fill, and not worth planning your entire stay around it.

There are tours within and around Paris, but most can be easily done on your own, which is far more pleasant than being herded around.

Is your granddaughter's birthday in March? Do you have to go in March? March is still winter and could be quite cold and gloomy, and it gets dark early. When is her spring vacation? Can you wait until school is out and visit during the nicer weather?

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

OP, I envy you, every grandmother's dream. I have 6 more years for my turn. I can understand your wanting to go in March as that is when Spring break normally occurs. We used to take our children when they were younger during Spring breaks. It could be chilly but if you are prepared and have layers, it's nothing but a great unforgettable memory. Best things we ever did. As everyone says, no need to take tours. With a good guide book, you can navigate Paris and its treasures with ease.

the big blue marble
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7. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

There are hop on, hop off, open bus tours, which are a great way to start getting acquainted with the city for a day or two. And the bateaux mouches go up and down the Seine, passîg many monuments along the way, for an easy overview.

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8. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

Thanks for your input. We have to travel over her spring break-one year from this next week, as we are taking another 13 yr grdaughter to Holland as soon as school is out. We take each grandchild wherever they want to go for their 13th bday. So far we have traveled with them 3 previous times to Germany with a girl, England Scotland and Wales (to see castles) with a boy and last year to Rome with a boy. After these girls we have one more boy. So far, he says he wants to go to England because they speak English!

new jersey
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9. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

How wonderful that you are planning a trip to Paris with your granddaughter! My husband is an International Airline Pilot and when our children turn 12 years old, they are allowed to pick a location to accompany dad (I go too!). Our two oldest (girl and boy) selected Paris. I will cherish the memory of those trips forever and I know my kids will too!

You asked for suggestions of activities or itineraries for the Paris portion of your trip. Well, I took my daughter’s Girl Scout troop to Paris when they were 13 years old. It was a mother/daughter trip of a lifetime! We visited in March as that was a convenient time for all. We loved visiting in March. While the weather was cool and, on one day, wet, we actually had the chance to see Paris with few American tourists present. I have traveled to Paris in the summer in the past and the weather is spectacular BUT I seem to spend more time with fellow Americans (tourists) during the summer than I do during the winter months. Actually, March and April are two of my favorite months to visit Europe for just this reason. As a matter of fact, next month I am leading my younger daughter’s troop on a trip to London and Paris (4 days London/3 days Paris).

The following are my trip reports for our 4 day trip to Paris with my older daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. I am also including reports from the trips with our older daughter and son when they were 12 years old. I hope they are helpful! Enjoy making a lifelong memories together! Moms







Independence, Kansas
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10. Re: paris with 13yr old granddaughter next year

Go to www.visitparisregion.com. There is a section entitled "the city with your kids" that lists all manner of things to do and places to go. Most posters here on TA advise against tours since both London and Paris are very easy to enjoy and travel around at your own pace on your own schedule.