Categories: Family Travel, Paris
Discussed in this Episode
- Museum late openings
- Museum Pass
- Teens get in museums for free
- The difference between the Museum Pass and the Paris Pass
- Why you shouyld get a passport card
- Take the stairs at the Eiffel Tower
- Always say "bonjour
- Don't be afraid of using the metro
- Bathrooms in Paris
- Traveling with a food allergy
THIS IS AN AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED TRANSCRIPT
This is join us in France Episode 234 bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent, and I’m glad to be with you today. On today’s episode 20 tips for visiting Paris with teens. Mark gender is a really astute traveler who has some experience with France, and has great suggestions for Paris that apply not just to people who visit the city with their teens, but to anyone really, a couple of things that we talked about in this episode that haven’t come up much before are using scooters in Paris, and taking the TGV to Luxembourg. And as always, we keep it real show notes and photos for this episode are on join us in france.com. forward slash 234 234. Join us in France is brought to you by Patreon supporters and my soon to be launched. empire of GPS aware on your towards. I’m laughing because I have enough ideas to create an empire. Now it’s about finding the time to write all of this. But I’m making progress. If you want to be updated, join the email list by going on any page on join us in France. com. And looking for the green button that says extras that would be email extras.
Mark and welcome to join us in France,
Germany. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
It’s lovely to have you Today we are going to discuss your recent trip to Paris with your teenagers. And yes, you sent me a lovely list of 20 tips for visiting Paris with teens. And that is a question that people ask all the time. So I’m glad you’re here.
Yeah, traveling with teens is is an adventure. Whether they’re yours are I’ve traveled with students a lot. But traveling with teens is always
filled with the unexpected.
That’s right. So when were you in Paris?
We were in Paris the first week of April. We arrived on March 29. And we’re there until April six.
And that’s 2019.
Yes, Yes, that’s correct.
Cool. And and why did you pick Paris is this place you’ve visited many times or?
Yeah, I’ve been to Paris many times. My wife lived in Paris when she was young. Oh, so so it’s a place that the two of us hold a lot of memories in and we we sort of felt like to show kids a little something about traveling and urban spaces and traveling and European urban spaces. There’s no better place to get your feet wet than Paris.
There. Yeah, that’s a good point. Gun is pretty good, too. Yeah. All right. So So tell us a little bit about your kids. How old are they?
So we have a 13 year old boy. And a 16 year old girl. The 16 year old is is ready to explore the world and and is fearless about going anywhere. The 13 year old I’d say the 13 year old is is also relatively fearless. But maybe is not as excited about travel as as his sister is. I see. I see. So you have to motivate him a little more. Yeah, yeah, you have to like traveling with any teenagers. I think you have to figure out what’s going to be attractive and interesting to them. And, and and realize that it’s their trip and not yours. And a sense.
That’s true, is there’s gotta be something in it for everybody. Yeah, absolutely. All right. So tell us, let’s see, you sent me this nice list. Let’s take it down from number one and all the way down.
Yeah, so number one, I gotta say we were stunned with how easy it was to get into virtually every museum. We had museum passes for my wife and I. And of course the kids are able to get into so many of the museums free. And you know, we knew that spring was going to be better than summertime. I’ve been to Paris many times in the summer in the lines are insane everywhere. Yeah. But you know, we walked right into the loop without any line whatsoever, the same at the music door, say, Oh, wow. You know, it was it was incredible. Now, some of that was timing. On Wednesday evening, the loop is open late. And we didn’t walk in until about 330. And everyone you know, that was the wall between the visitors in the morning visitors. Okay. Same thing with the music door, say on Thursdays. They’re open late. And we arrived at about the same time. 334 o’clock. Right. And there was no line?
Well, that’s surprising for our say there’s usually a line at or say,
Yeah, and I was expecting at least a little bit of line everywhere. Of course, having the museum passes gave us a different way to enter and and that proved absolutely invaluable for us.
Right. So I’m assuming you knew that you didn’t need a museum past few kids. Right?
Right, right. Oh, we just had a museum pass for my wife and IN and spent almost no money at all for the kids to enter almost anything,
right. So this is this is important for me to explain. The museum path is different from the Paris pass, the museum pass is a good deal, the Paris pass is a ripoff. And the museum past gives you access to all the national and city museums in Paris, which is most of them, but it does not give you access to the Eiffel Tower. There’s a few private museums, not the Natural History Museum and places like that, because they are separate. But most museums are included. And if you’re going to get those with the adults, up until the age of 18, you don’t need it. And I recommend people bring ID because typically an American 14 year old might look like an adult to a French person, because because they’re so much taller and more mature. I think they mature faster American kids, I don’t know why. And
16 year old, I’m sorry, our 16 year old definitely could pass for over 18. And the thing that we did with every line is my wife and I went first and we acted like we knew what we were doing. And nobody, nobody stopped us at all. However, we did have photocopies of the passports just in case anyone wanted to check in it.
Excellent. So another point I want to make about that is don’t bring your actual passport in, you don’t have it in your pocket or in your bag when you’re walking around Paris. Because if it gets stolen, or if you lose it, that’s a huge deal to replace. But take a photocopy or maybe when you next time you renew your passport, ask for a passport card. Because that looks like an official ID. But it’s good for nothing other than, you know, proving your age and whatever.
so that would be another way. A good way to do it. Great.
You know, I should say I traveled I’m a history teacher. And I traveled with teenagers, many times my own students. And one time we did have a lost parents lost passport in Paris. And that took a few hours to fix that the embassy and you know, it’s a it’s an inconvenience it is it wasn’t hard. But you know, that’s time you’re spending in line at the embassy instead of seeing a great city,
correct? Yeah, no, my idea of good time.
No, not at all. Not at all. So the The second thing on the list is is to do the stairs up and down the Eiffel Tower, you can go as high as the second floor. And to me having been up to the third floor many times the view at the second floor is really better because you can see more you can sort of pick out details on the third floor, you’re awfully high. Yeah. And doing the stairs just gives you an opportunity to see this really great building from such a different perspective. I mean, the elevator is certainly an experience but but being on the stairs and being right in, in the structure, which is really cool. And you know, there’s something to be said for exhausting teenagers. There’s a lot of energy there and going up those 600 and something stairs is
something to do.
Yeah. Yeah. And and you know, and also with with kids and Instagram, and now there’s so many cool pictures you can get from within the building, where you know, people aren’t exactly sure where you are. But it’s it’s exciting and and it’s not that hard. I personally find coming down the stairs harder than going up the stairs. But it’s it’s a cool way to do it. And it’s not something everyone does. And it also has almost no line. We waited in line at the Eiffel Tower on let’s see, it was the Saturday was the last weekend in March. It was the Saturday they were celebrating the hundred and 85th birthday of the Eiffel Tower. So and it was a gorgeous day. It had all the ingredients for a long line. But to do the stairs, we waited in line for maybe five minutes.
Right, right, because it’s a separate entrance. It’s a separate right ticket line. So and it’s cheaper to I mean, I do remember how much you paid. I want to say it was maybe 10 year old.
Pretty hard to complain about that.
Yes. Very good.
Yeah. The The third thing on my list is to point out is sometimes I think people get anxious about visiting Paris and all that they’ve heard about PR regions being rude. And and I’ve got to say we had none of that experience whatsoever to kids you know every time we walked into any store or restaurant the kids knew to make sure to say Bonjour and and of why when we left and yeah, they were wonderfully polite and and the regions were engaging. And we had wonderful conversations and just great experiences and none of that stereotypical gruffness that I think the region’s get credited for we had a wonderful time and they were great.
I think it’s it’s when people don’t know the basics of just a module enough. Wow. Especially Bonjour. French people. For some reason I really prickly about that. And so if you know that trick, then they’re gonna think oh, this this visitors actually friendly. They’re the friendly back, you know? Yeah, yeah. Very good point. Yeah.
So the fourth thing actually relates to a sort of a day trip. One night trip. We headed to Luxembourg for one night, we left on a Monday morning and came back Tuesday night, we went to Luxembourg, because and then there’s a whole other podcast, probably my wife and I actually met when we were in middle school. We were both attending the American School in Luxembourg. Then we lost touch for years and reconnected as adults.
Oh, that’s awesome.
Yeah, it’s, it’s a movie.
We took the taste of a from guy to last to Luxembourg. And that was a wonderful experience. Getting on the train was easy. We reserved our tickets online. Before we left, it was incredibly cheap. And just and had a wonderful time. I think traveling by train in Europe is something everyone should do. And it was wonderful to get out of hustle and bustle. Yeah. And the frenetic pace of Paris and just go to you know, Luxembourg is, is busy in its own way. But it’s nothing like Paris.
Right, right. Now, I have to say, again, you mentioned that it was very nice and pretty cheap. It’s not cheap every day. So you know, the earlier you buy your ticket? Well, and by early I mean, I mean, I think eight weeks, maybe 10 weeks is the most the earliest you can buy your tickets. But if you do it that far in advance, you’ll get a really good price. The longer you wait, the more you’ll pay, at least want to ggV for the
fast. And that’s exactly what I had observed that if you buy the tickets, right when they’re available, they’re incredibly reasonable. If you wait until the week before, they’re much, much more expensive, you’re better off just taking a slower train and enjoying the view,
right? And if it’s around a holiday, or a French school vacation or something like that, then prices will be higher because the prices of trains do go up and down. Right, right. Yeah.
The the fifth point, this was my first time using an Airbnb in Paris. And I don’t think I ever want to do it. Any other way again, having an Airbnb was incredible to be there for I guess we were there for Nine Nights, to have the freedom of our own living room and kitchen and each of the kids to have their own space. Yeah. with teenagers particularly having each of them with with their own space to just get away for a little bit was incredible. And then we didn’t have the pressure of having get up having to get up and get out in the morning before any kind of housekeeping came in through. We just had that freedom of being truly in the city, I think and then you know, we our place was in the first around the small right around the corner from sonia sash. And they all and nice that location was phenomenal.
Right? It’s very busy, but it’s it’s a really central location.
Yeah, we were able to walk. You know, we could walk to the loo we could walk to Notre DOM. Yeah, we had room to barely we’re right around the corner. Yeah. It was spectacular.
That’s wonderful. Yeah, and I think with teenagers especially, it’s nice if you I mean, because if you got three hotel rooms, you know one for you and your wife, one for each kid. That’s Yeah, it’s expensive.
It’s very expensive. Yeah,
so with an Airbnb, you can add an extra bed or living space. The bedroom. Even in Paris, it’s doable.
Yeah, yeah. And it was definitely we had looked at the possibility of two hotel rooms Yeah. And and still the very very nice Airbnb was less expensive than a fairly moderate to hotel rooms.
Yeah. So I’ll need you to send me the name of your Arabic NDR put it as a recommendation on the website. Of course, this is Airbnb. So when you listeners when you want to book it, you might it might not be available. So you know, that’s how it works. But you could try it that might be available.
Absolutely. Yeah. And the one that we stayed in was unreal and balcony. Big space. It was
it was wonderful.
In Paris. That’s unusual. Yeah,
yeah. I we lucked out no doubt about it
The the sixth thing that I put on my list here was the use of the rental scooters, like lime and bird and wind. Yeah, to do those with our 13 year old proved to be a lifesaver. It’s just it’s just an added dimension of fun and you know he he got a kick out of scooting up the block and scooting back and seeing how fast he could go here and there and walk wanting to make sure that we chose roads that didn’t have huge crowds. And and that prevented I think, a little bit of the complaining about the the walking that you know, you walk 567 miles a day teenagers are going to get a little cranky about that with a scooter.
So Did everybody get a scooter or just him? No,
we just got it for him. The other three of us we just walked in followed him. And he just explored ahead and came back and probably put double the miles on the scooter that we put on our feet and it was wonderful.
Oh, that’s good. So is it expensive? Who’s a cheap food?
I you know, it was I want to say it came in maybe around 10 euros an hour. Okay. And and that it’s by no means is it dirt cheap? Yeah, it wasn’t prohibitively expensive. And the payoff of having a happy teenager all day long is huge.
cannot ever complain about that?
Yes, yes. Yes. I didn’t realize there were that expensive. I thought they were cheaper than them.
Yeah, I could be wrong. It and there were some some quirks. When when we decided to leave at some place how to stop the transaction proved to be confusing with a couple of the apps and a couple of young guys helped us at one point and just said, you know, close, close the app completely. And that will close the transaction. That’s exactly what worked.
So they weren’t
easy. Yeah, but it worked out really well. And and I would do that all the time. with him.
Yes. Great. I’ve seen them in Paris. They are everywhere. It’s
everywhere. And maybe a little annoying.
You know, but but I’ll take that for the kids.
Yeah, I saw I saw. I mean, I never saw anybody over 35. Right, because I think you must take some balance some definite, you know, good balance to do these things. I don’t know.
Yeah, I don’t want to risk injury. Oh, yeah.
just bounce. Yeah,
yeah, that’s true.
So number seven on the list. You know, we my wife and I and the kids were, I suppose we’re foodies. And to me, eating in Paris, is heavenly. And, and it doesn’t even have to be all that complex to me running into a luxury in the morning and grabbing a couple things, including some of the sandwiches that they’ll have early in the morning and just throw that in a bag for inexpensive lunch later. Yeah. That that’s, you know, pairs can be expensive if you’re going to sit down and have three meals a day, and I don’t personally think there’s need for that. Because the luxuries are so great.
Right. You can find really good sandwiches for you know, I mean, sandwich plus a drink. Plus a pastry in Paris is how much? 10?
Yeah, yeah, I’d say about 10. Yeah, yeah. You know, if you’re knocking out two meals for for you for 10 euros. That’s that’s, that gives you money for really nice dinners.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
And we had many nice dinners. And we have I think we’re blessed with having a couple teenagers that are not skittish about food. We had s cargo and and frog legs and lamb chops and muscles and fly gras. And we ate every pastry and site. And to me, you know, being in restaurants where we’re willing to try things that are outside the comfort zone, I only find to be more endearing with with Parisian servers, you know, they know that we’re there to explore.
Yeah, yeah. And they will usually make a big deal. Like I’ve seen servers. Explain I was on a tour. This, this gentleman on the tour said, This is my first time eating as cargo. And so the waitress very carefully showed him out to eat it and you know, make sure you didn’t stay in a shirt and all of that. It was very cute. I thought it was it was very, it was adorable.
Yeah, it’s nice. It’s it’s good to explore a culture. And to me, the best way to explore it is with food. I’ll send you the name of a place where we had an amazing meal. I got lamb brains, which I had had in this particular restaurant before, and I really liked them. We all tried them. And I think, you know, that sort of adventurousness? I know the server appreciated that.
I know, my mother served us brains once. And she realized none of us say that my father, I think, yeah, the rest of us are like, nope, no, this does not.
Yeah, it’s not for everybody. But you know, it’s again,
I thank you for trying it. I mean, why not?
Yeah, absolutely. And, and I think with kids, too, it’s modeling that willingness to just try things. You don’t necessarily have to like it. But trying things is is part is is my favorite way to travel.
That’s great. Okay, yes, you’ll have to send me that name. Because
yes, I will absolutely sure. Want to know. So the next point is about the metro. I know sometimes people get a little skittish about using the metro and they think that they need to go use Uber, taxis and and we use the metro the entire time. We either walk there, we use the metro, and we taught the kids how to use the metro. And by the third or fourth day, they knew how the whole thing function and they could read the maps and, and they were phenomenal. And to me giving kids the the ability to navigate public transit in a big city is a gift they will use for the rest of their life.
Right and send it back home. Do you have a transit system?
No, no, we live in Santa Cruz. And and there is a bus system there that the kids have used from time to time, but it you know, it’s it’s only, you know, 100,000 people, right? So public transit is not something and I think outside of you know, Chicago, New York, Americans generally don’t use a lot of public transit. But yeah, in Europe, it’s the way to go. It we had, we use the number four line very frequently, and it was incredibly crowded. And I think sometimes Americans kind of stand back and think, Oh, I can’t get on that car because it’s too crowded. And then they watch the region’s to squeeze in. Yeah, and that’s what you gotta do. It’s, it’s, again, it’s just part of the adventure, just jump in there.
Otherwise, you might wait a good long time,
a very long time, right, we did use the the next stop Paris app from RATP. And it was it was really easy plug in where you want to go, it knows your location. So it’s, you can find the closest stop for you. And that proves nice for me to at least double check with the kids determined. And and I would recommend that there are other apps out there that you do Metro planning as well, but absolutely use the metro and don’t be afraid of squeezing in. And then, you know, my first time to Paris was in the early 80s as a teenager. And ever since I’ve known Paris has a pickpocket problem. Yeah. And so you’ve you’ve got to be smart about where you carry things and what you carry with you. But I’ve got to say it’s, it’s better now than it was, you know, 15 years ago. And and this particular trip, I saw no real evidence of bad pickpocket problems, you know, keeping my eyes open and looking around. But I think there there’s to not scare kids, but did teach them something about some of the methods that pickpockets use. And just to be aware, and careful gives them that sense of street smarts that kinda like using public transit, if you can be street smart, the whole world is open to you,
right. And I think the biggest thing is not to take stuff that’s irreplaceable or difficult to replace. Right? Even me, I go to Paris, I have one credit, I usually carry two credit, I usually I mean, I have two credit cards in my wallet every day. That’s all I have. And I don’t really need more. So I have one in my pocket, and I have some cash in my pocket and my phone, I zip everything up. And if they take it well, and replace it, the phone will be hard but the but the credit card and the cash Well, you know, it’s not that much. But I don’t take my driver’s license. I don’t take any anything else that that is hard to replace,
right. And similarly, outside the Eiffel Tower, of course, there’s the guys selling all the the Eiffel Tower trinkets, and then outside the loop, there were numerous guys trying to push museum tickets on us. Yeah. And to me like that can at first be maybe a little intimidating, particularly to teenagers and to me just, you know, a confident know, and kind of waving them off, never felt harassed. And I think, you know, kind of like Sam Bowser, when you go into a restaurant, if you act like you know what you’re doing, then you’re not going to get pushed around.
Right. I want to add something about this. The reason recently, the Louvre made it a new rule that you can’t enter any specific wing of the Louvre more than twice. And that’s because the, the scammers out that you saw outside, people would leave the Museum at like, you know, noon or whatever. And they would just and throw with their tickets in the garbage can, right. And so they would pick them up and resell them. And what they saw this, this going on enough times that they decided okay, then we’re just going to limit every time you enter into a new wing of the Louvre, you have to go through electronic thing. And now it limits you to to, so never buy a ticket from one of those guys outside of the museum. They’re bogus. They’re not going to work. Okay,
yeah. My, my next point I am, I’m not at all about fashion. However, you know, my, my son and I, we kind of played a little game waiting around in the, in the Fourier of the loom under the pyramid, and, you know, pick out the American game. And, and, you know, we had never talked about this before. And he looked at me and laughed and said, Oh, that’ll be easy. And he looked around, and he picked out a couple and I said, Well, what was it that made you notice that so fast? Because we haven’t talked about this. He’s like, you can just tell there’s a baseball hat and their sneakers, and there’s a basket pack or a camel back on his back. And that’s, that’s totally an American. Yeah. And I, again, through many visits in Paris, the more you can kind of blend in whether it’s muted colors, or using quieter voices, or just kind of being low maintenance, in your ordering of food, all of those things. Just make your experience better. The louder you dress, the louder you dress, the louder you talk, the more attention you bring to yourself, the less or maybe the more likely you’re going to have a difficult experience. Yeah,
although you know by now, sneakers are not a problem. baseball caps every everybody wears sneakers in Paris, it’s like wouldn’t make to stand out at all. But right, but the baseball caps Yeah, not as common especially backwards, you know? Don’t do that. Right. The loud bright shirts with I’ve been known to wear them but you don’t do that in France, you know,
right. Paris is different.
Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. In Paris is very different is different tooling around my village and going to Paris? Yes, absolutely.
Yeah. So along the lines of the the our food Enos, I suppose I’ve also got to say, take the kids around a grocery store, we were right around the corner from a Mondo pri. And just walking through there and seeing, you know, a whole different set of flavors, we were buying Pringles and flavors that we can’t get in the states and finding different chocolates and different treats. And, you know, it’s a small thing, but again, if if there’s a willingness to wander through a grocery store, you just experience a culture in a different way. Yeah. And then if you’ve got the, the Airbnb, then you’ve got a place to bring that to and you have a snack in the evening and i just i and i know people go to some of the fancier markets, Beaumarchais, or those sorts of places. Sure. And that’s great. I’m all for that. But just wandering into a neighborhood grocery store, it gives you a different way to experience a city and people
yeah, most French people can’t afford to buy grocery store groceries every day Beaumarchais or get ahead of it, yet they have this gorgeous, not very far from the Opera House, they have this gorgeous, gotta get food type of store. Oh, it’s fantastic. But it’s so expensive. You know, I mean, you you buy a few things in there for souvenirs, or whatever, but not,
not for every day.
Well, and we actually, or maybe me, bought many souvenirs in mono pre because I’m a big fan of the most sugary chocolates, which I know are Italian. But when I’m in Europe, I have to buy them and mono pre was well stocked until I came in.
That’s good. That’s great.
The next thing you know, Americans tend to eat dinner a little earlier than Europeans. And so and the restaurants very often in Paris don’t open until seven or 730. Yeah. And and then if go looking for the places that you know, people say you’re supposed to eat, you’re gonna have to get a reservation. You don’t have to eat in those places. But if you do wandering in, right, shortly after they open, we had no problem at all. Yeah. See, they asked if we had a reservation. And I could tell that that was maybe a little points of contention they were hoping that we did. And when I said no, they shrugged and grabbed a few menus and brought us to a table and did so quite happily. Yeah. So in the one time that I did make an online reservation, we showed up at the restaurant. And I don’t think they actually got the relay by the internet, because my name was nowhere insight. And that wasn’t a problem. We got a table.
Yeah, so that’s the thing. You’d never know the places where you must get over reservation, and the places where it doesn’t matter. So places where it doesn’t matter that much. I don’t know that they even check the you know, the notifications that they get ready to reservations, they know they’re not going to be full anyway. So yeah.
So and the next point I wrote while getting out of touristy areas is nice and important for first timers, the touristy areas will be friendly and helpful. And, you know, I find sometimes people go to a place like Paris and they just want to, and I think they should they, you know, get out and see these neighborhoods and get away from where all the tourists are. And, and that’s fine. But you know, for a first trip, there’s nothing wrong with being in the touristy areas, you’re going to get treated pretty well. And it’s just a good way to get your feet wet. Yeah. And we walked a couple of, you know what I would call the foodie roads, ru monta girly. Rude de Mart’s coming down from moments. And they were wonderful. And I didn’t they didn’t seem flooded with tourist. In fact, I was really surprised around layout to find many PR regions. Is is French people. Yeah. It was wonderful. And, and so you know, yeah, getting out into some of the outer sections of Paris is great. But there’s the you’re going to have a wonderful time. Exploring, you know, the big sites.
Yeah, I didn’t I didn’t understand the name, the street name you said. So Monica. Yes. The second one was what?
I know it’s rule of martyrs Rue de ma.
Yes. Yes. Of course. Yes.
Okay, that was beautiful. Those places. Yeah, the patisserie and there were beautiful. They were like museums in and of themselves.
So it and many I’m sorry, go ahead. And not.
Many people have asked since we got back what it was like with the protests. Ah, yes. And, and this was not an issue. And I felt before we left having traveled in Europe a lot. You know, these are big cities. It’s not as though protest take over an entire city. And they there’s a different sense of protest, I guess. And I kind of kidding, Lee say, you know, the French are going to protest, but it’s going to be a scheduled time at a particular place. It’s going to be well organized. And when they’re done, they’re going to move on and do their thing. Yeah. And that’s exactly the way it turned out. Right. Now, that said, If you didn’t know what you were getting into, there could be some weird times. You know, we we took the metro up to Arc de Triomphe on a Saturday and we were going to walk from there down to the Eiffel Tower. And sure enough, this was a day when the protests were going to be right outside the Eiffel Tower. After marching down the Sean Sally’s a. And so the metro stops up the shot, Sally’s a we’re all closed. Right? We got off on the other side of the artistry of there were police officers everywhere. And maybe if you’re not accustomed to that it’s intimidating. We just kept our eyes open for what was going on. And we saw nothing. We went down to the Eiffel Tower, walked up, walked back down. Right. And then we heard the protest right outside the Eiffel Tower. Right. And before that, we had seen many, many police officers very, very prepared for most anything. well armed like military. Yeah. And you know, we just kept her eyes open. And the protest went on. And we listened. And we watched from a distance. We walked through where the protest was a couple hours later, and there was lots of broken glass and graffiti. Yeah. And, you know, to me, again, it’s just teaching kids to be street smart, and be aware of your surroundings. And when you see the the density of police officers increase, then it’s probably worth paying attention. Yeah. But it wasn’t a problem at all.
Now, the thing with the genre, the reason why it got so big is that the first few weekends that they did this the first few Saturdays, the the authorities were caught off guard. And there was there were a lot of them. I mean, I think the first day, they were like a couple hundred thousand in Paris, alone. And so that was big, and there was a lot of destruction and made the news all over the world. And, but in the meantime, it’s been what, 15, Saturday 16 Saturdays, and now it’s a very small crowd of it. I think, last Saturday, in Paris, there was 800 of them. And probably a few thousand police officers.
That’s what that’s the way it seems. Yeah. So
so it’s it’s down to a trickle, but the trickle will continue. They are not going to stop, okay, because these are very determined people. But they have a right to protest. And so we’re going to put up with it. And it’s unfortunate that it got off to such a negative start, because it was just really wrong. At the beginning, you know, something was very wrong. And people thought, Oh, no, what’s happening in France? And, yeah, they got caught off guard, the authorities got caught off guard. And hopefully they won’t do that again.
Yeah, they’re, they’re not off guard anymore. I’ll tell you, they were very, very well prepared. I suppose that the next hint is more for adults. But I cannot recommend enough just being relaxed and getting a carafe of Bordeaux or whatever you want. You know, surfing around a long menu for picking out the right wine. I just find in Paris, it’s just easy to just get a carafe of whatever you like and inexpensive and you’ve got plenty. And and it’s just it’s simple. And whatever why most any restaurant is serving is going to be great.
That’s right. Yeah, yeah, the house wine thing, which is got the van is going to be fun. And most restaurants in Paris will have that even some fairly uppity ones because if they mostly serve French people, they know French people don’t want to pay 50 euros for a bottle of wine. Right? Most of them doctor anyway. So so they they they have something inexpensive, but it’s always a fine one. I mean, it’s a good quality wine. It’s not the best one you’ve ever had. But it’s good enough for a meal. It’s no problem.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So Americans often go to Paris and get perplexed by the restroom situation. And, you know, when you go into a restaurant, there’s a time you know, after you’ve had your meal, there’s a time to take advantage of the free restroom if it’s available. I find honestly traveling throughout Europe, that McDonald’s whether you get something to eat there, and not most of the time, their restaurants are clean and acceptable for Americans, you’re also going to see those free. I think they’re free. The pods that have popped up on the streets in a lot of European cities where the door is open. And then after you leave itself cleaning. The one piece of advice that I got to mention there because I’ve seen a couple unfortunate mistakes. When that door opens and you exit. That’s not a time to let somebody else in to use it real fast. You gotta let that door close and let it clean. Yeah, and then you can go in.
That’s actually pretty funny. It just won’t clean
everyone but one.
Yeah, well, but it won’t. It’ll just interrupt the cleaning cycle. And so people say, Oh, this was gross. But that’s because you interrupted the cleaning cycle it was supposed to, you know, so yeah, the person exits the bathroom, let the close the door close again. And when it reopens, it’s all yours.
So the next thing, you know, Americans have, I think, started to learn about our food markets and farmers markets. And that’s great. But going through a farmers market or a food market, on a Saturday morning in Paris is like nothing you’ve experienced, and you just got to do it. And you’ve got to wander around and see the unique cuts of meat and the unique fish and just see all the differences. And we had some some nice conversations with merchants about what various things were, everyone was really engaging. a surprising number of the merchants also spoke English. And we did our best with French I speak enough to do a lot of the basics and, and yet they they often responded in English, and we just had really nice conversations and bought some delicious food. We didn’t buy any meat or fish or anything that would have been nice to bring back to the apartment and cook but we definitely bought some little pastries and some fruit as well. There’s There’s nothing like walking around those
teenagers enjoyed the food. Yeah. You said. You said they were adventurous anyway.
Yeah, there they will. If nothing else, they will try anything. And and that’s that we’ve been working with them for years. You know, it’s just we were in a family where that’s what we do we try different foods. Yeah. And they’re kind of used to that. And that’s a real benefit. But then we also talked about the fact that you know, going to parents is like going nowhere else. And we’re just going to try things and yeah, see how it goes. And they did that? Absolutely. beautifully.
That’s great. That’s awesome that they went along with that, because some kids are a little bit trickier. For me, it can be difficult, because in France, the restaurants, very often they don’t have that big of a menu, like they only serve they have a few things on their menu. And that’s what they have they they can’t just whip up mac and cheese. You know, they don’t they don’t make that the right. audience. So
yeah. And our son, I should mention has a peanut allergy as well as a few other food allergies. And we were so pleasantly surprised by how accommodating and willing to check into food ingredients. People were. It was it was wonderful. And I and we carried a little card that I had written up. That said in French what is allergies were? And I think maybe we use that one time, but just some you know, we he has an allergy to peanuts, if you just learned that phrase, people were wonderful. Yeah, we were even in one restaurant that had their menu coded for what ingredients? What allergens were in some wonderful Yeah,
yeah. Yeah. We see that some some places.
Yeah. So the
try with teenagers trying to restrict phone us to the end of the day. Now, our, I suppose our solution to that was we only added an international plan to one of our four phones. So only one was going to be useful during the day anyway. And that was my wife’s phone. And then they were able to use their phones in the evening, you take a picture, you want to post it to Instagram. That’s something that we do back at the apartment. Yeah. And with with the way kids are tied to phones, now, you’ll be amazed by how much more engaging and fun kids can be when the phone gets pulled away.
That is, that is wonderful. Yeah. I found the same thing with young children. When I was there with my sister in law, her kids were much younger than yours. And they just didn’t have the devices with them. And they were happy go lucky most of the day. And then by the end of the day, we’d go back to the to the hotel, and they could you know, be stuck glued to their iPads. But yeah, that’s fine. You know, they had spent lots of hours exploring Paris, so it was great.
Yeah, yeah, that works. My final point, I guess, is to explore local flavor for souvenirs. The the little 10 Eiffel Tower was probably made somewhere else. And yeah, might be very inexpensive and might be the souvenir you want. But there’s so many other wonderful things. Yeah. The green boxes along the sand. You know, maybe there’s a book that’s going to evoke the trip for you. Yeah, we wander through Shakespearean company, the bookstore. Yeah. And, and that was wonderful. And that was also a nice little, I guess return to English for a little bit. Yeah. We also walk through the Little Prince store. I can’t I can’t remember it was between the sin and maybe it was st your men to pray somewhere in there. It could be I it’s a wonderful little store. If if your kids enjoy the Little Prince, my daughter thinks it’s the greatest book and the greatest movie she’s ever seen. And so wandering through, there was fine. And that was just serendipity. We had no intention of going in there. But we found it.
candies and snacks we actually bought
I think pretty much everybody got souvenirs that came from a grocery store. So you know, exploring something local, a little piece of art. That that’s so much better than something that was probably made in China and you can buy for three euros. Yeah, spend a little more but you get something more authentic.
Yeah, yeah, I I’ve enjoyed taking souvenirs from from grocery stores. Like they come to you like them. Now sometimes you have to be careful. Because if you don’t have a check bag, then like jams you can’t take and, you know, wine and stuff like that is well unless you buy it at the airport, which you could I suppose. Right? But you do have to be careful, right? You have to be careful that it’s not something you have to check in like mustard, for example. Well, it’ll get confiscated if you if it’s not checked. So, so be careful of that. But it’s a wonderful way to take, you know, local gifts, and they’re not that expensive, really, I mean, thought that counts. And if you can bring somebody a nice jar of mustard from Paris, I think I like it. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
So that’s so that’s our list. We had a wonderful time the kids got a great introduction to urban travel, they got a great introduction to Paris. And I know they’ll go back. And I think we gave them the tools to do it on their terms. Yeah.
Is there anything that didn’t work out at all that you that they didn’t like? Or that you just left? Because it was no good?
There was nothing that we left because it was no good. There were some things that maybe by the end of the week there, they were just exhausted, wandering through the Orangery was was nice at that point, because really, most people are in there to see the Monet lilies. And that’s it. There’s two rooms and you’re done.
Go downstairs. Right. Right.
You know, yeah, going downstairs was nice, but you know, sometimes art museums, if you don’t, if you don’t either have an interest in art, or you don’t already know the works of art, you’re going to see, yeah, the art museums are not terribly exciting. Yeah, it’s a real data. Yeah, sorry. Go ahead.
Well, I think with teenagers, one way to do it is to do a little research about what the collection is in that museum. And maybe pick one or two pieces that you want them to see because they’re classic, or because you know, and then you talk about a little bit before the trip, and then you remind them Oh, yeah, this is the museum where I told you about this piece. Let’s go see if we can find it and take that. And then you can go a fast, but they’re kind of hunting around for that piece. And that works. Even with very young kids. I mean, even a five, six year old if you show them a picture of you know, photo of a painting. And you say, okay, we’re looking for this painting, because it was made by this guy who chopped the car off or something. Yeah, exactly. And, and then they want to find it. And it’s, it makes it easier. for teenagers, you don’t have to be quite that simplistic. But it works as
well. And knowing a little bit about the art so that you can share that with the kids. For me as a history teacher, of course, going through some of these art museums, I’ve got lots of stories. You still have to limit. Yeah, every now and then I read about people going to the loop. And they’re they’re there for seven or eight hours. And it must be torture for teenagers. We were there for maybe three hours. Yeah, we hit a couple of the highlights. My son wanted to go see the Egyptian section. So we made sure to go do that. Yeah, he actually taught us about a lot of the things we were saying you go, that that was huge. And and again, we got enough of a flavor of it, then now they can go back and do things on their terms.
Right, right. One thing I’ve seen that works well with kids is you, especially in the Egyptian section, there’s some of the Egyptian gods that you’re going to see over and over again. And so if you ask him to look for that, God, let’s see if we can find another one. You know, that can that can help.
Yeah. And there are businesses I’ve seen online that will organize scavenger hunts. Yes,
yes. Yes. treasure is fantastically
Yes. Yeah, look great. They’re not terribly cheap.
person, I think,
right? In my expertise, I maybe I shouldn’t call it expertise. But my knowledge of the loop and I’ve been there many times, my knowledge of the art allowed me to do a lot of that. Tell some funny stories and that, so we didn’t feel a need to do those. But I can absolutely see where those would be absolutely valuable walking through there with kids.
Yeah. And then the kids are totally enthralled because they’re into it because they’re playing against other kids. So they were running around and really booking it.
Absolutely. So we had a wonderful time. And and I can’t wait to go back. And I know, the kids learned enough there that they’re ready to travel there and elsewhere.
All right. Awesome. Thank you so much. You’ve shared some really good tips. And I’m sure you’ve inspired people to follow in your footsteps. Great and would love that take their kids to to Paris because, you know, I know I’m going to sound like an old lady, but they grow up fast. Mine just turned 21 and I’m like, Oh, where’s the time gone? But she still does comes with us. So that’s good. All right. Thank you very much, Mark.
All right, thank you, Annie Massey,
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Categories: Family Travel, Paris