Things to do in Paris when you're eleven
July 20, 2012 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I need your recommendations for stuff to do in Paris with my eleven-year-old daughter.

Ask Metafilter came up with awesome suggestions for Brussels a year ago, so I trust you won't let me down. My daughter is still a fussy eater, who likes fountains and modern art (as do I). We're only there for a Thursday evening and during the day on a Friday at the end of August. Bonus love for any suggestions involving cats, or blimps (no, really).
posted by tigrefacile to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Centre Pompidou is a start for modern art and a wander around the Marais district nearby would also be fun. I'm coming up blank on the cats and the blimps, though the first manned hot air balloon took off from Paris, so maybe you can leverage that somehow?
posted by goggie at 12:25 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I too was going to recommend the Pompidou, it's awesome and looks like a Habitrail from the outside.

There's Paris Disneyland (for we Philistines) and in that vicinity a French mall that has stores that are open on Sunday.

I can't imagine your daughter would turn up her nose at cafe food, Steak Frites is as simple as it gets, with Croque Madame or Monsieur following closely behind.

Street food is pretty great in Paris, with baguettes with ham and cheese on offer nearly everywhere.

Let's not discount the crepes with Nutella, or the pastry. Om, nom, nom, nom.

I think your daughter might enjoy the Sewer Tour. I know I would!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2012

Quite close to the Louvre (apparently full of cats) is Chez Angelina : 226 Rue de Rivoli, it has the world's best hot chocolate and was a favorite haunt of Marcel Proust.

I really like the Musee Rodin.
posted by shothotbot at 12:42 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I haven't been there in decades, but France + cats reminded me I'd read about this book: The French Cat. You could read it before you go and spend some time wandering the streets of Paris (which as I recall are totally gorgeous to wander anyway) looking for French cats and taking their picture.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:43 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

A couple of things that my almost ten year old and eight year old daughters loved when we were just there:

the Cluny Musee de Moyen Age, where we visited the Lady and Unicorn tapestries which also happen to be the wall hangings in the Griffyndor common room, if your daughter is a fan of the Harry Potter films. If she is a Potter fan, you could also take a peek at the fifteenth century home of the real-life alchemist Nicolas Flamel. It's the oldest house in Paris, and my girls got a huge kick out of getting their pictures taken in front of it.

The catacombs, if your girl's got a bit of a gothic bent like mine do.

Rue Denoyez in the Belleville neighborhood, which is covered in graffiti and found object art.

We did a lot of the really obvious touristy stuff too, but these are just a couple of the more unique things we found.

My girls ate jambon-beurre baguettes and nutella crepes like it was their job.
posted by padraigin at 1:13 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Shakespeare and Company is an English bookstore that is super old and cool and usually has a few cats hanging around on the bookshelves. Loved it as a kid in Paris.

Parc Citroen is fun to walk around and has an amazing fountain that everyone runs through/plays in. I believe it's also got a hot air balloon.

Absolutely get the street crepes. Also good for fussy eaters: plain omelette (omelette nature), very easy to order.
posted by JuliaJellicoe at 2:04 PM on July 20, 2012

This private Louvre tour for kids was hands-down the best thing that we did in Paris, and my nine-year-old loved it. Expensive, but worth it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:29 PM on July 20, 2012

Walk across the bridge to Île St Louis, get Berthillon ice cream.
posted by spanishbombs at 2:59 PM on July 20, 2012

Some of this may be more relevant than other bits of it (maybe not the frog legs and more long-term vacation ideas), but I just read a blog post about Paris with kids an thought you might get some value from it: top 10 tips for Paris with kids
posted by mmmarilyn at 3:09 PM on July 20, 2012

If you like falafel (I know you said fussy eater but I can't promote this restaurant enough), you can't miss L'As du Falafel in Le Marais. Best falafel I have ever had in my life. There's also a carousel within a couple blocks of the restaurant/next to the metro, which I would have been all over as an 11-year-old.

Go to the Eiffel Tower after dark. Every hour on the hour it lights up like a disco ball! Or better yet, climb the Arc de Triomphe and see it from there.

Get a French phrase book or watch some Youtube videos and try to speak a little French while you're there, if only to ask for a baguette or to say thank you to a waiter. I think your daughter would really get a kick out of it and so would anyone with the pleasure to meet her.

Have a great time!
posted by petiteviolette at 4:45 PM on July 20, 2012

I loved the Cite des Sciences over in the 19eme arrondisement. Very kid-friendly, but I think you do need to know French to get the most out of it.
posted by Tamanna at 8:04 PM on July 20, 2012

I'm a guy, and it's not for every kid, but when I was that age, I would have thought the Galerie Paleontogie was awesome. It's kind of a throwback museum with amazing collections displayed in a much less manicured way than most modern museums. Articulated skeletons of all kinds of species are packed into the main floor, while some really unusual specimens are collected in cases along the walls. It's cool in a vaguely creepy way. There are dinosaur skeletons on the upper floor. Pic of main floor, brains!, frogs, more.

There's a more modern Natural History Museum there as well, but I didn't think it was nearly as much fun.
posted by Noon Under the Trees at 10:48 PM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

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