Paris with Two Teenagers? Crazy? Maybe a Little!
When the Olson family went to Paris this past Summer, Kidcreate Studio founder, Lara Olson was excited and a little nervous about keeping her two kids entertained and engaged during their trip. Was the trip a success? Yes! Read on for travel tips and museum recommendations for a fabulous family art adventure in Paris..
Let me begin by setting the stage for you. My teenage, sports obsessed son had zero interest in going to France. After all, there are no NHL hockey teams there! For my daughter, it was a different story. She was excited to see Paris. The fashion, the people, the Eiffel Tower, she couldn’t wait to see it (and tell her friends about it!). She was especially looking forward to photographing the sites we visited. My husband, thankfully, was excited for the trip and up for anything!
Yes, it was a painfully long flight over that great big, huge ocean. But, the minute we stepped out of the airport our art adventure began! In Paris, everywhere you look there is art! It’s not just in the architecture and museums, but in the streets, in shop windows, and even on the people!
The biggest challenge for our family was finding activities that everyone was excited about (and deciding where to eat, but that’s a subject for another day!).
Was our trip a huge success? Yes and no. One of the biggest victories of the trip was my son’s changed in attitude about France. He had a blast! He discovered he was great at navigating the Metro and was fascinated by all the sculptures we saw during our trip. My daughter re-discovered her love of photography and is still excited about her camera even now that we are back home. My one disappointment, it pains me to admit this, was that the museums were not the kids favorite part of the trip. However, I know that the time they spent in the museums will be a gift that keeps on giving. Down the road, to be able to say “I saw that!” when they see a masterpiece in a book or class- priceless!
There are a few things we could have done differently. Here is what I learned-
The Paris art vacation “golden rules”-
1. Don’t try to pack too much into one day. We made this mistake! There is just so much to see, and we tried to pack too much into our days. Tired kids make for grumpy kids. Grumpy kids are no fun at museums!
2. Mix it up. Variety is the spice of life and helps keep kids engaged. I would recommend fun outdoor activities before and after museum visits to help kids get their wiggles out!
3. Use media to keep your kids engaged. My kids enjoyed seeing the sights. What surprised me was how much they enjoyed photographing and later creating videos about our adventures. In the evening, they often created videos about the day’s activities. They had just as much fun creating the videos as they did visiting the sights earlier in the day. The video above is one that my kids, and I created during the trip.
Here are my top three picks for the museums that kids will enjoy-
1. Musée Picasso
5 rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris, France
Unfortunately, we broke “golden rule” #1 above on the day we went to the Musée Picasso. We went to late in the day and the kids were grumpy. If the kids had been well rested, I know this would have been a favorite!
The Musée Picasso is situated in the heart of historical Paris and has a collection of several thousand works by Pablo Picasso. During his life, Picasso created diverse works: painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics, engraving, and even poetry. There are 203 paintings, 191 sculptures, 85 ceramics, and over 3000 drawings, engravings, and manuscripts in the museum (more than 5000 pieces that would be displayed from time to time and exhibition to exhibition. Besides the personal collection of Picasso, the museum also has some works of Cézanne and Matisse.
2. Le Musée d’Orsay
62, rue de Lille 75007 Paris, France
The Le Musée d’Orsay was my daughter’s and my favorite museum. There was so much there that we had only seen pictures of. Actually seeing the art in person was amazing! My daughter enjoyed seeing may of the famous paintings she had learned about in art classes at Kidcreate. My favorite was Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone. So beautiful!
The Le Musée d’Orsay is known worldwide for its famous impressionist’s collections and features the art of the western world from 1848 to 1914.
A little history about the museum…Orsay station was the head of the southwestern French railroad network. The official decision to build the Musée d’Orsay was taken in 1977, and it was opened to the public in December 1986.
3. The Louvre Museum
4 Place du Louvre 75001 Paris, France
The Louvre was my son’s favorite museum. It was the sculptures that really caught his eye.
The Louvre is big, very, very big! The largest museum of France, The Louvre Museum (Le Musée du Louvre in French) presents collections of Western art from the Middle Ages to 1850, and the antique civilizations that preceded and influenced this art.
They are divided into 8 departments: Oriental Antiquities, Islamic Art, Egyptian Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities and, for the modern period, Paintings, Sculptures, Art items, Prints, and Drawings until 1848.
Good luck, have fun and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes!
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