Paris, France Through the Eyes of Teens - My Family Travels

FTF's annual teen travel writing scholarship reveals what teens are feeling about their latest trips across the US and around the world.

Ah Paris, the City of Lights, la Cité de l’Amour. What’s not to love about the fabled streets of Paris? But will your teenager appreciate standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower and gazing out over the city or visiting the art treasures in the Louvre? And what about the food – will your teen be willing to forgo American fast food and sample classic French fare, like fresh baguettes and street vendor crêpes?

Read the five stories below and decide for yourself — each has been written by a teenager after touring Paris en famille.

In the aptly named essay How a New City Inspired Me to Make a New Life for Myself, Kayla Montalvo describes how her trip to Paris affected her in a life-changing way. As she stands on the hills of Monmarte, she has an revelation, “It may have been a spiritual influence from the church, or fatigue combined with the high altitude, but I felt a cliched sense of clarity overwhelm me. I wanted to make my mark on history like those who had struggled to achieve greatness here before me.”

The best memory of Kayla Pullar’s family Trip to France was a simple morning routine. In her essay she recalls, “There is one little detail that made the trip perfect. Down a few blocks from our hotel was a quaint little bakery. My mom and I hesitatingly asked the cashier if she spoke English (‘I will try my best,’ she said, with barely even an accent) and bought a small baguette. Then we went across the street to the convenience store and bought butter and some milk. That was our breakfast every day, and we went through the same routine to get it. There was something that made we absolutely giddy about starting off the day with real French bread and the view from our hotel window.”

In Traveling with Parents, Jesse Spielman reveals that despite the fact that some teens think that traveling with parents can be a drag, there are some benefits of traveling with the folks. He writes, “Both of my parents have spent some time in Paris. When we went together, they knew some great places to show me so I got a good overview of the city. I hope to go back there on my own someday and I’m sure I’ll remember how the get around on the Metro and how to get back to Sacre Coeur on that weird elevator contraption!”

Rachel Ravina was uncertain about what she would find during her French exchange program. In her essay Travels in France Immersion, she writes, “Just as the city was composed of historic and modern forms, the whole nation was a unique blending of country and city; France was dense, like rich pudding — or yogurt, full of live active culture and a variety of flavors.”

‘My Paris Vacation’ by Jonathan Couture describes the incomparable French culinary experience as he recalls the delicious morning pastries. He writes, “When visiting Paris, the cuisine alone is an experience to be savored and one that, once you get to enjoy it, will be remembered forever as it is really ‘a moveable feast.'”

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