Multigenerational travel to Paris is easier than most people think, as long as you follow a few simple tips. The usual trip to Paris for me is with girl friends (my Gal Pals) and/or with Mr. Weekend In Paris. This past summer it was about time that fellow Francophile’s – my mother-in-law and two sister-in-laws accompanied me as the latest Gal Pals. The rule was that each person had to pick one thing that was on their “bucket list” to accomplish. First priority, of course, went to my mother-in-law, Maryann, as the Matriarch of the group for our multigenerational travel to Paris.
Something for Everyone
Maryann chose Monet’s Gardens so I booked that visit first. Sister-in-law Kate wanted to see it all, but specifically asked to see the Eiffel Tower and dine at a famous café so I booked us all at the Skip the Line Tour at the tower. I also made time in the schedule for a stop at both Café Flore and Café des Deux Magots for the gang. Sister-in-law and previous Gal Pal attendee Andrea wanted to revisit Sacre Coeur and do some more wine tasting at Ô Chateau. Everyone wanted to shop, but with different agendas in mind. Some of us wanted items for ourselves, and others for their kids and grandkids.
Where Generations Divide
So far, all of us were on the same page, visiting some museums, shopping, stopping at cafés and seeing some of the famous sites. When it came to nighttime, understandably there was a difference in stamina and desire to burn the midnight oil. We enjoyed a lovely meal together each night and on a few occasions, we returned to the hotel with Maryann to ensure she was safely back in the room and then headed out to some outdoor cafés for late night aperitifs and some Gal Pal bonding. It ensured that Maryann could keep to her usual routine of reading before bed and getting her beauty sleep while allowing the “kids” to let their hair down a bit.
Tips for Multigenerational Travel
We had a fabulous time, most of all because we had common goals and strategies to make it work:
What do the travelers have in common? We all love museums, cafés, history and shopping. That was a good place to start when planning our adventure. Always begin with the commonalities and do those first. There will be plenty of time for side agendas along the way.
Keep mind the pace will be different for the older generation. Don’t expect to hit 20 shops in a day or jump on and off the Métro where stairs which can be problematic, especially at Abessess at Montmartre which is one of the deepest Métro stations in Paris at 118 feet below ground.
Consider the stair situation and distances between landmarks
Splurge on private transportation for dinner reservations and activities planned far away from the hotel. SnapCar Paris is a great option for this type of travel where you can book a car in two clicks of a button and provide a much-needed pampered car experience for a tired or frail member of your party.
Don’t push it, plan down time
Plan down time between activities with sit down situations. A cup of tea or glass of wine will allow all to enjoy each others’ company while taking a respite from the frenetic pace of Paris.
Be flexible! Remember, part of any successful trip, whether multigenerational or otherwise, is to allow people to “opt” out of activities and stay back at the hotel when they are not up to it. Others can move on to the planned activity and regroup later for the next. This way everyone gets to do what they like without fear of guilt.
Time meals accordingly
Plan meal times with jet lag and ages in mind. Chances are, the older generation prefers dinner at an earlier hour than the rest. Book dinner times with them in mind. If you are not hungry at that time, fret not. Eat an appetizer at the early dinner and don’t sweat the rest because you can order dinner late in Paris or have room service later on.
Exercise extra safety
Remember to travel safely and keep in mind that more frail members of the group may be the targets of “pick pockets” or “bump and grab” opportunists. Also, make sure if you are using public transport with older family members to ensure that they get on and off the trains first. Position yourselves in spots where you can assist them on the Métro easily.
From reader Suzanne: Pack light because you may be carrying their bags as well. So true Suzanne! We found that to be the case on our trip too. While Maryann could wheel her own bag, we found it easier all around to help wheeling it instead.
Enjoy every minute of it and take loads of photos. You may never get the opportunity to visit the City of Lights together again so push each other to “see it all” and “do it all” and savor each moment!