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Would you let your 16 year old travel through France on his own?

(32 Posts)
choxanwine Thu 23-Jul-09 14:03:42

My 16 year old DS has been invited to stay in the southwest of France with his friend and friend's mother (they are French). However, they are already there and he needs to travel down on his own. He has flown on his own before (which I have been ok with) but this time the only option is by Eurostar (no - cheap - flights available). This would involve changing trains in Paris - ie travelling by Metro between stations for connection. I feel a little uncomfortable with this - although he is fairly confident and is practising asking for directions in French... Any feelings on this - am I being over-cautious?

mumeeee Thu 23-Jul-09 15:25:10

It depends on the child. I wouldn't let DD3 17 do this but then she is good at getting lost in her home town! Is there anyway that his friends mother could meet him in Paris?

ruddynorah Thu 23-Jul-09 15:28:07

i'd say fine, how exciting for him!

snorkle Thu 23-Jul-09 16:58:43

Is he comfortable crossing London by underground? It's not all that different.

brimfull Thu 23-Jul-09 17:01:52

If he is confident to do it -yes

but I would be worried about it ..just because I'm like that.

It's the fact he's on his own ,fine if he was with a friend

As long as he has plans and strategies if he gets lost or needs help

seeker Thu 23-Jul-09 17:07:03

Probably beter on his own - in my experience two teenagers add up to half a brain!

Yes, I think he'll be fine. I did this lots at this age,and if dd wants to I'll be happy (if nervous) to let her when she's 15/16.

choxanwine Thu 23-Jul-09 19:23:38

Mumeeee - it would be about a 10 hour round trip - so wouldn't like to ask her (she is putting him up for a week and keeping a discreet eye on things, iykwim...)

nevergoogledragonbutter Thu 23-Jul-09 19:26:30

I did this when I was 17.
Let him go, it'll be good for him.

Strangely, I don't remember my parents being consulted on my travel plans, although I was going to stay with a cousin.

frAKKINPannikin Thu 23-Jul-09 19:30:12

Which station is he going from?

It's probably Montparnasse in which case it's a straight trip down the line 4. Very easy to do as long as he leaves enough time.

I would offer to chaperone him across Paris but he's probably safer travelling on his own than with some scary woman his mother 'knows' from the internet.

liahgen Thu 23-Jul-09 19:31:40

I definately did not consult my dad, (mum passed away 5 yrs before) when I booked myself a seat on a coach to Geneva when I was 16!!

Got my 1 yr travel passport from main postoffice, (oh the good old days)bought my £17 ticket, (one way, I kid you not, ) and off i went.

I'd applied for a got a job as an au pair and I was off out of my small village that i'd grown up in. Not sure my dad noticed i'd gone till about a week later grin

He'll be fine i'm sure, great adventure for him, Ikeep telling my almost 15 yr dd that she has to travel, she's having none of it, bless her.

IdrisTheDragon Thu 23-Jul-09 19:32:04

When DH was about 15, he and a friend went skiing with friend's family. Somehow DH and friend missed the transport back to the airport and hence the plane. Got themselves back home again fine.

I am sure your DS will be fine on his own.

mumblechum Thu 23-Jul-09 19:38:04

I wouldn't let ds do the metro thing because it's full of robbing bastards BUT would be fine with him getting a taxi between stations.

mumeeee Thu 23-Jul-09 21:07:39

If it's a 10 hour round trip then I can see you can't ask his friends mother. We have used the metro in Paris on a few occasions on family holidays. I would be a bbit worried about him doing it mainly because I worry to much about my children, But if he is confident he can do it then let him go,

Majorca Thu 23-Jul-09 21:16:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

choxanwine Thu 23-Jul-09 21:30:05

Thank you for all your comments - good point Snorkle about London Underground. Feel a bit more reassured. Think I'll let him go - he is quite sensible (will still worry though)

frAKKINPannikin Thu 23-Jul-09 21:33:05

We are indeed an hour ahead in France. We always are.

frAKKINPannikin Thu 23-Jul-09 21:33:24

We are indeed an hour ahead in France. We always are.

PixiNanny Thu 23-Jul-09 21:44:12

I think it's fair enough if you feel he is responsible and mature enough for it. A friend of mine came to the UK from America at 15 as an exchange student and was constantly travelling about whereas I felt that I couldn't do that by myself then (fast forward 2 years and it was the complete opposite! lol)

Must admit though, when I visited my OH in sout west france in May half term the Eurostar would have been over £200, whereas the plane tickets to Nimes were £25 one way and £80 on the way back!

Cammelia Thu 23-Jul-09 21:47:59

I would let a 16 year old do this

violethill Fri 24-Jul-09 00:53:18

Depends on the individual. I would absolutely let my ds do this - he'd be well up for it, totally confident and would love it. IMO this sort of experience can be the making of some people - and will provide amazing memories.

However, some teenagers might not be able to cope with it til they're a bit older - you need to make that judgement call. The important thing is that he enjoys it. If he gets into a sticky situation and can't handle it, it'll put him off travelling and being independent so would be a backward step.

Ponders Fri 24-Jul-09 00:55:37

Where in SW France is he going & where do you live?

BitOfFun Fri 24-Jul-09 01:02:42

He'll be made up when he manages it - sounds like a great rite of passage to me, and a real confidence-builder. Just talk it through beforehand and feel proud of him!

choxanwine Fri 24-Jul-09 18:33:42

Ponders - he is going to La Rochelle, which I suppose it's more mid west than south west) and we live in Horley, Surrey, so he would depart from St Pancras probably..or maybe Ebbsfleet. (Just had a call from friend's mother saying she could collect him from Angers -which might mean a change in Lille instead of Paris.) This is getting so complicated.

Mumblechum - I have been warned (by our French friends) about the extortionate taxi fares (50/60 euros for the 20 minute trip between stations)

Btw Frakkinpannikin - I would take up your chaperoning offer, except he would have none of it...

frAKKINPannikin Sat 25-Jul-09 20:15:35

I'm only 23 which is not that desperately aged! I can offer a marginally cooler Lieutenant in the French Navy, if that helps?! grin

Lille is a better change though. Much simpler.

Ponders Sun 26-Jul-09 12:43:02

I bet he'll be fine whichever way he goes, chox - I am really impressed with what you said about his confidence & practising asking for directions in French.

(The French Navy lieutenant sounds like a fine idea though smile)

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