Happy Monday friends! I hope you all had a nice Easter weekend! Ours was great – a very full two days. Get togethers with friends both Friday and Saturday night, gymnastics for the kids, Kole’s birthday party, church on Sunday and a nice long walk with my husband. Now it’s suddenly Monday morning and I just got the kids off to school. I’m sitting in a very quiet, messy house. It’s cloudy and cool outside which feels so cozy and refreshing. I have a lot to do, but I’m just sitting on my couch for the moment looking out the windows and enjoying the silence. It doesn’t come around here often. :)
Two quick things I wanted to share with you. First, thank you for your feedback on my drapes in my Friday favorites/fashion post! You all said different things so I can’t say it helped me narrow down my decision.. ha! But I loved hearing your thoughts. I’ve also heard from so many of you that you bought the striped dress! I hope you all love it like I do. :)
Now I have a quick question for any of you who can help me. My husband and I are planning a trip in April that I am really excited about. We are going to Paris! JUST THE TWO OF US. It has been years since we have taken a trip together. Aside from two quick weekend trips for my husband’s work, it has actually been about nine years to be exact since we left the kids with grandparents and enjoyed a week alone. We only have six days so we decided to just go to one place and really soak in all we could. We are planning our itinerary and I’d love to hear from those of you who have been to Paris what you would recommend we see and do! Of course the obvious tourists destinations – Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, etc. and we are going to take a day trip to Normandy. But any other recommendations on things we might be missing? Or tips on things to do/not do.. what to pack, places we need to eat? Would love to hear your thoughts!
Soon after we chose Paris as our destination for this sacred adult only trip I came home and said “I bought something for our trip!” My husband said “I did too!” He pulled out Paris for Dummies so we could read everything possible about the city and plan accordingly. I pulled out this darling coral and mint green Paris art print I found at Pottery Barn to hang in our house somewhere. We were laughing. So typical us. :)
Thanks for any suggestions in advance! Now off to tackle my messy house so I can function the rest of the week (if my house is cluttered, my mind is cluttered!). I’ve procrastinated long enough. :) Enjoy your Monday friends!
62 thoughts on “Monday ramblings and a question for you!”
Hi Erin, check out MaryAnn at ClassicCasualHome. She has lived in Paris and she just returned from a trip and has all kinds of tips and great recommendations on her blog. Perfect timing!
Perfect! Thank you Tricia! :) xo
OOh Paris – how fun! Check out Fat Tire bike tours. My husband and I did an evening tour with them when we visited Paris on our Babymoon. It was a great way to see the city in a different way and it was beautiful at night with the lights! I did it while pregnant and so you know it’s not too strenuous! :)
Thank you Maureen! Someone else just suggested that so I’m going to look into it for sure! How fun! :)
Yes, I went on the evening tour with Fat Tire as well. It was also great!!
Paris is my favorite city in the world and I physically miss it after not having been there for 9 years now. I hope you and your husband will love it too! I would recommend you WALK everywhere to see as much of the city as possible – you will not only see the main sights this way, but all the little shops, cafes, etc. If this sort of thing doesn’t creep you out, go to the catacombs under the streets of the city and also Pere Lachaise cemetery (yes, Jim Morrison is buried there but also historically significant people like Chopin). On your way to Normandy stop at Claude Monet’s home and take in spring. And Musee d’Orsay, which is better than the Louvre in my opinion. More than anything else, enjoy springtime in Paris!! So happy for you and jealous all at the same time :)
Michele my husband mentioned wanting to see the catacombs.. not creeped out by that stuff at all! :) Good tip! Thank you so much for all of your ideas! xo
I actually blogged about my trip to France! We spent two days in Paris! http://Www.balancingonmytoes.com
Oh excited to get my kids in bed tonight and read all about it Melissa! Thank you for sharing! :) xo
Versailles and Montmartre!!! Bon voyage!!!
Oooh, Paris! Have a wonderful time! My absolute favorite thing I did when I was there was take a bike tour to Versailles. It was AWESOME! The company is called Fat Tire Bike Tours. Google them and check out their website! We hopped on our bikes, went on a mini-tour of Paris, then took our bikes onto the train and headed for Versailles. From there, we bought lunch at the amazing outdoor market (bread, cheese, wine :)), packed it up, biked all around the grounds and then sat at the end of the man-made lake to eat with a beautiful view of the palace. From there we biked back around the water and went inside! So beautiful! Have a great trip!
Oh my word.. LOVE that idea Nicole! I’m going to look into the bike tour for sure! Thank you! Your comment made me so excited! :) xo
I second this! My mom, sister, and I did the same tour of Versailles with Fat Tire and it was my absolute favorite part of the trip!
I’m so excited for you, Erin! Paris is beautiful. We were there last Spring, mid-April, and rather than try to list what we saw, I’m sharing this link — http://cas-anoasisinthedesert.blogspot.com/2015/05/im-backsorta.html — to the post I shared about our visit. You will have an amazing time!
Thank you so much sweet Carol! Can’t wait to read your post! :) xo
I love Rick Steve’s travel guides. His Paris one is very helpful with lots of tips and info you can’t go wrong. Day itineraries, key places to visit, etc, It will be wonderful. Just check the weather. It can be chilly, so a nice cute jacket and layers are helpful. You tend to do a ton of walking, too. So comfy shoes are a must. Loved the museum pass. My favorites are the Orsay, Rodin, Pompidu, and the Louvre. A day trip to Versaille is also wonderful.
Perfect! Thanks Kelly! I know.. I won’t be the most stylish in jogging shoes but I’m going for comfort this trip. :) xo
I haven’t been to Paris in years, but the things I would want to see again if I were to go back would be just outside of Paris, but easy to get to from the city. I loved Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny. I also enjoyed Versailles. The palace is amazing, but I especially loved the extensive french gardens. Be sure to go on a weekend when the amazing fountains are on. In Paris, I would be sure to take a boat tour down the Seine. We went at night when everything was lit up and loved it. Of course, hit all the famous stuff in Paris, but make sure you also take a little time out to sit outside at a cafe on The Champs-Elysees, and spend some time in their lovely parks and take it all in. As far as places to eat, I can’t remember any of the restaurants where we ate, but we enjoyed the street food in Paris. Enjoy your trip. I hope you post lots of pictures of it when you get back!!
So many good tips! Thank you so much Tonia! I will take lots of pics to share for sure! :) xo
No suggestions, Erin, as I haven’t been there BUT I do remember C’est Christine (she blogs and does Instagram) had a great post on Paris….
And YAY for alone time :)
I know right.. so nice to get away w/o kids! Thanks for the tip Marcia! xo
Look at the blog classic casual home. She just did a few posts on what to do in Paris. Enjoy. I dream of going on day.
Perfect! Thank you Jen.. I will! xo
A trip to Paris?! How exciting! I’d recommend eating dinner somewhere along the Champs Elysee, sitting outside. I just think there’s something magical about it. We took a champagne tasting river cruise and that was a fun way to see the city from a new perspective. Can’t wait to hear about your trip when you get back!
Thank you Kristen! Good tip! :)
Paris!!! We went last October/November. Had the most amazing time.
One of the things we loved was walking along the river from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower. We stayed near Notre Dame to hear the bells ringing on All Saints’ Day, so walked one evening from the Cathedral to the Tower. It was so exciting to approach the tower and see the lights getting closer and closer.
We ended up going back to the Tower nearly a week later to go up to the top. We fluked our timing, but it ended up being perfect. We went up very late in the afternoon, so got to see the city in the daylight. Then we stayed up there to watch the sunset and got to see the city at night. It felt like it didn’t take very long at all. Be sure to check the sunset times and book your tickets in advance if you want to do this.
Someone above wrote about getting a bike and taking it out to Versailles. I think this is an excellent idea. The paths out there are so lovely and wide and tree-lined, and the grounds are beautiful. And bikes would make getting from one part of the grounds to another very easy. We took three kids and walked it all day long and they were not very happy. :)
I also highly recommend finding a good bakery and getting a baguette. We arrived in the city late in the afternoon and just went to the bakery near where we were staying (La Boulanger de Saint Germain). It just so happened that they had just finished baking a batch of baguettes and they were amazing! And the ladies in the shop were very polite about my halting French each time I visited. :) Apparently the bakeries in France bake throughout the day so you can always get fresh baguettes. I love good bread.
What a fun trip! I’ve been to Paris a few times, and I would recommend skipping the Louvre as its crowded to fun ratio was a bit much for me. If you are dying to go, make sure you go early and avoid the day that it is free or discounted (I think Tuesday nights). I would also say that the Sacre Couer has a better view of the city than the Eiffel Tower, but it’s worth checking both out :)
I would HIGHLY recommend a day trip to Versailles. It can get crowded, so plan to go early, but it is so gorgeous and totally worth it. It’s a pretty short train ride from Paris (maybe 45 minutes), so it could even just be a morning excursion. We also took an electric bike tour, and we loved it. It was probably the best thing we did on our entire vacation. The electric bikes were a total dream, and we loved our guide. We didn’t go to the tourist destinations, and we felt that we got a good view of the city that we might not have seen otherwise. (see our tour here: https://www.getyourguide.com/paris-l16/electric-bike-tour-of-paris-hidden-gems-t676/ )
Enjoy your trip! I’m sure you’ll have the best time!
I highly recommend taking a shopping tour with chicshoppingparis.com !! Amazing experience! When I went to London, I did the same shopping tour 10 years later. Email me with any questions and I can give you more details. I was able to shop with Rebecca both times but she has other guides who work for her. It is so fun because your guide can handle all the translations for you. I did the “Made in France” tour.
Also, if you are up for it, you can take the chunnel to London for a quick trip.
I honeymooned in Paris last August and it was amazing. You will love it! I would highly suggest downloading the Paris Pastry Guide app so you can find your way to the best pastry/ice cream/candy shops wherever you are in the city. :)
Check out Sainte-Chapelle, which is near Notre Dame. The stained glass in the upper chapel is breathtakingly beautiful.
The Paris Museum Pass is totally worth it, especially since a lot of places have fast track lines for people with the pass. A lot of museums are open late one night a week as well, and I really recommend going in the evening. The Louvre is really cool and mysterious at night, and not as crowded. (We went to all the big art museums, but my hubby also really enjoyed the Musée de l’Armée. It has interesting old weaponry and armor, and extensive exhibits about the World Wars.)
Buy your tickets for the Eiffel Tower online ASAP! They sell out quickly and the line for same-day tickets is usually long.
It’s worth it to spend some time researching restaurants and making dinner reservations in advance, since there are a lot of mediocre cafes that cater to tourists and you don’t want to end up hangry and desperate. ;) I highly recommend Restaurant Ellsworth in the 1st Arrondissement. Also, service charges are included in Paris so you don’t need to tip. (You can leave a little extra for really good service but it’s not required.)
Don’t bother buying a weeklong metro pass, since you can walk all over the city and just buy metro fare as needed. I think we took the metro maybe three times total.
Also, don’t feel like you need to see everything! Relax, enjoy the trip, and know that you can always come back. :)
Tripadvisor.com was my best friend in planning our trip to Paris about 9 years ago, as well as Rick Steve’s website. The museum pass was a great deal in helping to bypass lines at all the big museums. We loved the Musee d’Orsay, Versailles, and seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night! Also eating yummy pastries and crepes in little cafes, bakeries. And make sure you take the Metro (subway)…it is so efficient and easy to use! Have a great trip! Half the fun is in the planning. :)
Lucky you – Paris is the best!! Check out “Aspiring Kenndy” and “Kelly Purkey”, both of those blogs have lots of ideas. I did a Segway tour in Paris once, lots of fun. Also, in Versailles, we rented a golf cart to get around. It was lots of fun! Enjoy!
Ah! So exciting! I did Paris in college and left completely amazed and inspired! I would love to go back with my husband! I did a boat ride/dinner on the river and remember feeling sad that my then fiancé wasn’t with me! It’s so romantic! I’ll brainstorm ideas, but definitely hit the Louvre. It’s HUGE so it needs to be a full day affair. You’ll be surprised to see the Mona Lisa is a lot smaller than you’d think! Versailles is amazing- the landscaping alone is breathtaking, let alone the interior!! Ah! So much! I’m gonna go dig out my old Paris journal! So excited for you!
Give yourself more than one day in Normandy. It is beautiful and there is a lot of history there. We went for 3 days and I still wish we could have stayed more. We stayed at a hotel in Arromanches that was right on the ocean. SO LOVELY! We took a train from Paris to Caen and then rented a car to drive to the coastline. We used the metro to get around while we were in Paris. Super nifty and cheap!
I would highly recommend spending a day in Versailles. The gardens are beautiful and architecture is amazing! You can get tickets ahead of time and travel from Paris to Versailles by their metro(subway) system. They have great metro transportation all around the city that is fairly easy to use after a day or two getting the hang of it. You will love Paris! Enjoy!
That is so exciting! When I read that you and your husband are planning a trip to Paris just the two of you, it reminded me of another blog I follow. This couple went to Paris a couple years ago and they had professional pictures taken – I thought it was such a special way to remember the trip, the idea stuck with me. I looked up the blog post –
I just wanted to pass along the idea. I’m sure that blogger has no idea who I am!
In Paris, I especially loved:
– Versailles – if you go, take the time to walk out to the Queen’s Hamlet – Marie Antionette had a whole country village built in the gardens and it was beautiful and cute and worth the extra walking!
– Sainte-Chapelle – words can not describe how beautiful
– Eiffel Tower at night
– The Musée de l’Orangerie – close to the Louvre, it houses Monet’s Water Lilies
Other things I found helpful:
– Rick Steve’s audio guides for museums (I could download them with my guidebook, very helpful when everything is in French)
– Google street view – I would use this to see which direction I needed to go once I left the Metro – it could be disorienting to try and find something not immediately by a Metro stop.
– All the Parisians I met were very kind and helpful, and politeness goes a long way – always begin an interaction with bonjour or bonsoir (good night) and end an interaction with au revoir. And learning the phrase “Do you speak English?” (Parlez-vous anglais?) before trying to ask something in English was also really helpful.
I hope you have a lovely trip!
I absolutely agree with the “parlez-vous anglais?” We also learnt “je ne parle pas francais” (I don’t speak french)! Lots of “bonjour” to everyone (especially when entering a shop) and “pardon” when bumping into people on the street combined with those above phrases helped us out a lot. Everyone was so kind and everyone was happy to switch to speaking English after using those magic words. I’m not sure if it was because they appreciated me trying, or if it was because they could hear that my French was so absolutely awful that they were happy to speak English! Of course, they all said they could only speak a little English, but they were all spoke it amazingly well.
My husband and I took a trip to Paris years ago, and were left with wonderful memories. I would definitely recommend that you spend some time at the Louvre. The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles is breathtaking…definitely worthwhile. And don’t forget to buy bread from the local bakeries that are EVERYWHERE! Nothing can compare! Wishing you and Kenny safe travels and a very memorable trip!
My husband and I took a similar trip and also included Normandy. We went to Mount Saint Michel It’s spectacular!
No comment on what to do when you get there, but had to pop in and say have an amazing time! That’s so exciting. I giggled at what you each bought. Sounds like you had an amazing holiday weekend, too. Yay! Good luck getting on track for the week. I know you can do it!
Be sure to enjoy a classic French champagne cocktail, a Kir Royale. I was there in April a few years ago on a girls trip and we had the most amazing weather. We sampled plenty of Kir Royales and loved them. And can’t forget our favourite pain au chocolate. What’s better than chocolate croissants?! Enjoy!!
Erin, happy to hear you are visiting my city! Hope you have lots of fun… I’ve lived here for 2 years now and still manage to get lost a lot… Which is good because it’s a way to discover the city as well… Remember, the French don’t like speaking other languages than their own ( they are a little bit bad at languages!) and they are not always very helpful at first but they warm up quickly! Have a nice trip and don’t hesitate to shout out if you want or need!
Paris is my favorite place!! I’ve been three times. My husband and I went for my 40th birthday 8 years ago, for the first time. I read about a free walking tour “sandemans”. You just tip the tour guide whatever you feel the tour is worth. We took the tour the first morning we were there. It was so great because it helped give us an idea of what to see and do the rest of the week. It was probably our favorite thing. We did the night tour of Montmatre as well. The night bike tour with Fat Tire was another favorite of mine. At the end of the tour they give you a short boat ride along the Seine, with free wine and cheese. Was amazing!! If you like French onion soup (or even if you don’t) we found this amazing little cafe that served the best soup! It was right next to Notre Dame. We went twice!! It was so nice to sit outside and sip wine, eat amazing soup and stare at Notre Dame. It’s a surreal experience!! I hope you have the best time!!! Definitely comfortable shoes!!!
Awesome! I used a lot of tips from Rick Steves (https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/france/paris). Liked the Museum D’Orsay more than the Louvre.
Don’t forget to stop at Hermes and buy a “souvenir” silk scarf (http://usa.hermes.com/la-maison-des-carres.html for ideas)
Have wonderful time!
While I have never been to Paris, another blogger I read & follow did! It’s Amanda & Kevin. I started following her blog for all the yummy food ideas. She wrote several posts–where to stay, the best places to eat, site seeing. You should check them out!
How fun! It sounds like a dream trip! We still have little ones at home and feel too guilty having anyone watch three small kids while we vacation. For now it is vacations with the kids. We will get there. On a very different note, your bathroom is stunning!!!!
My Paris musts include a visit the Louvre and Musée de l’Orangerie, a stroll through Montmartre and watching the Eiffel tower sparkle once an hour at night.
As far as food goes:
– Breizh cafe – serves the most delicious Galettes. Would not miss it.
– Angelina – for the hot chocolate and Mont-Blanc (both perfect).
I’m so jealous! You will have a wonderful time.
My tips: greet people when you walk into their shop with a simple, “Bonjour.” Parisians speak much more English when you attempt some French first. Just the basics of good morning, thank you, how much is this, etc. will get you a long way.
Definitely layer – it likes to surprise rain and can get chilly and hot in a short time span. The Parisians love their scarves, so build those into your outfits – a great excuse to buy more scarves!!
Berthillon has fantastic French ice cream – worth the wait.
Some comfy trainers to wear that still look semi-fashionable are made by ECCO. I’ve worn them walking all over London and Paris and they are my favorite. (Ignore all the really ugly ones and look at the walking shoes.)
The Picasso museum is amazing if you like Picasso, as is the Rodin museum.
I hope you two have a lovely trip!
Hi Erin! Wow such great news! Paris is such a romantic place, perfect for a couple getaway :-) There are already so much great ideas in the previous comments; any idea what you’d prefer to do? (restaurants, museum, walks, nature…)?
Don’t hesitate to tell when you’ll be there, living 2hours away from Paris it could be fun to meet each others? (but don’t worry if it’s not possible – 6 days is very short and you might want to enjoy it just the two of you!
Anyway I wish you a fantastic trip!!There are so many great stuff to do there that you can’t go wrong!
You’ll love Paris! I went about 6 years ago and my favorite place was Mont St. Michel. It’s this gorgeous island and the entire thing is a castle. It’s just about the most scenic and beautiful thing I have ever seen. Do yourself a favor and stay the night there… you’ll have the time of your life! http://en.normandie-tourisme.fr/articles/mont-saint-michel-298-2.html
Sacre Coeur looking out over Paris at dusk – just magical. Walk around the Ile de la Cite and
Jardin du Luxembourg (don’t miss the Medici fountain). Walk the Marais and Place des Vosges
on Sunday when everything else is closed. Take the RER train to Versailles and rent a golf cart (with piped in classical music) to ride over to Marie Antoinette’s hamlet. The Louvre is very tiring unless you just hit the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo. But the Musee d’Orsay is manageable and delightful. Try a pair of Munro Traveler shoes – they’re not clunky and they’re super comfortable. Stop at Galeries Lafayette for perfume and scarves. Fragonard sells adorable perfume sets and drawstring pouches for the girls. Sometimes it’s just easier to eat dinner at a café at the end of the day when you’re tired rather than planning for a formal meal. But Le Grand Vefour is an amazing dining experience (or go for lunch). Shop the duty free at Charles de Gaulle on your way back home for beautiful boxes of Laduree macarons. Enjoy!
I love reading your blog and am so excited to learn you are visiting my favorite city in the world :) I could write a novel but will leave you with just one recommendation: Chez Georges. It was one of Julia Childs’ favorite restaurants and you really shouldn’t miss it. Go for dinner around 8:30pm and you will be elbow to elbow with locals and a few wise tourists. You should make a reservation and keep in mind they are only open during the week. The Sole Meuniere is not on the English menu but order it and you will be pleased. The Filet with mustard sauce is also unforgettable. And if the crem caramel is available for dessert, please have a bite for me! Enjoy!
Paris is always a good idea!! The hubby and I went last October to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, and it was AMAZING!! So excited for you! I would definitely recommend getting the Museum Pass, it was around $60/person and we picked it up at the airport at the tourist information desk. It was so nice to be able to skip the long lines! It was also nice if we wanted to pop into the Louvre (or any of the museums) for just a couple hours at a time, we didn’t feel like we had to spend all day getting our moneys worth. If time permits, I would add my vote to going to Versailles. It was one of our favorite things we did. The gardens are so amazing! Also, along with the museum pass we picked up at the airport, we also got a travel wifi that was a life-saver for our trip. It’s small and fits in your pocket/purse and it made it so nice that we could have internet wherever we were. It was also pretty inexpensive. Then when you’re done with it, you drop it in the provided envelope and drop it in any postal box to return it. I would HIGHLY recommend getting one. Finally, Uber is your friend! It was so nice to be able to walk around, see all the sites, run our feet ragged, and then request an Uber to get us back to our Airbnb apartment. We never had any issues and it helped reduce the stress of taxis/subways, etc. Hope you all have a wonderful visit!
We went on the bateaux-mouches dinner cruise, which was so much fun! We ate great food and enjoyed a bottle of wine, while exploring all of the main landmarks! The boat crew was amazing! Traveling to Versailles for a day is definitely a must, we actually stayed there for a few days at the Trianon Palace Versailles – it was soooo beautiful! Have the best time ever!
Musée Marmottan if you are a Monet fan – amazing collection of his work. Dinner cruise on the Seine. Sainte-Chapelle For the most beautiful stained glass I’ve ever seen. Enjoy!
(smoking dog) in English
Eat here every time we are in Paris, delicious!
Also, you should buy artwork there, from a street vendor, something to remember your trip!
Just FYI — We used BLUE BIKE TOURS and we had a much more intimate group than the fat tire tours [we had 12-15 people compared to their 40+ when we passed them on route]. It was awesome and best done at the beginning of your trip to help you get your bearings in the city!
Good tip Christa! Thank you! xo
Erin!! I just read this. I am dying to hear more about your trip! Will, the kids and I are going on our first European trip next summer and I think we’re going to Paris for some of the time (or at least that’s what WIFE wants to do and HUSBAND does, too. He just doesn’t know it yet :)) So I’m going to be hitting you up for your ideas when the time comes :). For all of our Europe travels, Will and I use Rick Steves travel guides exclusively. He’s amazing. Simple, straightforward, easy to use, tells you the ins and outs and what to miss and what’s okay to miss. He also has an app you can download with free walking tours in museums and other attractions that we use all the time. I’ve already ordered the Paris and Croatia (the other country we’re heading to) ones for Will’s upcoming bday so he can start planning. Have so much fun!!
Hi cutie! Oh my word. We had the BEST time! Definitely call me before you plan your trip! Wish I would have known about Rick Steves! Sounds amazing. I’ll look him up for our next trip for sure. YEA for Will’s upcoming b-day! And trips to Europe! :) xo
I don’t know if you are already there but we’ve been twice now and just love it. Some of our favorite things to do:
– boat ride down the Seine at night
– picnic under the Eiffel Tower
– there is a little cafe with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. We’ve eaten there both trips. If you are interested, I can look up the name. :)
– get lost in the Latin Quarter and St. Germaine
– make sure you go to Ile St. Louis, so charming
– if you end up going to Versailles, go immediately to rent a golf cart. Even if you have to wait in line for it, it will be so worth it. You will be able to see SO much more than if you were walking. Make sure to go allllllllll the way to the back to see the Marie Antoinette’s country home and the village, that was my favorite part.
We aren’t into most French food, so if we weren’t in a little cafe having Croque Monsieur, then we were having a picnic. We would stop at the grocery store, fill up our backpack with cheese, crackers, bread, wine, fruit and then just stop and eat wherever.