going to france

So it’s official — Michael and I are going to France next month. Yikes! I don’t know if you guys remember, but we had plans to go to Europe, then changed our minds and seriously considered Hawaii instead due to several reasons. And as months passed, I kept asking myself ( everyday ) why we weren’t going to Europe. Although I made every excuse in the book ( money, work, etc. ), I knew in my gut that now is the time to go. Michael will be graduating grad school in May, which gives us a short + flexible amount of time before his new life in the real world that we felt should be taken advantage of. After all, my job has the luxury of being flexible! PLUS, we don’t have anything tying us down right now. It’s kind of perfect and now that everything has been settled, I don’t know why I was so wishy washy at first.

With that said, we’ve scaled down our original Europe plans ( which definitely eased my travel nerves ) and decided to stick to France this time around. We’re planning on six nights in Paris and three in Nice. The only thing we’re sure on as of right now is staying in Monmartre and roaming for a few days. I remember learning about it back in highschool ( I took FIVE years of French ) and it kind of stuck with me. If you have been to Paris or Nice, we would absolutely love to hear about your recommendations — especially neighborhoods to stay in or places to eat. We plan on doing a few touristy things, of course, but are true wanderers when it comes to traveling. Lots of walking, eating, and taking it all in. Oh and ps … I’ve never been to Europe, so there’s that. I can’t WAIT.

  1. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    I went to Paris a couple of years ago and one of my favourite memories of the trip was having a night picnic (I think it was about 10) in the Champ de Mars and watching the Eiffel Tower light show. It’s a brilliant way of trying local produce that wouldn’t travel home too!

  2. Sally says:

    ooooh lucky you! you will absolutely love paris, and 6 days is a nice amount of time to see everything. wondering around le marais is one of my favourite things to do, i could also spend hours in the pompidou centre! go out to versaille and hire bikes, especially if you get sunny weather! hope you have an amazing time!

  3. Nessa says:

    You’ll find some nice adresses to eat or visit here: http://www.mylittle.fr/mylittleparis/en/
    Paris is always lovely on foot. Make sure to visit the Butte aux cailles, the Jardin des Tuileries, Montmartre or the Marché des enfants rouges, a typical market in Marais (an other nice place in the city).
    Hope you ‘ll enjoy your stay in France.
    Belle journée,
    Nessa (from Paris)

  4. So my best friend and I were thinking of taking a big trip for our 30th birthdays and we picked Paris!! I’ll be thirty in 2 years so I will have enough time to really save up! I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures while you are there!! Best wishes planning the trip and getting ready!!

  5. amandamarie says:

    laduree for macarons!


  6. Aubri says:

    Yay! Maybe we will be in Paris at the same time now. We’ll in Paris May 15th-19th. My favorite museum is the Musée d’Orsay but you will love so much there. I can’t WAIT! Also, really random question… with all the walking we will be doing what shoes are you going to wear in Paris? I seriously will not bring myself to wear tennis shoes in Paris but I need something my feet (and back) will last with walking all day!

    • breanna says:

      Aww man, we’ll be there May 28th and on! As far as shoes go … I haven’t really even thought about what I’m going to bring yet. But since it’ll be fairly nice there, I was thinking a good pair of flats that are easy to walk in that I’ve broken in. And then I’ll probably find some nice boots or something for other times! :)

    • alicia says:

      TOMS!!! I was skeptical of toms in the beginning, not believing they would be comfortable. But then I bought a pair a few weeks before my trip and it was GREAT! I walk alot and am very picky about getting shoes that are comfortable. I’d highly suggest them :)
      Also, here in Canada everybody wear toms, however you go to Europe and no one has them. I seriously saw two other people wearing them besides me and that was at airports so it barley counts!

    • Aubri says:

      Thanks for the advice ladies! I’m going to make myself buckle down and make a decision very soon on shoes and pray that my feet survive!

  7. Caitlin says:

    ten hundred kinds of excited for you!!

  8. Emily says:

    How wonderful! I think it’s great you’re coming to Europe for the first time and starting with Paris. Montmartre is beautiful, especially off the beaten track!

  9. Nesha says:

    Lovely, I hope you both enjoy yourselves!

  10. Jen says:

    That’s so exciting! Look forward to seeing what your favorite spots were, I’m going in June to Paris and Provence!

  11. Kristen says:

    That is so exciting! I’m so jealous. I lived in Paris for a couple months a few years ago. I love that city! One of my favorite areas was the Latin Quarter. It has tons of little shops and good places to eat. Also, make sure you eat a lot of crepes from the street stands. I miss those! I also really loved the gardens. Tuileries and Luxembourg. They’re so pretty! I’m so excited for you. My husband and I were planning on going to France, but we’ve decided to wait a year. I can’t wait to hear about your adventure. Have fun. :)

  12. Anna says:

    I’m headed there in two weeks! Paris is the absolute best, and Nice is gorgeous too. You’ll have the best time.

    (I’m slowly putting my trips plans on my blog, if you’re totally lost for ideas.)

  13. Please, please, please go to Père Lachaise. Is it so peaceful and beautiful! Also, I always hit up the Sacré Coeur. Can’t beat it. Man, I love Paris so much! You will have so much fun :)

    Lucy xo

  14. katrina says:

    how very exciting — so happy for you both! :D

  15. Kim says:

    my husband and I went to Paris and Barcelona last November for our honeymoon. We stayed in cute little studios we found on VRBO.com — great prices, and we loved having a kitchenette. If you are interested in staying near Notre Dame (walking distance to everything!), look into this place: http://www.vrbo.com/20279. It was perfect!

    • Laura says:

      Kim – hoping you can shed some light on your stay at 20279… we’re seriously looking at staying there this July. On the fence about it because of the size, but the location makes it hard to pass up!

  16. Mel says:

    That’s so exciting!! I haven’t been to Europe either, but we’re planning a trip for August 2014. Excited to hear all about what you see and do!

  17. kristin says:

    congratulations! i was this close to going to germany this summer w/ my dad but decided a couple of months ago i’m going to move half way across the country in the fall. so all of my extra money is going towards that. but i’ll get there one day! i’ve never been to europe either, i can’t wait to go one day. i can’t wait to see your photos either!

  18. Pooja says:

    – Purchas Musée d’Orsay/Musée Rodin Passport (12E/person). Highly recommend hitting the museum on a Thurs. evening–a fraction of the crowds.

    – Hotel Amour (9th). Highly recommended; food was excellent and well priced (14-18E/entrée). Get a seat on the terrace if possible.

    – L’As du Falafel (4th; 14E) and shopping the Marais.

    – Chez L’Ami Jean (7th) and after-dinner drinks at Café Marley (1st) overlooking I.M Pei’s pyramid and the Eiffel Tower in the background. Very romantic.

    – Paris Walks, a walking tour co.

    – L’Enoteca (4th ; 50E). Needed a change from all the French food and enjoyed this place very much.

    – Liza (2nd; 70E), an upscale Lebanese place. Loved! Great food, excellent service, though a sleepy location.

    – After dinner drinks at Andy Wahloo (3rd).

    – Take Bus 69 to Cimetière du Père-Lachaise and kiss Oscar Wilde’s tombstone; an unforgettable experience!

    – Take the Metro to Canal St-Martin and walked the canal from just west of Bassin de la Villette to the Republique Metro station. Take out a pie from Pink Flamingo Pizza (10th; 14E) and sit along the canal to eat.

    – Chez Omar (3rd; 50E). Great food (fantastic desserts), fast service, open late.

    – Get to Cathédrale de Notre-Dame before 8:30am and have cathedral almost to yourself. Be the first in line to the towers.

    – After-dinner drinks at La Belle Hortense (4th), a bookstore/winebar. After after-dinner drinks at La Chaise au Plafond (4th).


  19. alicia says:

    YAY!!! I was in Paris for a weekend last fall. A friend and I went downtown and rented a bike and had suuuuch a good time! it’s rather flat so it’s easy to get around and the little bike-rental-booths are everywhere so it’s super easy to hop on and off wherever you may feel like it!
    Make sure you eat crepes. Like, every day. Please.
    Too excited for you! <3

  20. Kaity says:

    in Nice, you HAVE to stop by Fennochio. they have the most fantastic ice cream/gelato that I’ve ever tasted in Europe! so many different flavors! also, if you’re interested in trying some regional cuisine I’d recommend Chez Rene for the socca (it’s like a chickpea pancake – I lived on socca bought at the market when I did my summer in the south of France). also, Nice has a beautiful flower market in the Vieux Nice area. if you feeling like exploring the area a bit more (I know you don’t have a lot of time!) I highly recommend hopping on the train and visiting some of the little towns on the coast. the riviera is SO gorgeous! one of my favorite spots was the Villa Rothschild on Cap Ferrat – some of the most amazing gardens I’ve ever seen. Monaco is also super close by train – good for an afternoon trip. also, the beaches in Nice are really rocky, instead of sandy – just a head’s up.

  21. Tom says:

    I wish I could go back to Europe! As for Paris my room mate I had in London went, he had a good time but I was told that there are Gypsies that may try and scam you. You should check out the Carnac stones they look pretty cool.

  22. Liz says:

    GAH I am so jealousssssss. Europe is definitely on my list of must-see places. I can’t wait to see all your photos from the trip so I can live vicariously through you :)

  23. Latrina says:

    Sadly, I have never been either so I can’t recommend much. I do, however, encourage you to take photos to share with us once you guys are back!

    France… wow, what an inspiring + gorgeous city. I hope to visit someday. Do enjoy yourself! As I’m sure you will. :)

    And congratulations! Traveling + exploring is good for the soul. My husband and I are planning a trip to Ireland next year, so exciting! It’s been a dream of mine for years.

  24. Mae says:

    SUPER excited for you, but also sad you’ve scrapped your Hawaii plans. Hopefully the suggestions everyone gave you will help you plan another trip out here someday in the next coming years.

    I cannot wait to read and see what comes of your trip to France. Don’t forget to visit a castle and tell it “aloha” for me!

  25. Meredith says:

    I just was in Paris in February and though it was FREEZING, it was magical. I did a number of posts about it on my blog if you want to see where I visited. I received a terrific list of recommended restaurants from a friend– if you are interested, I would be happy to send it along. She has divine taste in food, so though I only was able to try a few, I have no doubt the rest are equally amazing. We stayed in Le Marais: a must. Wonderful neighborhood for eating and shopping. Also, spend as much time as you can in Saint-Germain. Fabulous, chic, utterly Parisian neighborhood, home to many of the ex-pat writers. So lovely. Also, check out this blog: http://parisinfourmonths.com. Carin has amazing photos and recs. Have the most wonderful time!

  26. Beth says:

    I’m also planning a trip to Paris in May! I’ve had the opportunity to travel there every other year for work for a few days. One of the things I really enjoyed doing was going to the Paris flea market. It’s a bit of a hike, but there are good directions for getting there here: http://ohhappyday.com/2011/03/how-to-get-to-the-paris-flea-market/
    It’s really fun to walk around and see all the vintage hidden gems, especially for a designer!
    One of my favorite places to eat in Paris is Les Bonnes Soeurs (8 rue du Pas de la Mule, 75003) in Marais. Great food and very welcoming atmosphere. Montmartre is great, but not to sound alarmist or anything, watch out for the guys that walk around and try to sell you stuff, mostly bracelets. They are very nice, but become forceful and demanding real quick. They put their bracelets on you and then demand that you pay for it. Also, the best $5 I ever spent was getting the Time Out Paris app for iphone. Have a fun time!

  27. KAIT says:

    wow this is uncanny. my boyfriend and i were toying with the same “euro-trip” dream as he is going to have a few months off this summer as well. we were initially planning a london/paris/amsterdam adventure but i love the idea of really staying in one place for a while. by the way, nice is BEAUTIFUL such a terrific city – so happy you are going there!

  28. amber says:

    Wow… this is SO exciting! Really happy for you :) France will be amazing!

  29. Alison says:

    In Paris you must go to L’As du Falafel in le Marais. It is *the* best falafel I have had in my life and the atmosphere is great. You purchase it while standing outside of an open window and watch them add the various mix-ins and toppings. I think it was 5 euros for a meal the size of my head.

    I had more fun in Nice than I expected to. I can’t wait to see the pictures you take while you are there. Have a blast!

  30. Joanne says:

    Definitely have crepes when you’re there! The best one I had was the one by Notre Dame. I think the place was called Esmeralda but I’m not sure. You should definitely go on a tour on the Bateaux Mouches. It’s a tour on the Seine River & you’ll see a lot of historic places and famous monuments & such. & one I wish I had done when I was there but didn’t get to was to see the Eiffel Tower at night.
    You’re going to have a great time!

  31. Tess S says:

    I’ve never been to France, and yet I live in Europe. So I wish you a nice trip =)
    // Tess S.

  32. Star says:

    Breanna! I spent a summer in france, and I have recommendations-

    In Paris:
    *Get ice cream from Berthillion. It is the best evar.

    In Nice:
    * Get lost. No seriously, the whole city is built on a giant hill…so as long as you know your way from the top back down to your hotel, you can freely explore anywhere- knowing you can just walk uphill to find your way back.
    * Visit Eze. It’s a short trip from Nice, but you’ll be glad you took it.
    See the botanical garden there at sunset, and look over the Mediterranean. Take a picture for me.


  33. Sarolta says:

    I live in Germany (Nuremberg) and as a European I love to hear you plan to walk a lot. There is no better way of experiencing a city. And Paris is beautiful! Last time I went there you could get a seven day pass for the métro (subway) quite cheap. If you plan to get one, bring a passport photo with you. They’ll put it on your pass. And the métro is great cause it gets you quickly everywhere too far to walk. My favorite museum is the Musée D’Orsay. It is a lot smaller than the Louvre so you don’t feel so overwhelmed. Also it used to be a luxury train station with a glass ceiling so you get to see lots of the art in natural light! Have fun :)

  34. Rebecca says:

    1. Porte de Vanves: there’s a great flea market there on the weekends!!

    2. In the 4th Arr. there is the Maison Européenne de La Photographie, also Place des Vosges is beautiful, and rue St. Paul. That whole neighborhood is lovely. If you like falafels, L’as du Falafel is great. I love the coffee shop La Caféotheque de Paris which is in that same neighborhood closer to the Seine.

    3. Jardin des Tuileries is a great place to rest ALSO there is L’Orangerie right next to it, museum with lots of impressionist paintings.

    4. Jardin du Luxembourg is also a beautiful place to hang out (5th arr. and all the chess players are there!)

    5. In between Notre Dame and Place St. Michel is a British bookshop called Shakespeare and Company, if you’re interested. If you’re coming from Notre Dame, cross over to the other side of Paris and just make your way up Quai Montebello (the street that hugs the Seine) and you’ll see if on your left. The 5th and 6th Arrondissements are right next to each other and you should definitely dedicate an afternoon to walking through the little streets and exploring all the little shops

    6. I love the Parc des Buttes Chaumont (kind of far out in the 19th arr.) It’s huge and nice for a walk or a picnic, there is also a little café there called Rosa Bonheur.

    7. Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise is a beautiful cemetery in the 11th…it goes on for miles, if you go you should definitely check out Oscar Wilde’s tomb…

    8. Centre Pompidou, best museum ever (if you like modern art) also Musée D’Orsay is beautiful. It used to be a train station so the interior is incredible.

    9. 18th arr. Montparnasse is so lovely (and where a lot of Amélie was filmed)

    and definitely hop on a VéLib at some point to bike around the city :)

  35. MelitaSu says:

    I have just returned from my first visit to Paris… my 30th birthday needed celebrating! Montmarte is delicious — a village within the city that will tickle your fancy, I’m sure.

    Top three must-do’s:
    – the oldest market street in the city, la Rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter: for the smells, the sights, the sounds. It’s full of fromageries, seafood markets, fresh produce, chocolate shops. It’s a feast for the eyes.
    – Oberkampf neighbourhood: Jazz bars, wine bars, grungy bars, restaurants… the lot. It’s a bit more of a local hang-out area, so you won’t feel like you’re walking into a tourist hotspot.
    – Paris walking tours: if you check out paris-walks(dot)com there are a tonne of walks to do. They are on average about two hours and my most favourite thing I did in Paris. Choose an area or topic that tickles your fancy and spend a couple of hours taking in not just the sights and sounds, but a tonne of history and context for what you’re seeing. I hate being a ‘tourist’ in a new city, but this was something I didn’t regret doing.

    Bon voyage!

  36. Sarah says:

    I spent a semester abroad as a college junior in Southern France. Now, almost ten years later I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There was something really magical about taking an art history class, and then actually being able to see where Van Gogh painted that weekend. I was going to recommend Cassis, but it’s kind of similar to Nice. I would try to do an afternoon in the Camargue (wild french ponies everywhere). I’m feeling all wanderlusty just talking about this. Have a great great trip!

  37. Kimberly says:

    You MUST get a Macaron from Paul! Monmartre is absolutely charming. But get lost just wandering! You’ll inevitably come upon the best little shops and eateries that way!!

  38. Aaron says:

    Paris is so amazing, and I fell in love with it the first time I went, and I now spend a good deal of time obsessing over everything Paris!

    I’m an art lover, so of course the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay were two of my favorite places…but I think someone mentioned above that you should definitely check out Père Lachaise cemetery! The cemetaries in Paris are also some of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been in any city, so they’re worth a visit for sure. Even if you’re not necessarily a cemetery lover like I am…haha.

    Have fun!!

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  41. Heather says:

    I loved Montmarte! Sacre coeur is the most beautiful building in Paris! (At least to little ol’ me).

    Enjoy every moment and all of the amazing food!

  42. catherine says:

    I recommend visiting and/or staying on Rue Cler. It is one of the best market streets in Paris. It is lined with a selection of specialty food stores, patisseries, butchers, delicatessens, cheese specialists, fishmongers, greengrocers, chocolate shops and cafés. And, it doesn’t feel touristy at all.

    I also suggest visiting Sacré-Coeur Basilica. It is away from all of the main Paris sites and offers great shopping nearby. If you’re a fan of the movie Amélie, you’ll appreciate this area.

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