Two weeks ago, I booked and paid my flights to Paris. This week, I collected my visa! I’m putting a lot of effort in to the planning, and a lot of muscle behind the excitement. Things that I love in life include travel, research, organizing, making list and schedules. So this is like the best time of my life right now, you understand? Other things that I love is heritage, art, art history, literature, writing and poetry. DO YOU UNDERSTAND. I have incredible friends who have given me the best “Paris” advice, like Vanessa and Keri and even complete strangers and acquaintances like Rebecca have gone out of their way to get in touch and share some info with me. I am so grateful and treasure every little bit of advice. This trip is costing me quite a bit, so I don’t want to waste entire DAYS doing things or getting stuck somewhere that I don’t actually want to be.
I am going alone. Graeme went to Cannes a few years ago (although it was a work trip) and logistically it makes sense for him to stay with the boys for this trip as they are still very little. Although we have my mom that would love to have them for a few days, and Graeme COULD come with, Paris is not a destination that he’s super passionate about at all. In his words, he said he’d rather go somewhere remote like (his actual words) Antarctica or climb Kilimanjaro. How our marriage has survived this long, I just don’t know.
To be honest, I want to go alone. Some people find that horrifying, but I absolutely love being on my own. Being alone is my comfort blanket. My actual sanctuary. I know that my boys will miss me (and I will miss them like mad), but they just spent 4 days with my mom and apparently only missed or mentioned me once or twice. While I’m away, the boys will be at school and super busy with extra murals. I’ve got little plans to leave a present and letter for them to unwrap every day while I’m gone. I’ve also scheduled my flights so that I leave on a Sunday night and get back on a Saturday afternoon, so I’ll still have the weekends with my little family. In reality, the person who will probably feel my absence the most is Jack. I think the boys will really enjoy their ‘daddy’ time and I’m sure that Graeme will spoil them with special dates and activities. The thought of going as a family on our first trip is just a bad idea. I mean, we can’t even go to Cavendish together.
Another point to mention is that when I’m in Paris, is that I don’t want to eat at a single restaurant. At all. I’m not a foodie, and mostly view food as a necessity – sustenance. I get a buffet breakfast at my hotel every morning and I’m not a big eater, really. I’m happy to grab fruit and cheese at a local market and shove it in to my bag to snack on throughout the day. Food doesn’t interest me. Another thing is that I don’t want to do any shopping or go to any shopping centers. Sure I love clothes, but I am not big on shopping. I am not going to Paris to eat or shop, because that’s just not me. I am going to Paris to see art, write, paint, walk, learn, grow and explore. So these are the things that I’m keen on.
A lot of the pictures are shared from Love Made Visible’s Paris blog posts. Their travel pictures are phenomenal – go read her Paris posts! The other pictures are from the official websites linked below. Do you have more suggestions on where to go? Or did you find any of these to be a total waste of time? I am getting mixed ‘reviews’ on Versailles. Is it worth the trip? Here’s my must-list!
Musee D’orsay (image by lovemadevisible)
I can’t explain how excited and overwhelmed I feel. I can’t believe that I’m going to see some of my favourite artworks in real life. From Degas, Monet and Renoir. I’ve read at least 17 articles in search of tips and tricks, like to start at the top and work your way down. To go AT opening time. To pre-book tickets. I really want to buy some art prints and stationery, and I’ve already browsed their online shop and created a budget for it.
For obvious reasons. I know that people suggest NOT going as the queues are intense and it gets super crowded (and the Mona Lisa is small) but I’m going to pre-book my ticket and have it sent to the hotel. Again, gonna try go super early. On Thursdays the museum is open at night, so I might do a night visit too. I AM SO EXCITED.
I am only going to see the Water Lilies. They’re in Tuileries Gardens, so maybe I can ride my bicycle around there and try find that funfair that’s around there, if it’s still around. The museum has exhibitions going all the time, so hopefully I’ll discover some new work! I’m really excited about this tiny little baby museum.
Montmartre City Tour (image by lovemadevisible)
Rebecca told me about this free tour and sent me the site! It says > Hidden in the North of Paris, Montmartre joined the city year 1860 and became the place for bohemians, artists and courtisans including Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir & Degas. I’m staying in Montmartre in a sweet little hotel, so I’m dead keen on this tour!
Obviously I am doing this! I might buy a 2 day ticket and use it to get around and spread the trip over a few days. I don’t know, but I sure as heck want to be a tourist and learn all about Paris. The tour also covers all the main sights that I don’t really, really want to spend time at, like the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and Grand Palais. Maybe I’ll do this on my first day so it will help me gather my bearings. I am awful at directions!
Montmartre – Place du Terte – a square full of artists
I want to get my portrait sketched or painted by one of these guys. Maybe they’ll have a nice piece that I can buy? I’ve purposely saved loads of wall space in my office for art. Graeme doesn’t like the impressionists as much, so I have full reign over the office (I am assuming)
Seine – paint something.
I haven’t painted in years and I’ve really been itching to. Even if it’s awful, I can always say “I painted this in Paris”, you know? Any suggestions on where I can pick up some acrylics and brushes or am I allowed to take that kind of stuff in my luggage?
Shakespeare Bookshop – write something (image by lovemadevisible)
I really want to write a few short stories. I have some ideas in my head and want to spend a lot of time just fleshing out a few adventures. I found the perfect notebook and pen for this – the pen is so important, right? I want to spend most of my time cycling around Paris with brushes, notebooks and my camera. Maybe a sneaky bottle of wine and some cheese, or buy some treats from local vendors. I am emotional as I type this.
A girlfriend of mine is going to be in Paris on my arrival day, so I’m looking for something fun to do. I’ve seen some pictures of the Seine cruise and seeing Paris by night, so I’m really hyped about this. Apparently they do dinner and a show too, but I don’t really want that part. I’m looking for other boat companies that just do standard night time river cruises. It’s going to be the end of summer / beginning of autumn.
Again, I’ve heard such mixed things about the Moulin Rouge and so many blogs have said that this is a super cool alternative. More authentic Paris cabaret. There won’t be any ballet on while I’m there, and I love theater… so Crazy Horse it is! Apparently it’s incredible.
I’ve always wanted to see Belleville, and apparently this cafe was an Edith Piaf favourite. I’ve been reading up on most of the places I want to go to to see if there’s a bit of history or emotional connection there. Any other great cafe’s you could recommend in Paris?
Le Marais (image by lovemadevisible)
I don’t really know if I want to visit here, to be honest. Everyone says it’s super amazing and beautiful, but I don’t know if it’s worth spending an afternoon here? I imagine sitting in this cafe with a few glasses of wine and people-watching for a few hours with my notebook. Anything else I should see in Le Marais?
Sundowners – les Ombres
Okay so I found the holy grail of great restaurants and hotel bars that all have an excellent view of the Eiffel Tower. I don’t want to go UP the tower, but I wouldn’t mind having a few cocktails while looking at it, you know? Apparently I’ll see a lot of great cafe’s in the area, but I’ve made a list for back-ups!
Rent a bicycle in Paris
Maybe this is something I can do while exploring le Marais? Maybe I can ride around Luxembourg gardens? Or around Canal st Martin? I’ve been looking for pretty places to cycle around and also I’ll need a backpack! And a map.
I’m going to have a ‘general’ plan for while I’m there, but I’ll probably end up missing one or two things. Please add any travel or Paris advice. I’m super keen to learn from you guys, and to make my first trip as awesome as possible. Again, not keen on malls or restaurants because it’s just not my personal vibe. Any websites you found helpful would also be great! If you have any suggestions, I would love any and all advice. An interesting Parisian to follow on Instagram? A useful website? A great tour or a way to skip the queue at museums? A nice place to hire a bicycle? A great online booking resource for museums? Really anything is so appreciated. Where do the artists hang out? Where can I buy certified art prints? Is the Crazy Horse really better than the Moulin Rouge? I am a huge art lover, but I really don’t want to see the Dali, Picasso or Rodin museums just based on personal preference. I want to go wine tasting, but don’t know where. Please let me know if you want to add to this list! Please please.