September 11, 2013

Paris in a Week - Eeek!

Next week my husband and I leave for Paris, the land of all things I love like good bread and perfume (Seriously, what else does a girl  need in life?).  And, while a part of me is obviously giddy, because Hello! I’m going to freaking PARIS!), the other part of me has actually been a bit nervous and stressed in the months leading up to the trip, worrying about all the potentials for travel delays and debacles. 

As the trip is drawing near, I’ve realized how the unknown of something – whether it be a trip or life in general – can actually be quite exciting.  Developing this perspective has allowed me to let go of the fear and worries and to just embrace the unknowns, which is really quite freeing.  Nonetheless, a little planning never hurt anyone, so I thought I’d write a little post on Paris: "The Meaning of Lunch" Way. 

Similar to my approach to life, I am equal parts spontaneous and structured, which basically implies that I like to have a plan and then have the option of rebelling against that plan if deemed appropriate.  So, in compiling my somewhat subject-to-change travel itinerary, I am opting not to do something just because it’s the It thing to do or merely to check something off a box.  (This is precisely why I’m skipping the Louvre this time, inspired partly by this great post from The Everywhereist, one of my favorite blogs, although I'm still planning on hitting the Eiffel Tower, obviously.)

Without further adieu, here are a few pearls of wisdom I've learned in my research:
  1. Pack light, and ideally, take only a carry-on.  My friend strongly suggested this fine little gem from Eagle Creek, which I was fortunate enough to find brand-spanking new at a major discount through eBay; I also snagged these handy packing cubes to pack everything nice and tight.  (I am a bit OCD when it comes to packing, so I know this whole system will come in handy for future travels as well.)
  2. Take a little nightcap for the red-eye.  Some suggest Excedrin PM; others suggest half an Ambien.  We'll see what I can get my hands on. 
  3. Stay at an apartment instead of the local Sheraton.  Travel + Leisure did a great write-up on this past spring and other people have spoken very highly of the site. I booked an adorable little apartment in Montmartre (northern Paris) through the site for ~$145/night, which includes a kitchen, a washer and drier, free WiFi, nestled in a quaint little courtyard.  It will not be as convenient as staying in a hotel perhaps, but it's quite a bit more affordable and will offer a more authentic experience living as the locals do, which for me, is in many ways more important than cookie-cutter convenience. 
  4. Paris is the land of pick-pockets.  No need to stress unnecessarily, but knowledge is power, hence why I've purchased a nice little variety of "money belts," including this semi-sexy little number from Maidenform, which bonus: was only $8.  I also picked up a two-for-one around-the-neck and waist belts through Amazon too.  
  5. The French don't care so much that you aren't fluent in their native tongue, only that you try.  And really, isn't that the case with, like, everything?  I picked up a lightweight pocket translator guide by the Lonely Planet and downloaded a couple apps (SayHi and iTranslate) to my iPhone, though I will likely defer to my book since I want to limit international use of my data plan. 
  6. Parisians are more formal than us sloppy Americans, so no fanny packs and sweats for this sister.  Black and dark skinny jeans, cute tops, and comfortable flats will be my go-tos, which luckily isn't much of a deviation from my work attire.  Nonetheless, I created a little inspirational Pinterest board of outfit ideas.
  7. Do what the French do, even if it isn't your thing.  Call me crazy, but I prefer vodka over wine, and if I were to really go out on a limb, I actually prefer cake over booze, but while in Paris I fully intend on imbibing on the local vino, especially since the table wine is supposedly far superior than some of the better wines that you can buy in the U.S.  I also fully intend on partaking in French butter, because that's also supposed to be quite special.  When in Paris, right?


Cheri Michaud said...

Oh Sarah! Paris?! I'm so happy (and at the same time jealous) for you! Enjoy your trip and soak up every single moment of it. I'll be living vicariously through you since I'm pretty sure the closest I'll ever get may be Montreal.

Sarah Woehler Michaud said...

Thank you, Cheri! It should be a fun time - I've been wanting to go for as long as I can remember. :)