TIPS FOR PARIS
We decided to go to Paris for a couple of reasons:
- We couldn’t fly easily or affordably from Israel to Morocco, so we needed an “in-between” place.
- Last year we went to Paris and didn’t have a great time…we needed a redo.
- We wanted to celebrate Derek’s 40th birthday in a beautiful place.
- It’s Paris. That’s why.
Rather than go into a blog post about our time in Paris (check out our Instagram for what we did, saw, bought and ate), we thought we’d give you some tips Derek and I have learned from our past two trips.
We haven’t perfected our Parisian stay yet, but we get closer every time. Here you go:
Don’t wash your hair for your entire stay (assuming it’s under a week). This is the fastest way to “look like a tourist,” “waste valuable time washing your hair when you could be exploring, ” and “embrace the dry shampoo trend, and potentially get it wrong, but it doesn’t matter anyway because you’re in Paris and everyone else’s hair is dirty too.”
This is so true, trust me.
Day 6 hair for me (do not do this unless you are using dry shampoo):
Don’t come here if you’re gluten free or lactose intolerant. Just don’t. It’s no fun, and will irritate the French. I’m not 100% sure, but I think they could kick you out of the country for saying, “is this gluten-free?” Oh, and it makes other Americans (us) look really bad. And even though I'm pescatarian...I'm not in France as you can see here.
Forget about any attempts to eat well, lose weight, or do any type of working out (unless you consider walking, biking or sex “working out”). See above and below.
Aren't you happy I posted a biking photo and not a sex photo? (Awkward, and Derek wouldn't let me/we don't take sex pics/totally making this blog weird.)
Have a game plan for your trip. Are you coming to see the sights? Are shopping and eating higher on your list of priorities? Would you like to “act like a local” and explore the hidden parts of Paris?
THIS IS A CRITICAL PART OF YOUR TRIP TO PARIS.
If you think you’re going to see the sights, but you hate lines and didn’t pre-book anything until the week of your trip…guess what? You’re going to stand in long lines or you aren’t going to see the attractions that you most wanted to see.
We did this on the night of Derek’s 40th birthday when we attempted to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but tickets were sold out until early June. We stood in a line of 100+ people in the cold wind for 10 minutes, and eventually our hatred of waiting in lines prevailed, and we went to dinner instead where I cried and felt like a horrible wife for not planning this better.
Seriously don’t make this mistake. Pre-book any tours or attractions where you can, 1-2 months in advance from what I can tell, despite ever having done this myself.
Taken moments before publicly crying that I had ruined Derek's birthday...
Go see Moulin Rouge. We booked this the week of (thanks to our friends Jenna & Jonathan seeing it last year and raving about it), and it was totally worth it. We couldn’t pre-book our seats, and wish we would have remembered that so we weren’t strolling in at the stroke of 9pm. Lucky for us, our lateness landed us even better seats, but I’m not sure that’s always the case. FYI, there are a lot of boobs and thongs, so if you’re prudish…you can skip this show. If you want to bring your kids, that’s cool as long as you don’t try to cover their eyes for the entire show. You’ll get carpel tunnel for sure. (FYI, we were told Crazy Horse is even better and not as touristy or kitschy. Haven’t been, but it comes from a reliable source.)
Stay in an area you want to explore. Paris can be overwhelming and we have found if you cut down on your transit time, then half the battle is over (and you can spend more time drinking rose wine at an outdoor café people watching). We stayed in St. Germaine last year, and while we liked it…it didn’t feel quite right to us (crowded with lots of other tourists). We loved walking around the Marais, but couldn’t find an Air BNB that we liked…so we opted for an ALL LOCAL area, the 10th arr. It was perfect! We adored exploring the 10th, were a quick walk to Pigalle, Montmarte and the Marais…and the sights we wanted to enjoy were all walking distance (Moulin Rouge, Sacre Couer, Marais, and the Canal) with the Palace of Versailles approximately 45 minutes door do door. Not bad!
The Sacre Couer was a 10 minute walk away!
Air BNB all the way! Hotels are wonderful, I love them (and lately reside in them for much of our trip). But when you can get a FABULOUS Air BNB in Paris for under $100/night directly above 3 perfect cafes, in a neighborhood you’d want to live in, with a kitchen and washing machine (critical for us since we are living out of a carry on for 10 months), and a helpful host to give you local tips of where to go and what to do….there’s no question.
Air BNB is your answer. Click HERE for the place we stayed, and highly recommend.
Pretty dope place, no?
Don’t skimp on airport transit. We have MANY times arrived late into a city (Paris and many others) only to have to figure out how to get to where we are staying. While that will save you money…what about your time or your relationship (D and I always get snippy with each other at this travel moment)?
This time we opted for a driver to collect us and bring us to the Air BNB, and our host arranged the whole thing. What a relief it was to arrive at 10:30pm after a long flight to a well-dressed driver with our names on a sign, a clean car, bottles of water and candy too! That’s 50 Euros well spent if you ask me. (Nazim is the driver, message me if you want his info.)
Don't expect Derek to row your boat...30 minutes and he was DONE. Book proper transport.
They aren’t rude, they’re French. I’m married to Mr. Manners. I don’t have enough hands to count how many times he commented (or rolled his eyes) on how rude the French were. And it’s easy to think that when you were raised by the most chivalrous man (Derek’s dad, and all the men in his family), in the most chivalrous state (in my humble opinion, Texas).
French and Southerners are different, and you’ll get real frustrated if you expect a “How’s your morning going, sweetheart?” with your cappuccino.
But you will get the best damn cappuccino of your life. Guess what, they don’t have to serve me up a “side of manners” when they’re serving me the best food, art, culture, beauty, French fries, skin care, music, fashion, baguettes, croissants, chocolates, macaroons, graffiti art, etc in the world. They just don’t. I think they’ve done enough.
They made this. I don't care if they're nice to me...
Don’t expect your first trip to be your last trip. Paris is not for the faint of heart. Sure it’s beautiful, but it’s also big and gritty and not so friendly (see #9). It’s like a really beautiful woman, as Derek says, “very high maintenance, and worth it.” You will love it, you will hate it….you’ll be tired, you’ll be exhilarated…you’ll swear you aren’t coming back, you’ll start a to-do list for your next trip….and that’s how it should be.
Paris is not a “check it off your list” city. It’s one that gets better with time. We’ve been twice in the past 11 months, and will be back sooner than later. Every time we’ll wonder, “Why did we come back here again?” as the waiter growls at Derek or I almost get run over by a cab. But when sip a glass of rose wine at a café while people watching and picture snapping, we’ll talk about what we want to do on our next trip to Paris. As it should be.
Even Derek can't wait to come back!
I hope you had as much fun reading this, as I had writing it. I’d love any feedback or messages from you! It’s always fun to hear from friends, family, and soon-to-be friends.
Derek and I hope that our adventures inspire you to take your own adventures in life!
Thanks for reading,