Off to Paris… Prepping, Planning, Packing and everything in between; in this post I am sharing with you all of the prep work that goes into a week long trip to Paris and all of the essentials you should bring.
First Prepping… After the important stuff, like flights and hotels, we started to book all of the tickets weeks, and in a few cases months, in advance. The hotel we stayed at is in the middle of city center, down the street from he Arc de Triomphe called the Hotel Magda Champs Elysees. When booking the hotel, it was important to my mom and I that we stayed in something that was a one and only home in Paris. We didn’t want to stay in a Marriott or any sort of chain, we wanted something that lived in Paris and was unique. The hotel we found was absolutly perfect, just seconds away from the Arc, nestled in a small street of Paris, it’s got it’s own cafe and each room is home to its own design and aesthetic that offers each guest a small taste of Paris.
After the hotel, we went online in search of tickets and passes that we knew we needed to buy immediately. The day we arrive in Paris, 7:45AM their time, is my moms birthday. So as a treat to her, that night we dined in the Eiffel Tower. Obviously something that special and unique is going to sell out quickly, so we bought those tickets almost 3 months in advance. We also bought something that is offered in all big cities, The CityPass, which offers a STEAL on tickets and entrance to dozens of museums and hotspots for one price. We bought a four day pass for about 100 euros each. FOUR DAYS for 1oo euros??? Count me in! It offers us entrance and line skipping to dozens of museums, monuments, and others like the Louve, Notre-Dame, the Palace of Versailles and so many others. If you’re going to big cities, this is my number one recommendation to buy!
Second Planning… Books, Pinterest, Google; these are your best friends when planning any trip. As soon as we started telling people we were taking a trip to Paris, we received a few gifts like books that offered us insight into the best places to visit and all of the hidden nooks and crannies. The books we received were super helpful in providing tips and tricks in all areas of tourism; Where to shop, where to eat, what to do when you’re on the subway, old Paris, new Paris, and everything in between. The first book we got was from my moms lovely boss, who just happened to have visited the City of Love herself. The book entitled The New Paris gives you a taste of everything about the city, how it runs, the government, all things tourism and all things not. It’s a beautifully presented book with over a hundred pages of texts and pictures to prepare you for your trip to Paris. The second book was from Megan, bought at Anthro and published by the famous Macaroon shop in Paris, Laudrée entitled Paris by Laudrée: A Chic City Guide, was the typical city guide book. Beautifully written and published, it offers a little blips on everything you need to visit in Paris for all price ranges. Just like it says to visit the hub of Louis Vuitton, it also offers recommendations for the best flea markets. Sharing tidbits about fashion, art, shopping, museums, architecture, it’s an easy to read guide book that gives you a map of the prime places in Paris.
After the books comes Pinterest, I searched pins and boards to find the Bloggers best in Paris. I looked for all sorts of personal, and somewhat professional, opinions of places sort of out of the eye of the normal tourist. As a New Yorker, I felt that I had a strong advantage traveling to another big city. I did a lot of research before hand to get acquainted with the city. Once I had all of the pinning and reading done, what I would do is spend some time on google maps getting the actual lay of the land. On the subway on my way to or from work, I would just look up the location of our hotel and then see where all of the places we wanted to go to from there. I started getting familiar with the arrondissements (districts) and the streets we were going to be on a lot, like the Champs-Élysées. I can tell you that this really helped me to immediately feel a little comfort when we arrived in Paris. I didn’t know where everything was, but I had a really good idea and I felt comfortable just walking around without my phone glued to my face with google maps open. I highly recommend doing this before you go to any big city; just get informally acquainted with it on google.
Lastly came the Packing… To say that my mom and I over packed is a bit of an understatement, lol. But we came to Paris prepared and ready to look fashionable 25/8. Obviously something everyone does before they travel somewhere is check out what the weather is supposed to be like for the time they are there. Paris looked like it was going to be beautiful for just about the entire time we were going to be there. In the 70’s and the sun shining, so we packed accordingly. Dressed, skirts, cute shorts and some comfortable but obviously fashionable shoes. Something I struggle with most when packing for a vacation is finding the perfect shoes that will balance in fashion and comfort. Just like my everyday in NYC, I knew we were going to be doing a lot of walking in Paris, luckily, I found an adorable pair of shoes that channeled Chanel. They were $10, yes, you read that right, $10 at Zara and they found me the most comfort while strolling the streets of the city of love. Although I spent a pretty penny before I left on a mani pedi, with all of my knee problems, I knew comfort would need to be a priority when traveling and walking, so I wore these shoes the most. We would also plan to head back to the hotel if we wanted to go somewhere fancy for dinner or drinks so we could change into something a little nicer. I definitely recommend taking the time to head back to your hotel and freshen up and change if necessary so you can have both comfort and fashion all in one day.
So, I know this was one of my longer posts, but I really wanted to share with all of you some of my best advice for traveling anywhere. I hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for my next post will encompass our entire trip to Paris from beginning to end.