Paris Trip Pre-Travel Costs

Well, aside from the obvious pre-travel costs such as airfare, hotel deposits, and car rental arrangements, there are a host of other costs I’ve run into. These range from updating your luggage, if need be, to buying some travel safety essentials.

MoneybeltGiven all the stories I’ve read about pickpockets in Paris, buying a few new items was a no-brainer. Better safe than sorry… forewarned is forearmed.. whatever your favorite cliché, I opted to be prepared. I headed over to the Rick Steves travel store and picked up two silk money belts, one for me, one for Jonell — and a couple of TSA travel locks for our luggage.

While I was on the site, I also took Rick’s suggestion on a clothesline and travel washcloths. I figured the clothesline was a great way to help us pack lighter, not wondering how we were going to wash out a few things in the hotel room. Of course, there is always a Laundromat  but that just felt like it would take away from our exploring time. Why not let the clothes air-dry while we’re out wandering. Continue reading

Planning for Spring in Paris

When we first set out to do our planning for Paris I thought it would be fairly routine. Book a flight, find a hotel and decide which sites we wanted to see. Turns out there’s a lot more going on than we first expected.

The first challenge was really to plan a trip for two people who have never traveled together before. Sure we’d spent a full day shopping, lunching or other such day trips, but two weeks could prove to be a tad more difficult. My girlfriend had said, “this is your dream trip, I’m just along for the ride”, I knew that it was imperative to always keep her feelings in mind. There was NO way I wanted to risk harming our lifelong friendship.

Parisian Gardens

Paris in Springtime.. what could be more cliche than that! Flowers in bloom and a plethora of parks to explore. This is something I knew she would really enjoy. Me? Well, I’m more the “walk the narrow streets and explore the shops” kind of gal, but since this is my first real vacation in over 15 years I think the tranquility of the gardens will make for a wonderful escape from daily life. Continue reading

Giverny Exploration Cont’d

B-B-Giverny Option 2

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a back up plan for Giverny. While the first bed & breakfast  really looks like an idyllic place to relax, there is another choice.

Apparently this B&B is little more remote, with no restaurants nearby, but the reviews were quite high.

B-B-Giverny Option 2a

A 10-minute drive from Claude Monet’s garden and home, this B&B is in Bus-Saint-Rémy. It offers a large garden and free Wi-Fi access in the lounge. I would prefer it in the room.. but I’m not picky.

All rooms are said to have a garden view and the en suite bathrooms include a walk-in shower, which I prefer over a bath.

What do you think? Choice 1 or Choice 2? As of now, I’ve booked both and would need to make a decision prior to May 10th. Continue reading

Accommodations in Paris – Part Deux

After spending six wonderful days in Paris we’ll head to Versailles on the RER and pick up a rental car. It’s only about a 30-minute train ride, so really just a suburb of Paris. From there we’ll head northwest on a 3.5 hour drive. Honestly, I expect this to take us more like 5 or 6 hours as we leisurely explore the countryside.

mont st michel from the airDestination Mont St. Michel. I’ll never get a spectacular from the air shot like this, so I thought I’d just share the one I found on Wikipedia. Isn’t it amazing! This is at low tide.

Apparently, back in the day, monks would make their pilgrimage across the sandbars at low tide. These days there’s a causeway with a shuttle to take visitors across the bay. Here’s a short video that describes what we will get to explore. Continue reading

Accommodations in Paris

Where Will We Visit in France? First Stop Paris

Here’s a map of our itinerary. While it’s not set in stone, and I fully anticipate we will diverge from the plan, it was necessary to roughly map it out so we wouldn’t end up sleeping in the streets.

Map of route from Paris to Mont St MichelHighlights include Paris of course, a visit to Monet’s Gardens at Giverny and road trip to Mont Saint Michel along the Normandy Coast. We’ll be renting a car for the 3-hour drive, so who knows what quaint little village we may choose to stay in. There’s some flexibility built into this adventure.

Where Shall We Sleep in Paris?

The Latin Quarter, aka Rive-Gauche, is in the 4th and 5th arrondissements of Paris. It is situated on the left bank of the Seine, with the historic Sorbonne at its heart. I selected this area for a few reasons. Having a natural thirst for learning, it only seemed appropriate as it is home to France’s most prestigious universities and colleges. The creative side of me wants to experience the St Germain area as it has been the meeting place for the left bank’s artists and writers over many centuries. Continue reading