vacation planning

I’m going to Paris!

I was initially decided on  a trip to Barcelona. But last week, I received an email with an incredible travel deal to Paris that I could not pass up.  After mulling it over and researching the hotel (which is located in Montmartre), Bob and I decided to book it.

As a person who has never visited Paris before, I’m in total research mode and trying to plan somewhat of an itinerary. The process is kind of overwhelming, so I’m looking to you for help! I know a few of you have been, so I’d love it if you could give me some advice. I’m open to anything:

  • Restaurants/bakeries to try.
  • Places/sights I absolutely must go to.
  • Tips on French etiquette/language.
  • Anecdotes from your own Paris trip.
  • Links to your own Paris trip blog posts.
  • What’s the best travel guide book/website?

Like I said, any words of wisdom or recommendations you can share would be so much appreciated. I’m excited to hear your thoughts. And even more excited for this trip!

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43 responses to “vacation planning”

  1. colleen says:

    I'll email you some ideas – I've been to Paris three times and it really is a magical place. and one of my favorite parts of the city is Montmartre. so excited for you!

  2. jillian m. says:

    Oh yay! I'll patiently await your email 😉

  3. jillian m. says:

    Thank you! I'll bookmark this one.

  4. Monica says:

    montmarte is THE best place.
    my biggest advice would be to forget doing le louvre entirely. decide on one or a couple of areas of it you must see and go there. it's just too enormous and it'll end up a blur if you push to see it all.
    my favourite thing to do there is simply (after a breakfast of croissants and huge jugs of cafe au lait) stroll along the river and people watch.

    when you going, for how long? i want to go to barcelona!

  5. rooth says:

    Fantastic! I've never gone before but was just in France in February. I hope you have a ton of fun planning for your trip

  6. Natalie says:

    This is so exciting! Montmarte really is charming. Le Reuge des Fondues is an AWESOME place to eat. It's a fondue place and they serve wine in baby bottles because the place is so small and crowded that they don't want it to spill. Really cool experience!! Here's more about it: http://paristriptips.com/where-to-eat/18e-arr-restaurants/le-refuge-des-fondues

    Enjoy!

  7. Vanessa says:

    Oh, exciting! I love Paris and I know you're going to have such an amazing time. I mean, what's not to like? Easily the most beautiful city in the world…

    Here's a post I did on food in Paris:
    http://thevoyageofv.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/eat-paris/

    All of my Paris posts (sue just mention Paris, but some are actual vacation posts):
    http://thevoyageofv.wordpress.com/?s=paris

  8. jillian m. says:

    I'm perfectly happy to skip the Louvre altogether. Bob's more into it than I am, so I guess we'll have to see on that one. Great advice, Monica. I love the idea of just picking a few areas to take my time in. I'll do that! Thank you so much.

  9. jillian m. says:

    Ooooh, I'm going to check the site now. Thanks!

  10. jillian m. says:

    Awesome, Vanessa. Thank you! I'll bookmark these.

  11. Ashley says:

    My paris post: http://littleturkishgirl.blogspot.com/2009/08/american-in-paris.html

    You MUST eat tons of cheese. OH MY GOSHHH. They have the best cheese in the world, no arguing about that.

    Chateau de Versailles was pretty damn awesome (about 25 minutes outside of the city). So great that you're staying in Montmarte, because that's another one of my favorite destinations! Take a stroll and eat at cafes in St. Germaine, it's picturesque France. Connect with couchsurfers (couchsurfing.org) for coffee and advice on events going on. Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe are classic as well, I wouldn't skip it. But I would skip the Champs Elysees…too much commercialism!

    I'm so excited that you are going! I had a blast in Paris and I know it's a destination you've really wanted to go to :) Cheers!

  12. Ashley says:

    Oh, and I was also obsessed with the rivers. So much so, I went to a smashing river boat party with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I will always remember that…

  13. rebecca says:

    hilarious. 2 new yorkers bump into each other in paris, of all places, and then blog about it at the same time. love all the good advice you're getting here!

  14. in dreams says:

    hey! i just clicked through to your blog from the daily muse, and i thought i'd share some of my favourite paris stuff…i hope that's ok! :)

    i absolutely loved musee national du moyen age (the national museum of the middle ages, link here: http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/ang/index.html), as it's housed in an old religious abbey, and has tonnes of pretty things to look at, but isn't too overwhelming (like the louvre!). i also loved the catacombs, but i know that's not everyone's thing. finally, you must go up the eiffel tower! (if only for the tremendous view…paris is spread out below you, stretching out in all directions…!)

    for eating, i did stop by laduree for their macarons, but i found that any of the regular bakeries tended to be fantastic for macarons and other pastries, and it was probably a waste to wait in line there (though i did keep the box!). i agree with everyone that montmartre is the best place to stay and to eat, too…lots of yummy restaurants and a beautiful courtyard to just hang out in. (plus sacre coeur is right around the corner! and it is stunning.)

    ok i'm done my little book here! i hope you have an absolutely fantastic time…though i know it would be hard not to! :)

  15. designedbyann says:

    ah I'm going to Paris in May…so I'm totally going to read all the comments in this post as well. I've been many times in the past though, last time 4 years ago. Here's my post with a couple of recommendations: http://designedbyann.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/paris/

    Anna

  16. Hannah says:

    SOOO jealous. I would love to go to Paris.

    Champagne Lifestyle on a Beer Budget

  17. sherri lynn says:

    I can't believe you're going to Paris!! I have to admit I'm a little jealous – Paris has been my dream destination for a trip since I was a little girl and I've still not been. I have no recommendations for you, but I'm going to come to you as as a resource down the road whenever we go!

  18. yours truly, melissa says:

    So very exciting! Yeah for you two! :)

    I'm dying to go in a vacation that requires the use of a passport…!

  19. Lena at A Crimson Kiss says:

    HORRAAAAAY for Paris! I'd definitely suggest a cocktail at the Hemingway Bar in the Paris Ritz, and an evening taxi ride around the Eiffel Tower–it's pretty mesmerizing! And the very best duck I had that summer in France was in a little hole in the wall bistro around the corner from the Hotel Lutetia–I wish I could tell you the name!

  20. Lena at A Crimson Kiss says:

    Oh, and if you have time, a little day trip to Fontainebleau is beautiful–you're going to have the most wonderful trip!!

  21. jillian m. says:

    Wow, thank you so much for all these wonderful suggestions! That museum sounds fascinating. And the bakeries? For sure!

  22. jillian m. says:

    Great post, Anna. The walk along the champs Elysees sounds perfect.

  23. jillian m. says:

    Ah Lena, thank you much! I love duck, so I'll have to find that bistro. If I find the name of it, I'll let you know and you can tell me if that's the one (if you remember it)!

  24. jillian m. says:

    And I'm going in June for 6 nights!

  25. Lucent Imagery says:

    Hooray! I'm still slowly posting photos from our trip last year (it stretches out the fun and memories!), but I've published a few blog posts already. I'd recommend the place we ate at for "our first meal in paris" post. http://www.lucentimagery.com/index.php/tag/paris-france/

    Have a wonderful time!

  26. Aquí says:

    How exciting! I'm of no help, I've been only once when I was younger. Can't wait to read all about your trip though!

  27. Sarah Perez says:

    Hey Jillian! I was in Paris two summers ago and I think you must make a day trip to Versailles!!! It was by far the most beautiful place I visited on my euro-trip that summer and it was easy to get there by train 😉

  28. jillian m. says:

    I'm definitely going to refer to your posts. So far, I'm loving the "first meal" post. It looks great.

  29. jillian m. says:

    Sarah, I didn't even know you went to Paris! Must have been so exciting!

  30. LatteLisa LisaHjalt says:

    Oh my, this post makes my heart so happy. If my hard drive hadn't crashed I could have sent you like trillion links but it looks like I'll have to ask you to send me some because I'm going there with my best friend in the autumn.

    Happy planning and please share with us your ideas 😉

  31. Shoko says:

    I can't wait to hear about your trip! I've never been to Paris, but I'm dying to go – it's number one on my travel wish list!

  32. INES A. says:

    Have a good trip ! Paris is beautiful, you will have a good time !

  33. Asibi Chanelia says:

    Yay you, Paris is delightful.I currently live in Paris, so might be of a little help to you. You can brush through my tumble blog, as I write little anecdotes about Parisian life and if you have any specific questions to help prep for your trip,wouldn't mind answering.

  34. Sarah says:

    Oh I'm so Jealous! I went to Paris last year and it became my favorite place I have ever been to, absolutely GORGEOUS! Here is a link to some of my Paris photos I put on my blog http://www.lipstickandruffles.com/2011/10/paris-love.html . Of course the Lourve is a must see and the tuilleries garden, Luxemberg garden, The eiffel tower is gorgeous during the day and at night, macaroons and so much better fresh and straight from the bakery, and one of the best parts of Paris is all of the adorable little cafes with delicious food. Everyone there was so friendly and almost everyone speaks english. Ok ill stop babbling now, you are going to love it!

  35. Kindra says:

    I second the Musee du Moyen Age (Musee Cluny)! Ste. Chapelle is extraordinarily beautiful. The Sewer Museum is also fun and unique!

  36. k says:

    I was in Paris for a month, and my absolute favorite place was Jardin du Luxembourg. And as cliche as it sounds, you have to picnic at the Eiffel Tower and see it at night as well. I believe it sparkles every other hour.

  37. k says:

    Oh! As far as manners, it is important to say Bonjour/Bonsoir as you enter a store and Merci, Au Revoir as you leave. As far as knowing the language, most of the time if you attempt to speak in French they will automatically speak to you in English because they know you are not a native speaker. I never once had a bad experience or rude encounter following this. Have an amazing time!

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