- TRAVEL IN EARLY FALL!
Imagining a perfect trip to Paris does NOT typically include 90F (32C) weather, lines two hours long, hot cramped chateaus full of families with screaming children. The fact is; who seeks crowds and heat! If this rings true, September travel should be perfect timing!!
September – October not only is the weather perfect but the prices are great as well. Technically speaking summer has ended; children are back in school and its back to business as usual for locals.
Seasons are starting to change and IF there happens to be a rainy day it is easily remedied by ducking into a café, shop, museum, church or grabbing a cab… p.s. carrying an umbrella isn’t a bad idea either. No matter, keep in mind Paris is beautiful in the rain!
- START YOUR TRIP IN THE SUBURBS
The fact is that a big city requires transitioning and can sometimes be slightly overwhelming. In addition everyone for the first few days deals with that not-so-fun travel companion…jet lag! Starting travel somewhere relaxing can be a great way to ease into and make a journey extra rewarding.
My favorite place to go for the first few days is the city of Versailles! It’s a perfect quant little suburb of Paris and only a train ride away from the city center! Versailles offers many beautiful hotel options, my personal favorite being the Trianon Palace a beautifully restored chateau occupying its own corner of Versailles gardens.
Not only is this a beautiful hotel but it provides easy access to the Versailles chateau, gardens, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon. Leaving plenty of cool things to see that are literally right outside the door.
The gardens are free to public access and provide an easy place to get some fresh air after a long plane flight. Options for getting here from the airport include private car, taxi or rental car. After international travel which typically includes over night flights and little sound sleep being picked up and escorted door to door is ideal!
- MORE THEN 2 DAYS IN PARIS
I have been to Paris many times, one important thing I have learned; there is always something more to see! Give yourself the pleasure of a wander and truly enjoy the sites. Take time to get to know the city, not just the iconic landmarks.
With so many great things to see and do, it’s funny how some of my best memories actually were just sitting in a café watching the world go by. There is more to Paris than just le Tour Eiffel, Moulin Rouge and les Musées. Take the time to go to the local markets, shop where the locals shop and enjoy an intimate time within each of the unique arrondissements (city districts). When in France; do as the French do! I promise you will be the happier for it! Come back from your journey with knowledge and experience; not just playing a tourist.
- DON’T CRAM EVERYTHING INTO ONE DAY!
The American mind set is Go, Go, Go, Go! See it all in one day…the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, le tour Eiffel and Musée Rodin! Not only is this an unattainable feat but this is just a bad idea! SLOW DOWN! Even if you enjoy a fast pace or feel more bang for your buck is the way to roll, the fact is your only skimming the surface, a good chance that you will not retain or grow from the experience. If your goal is to get the most out of your dollars then reducing stress and return home with unique personal treasures is the best ROI. Relax, take your time, enjoy what you see and find along the way!
Besides the simple truth is you would never be able to see all of the Louvre in one day, experts say if you looked at every piece of art in the Louvre for 30 seconds without any breaks, it would take you 100 days to see it all! In a way it almost seems an insult to the great creators of this city not to give each landmark or work of art the time and consideration it deserves.
The rule when in Paris should be; “take your time!” Enjoy not just the sites but the wonder and entirety of the place. Every corner has history or something beautiful to offer. Paris is a place to come back to, time and time again, and there is always more to see and do.
- WALK EVERYWHERE YOU CAN!
Those of you who have read my previous article The Art of Experiencing Paris know I am a firm believer in seeing Paris by foot. Taking your time and stroll the streets because the fact is you never know what you may find around a corner. The French actually have this concept so highly embedded in their culture that they have a word “flâner” which means to walk around a city in order truly experience every attribute.
You never know what you may come across; a hidden market, an amazing artisanal shop, a beautiful statue, building, or even amazing street art! Things you won’t see from the Metro or taxi.
The other thing that is important to keep in mind is safety. The fact is that you are much more at risk of having something happen if you are taking the Metro than if you are walking around the city. Yes, if you are trying to cram things into one day you will undoubtedly need to find a faster way to get across town than walking but that is exactly what those who prey on tourists are expecting.
The better thing to do is select a couple of sites each day. Walking to selected destinations, taking in the route and if you must grab a taxi back to your hotel. Taxi stands are everywhere, will cost you at most €5- €10. Of course Paris is also beautiful at night and you may even find a cool café; grab a table and have a bite!
*Imagining a perfect trip to Paris…these travel tips will help and consider the 2015 Paris Journey September 10 -18, 2015. I happily host…walking all over Paris and you are welcome!*