This adventure still feels a bit like a dream. I think Paris is on most people's bucket list... I had always heard amazing things and seen endless pictures from this most gorgeous city, but never really knew what to expect. In fact, the only way that we had any sort of plan for the week was through other friend's recommendations and our trusty travel guide who goes with us on every European trip, Rick Steves! After a bit of a change in plans, a week freed up for both Chip and me where I had two weekends in a row off of weddings... in the middle of wedding season. So after a bit of number crunching and a lot of dreaming, we officially booked our flights to Paris to head back to the continent where we fell in love. For those of you who don't know, my husband and I met while studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain, so travel is something in the veins of our marriage. The minute we step on new soil we fall right back into the rhythm of exploring, eating, learning new languages and just "being." Travel does something magical not only for me as a creative, but for us as a couple. It brings new light to the everyday and brings more joy (even in the challenges of travel) than we could imagine. And finally, it gives us such a greater appreciation for each other and our time doing life at home.
I have actually kind of avoided sharing this adventure thus far because it feels as though there is some kind of ending once the story is told and images are shared. While these images can never do the beauty, charm and magic of Paris justice, I hope that they brighten your day and open your eyes in a way that only travel can do. I'm so grateful for this adventure and the opportunity to do a job that allows me to explore with my husband at my side, and even do some work while on our many adventures! I can't wait to share more about that soon!
For now, enjoy a peek into our Parisian experience - full of gorgeous light, a bit of rain, lots of croissants, and likely me stopping every 2 seconds to take a photo in hopes capturing even a fraction of the beauty that is Paris. And at the end, you'll find 5 takeaways from our Paris trip in true "The Carnes Travel" fashion!
Isn't Paris amazing?! You must go.
And now, here are 5 random takeaways in no particular order from our trip to Paris:
- Take notes! Every evening, Chip and I would sit in our Airbnb and jot down what we did that day, our favorite finds, foods we ate and couldn't get enough of, and tips from the day. We actually do this for every big trip we take and it's become a favorite thing. Not only does it allow us to have access to our trip memories to share with family and friends and future travelers, but it also is a perfect way for us to "relive" the day again... and over and over. When I'm feeling a particular surge of wanderlust I will open up our adventure log and dream of all of the places we've seen and things we've eaten. There really is something so special about it!
Pack a picnic and day trip to Versailles! Of course there are certain things people tell you you must do! And yet, there always seem to be other people who say... nah, don't worry about that spot. Every traveler is different, but there is something neat about heading just a short ways outside of Paris for a day to experience the grandeur of Versailles. For me, the castle was beautiful, but not where we invested tons of time. Instead, we took Rick Steves' suggestion and heading to Marie Antionette's home and shire first and explored the gardens. I was absolutely floored and so fascinated by it's beauty and endless nooks! I almost could envision it in its hey-day! Plus, after a week in the city, packing a picnic and enjoying a bottle of rosé, cheese, bread and fruit on a bench in the middle of the gardens is one of the sweetest memories I have from our trip. I highly recommend it! Also, I highly recommend walking shoes or... rent bikes for the day. We walked literally a half marathon that day. Wowza! We walked over 70 miles in 1 week... and good thing because we also ate a lot of croissants.
- If you are going with your significant other, do a photo session! I think this is officially my policy for any travel to unique cites. After much thought, Chip and I decided to take the plunge and do an anniversary session with the fabulously talented Lindsay of Letters + Light Co. Part of the goal of our trip was to meet with her and discuss some future projects, and so it only seemed natural to have photos done of the two of us in the City of Light & Love. And truly, it is just that! Paris displayed the most beautiful glistening Seine on the first morning of our trip for an early session and we couldn't have been more enchanted or in love with the city... and each other. It's a memory I'll cherish forever and now have photos in our home to remind us of those special moments together! I can't wait to share more about that experience soon!
- Find what excites you and do that. For us, we travel best with a good mix of planned adventures covering all the history and museums, with unplanned roaming of the streets to find the best pain au chocolat around. What we desire most in travel is time together exploring amazing cities and experiencing cultures like the locals do. If that fires you up and you're heading to Paris, consider a food tour with Paris by Mouth and touring the city by Discovery Walks. You'll get a bit of the insider's view of Paris from real Parisians and it will balance perfectly with your museum exploring! And if you want literally our full 7 day itinerary down to what we ate at various restaurants, let me know and I'll send it over. :) Note: we stayed in Le Marias and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was the perfect mix of everything we wanted... and minutes away from a meal we actually dream about at Miznon.
- Parisian markets are some of the most amazing things ever. Per the recommendation of our Airbnb host, we visited the Bastille Market (and many others) over the course of our trip. For a girl who absolutely loves food, culture... and unique grocery stores... the markets had me wide-eyed and full of delight while sampling fresh berries and apricots and purchasing olive wood spoons for food styling. To me, the Parisian way of life is something that is so special. From long lunches on the patio over wine, to purchasing fresh produce and baguettes each day, to simply enjoying a vibrant city with others, Paris left a mark on us that won't soon wear away. I'm already dreaming of when I can return again... and you better believe I hope it's during strawberry season! ;)
Have you been to Paris and experienced it's magic?! Where are some of your favorite places to visit? We're always looking for new adventures to add to our bucket list!
To see more travel photos & hear takeaways from those adventures, check out these posts:
Tuscany, Italy | Amalfi Coast, Italy | Rome, Italy | Charleston, SC | Caribbean | Austin, TX pt. 1 & 2 | Charlottesville & Richmond, VA | Savannah, GA | Harry Potter World in Orlando, FL | St. Simon's Island, GA