I’m home from Paris after the most gloriously memorable week with my sisters. My heart is so full – so enthralled! – of all the beauty, excitement, grandeur, delicious French foods and the general sense of well-being that comes from being in my absolute favorite place on earth.
I Instagram Storied (I totally just made up a new verb there) a ton of things from the trip and I loved all the DMs I got in response. You guys had so many questions, so I’ll try to break everything up into a few posts because there’s a ton of good info to pass along.
PENCIL SHAVINGS IN PARIS
My background in France goes back to when I was sixteen. I have family that lives outside of Paris, and I got to spend time with them for a few weeks at a time there. It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair that I’ve never quite recovered from. Then I spent my college summers studying abroad, always returning to France. It’s a lifelong love affair with that country, and above all I am so humbled – so immensely, utterly grateful – that my parents made it possible for me to experience so much there. Simon and I continue to pursue travel as a family because of the foundation my parents laid for me.
PARIS IN LATE NOVEMBER
I’ve never gotten to visit Paris in the fall or winter, but I have to say it was absolute perfection and it might be my new favorite time to go. The weather hovered around 50 degrees and there was rain every now and then. But it was all together agreeable – nothing was too hot (because summer can be MISERABLY hot — no air conditioning as a general rule) and it was fun to bundle up and see all the sights glittering underneath the Christmas lights.
Your daylight hours are more constricted, however. The sun rose at 8:30am and set around 4:30, 4:45. So be prepared to enjoy the city in the evening too.
WHERE TO STAY
In the past, I lived in the 1st arrondissement, which I do particuarly love for its proximity to so many great things. I think I’m more of a Right Banker than a Left Banker overall, although I’ve stayed in both. This time, we stayed in the Marais in the most glorious little Airbnb and it was nothing short of perfect. It was beautifully decorated, and on the top 2 floors of a 17th century building on rue Vieille du Temple.
WHAT TO DO
Since we’ve gotten home, my mind still feels thousands of miles away, back in France. There’s something so elementally satisfying to me about being in that country. It’s funny – when people ask what they should do in Paris, I think they expect a long to-do list of monuments and museums, which of course are valuable.
France is about so much more than just sightseeing. It’s a collective experience that cannot be packaged or bottled. It’s a total lifestyle experience that challenges everything about our American habits and values. It’s beauty and culture for every single person, and elevating your life in simple ways. The experience is about wandering down ancient streets, popping in and out of pretty shops. It’s about lingering outside at cafes, even in the cold, underneath the heaters with something warm in your hand to drink. It’s about well-being and beautiful surroundings. Good cheese, the best bread, and buildings that will outlive us all. Nobody is carrying 30oz Starbucks drinks as they rush hither and yon.
But most of all, it’s recognizing that life is so different from the bubble we live in. There is so much more to the world than just what we surround ourselves with. This is the great gift of travel.
My heart was so incredibly full every single day in France as a student, and that experience continues to run over even to this trip. As we hopped all over the city, I felt the mere joy of simply existing in such a beautiful place.
Yes, my heart is full. And my joy is overflowing.