Monday, February 22, 2010

Planning for Paris

With the excitement of football and Mardi Gras behind us, Mark and I are beginning to focus on our 5th anniversary trip to Paris!!!

For any of you who have read this post here, you can tell that 1. I am a type A travel planner leaving no detail to chance and 2. I plan our trips around food.  Is there really any other way to travel?!?!  I will admit that I am finding planning for Paris to be completely overwhelming.  Unlike NYC, where I feel I finally have some sense of where things are, Paris is a complete mystery to me.  I can't decide whether I should start with activities and plan meals around where we will be or plan meals and base our itinerary around the meals.  I'm going bananas here.  Mark and I have decided to get a white board and chart out each of our days so that our itinerary makes sense from a location logistics perspective.  I think this will help me plan since I am a visual learner. 

A few details we have nailed down so far make me one excited tourist.  We will arrive in Paris on Sunday mid-morning following an overnight flight.  We are determined to check into our hotel, take showers, and hit the streets of Paris.  No napping!!!  Sunday night we will be partaking in what should be an AMAZING foodie experience.  I read about a place called Hidden Kitchen where two American chefs living in Paris prepare meals each weekend for 16 guests.  It is less of a restaurant and more of an intimate dinner party.  The meal is served in 10 courses with wines being paired with 7 of those courses.  The menu is not revealed until the day of the dinner once the chefs have been to the markets and picked out the menu's ingredients.  So we'll have to be extra willing to explore new and interesting flavors!  I have emailed HK and we have been booked for two seats at the dinner on Sunday evening.  The meal begins at 8:00 and ends at 11:30.  That is just my kind of food experience.  I love a good long meal filled with fabulous stories and amazing food shared over the course of an entire evening.  I am hoping by the end of dinner we have made some new friends and have learned all we need to know about what we must do in Paris!

The second item we have checked off our Paris planning to-do list is reserving my space at my food day with Chef Paule from Promenades Gourmandes.  On Wednesday, my Christmas Present will become real as I join Chef Paule on a tour of the markets of Paris.  I will be learning the basics of French culinary preparation skills and be preparing a three course lunch with the assistance of Chef Paule.  After a cheese tasting and some wine, we will be off on our food tour of Paris.  Mark will be joining us on this leg of our culinary adventure.  I cannot wait to walk the streets of Paris with him!

And finally, I have found the perfect museum exhibit for me!!!  Yves Saint Laurent is being honored in an exhibit at the Petit Palais.  It will feature the magificent works of this fashion icon whose career spanned more than forty years.  I'm not sure how crazy Mark was about this little discovery of mine, but I really can't wait to see it!  The museum stays open late on Thursdays and has a discounted admission during the later window.  Love that!  So I think we will be going here Thursday evening during dinner time to hopefully bypass some of the crowds.  Maybe we'll follow that up with a late night dinner at a brasserie.  My favorite part about Paris may be their tendency to dine late night.  You make such good use of your day when dinner is served after 8:00 pm.

PS - I did find the most helpful thing for translating foreign websites (especially menus).  Google allows you to enter in a URL here and translate an entire webpage.  This has been incredibly helpful when I have been browsing through the websitesof some of Paris's restaurants. 

While there is still so much to plan, I am so excited about the things we have already worked on that I can hardly contain myself.  For anyone reading who have visited Paris, I would love to hear from you!  What was your favorite thing to do?  Place to eat?  Tour to take?  Museum to visit?  Was there something you would suggest skipping?  Any and all tips are appreciated!!!


  1. I just found your blog! I adore it and you. I love your trip already.

    I am a Louisiana girl - born in Lakeview and then Daddy moved us to Morgan City and now living in NYC. WHO DAT!

  2. I don't know which part sounds more amazing, what a great opportunity!!! And Oprah's stock definitely sank when she asked Drew Brees who kissed him, but he was so awesome about it. class act.

  3. How exciting! I haven't been to Paris in years, but some of my faves are the Musee d'Orsay and the Musee de l'Orangerie. A ride on a Bateau Mouche on the Seine is a must and great way to see the city. I'm sure it will be a fabulous trip!

  4. amazing and well worth the price!

    get a open top bus pass. gets you to all the points of interest and lasts more than one day.

  5. Oh my gosh, it sounds like a dream trip! Please take lots and lots of pictures and write about it when you get back!

  6. Your cooking tour and meal sounds amazing! If we go back someday I may have to adventure on that.

    Please go to Miss Manon and Laduree for me! Honestly, for lunch some of my favorite memories and best food was just grabbing a sandwich off the street corner and eating as we walked. another favorite was the big fat bike tour that Lisa recommended. So much fun! Oh another thing we wanted to do was visit the catacombs but it was closed. My husband had been to Paris before but had not gotten a chance to do the catacombs so he was pretty bummed about that. You are going to have the time of your life, eat all the pretty macaroons your heart desires (one for me as well) and def leave a day open to do whatever!

  7. Sounds like a wonderful trip so far! I am so excited for you guys. The foodie things you have booked both sound wonderful. I can't wait to live vicariously through you!

    Hands down, my favorite part of Paris was the Marais area. Some people will say it is too touristy, but I found it to be the most 'Parisian' area of Paris. I went on a walking tour of the area which was super duper interesting.

    The bike tour that Heidi mentioned is also wonderful - I did the evening one my 2nd night in Paris and it was a great way to get a lay of the land. I found Paris to be extremely easy to navigate. The subway system is AWESOME. I got a small foldable map that had the metro system on the back and that was awesome.

    I would recommend having a day of just wandering around or at least an afternoon. I think it's smart to look at what arondissement things are located in so you can kind of group them together. I personally didn't go to a lot of museums - the only one I went to was d'Orsay which I loved. It was small enough to not overwhelm me.

    Oh, and if you like falafels, you have to go to Las du falafel. It's in the Marais area and has the BEST falafels. They are so yummy.

    Ok, I will stop there. I could go on and on. I definitely left my heart and Paris and can't wait to return some day! Happy planning - feel free to email me with any questions!!

  8. Hi! Admitting I'm jealous of your upcoming trip. :)

    I've only been one time but I loved everything about it. you can't go wrong. I regret not eating a Le Grand Colbert behind the Palais Royal. I walked by it but it was just never the right time. I could have done much better on the food end. The best little lunch time bistro I came across was on the corner of rue de l'universite and rue de bac in the 6th (not sure if that is spelled right). Phenomenal basic good food. I got your email and will send you more info.


  9. Have a blast in Paris! When do you leave? We've been 4 times in the past 4 years, and can't get enough. Some trips we've focused on food, some on museums, and this last time, we focused on RELAXING... which you absolutely can't do on your first trip.

    I'm a complete planner... but in Paris, ALL PLANS FALL OUT THE WINDOW. I'm serious!!!! Don't let it bother you... go with the flow.

    Just warning you!

    And yes... Le Grand Colbert was great! A fun memory. Can't wait to hear all about it! We are already planning our next trip, so I will be anxiously awaiting your blog.


  10. As I keep reading your blog, I keep thinking, is this girl a younger version of me? Seriously!!!

    My husband and I went to Paris for our 5th anniversary a few years ago and had a fantastic time. I have oodles of information I can give you about things to see, places we liked, tips, etc.

    I also found an awesome website/forum of people who love to go to paris who had TONS of great information on things they saw, etc.

    THis week actually makes 2 years since we went and I'm planning a trip back there (a little weekend getaway) for my 35th birthday.

    There are so many things to do and see there. The food is AMAZING. I've had the best food ever there.

    Have you booked your accomodations? The reason I ask is because we rented an apartment instead of a hotel since the hotel rooms were so pricey. We got a studio apartment for like $150/night US instead of spending $300 Euros for a hotel room with a shared bathroom. Great little place and we felt like we "lived" in paris. If you want info on the apartment agency, they are based in the US and very easy to work with = drop me a line and I can give you their info.

    God, I love paris and I can't wait to get back there. Email me!!!



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