A few years ago, Nathan and I took our second trip to Paris. I had been wanting to return since our first visit and hope to spend my lifetime returning again and again. I love the quote ‘In travel, I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world,’ and firmly believe travel is one of the best ways to spend money for all the value and richness it adds to our lives. These peak experiences stay with you and give you a new perspective in big and small ways from experiencing another culture, down to learning what kind of butter you like. Here are some of the good ideas we had on this trip.
Flower Shops — One of my favorite tourist activities anywhere, but especially in Paris, is to seek out garden centers and flower shops. Not only do I like to pick up some flowers for wherever we are staying to help enhance our space, I just love seeing different design inspirations and make believe I am living among gorgeous flowers every day, creating arrangements and tending to beautiful container gardens on my Paris apartment’s balcony. A girl can dream!
Apartment Rental with HavenIn — This was the first trip to Paris that we rented an apartment, and I can safely say that we won’t be looking back. Being in an apartment opened up possibilities for our stay and was more cost effective than an equivalent luxury hotel, with way more space and a kitchen. Living in a French apartment for a week helped us to feel even more engrained in the culture, allowed us to cook some meals, and to feel like guests in someone’s home. We booked with HavenIn, a luxury rental company with properties in Paris, London, Tuscany, Provence and more! Our experience with this company was nothing short of delightful.
Bar Hemingway at The Ritz — Have you ever enjoyed a $40 cocktail? I have! It wasn’t just ANY cocktail though… I had read about Bar Hemingway in the Wall Street Journal Magazine and the reporter had enjoyed a Champagne cocktail complete with a long-stemmed rose! It wasn’t on the menu the evening we were there, but the gentleman mixing drinks knew exactly what I was talking about (as he had been the one who had created the aforementioned libation!). I absolutely had to order it. Upon arrival, you are also presented with a three-tier serving dish with potato chips, seasoned almonds and olives. The bar is in an intimate setting and feels vary cozy with low cushioned chairs and benches, and low little cocktail tables that feel very chic.
Deyrolle — We visited the famed taxidermy shop in search of French butterflies to bring home. You may recognize the green room from a scene in Midnight in Paris! While this shop feels like a museum, everything is available for purchase (for a price) from a preserved beetle to a bear! The most fascinating part to me were the drawers upon drawers of butterflies and bugs. Here, I found five varieties of butterflies, French in origin, which were packaged beautifully for transport. I also bought a glass dome here, and arranged them myself when we got home.
Jardin du Luxembourg — This public garden in Paris is such a wonderful place to take a picnic, to people watch, and to just be. Here, I visited my namesake, Saint Geneviève, who is represented among the French queens and female saint statues, and was also delighted to spy the park’s beekeeping operation! On more than one occasion, we packed up a picnic and spent the afternoon on the park’s green metal chairs, sipping Champagne, tearing off pieces of baguette, eating cheese and generally living the good life.
Flea Market Finds — On the last day in Paris, I went to one of the smaller flea markets armed with Euros and bartering vocab in search of some souvenirs. To my delight, I found a French copper watering can which I use to water my American houseplants, a green onyx cigarette case which I now use to house chocolates in our living room, a fern botanical print that I have since framed and I keep it on our mantle, and a handful of French francs which I turned into a charm bracelet! I had also been in search of a silk scarf, but had had no luck at the market, so we took a little trip to Hermès and found a truly gorgeous one that I wear all the time.