Paris in Springtime

My last post was all about what to pack and what fashion we saw in Paris.  Well, this post is all about the sights and where to spend time in that fabulous city.  There are so many things to see and do, that it is almost impossible to capture it all within a week.  But, since this was a trip with friends and not my family, we were able to do and things a little differently than our family trip.

We were only there for a week (well, only 6 nights), so we wanted a direct flight.  Most flights from North America will land in the morning, so it gives you almost a whole day to see the city.  We were fortunate enough to drop our bags at our Paris for Rent flat in the Marais before heading out to walk.   We were staying in the 3rd/4th Arrondissement and it was a great location!  We easily walked to the Seine, Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, the Louvre and more!

Sleep will be elusive when you travel across 9 time zones for a week.  Just know that you probably won’t sleep well and plan to drink a lot of coffee to get going.  I was travelling with three friends and we all had lousy disruptive sleeps.  But, we weren’t going to let that stop us.  We enjoyed fresh baguettes and coffee every morning before heading out on adventure.

Here is a short summary of what we managed to see/do in 5 full days:

Day 2 – Flea market in the 18th – Les Puces.  We took the metro to Clingancourt and from there wandered to the market and surrounding area.  It was so huge, we barely scratched the surface, but saw so many lovely items!

Baskets and boxes filled with pictures were available for sale

 

 

Day 3 – Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour – this is a great way to see any city you are visiting.  Even though I did this tour last summer with my family, I still enjoyed it this trip, too. We spent the afternoon going all around Paris and ended up at Montmartre  which was so beautiful!  Make sure you climb the stairs all the way to the top of Sacre Coeur for a spectacular view of Paris.

Looking up at Sacre Coeur

Day 4 – Versailles – we took the train to this wealthy suburb of Paris to see the grand palace.  We decided not to go in the palace, but to instead rent bikes and travel the paths around the grounds of the forests, fields and lakes.

One of the many paths on the grounds of Versailles

Day 5 – Musee d’Orsay and Eiffel Tower.  Knowing that we couldn’t possibly see all the art that Paris has to offer, we picked one museum and we weren’t disappointed.   Also, The Restaurant (yup, that’s what it is called) was a beautiful spot for lunch.  An absolutely gorgeous room!

Recognize this?  Monet!

 

 

The original clock from when the museum was a train station.

From there, we hopped the metro to the Eiffel Tower.  We had pre-purchased tickets, so our line moved quite quickly from the bottom to the very top!  We treated ourselves to champagne and enjoyed the view.

Expensive champagne at the top.  But worth it!

 

 

Looking down on Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower

Day 6 – Wandered around.  Yes, that’s what we did.  We shopped, walked, ate, drank coffee, drank wine and wandered some more.  It was an amazing way to spend time and feel like a Parisian.

One of the many sets of beautiful doors on our walk

 

 

 

Hotel de Ville

Day 7 – Home. With wonderful memories, pictures and souvenirs of this amazing trip.

We did a lot in a week and there was so much more to see and do.  We all agreed that we got a great taste for the city, its food and the sights.

Have you been to Paris?  What places did you go to or see while you were there?

linking up with: Calypso in the CountryShelbee on the EdgeA Little Bit of Everything

 

 

5 Gifts for Travellers

I was fortunate to take a few trips this past year and recently,  a friend asked what were the best things I used for packing and travelling.  It was such an easy question and considering the time of year, I thought I would share my favourites with you.

Packing cubes:

I found these at Marshalls for $30 and I picked up another set at IKEA for $10.  They keep your shirts separate from your socks and your workout gear doesn’t get mixed up with your everyday t-shirts.

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A Luggage Scale:

A must have!  With many airlines now charging extra if your bag is overweight, it is handy to check how much your luggage weighs before you leave home.  For less than $20 you should pick up this.

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Packing bags:

My sister gave me these before our Europe trip and they made packing pretty efficient.  All the little things were in their own place and easy to find in my carry on and in my suitcase.

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Passport holder:

This case is so handy to keep your passports, itineraries, boarding passes, etc.  It’s great for families and solo travellers.   I paid about $25 for this particular style.

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A reusable shopping bag:

I always take one or two of these with me.  They come in a handy pouch, are easy to pack and ready to be used for anything!  They usually cost less than $5 and can be used for groceries, souvenirs, etc.  Carrying one of these will make you look more like a local and less like a tourist.

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All of these items are pretty affordable to give as gifts or use as stocking stuffers.  Is there anything you take on a trip that should be on my list?  Please let me know in the comments and happy shopping!

linking up with: A Little Bit of EverythingSincerely, PaulaDesign Dining and Diapers,Mom Home GuideNot Dressed As LambGood Random FunClaire JustineI Should be Mopping the Floor

10+ things every vacation property needs

This is a pretty much a repost from last year.

With the May long weekend just behind us, cottages have been opened up and families are starting to make their summer plans.  Over the long weekend, we spent a couple nights at a cottage in a beach town not far from home.

While the cottage was cute and the location was fantastic, there were three main things that could have been improved upon:

  1.  All the beds were creaky and squeaky with saggy mattresses.   The double was actually a super single and there was only room for one.  It squeaked every time I rolled over.  The twin was a cool looking old fashioned metal bed, but it also had metal springs.  They squeaked every time my son rolled over.  The queen pullout sofa was from the early 80s, the mattress was super thin and sagged in the middle (think: Seinfeld episode).
  2. The windows had no coverings.  Or very little.  The front of the cottage faced East and we were treated with the morning sun at 5am.  I didn’t want to be awake at 5am.  We found some thumbtacks and hung up some sheets, but it wasn’t ideal.
  3. Lastly, the bed linens.  They were old, tired and musty.  If storing linens, make sure they are in a dry location and add some cedar balls or chips to keep them fresh and moth free.

Sleep is such an important part of every day life and it can make or break a vacation – especially with little ones.

So, with that said…

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Do you have a vacation home?  Do you rent it out?  Or maybe you like to have your holiday in a rented cabin or cottage.  We used to own a vacation cottage on a nearby island and since selling it, we frequently rent a cottage/cabin/townhouse when we travel.  Although hotels are great for the pool, room service and air conditioning, the space that you usually get with a cabin usually can’t be beat!

From our experience renting out our own place and from staying at someone else’s, we found some key areas that should always be well taken care of.

Great bathroom towels – it may be cost efficient to take your old towels to the cottage but not everyone wants to exfoliate when they towel off.  Winners, Homesense, and Ikea all have a great selection of towels at reasonable prices.

Soft sheets – the same thing I said for towels goes for sheets.  Rough and tough sheets don’t make for sweet dreams.

Beds – please don’t put the old futon from the basement and the crappy mattress that has been around since you can’t remember when into your cottage or cabin.  Guests will continue to come back if they have had a great sleep and lumpy squeaky mattresses are not what dreams are made of.

Curtains – think about which direction your windows face.  If a bedroom faces the East, then consider putting blinds and curtains in this room so that the rising sun doesn’t wake up your guests at 5am.

Toiletries – just like a hotel, it is nice if there are little bottles of shampoo and soap for your guests to use.  Consider a bowl in the bathroom filled with samples or just large sized shampoo and liquid soap in the shower.  Sometimes, it is the little things that guests will remember.

Coffee/Tea – for coffee drinkers, like my husband and I, we appreciate a good coffee machine and some coffee/sugar/cream in case we don’t have time to pick up supplies before we arrive.  It doesn’t have to be the best or a big supply, but a starter pack is always a good idea.

Fans and Flashlights/Nightlight – these are not must haves, but they sure are nice to have.  The cabin we just stayed in could have used a fan in the bedroom to cool it down as it was the hottest room in the place.  A flashlight/nightlight is always helpful to find your way around in the night should you need a quick trip to the bathroom or to help the kids.

First Aid – a small basket with bandaids, wraps, tweezers and polysporin is so helpful as many families don’t travel with first aid supplies.

Clear instructions and helpful notes – let your guests know the rules of your cottage and/or the complex where they will be staying.  Do they need to clean before leaving?  Where is the electrical panel?  Where does the garbage and recycling go?  Dog friendly?   The more info, the better the experience for both them and you.

Cleaning – if you would like your guests to clean, then please make it easy for them to do so.  Easy to find brooms, cloths and a vacuum will help them to clean any spills and messes and leave the property in good condition.

Tourist info – we love when owners leave maps and brochures of the area suggesting things to do.  If there are some hiking trails, a great park or a restaurant they must eat at, let your guests know – they will appreciate it.

I watched  Sarah’s rental cottage recently and was amazed by the location and how she transformed the outdated property. Your cottage should be a reflection of you and your family, so just make it a place that you like to visit and where guests would like to stay.

Whether you are an cottage owner or renter  this summer, I hope this list helps you have a great holiday experience.   Let me know in the comments if there are any things that make your stay in a vacation property  even better.

linking up with: The Pin JunkieDesign Dining and DiapersCurly Crafty Mom

 

 

Essentials every vacation property needs

Add a lWhat ittle bit of body text-2

Do you have a vacation home?  Do you rent it out?  Or maybe you like to have your holiday in a rented cabin or cottage.  We used to own a vacation cottage on a nearby island and since selling it, we frequently rent a cottage/cabin/townhouse when we travel.  Although hotels are great for the pool, room service and air conditioning, the space that you usually get with a cabin usually can’t be beat!

From our experience renting out our own place and from staying at someone else’s, we found some key areas that should always be well taken care of.

Great bathroom towels – it may be cost efficient to take your old towels to the cottage but not everyone wants to exfoliate when they towel off.  Winners, Homesense, and Ikea all have a great selection of towels at reasonable prices.

Soft sheets – the same thing I said for towels goes for sheets.  Rough and tough sheets don’t make for sweet dreams.

Beds – please don’t put the old futon from the basement and the crappy mattress that has been around since you can’t remember when into your cottage or cabin.  Guests will continue to come back if they have had a great sleep and lumpy squeaky mattresses are not what dreams are made of.

Curtains – think about which direction your windows face.  If a bedroom faces the East, then consider putting blinds and curtains in this room so that the rising sun doesn’t wake up your guests at 5am.

Toiletries – just like a hotel, it is nice if there are little bottles of shampoo and soap for your guests to use.  Consider a bowl in the bathroom filled with samples or just large sized shampoo and liquid soap in the shower.  Sometimes, it is the little things that guests will remember.

Coffee/Tea – for coffee drinkers, like my husband and I, we appreciate a good coffee machine and some coffee/sugar/cream in case we don’t have time to pick up supplies before we arrive.  It doesn’t have to be the best or a big supply, but a starter pack is always a good idea.

Fans and Flashlights/Nightlight – these are not must haves, but they sure are nice to have.  The cabin we just stayed in could have used a fan in the bedroom to cool it down as it was the hottest room in the place.  A flashlight/nightlight is always helpful to find your way around in the night should you need a quick trip to the bathroom or to help the kids.

First Aid – a small basket with bandaids, wraps, tweezers and polysporin is so helpful as many families don’t travel with first aid supplies.

Clear instructions and helpful notes – let your guests know the rules of your cottage and/or the complex where they will be staying.  Do they need to clean before leaving?  Where is the electrical panel?  Where does the garbage and recycling go?  Dog friendly?   The more info, the better the experience for both them and you.

Cleaning – if you would like your guests to clean, then please make it easy for them to do so.  Easy to find brooms, cloths and a vacuum will help them to clean any spills and messes and leave the property in good condition.

Tourist info – we love when owners leave maps and brochures of the area suggesting things to do.  If there are some hiking trails, a great park or a restaurant they must eat at, let your guests know – they will appreciate it.

I watched  Sarah’s rental cottage recently and was amazed by the location and how she transformed the outdated property. Your cottage should be a reflection of you and your family, so just make it a place that you like to visit and where guests would like to stay.

Whether you are an cottage owner or renter  this summer, I hope this list helps you have a great holiday experience.   Let me know in the comments if there are any things that make your stay in a vacation property  even better.

linking up with: Curly Crafty MomDesign Dining and DiapersThe Jenny Evolution