For those of you heading to Paris for a month long trip or even a week. I would highly recommend creating an outline or guide to help you. My Paris Agenda was a way for me to stick to a plan and accomplish some of my goals without actually making a list to check off. If I failed on some of them that is okay. At least I tried. Others like the hunt for the best croissant made to be much easier than say reading at a café.
This wasn't a one-time thing for me if I would conclude anything from this month it would be that staying in Paris for a month is way better than a week. I know we don't all have that luxury. A lot of people have been asking how can I do this with work? I am a travel photographer and I have built my business around Paris. While I am living in Paris I am also working daily shooting new photos to put in my Etsy shop as well as content for the blog. It is very easy to work too much while I am in Paris.
If I had my wish I would come to Paris for at least a month a year. I will be back in Paris in September as some of you might know but that will be a much shorter trip. I am planning to be back next Spring for another month. Fingers crossed for better weather. At this point, there is no guarantee on what life will bring. I try to live each moment to the fullest and feel extremely grateful for the life I live.
So how did I do with My Paris Agenda?
MY PARIS AGENDA
1. Practice French Daily. I will be the first to admit I am so shy when it comes to speaking and practicing French. As long as you make an effort the french are really sweet and help you along. Also, I am meeting with Carrie Anne of French is Beautiful for a café lesson.
A friend of mine said this best in the beginning when it comes to English, "Don't worry about making mistakes. I don't know the past or the future but I live in the present and you still understand me" This was such a great point and helped me relax and not be so shy when it came to speaking.
2. There are tons of florists on every corner. Take advantage and always have fresh flowers in the apartment. Peony season is just beginning.
You may know already my peony budget went out the window! But can you blame me? I had a specific stand that I visited at the Bastille market twice and a week and it was amazing. The best way to take the flowers home with me back to the States are these photographs.
3. Take a cooking class with La Cuisine Paris. I have had my eye on a baguette/croissant class for a while now. This way I can make them home when I am in Chicago too.
This one didn't work out well just because of my schedule. Hopefully, I can book a class for September!
4. Read a book at a café. This is something I have actually never done but see so many people do in Paris. I brought a few books but I would love to stop by Shakespeare and Co too.
This may have been the hardest of them all. I realized how distracted I get by sitting at a café. I don't watch TV and people watching is the best form of entertainment. I carried a book in my bag for about a week but I did finally read a bit. I have to make more of an effort next time too.
5. Get lost. Let the city lead me. This is one of my favorite things to do in Paris and the best way to discover new neighborhoods.
I did manage to get lost. One of my favorite days is when I jumped on the bus and got off in a totally new part of town. There is still so much to discover and my list keeps growing.
6. Spend time with my Paris Family. I am really looking forward to catching up with them since it has been since October when I saw them last. I hope I can pick up M from school and we can walk through Parc Monceau at least once. Carousel rides/ice cream is requested but not necessary!
All the time I spend with my Paris family is precious. We had a great dinner filled with lots of laughs and we even got to listen to some jazz on the left bank. I can't believe home much M is growing up and she surprises me with her French and maturity. Way wise beyond her years.
7. Find the best croissant in Paris. I plan on creating a few guides/content for the blog while I am here. Researching and reporting back on where to find the best croissant in Paris sounds like a tough assignment but I am willing to do it! (suggestions welcome)
This one may have gotten the most attention because it was easy to do every morning. There are boulangeries on each corner and it didn't always have to be at breakfast. I have a few favorites for different neighborhoods. Stay tuned for an upcoming post with the results.
8. Watch the sun rise and set as much as possible. This is something I have enjoyed doing for years and I love how the light changes the city.
This might have been my big fail. I don't think I watched the sun rise once this trip. At home, it is almost a daily occurrence. The sun rises around 6 am in Paris in the Summer months and I would get to bed around 1 - 2 am so it just wasn't happening. I did manage to see the sunset on the Seine a good amount of times.
9. Visit new museums. I have had a few on my list for years with the help of a 2-day museum pass I plan on visiting a few new ones. The louvre and d'Orsay are not included on this trip.
This was so much fun! I actually got to see a few new museums and loved them! I will be doing a separate post about this soon. I did escape the rain at the d'Orsay and the Rodin which was beautiful but I am so glad I discovered something new. Sneak peek below.
10. Try a new cheese weekly. You may know already my favorite meal is wine, cheese, and baguette. I love comte and brie so much that I don't always try something new and different. There is a cheese shop on my corner so I can practice my french and taste new cheeses at the same time.
My cheese shop was friendly and accommodating. I don't have any of the names of the new cheeses I tried but I let them lead the way. I wish I did this more often. In September a wine and cheese night is a must.
11. Visit the Paris Flea Markets. I am hoping to go with Karl from Posh Chicago next month but either way I hope it brings me inspiration for my own home decorating.
There was a brocante on my street the last weekend and I fell in love with a whole set of dishes for 40 euros. The hard part was finding a way to bring them home without breaking them. (magali if you are reading this I am still bummed!)
12. Picnic on the Seine. This is a given and I hope to do this as much as possible!
13. Keep meetings to one a day. I am the queen at overscheduling and it may ruin this trip if I don't play by my rules. There are enough days to go around but I also need time for me and to be creative.
This was the biggest takeaway. It was a struggle and towards the end it got a bit crazy. I didn't always stick to the plan but being able to say "no" just because you wanted time by yourself and not always filling your time with meetings. I hope I can continue this one at home.
14. Find the perfect market basket. I plan on visiting the Bastille market to pick up fresh food on a weekly basket. I haven't found a good basket in Chicago so I am hoping I can find one to bring home with me.
My friend Magali helped with this one. I will be writing a post on where I found mine. It came in hand any it made its way home to Chicago. Now I want more than one!
15. Sleep. I am not the best at it but it is so important! I have actually never really slept in while in Paris. There may be once or twice on a trip and that is it. I don't need to be up EVERY morning before the sun rises. It is all about finding a balance.
The beds at both apartments were lovely and I had no problem sleeping. There was one day I remember it was a rainy Saturday it was so out of character for me but I was so worn down from traveling I napped while it rained outside.
Going to Cuba before Paris was the best thing I could have ever done. It taught me to unplug and slow life down. I am still in the middle of editing but I can't wait to share more photos. For those of you in Chicago, my next show date is June 10 and 11 at Wells Street. I will be posting more details soon but I hope you can stop by and say HI!