Perplexed in Paris: Impressions of a First Time Airbnb User

Before you begin, now is a good time to grab a glass of wine and get comfortable. This post details my first time using Airbnb, and I have plenty to say, both good and bad.

Paris, it has been said, is not a cheap city to visit. I happen to disagree with that statement. As long as you keep the big-ticket sightseeing and fancy dinners to a minimum, Paris can actually be very affordable. A picnic at the Tuileries, a stroll through Notre Dame, sandwiches eaten along the Seine… Continue reading “Perplexed in Paris: Impressions of a First Time Airbnb User”

Why I Can’t Wait to Give Versailles a Second Chance

Is there a traveler alive who has not heard of Versailles? The word alone conjures up images of opulent feasts and parties, a gathering place for French nobility since its became the seat of the French monarchy in 1682. Originally the hunting lodge of King Louis XVII, the chateau is now a museum of French history and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It was not the art collections which lured Dan and I to Versailles on a rainy spring day, however. Like so many visitors before us, we came to get a taste of life at court in 17th-19th century France. What was it like to walk and even live in such a grand and beautiful building, with handmaidens to cater to your every need? Continue reading “Why I Can’t Wait to Give Versailles a Second Chance”

Eating Around the World at the 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Hey all! Today I want to take a break from writing about my recent trip to Paris and Rome, and share a peek of what I’ve been up to since returning stateside. Blog-wise, it looks like I’ll be in Europe through the end of the year, and I’m in no hurry to stop writing about my favorite place in the world!

That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped adventuring around my adopted hometown of Orlando, however! September was a very busy, very exciting month, both in my blogging and in my personal life. It started off with the wedding of a good friend, quickly followed by Dan’s birthday weekend, and finally a visit from my younger brother Jared. September also marked the beginning of two of my favorite seasonal theme park events: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World! Because these events have a limited run, I wanted to jump right in and share them while they are still going strong. First up is the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Continue reading “Eating Around the World at the 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival”

La Vie Parisienne – Partie Quatre

I can’t believe we are on day four of my Paris recap already. We packed so much into our first three days, and by the time I awoke on day four, I felt satisfied that we had seen and done most of the things we wanted to fit in. Add in plenty of time lingering over meals, relaxing in our apartment, and revisiting favorite spots, and we were very content with the way everything was going.

There was still one thing missing, however, something that was repeatedly pushed back by late starts, long lines, and the assurance that we could always return later. Continue reading “La Vie Parisienne – Partie Quatre”

La Vie Parisienne – Partie Trois

Our third day in Paris can be summed up in one word: opulent. It started with a day trip to Versailles and ended with dinner and champagne on a Seine river cruise. I mean. It doesn’t get much fancier than that, does it? Continue reading “La Vie Parisienne – Partie Trois”

La Vie Parisienne – Partie Deux

We awoke on our second day in Paris, showered from the night before and ready this time for the barrage of construction noise outside our window. We strolled through our adopted neighborhood, marveling at every perfect little detail, and stopped for breakfast at a little cafe on the way to Notre Dame. Croissants and espresso at a corner sidewalk cafe? Day two was off to a strong start. Continue reading “La Vie Parisienne – Partie Deux”

La Vie Parisienne – Partie Un

We made it. Paris, the city of lights, the city of love, whatever you want to call it. We’d made it at last, and nothing could bring us down.

Dan and I had arrived in the city the night before, done a tiny bit of sightseeing around Notre Dame, and gone to bed, happy, exhausted, and ready for more.

We awoke to the sound of a jackhammer right outside our window. Yep. Turns out, our Airbnb rental included free admission to the construction concerto next door. Continue reading “La Vie Parisienne – Partie Un”

Arrival in Paris

Dan and I awoke on our final day in Chaumont, a mixture of excitement and dread churning our stomachs. We sat down to breakfast as usual, cleared the shower of our toiletries, and made sure there was no sock left behind. Our train to Paris was scheduled to depart around 4:00 PM, and while I was excited to return to my beloved city, I was not ready to leave Mamie and Papy just yet. It was wonderful getting to know them a little better, and I think we were all pretty bummed that the first leg of the trip was already drawing to a close. Continue reading “Arrival in Paris”

My Love Affair with Paris

Ah, Paris. Where to start…

I love the city for so many reasons, and I loved it long before I visited as an adult. I love the food, the wine, the fantastic beauty products, the sights, the language, the history. I love the laid-back culture, that je ne sais quoi, that perpetual shrug, as if to say, no worries. It’s hard to truly pin down what makes the city so special. It is, as many artists have tried to show, not a city so much as a character, always evolving, always calling the other characters to action. Continue reading “My Love Affair with Paris”

Medieval Charm in the Walled City of Langres

Now here is a city I never expected to see again. Built sometime in the third century, Langres is literally a city on a hill, surrounded on all sides by massive stone walls. Its fortifications and 360 degree views made it a powerful military stronghold against invading troops for many centuries, and today it enjoys the distinction of being named “the most beautiful fortified town in France.” (See the runners up here.) Continue reading “Medieval Charm in the Walled City of Langres”