Getting Lost At the Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is one of the most popular museums in the world. Those who don’t know it by name are sure at least to recognize the iconic and controversial glass pyramid that sits in the middle of the courtyard and houses the main entry point for the museum. In 2015 alone, the Louvre attracted nearly 9 million annual visitors, more than any other museum in the world. Continue reading “Getting Lost At the Musée du Louvre”

Strolling Around the Colosseum

Sometimes in life and in travel, things don’t go as planned. Trains are missed, bags are left behind, and wallets are stolen. And in my case, blog schedules are scrapped to make way for some exciting new life events. Today’s post (or let’s be honest, Saturday’s post) was meant to be all about my spring visit to the Louvre with my boyfriend Dan. Instead, I’m showcasing some photos from our trip to the Colosseum. Why? Continue reading “Strolling Around the Colosseum”

Behind the Lens

What’s it really like to visit the most popular sights in the world?

Disappointment is bound to happen at some point when traveling, especially in this media-dominated age.

We build these places up in our minds, liking and pinning impossibly beautiful photos as the big departure date gets closer. It’s no wonder that sometimes reality just doesn’t live up to those Insta-perfect expectations. The real world is not carefully filtered for optimal lighting and edited to neatly hide any blemishes in the scene. In Rome, for example, I was shocked to realize that there were probably more tourists than locals in 75% of the places we visited. The ancient, beautiful, historic city of Rome was there, but it was hidden behind hordes of tourists, obnoxious hawkers, and the ever-present click of cameras all around us.

In the interest of showing these big name attractions as they truly are, I invited several bloggers from the travel community to share the places that have surprised them along the way. Continue reading “Behind the Lens”

Paris Museum Pass: Is It Worth It?

Anyone who has visited Paris can tell you: it’s not necessarily cheap. Many of the big attractions have an entry fee, with the option to spend plenty more on special exhibits, onsite restaurants and all the souvenirs your little heart can handle. Sightseeing in Paris can add up, and when you factor in the cost of transportation, lodging, shopping and food, a short trip to the city has the potential to get a little spendy.

But I’m here to tell you that visiting the city of lights doesn’t have to be expensive. Taking the time to research your options and plan ahead can save you a lot in the long run. When it comes to sightseeing, I recommend looking into the Paris Museum Pass. Continue reading “Paris Museum Pass: Is It Worth It?”

Parisian Glitz & Glamour at the Palais Garnier

Imagine a place steeped in Parisian history, the former playground of kings and noblemen and the home of stunning frescoes and architecture. I’ll bet you thought of the Château de Versailles, the famed royal residence of King Louis XIV and later Marie Antoinette.

While Versailles is worth a trip out of Paris any day, this French gem is located right in the heart of Paris. The Palais Garnier, or Opera Garnier, gives the ninth arrondissement its name, and is located just a smidge outside of the centrally-located second arrondissement. Designed to be the crown jewel at the end of the Avenue de l’Opéra, the Opera Garnier is one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris. Continue reading “Parisian Glitz & Glamour at the Palais Garnier”

Hotel Ibis Styles Paris CDG: The Perfect Airport Hotel

I used to be very against airport hotels. After shelling out all that money to visit a given destination, I never understood why anyone would want to spend their final night of vacation in a bland hotel away from all the action. When I visited Los Angeles, for example, I wanted to be close to restaurants and big sightseeing attractions, rather than cooped up in the boring strip of big-name airport hotels near LAX. Why waste that last evening rotting away and wishing to be somewhere else? Continue reading “Hotel Ibis Styles Paris CDG: The Perfect Airport Hotel”

Rome Day 3

First-time visitors to Rome usually have one common goal: to see the Colosseum. The epic monument is recognized across the world; the place of ancient bloody battles and screaming crowds of spectators. Think of it as the original sports stadium.

Dan and I visited the Colosseum on our third and final full day in Rome. We’d visited many of the other “must-sees” on our first day in the city, and we had saved the best for last. Continue reading “Rome Day 3”

Rome Day 2

Well, I suppose it was inevitable to have a few bad hours at some point during our European adventure. That moment came near the end of our two week trip, on the day we were suppose to visit the Vatican City.

We woke up early that day and picked up pastries and espresso on our walk to St. Peter’s Square. The sun was shining, we got our first glimpse of the River Tiber and its many gorgeous bridges, and we hadn’t gained a single pound despite two weeks of nonstop gorging. What could go wrong? Continue reading “Rome Day 2”

Rome Day 1

When I think back on our time in Rome, I remember the warm weather, the colorful buildings, the dark cobbled streets, and the happiness I felt at being there with Dan.

On our first night in Rome, however, we were feeling a bit jaded and less than charmed by the city. It probably didn’t help that we had just flown in from Paris, where we had spent the last five days being swept off our feet. Not wanting to repeat the dreadful experience of dragging our luggage through trains and along tiny streets, we opted to take a cab from the airport directly to our hotel near Piazza Navona. The cab ride took us past some pretty seedy-looking areas, with graffiti covering crumbling walls and what essentially looked like a series of American strip malls. It was not the glorious, brightly lit Rome I’d coveted in other people’s vacation photos, and I started to wonder if we should have just spent our last vacation days in Paris after all. Continue reading “Rome Day 1”

Rome: First Impressions of the Eternal City

In the interest of moving things along, I wanted to go ahead and share how Dan and I spent the final leg of our Euro Trip in Rome. There will be three more posts in this series, one for each day, and then it’s back to our regularly-scheduled programming. Lord knows I’m not done writing about Paris or sharing the hundreds of photos we took while abroad!

When Dan and I first began planning our spring trip to France, we knew we wanted to tack on a quick visit to Italy. Neither of us had been to the country before, but we were drawn to the beautiful scenery, the rich history, and the idea of eating real Italian food. Our initial wish list included stops in Rome, Venice and Capri, but in the end, we only had the time and budget to visit one of our top picks. Continue reading “Rome: First Impressions of the Eternal City”