I realize I have been absent for far too long to truly call myself a blogger – but I am hoping to rectify that this summer. Rather than delving in the past and writing a litany of reasons why I have been absent – I thought I would abide in the present for now.
It is official….I am going to Paris for two full weeks this summer! As is my usual Mode of Operation, I conceived the idea, researched the idea, followed through on the idea – and now that it is set, all the anxieties of “what have I done?!” are starting to surface. While I am quite excited – I am also wondering how I could possibly expect to traverse a foreign country, where I know only the basics of the language, on my own? How will I get through customs by myself? How will navigate from the airport to the apartment by myself? How will I buy necessities like toilet paper by myself?
|Taken from Isabelle’s listed photos|
While there are a million questions like this running through my mind at any given time of day, I can also attest to the fact that I am ready for this next adventure in life. I discovered this adorable one bedroom apartment in the Montmartre section of Paris on Homeaway.com in March. I contacted the landlord, Isabelle, via email and within minutes she responded with open dates. Since that time we have corresponded numerous times and she is always willing to share her expertise.
|Taken from Isabelle’s listed photos|
I told Isabelle that I wish to experience Paris as a Parisian this time. I have had the opportunity to visit this City of Lights twice in the past: once in high school in 1977 and again for about 36 hours in 2006. I have seen most of the tourist attractions, and while I would like to visit the Tour Eiffel and Arc de Triomphe again – I really want to visit the out-of-the-way cafes and local street markets. She said that she will have three pages of her favorite spots ready for me when I arrive!
Over the past few weeks I have researched Paris day trips on my own as well as on TripAdvisor.com. I have found a couple of Photography courses/tours that I think sound perfect to do within the first couple of days: Photo Tours in Paris and Better Paris Photos. Not only would I have the opportunity to see some of the premier sites of the city, but I will also learn some valuable photography tips that I can use for the rest of my vacation. Of course these courses are rather expensive, but I think that the double benefit of a semi-private tour as well as practical instruction might make it worth the cost.
In addition I have investigated some possible side trips including a wine tour. I absolutely LOVE the wines from the Beaujolais region, but seeing how Lyon is about a three hour train ride from Paris, that will probably not be a part of this trip. However, the Champagne district is nearby (and who doesn’t like champagne) as well as the Loire Valley. I am leaning towards taking a tour with Wine Day Tours which provides a 12 hour tour of the local wine region including visits to family run wineries and vineyards. Again, this is rather expensive, but I also view it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I just want to ensure that I go on a sunny day rather than rainy one — and I will definitely have to overcome my shy, introverted way around strangers.
So after much deliberation and quite a bit of daydreaming – I finally booked the flight. I will leave the states on Saturday, July 23 and return on Sunday, August 7. There is no turning back now, so I best start practicing with Rosetta Stone in order to build my very weak confidence.
In the meantime….I just noticed David McCullough’s newest book is now available, The Greater Journey, and while I have not read any of his non-fiction masterpieces in the past, I think this one is calling my name.