Planning a Trip to Paris in May [Paris Guide and Recommendations]

Day 1-16

With its steady stream of tourists and unmistaken popularity among travel wish lists worldwide, planning a trip to Paris can be exciting, and easily overwhelming. Every time I visit, there’s something new to discover, draw inspiration from, or rekindle a mix of emotions.

On my last trip to Paris, I was finally able to share it with the hubby. The expectations were certainly stacked high with this being Alex’s first international travel destination. I’m happy to report that it was well worth the hype and Alex, most surprising of all, is officially hooked.

If you’re planning a romantic/family-centered getaway to the City of Light, the City of Love, the fashion, art, and culture capital of the world, here are some tried and tested recommendations for you! And if you’ve been before, what would you add/second from this list?

Day 7-10

Getting there:

  • Kayak.com – as a gauge for prices, airlines, and good dates to go
  • AirFrance/Delta – this worked out well for us to and from Boston and, as airline partners, they offered an excellent SkyMiles rewards program

Where to stay:

  • Le Dokhan’s – a beautiful boutique hotel close to the Trocadero area that can be a destination in itself for its Champagne Bar and gorgeous LV-themed elevator
  • Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysees – right in the heart of the shopping center that is Champs Elysees and a few steps away from the Arc de Triomphe
  • A La Carte Paris Apartments – Paris apartment rentals you can match with your travel needs

Places to see:

Places to eat (al fresco guaranteed):

A glimpse at our week in Paris by the day (for an overview of the experience, check the highlights here):

  1. DAY 1 – Saturday: Getting Our Bearings. Exploring the neighborhood and leading with our noses. For us that meant brunch at Boulangeries Saveurs de Pains right beneath our apartment and exploring Les Marais. Place de Georges Pompidou was a short walk from there with lots of dinner options. We continued on with a family stroll to the nearby Notre Dame area, to the Louvre, before making our way back with our first metro ride of the trip.
  2. DAY 2 – Sunday: Take Me to Church. Appreciating grandiose architecture and history. We took an early stroll around Notre Dame and Saint Michel in our excitement for our first full day in the city. We toured the interior of Notre Dame before attending mass with their Gregorian choir. Sainte Chapelle was next – my favorite discovery on this trip! Then we headed to Sacre Coeur and Montmartre.
  3. DAY 3 – Monday: Bucketlist Item Complete. 1st day of Roland Garros Pre-qualifiers. Cheered for our hosts, the French players, and obviously the Americans 😉
  4. DAY 4 – Tuesday: A Family Affair. Sister’s Graduation at Théâtre de Paris and swanky after party at Cercle de l’Union Interalliée
  5. Day 5 – Wednesday: Relax and Recuperate. Window shopping along the Seine, Exploring the 7th arrondissement, Assemblée Nationale, rue de l’université, Champ de Mars and the Eiffel Tower, Bateaux Mouches River Cruise at night
  6. Day 6 – Thursday: To All the Glories of France. Day trip to Versailles
  7. Day 7 – Friday: The Possibilities are Endless. While the parents met with old friends and took a trip to Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny. I took Alex around the Latin Quarter, Jardin du Luxembourg, the Pantheon, then much later, Champs Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, and Jardins du Trocadero.
  8. Day 8 – Saturday: Do as the Locals Do. Visited my sister’s apartment and school. Got a sneak peek at a day in the life of a Parisienne, ending with a picnic at the neighborhood park around families and children playing pick-up football before bidding her au revoir.

It is so easy to keep coming back to favorites in Paris even when there’s so much more to say. In the spring time, it would take a rainy day and/or a lot of convincing to stand in lines for indoor monuments and pass up Paris glistening in the sun with all its appealing patios to try. There really isn’t a “wrong” way to do Paris if you do enough research and follow your heart (or your nose and hungry belly). It’s all about finding the balance to make it memorable for you and the company you’re with.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or anything to add. I referred a lot to the Paris Tourist Office, Time Out Paris, Fodors Travel (c/o our local library) and a variety of people’s recommendations (as well as my tested faves) over the years in planning this trip.

Thanks for reading!

x,

Valerie

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The Philippines

With the end of my teaching school year last year also came my last summer break. It took some adjusting my first year on the job last July to have an unchanged, full-time schedule through the summer, but I suppose that’s what real #adults do. Luckily, last year I was able to have some gap between jobs to have a naturally-occurring break, and this year Alex and I were able to plan something small with the family.

As a way to truly enjoy breaks, holidays, and the joy that travel and exploration brings me, I wanted to also start a page here dedicated to that. So here goes my first summer feature, taking it waaaay back to my roots: The Philippines.

I was born and raised in the Philippines, in a town right outside of the capital of Metro Manila called Cainta, Rizal. My family moved to the US right after I finished high school and we’ve lived in America now for 9 years. (Wow.) I don’t get to go back enough, I’m sad to say, but all my memories of it have always been pretty remarkable. #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines

Here are some of my very amateur snaps over the years for a sneak peek into. If you’re at all intrigued or have questions, feel free to reach out and/or leave a comment below!

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My lola (grandma) showing us her photo albums with my dad’s and our childhood photos in them 🙂 (2010)
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A glimpse at my parents’ hometown’s quaint airport (2010)
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Small plane to a small town: to Catarman, my parents’ hometown (2010)
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An island off of Catarman that we were able to have to ourselves (2010)
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How we got there: by these boats (2010)
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The dock (2010)
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A fish farm slash AMAZING restaurant in Catarman (2010)
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Checking out the oceanfront and coral to my aunt’s beach house (2010)
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My sister at the Douglas MacArthur Memorial on our trip to Corregidor (2010)
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A Day in the Life in the famed beach town of Boracay (2013)
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Paraws (sailboats) scatter the waters (2013)
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Lounging in a tucked away beach in Davao (2013)
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Arguably the best value street ice cream in all the land (2013)