There's always time for Paris, but sometimes there's just not enough time to spend in Paris.
I had heard mixed reviews about the City of Lights, but was determined to get there to bid my twenties adieu and welcome the new decade. I booked a weekend getaway, did my best to study some basic French, and planned to make the most of my trip without letting expectations get in the way.
Though I wanted to see as much as I could, including some typical Paris tourism, I wanted to roam the city without feeling rushed. So, I did my research.
How? Here are 5 great resources to consider when planning a trip -- especially a quick getaway.
Well, duh, but don't stop the search at general information about the city your heading to; check for special activities, festivals, and even deals offered during your travel dates. The local visitors bureau is a good place to start, but you know what's even better?
There's muchísimo content out there, and much of it details first hand experiences all over the world. You don't necessarily have to follow any particular blogger's itinerary, or even like their suggestions, but you'll definitely get a better idea of a city through a more personal post. Some search examples include hunting for cheap activities for when you're on a budget, the best ways to get around, and advice for when taking the road less traveled.
Social media has its perks, one being the ease of connecting with fellow travelers. Thanks to some great traveler groups on Facebook, this neat travel-picture app, and hashtags on Instagram, I was directed to some interesting reads and reliable suggestions for my trip.
OFFLINE: GRAB THE GUIDEBOOK
I had my own personal Magellan telling me all the secretos of París from his go-to Lonely Planet book. I've said before not to heavily rely on the guidebook while walking a city (so you don't miss out on what's going on around you), but referring to it every now can prove to be pretty handy.
Have a meaningul and mindful experience by using some of the book's knowledge in addition to your own local discoveries.
OFFLINE: FRIENDS OR COLLEAGUES LIVING ABROAD
One of the best resources for your trip is a local that you know. They might not accompany you on all tours and popular landmarks that you want to see, but they'll give you a deeper, more authentic city experience. I got to see some of the not-so-typical scenes of Paris--which included a picnic by the Siene and a 1am dance party in the middle of the street with the locals--thanks to a friend who had been living in Paris for some time.
I've linked some great resources when traveling to Paris in this post. If you happen to enjoy good tunes or discovering new music, head to Paris during the Fête de la Musique (June). It's an annual music festival where musicians set up shop throughout the city to play for the public. Fun, funky, and FREE.
Ah, also: Sainte-Chapelle is beyond impressive. My jaw literally dropped walking into the upper room. (Believe me, the photo below is incomparable.)
Stumbling upon La Pointe Du Grouin was très magnifique. Maybe it was listening to the baby grand pianoen plein air as the sun went down, the aroma of freshly baked bread coupled with creamy French cheese and a deep red wine, the company and all-around good vibes, or perhaps every bit of it.
My stay was brief, and there is so much more to see in Paris and beyond, but I had plans for another special weekend in Valencia. Stay connected to hear all about it.