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Living in NYC in the summer is like swimming through a hot, sweaty, sticky, smelly armpit and I want OUT. This summer, my husband and I decided to make Paris our big trip for the year and OH MY GOD did I love love love it! I found that several key things were instrumental in giving me complete happiness while traveling in this foreign land and I wanted to share them with you... 

1) Learn "Caveman" French

I'm not talking about spending months on Rosetta Stone here, but when traveling to a foreign country, you should always learn some native words/phrases - it's respectful to at least try. Here are some that I found pretty valuable to know. Remember, if you forget part of the phrase just power through (Caveman style!). More often than not, Parisians will appreciate the effort more than anything, at least that's what we found!

Hello Bonjour

What's up/What's new Ca Va

Sir/Madam Monsieur/Madame

Please S'il vous plaît

For me... the hamburger Pour moi... hamburger

Thank you very much Merci beaucoup

Where is the toilette? Toilette? (this is when my caveman comes through...I just say words with a big ole smile on my face!)

Counting 1-10:

Number French Spelling Pronunciation
0 zéro zay-roh
1 un ahn
2 deux duhr
3 trois twah
4 quatre katr
5 cinq sank
6 six seese
7 sept set
8 huit wheet
9 neuf nurf
10 dix deese


2) Dress to Impress

I actually packed pretty poorly for this trip. The entire time, I was like I have the perfect Parisian outfit to my closet....

Pack better than I did! Check the weather before you go, pack all of your stylish pieces, and bring a great blazer. This is the place to bring your nicer items so don't hold back! You don't have to be super fancy, but do not bring anything scrubby, ie: cut-off denim shorts and flip flops are totally acceptable in America (or on sailboats in Cannes) but they are not ok to wear in Paris. Dress more conservatively and take pride in your appearance.

cannes sailboat travel bag fanny pack

*only ok while boating in Cannes*

3) Go Shopping

Everything is beautiful in Paris, even the cheap stuff! Budget in a few bucks to go shopping and come back home with some great, one-of-a-kind finds. I scored the cutest pair of pom-pom sandals for 30 euro in St. Germain and a gorgeous cashmere scarf for 40 euro at a local outdoor market. 

pom pom sandals

cashmere scarf paris

4) Be a Princess for a Day

Go to Versailles and check out Marie Antoinette's Hameau de la Reine. We booked a tour through Flat Tire Tours and they took care of everything. Bring some cash for the food market where you can pick up delicious sandwiches, wine, and snacks for the picnic lunch. I highly recommend a fanny pack or back pack since you'll be riding a bike the entire time. I actually wish I was wearing a phone holster because I was constantly taking photos!

backpack bike tour versailles

 5) Travel Hands-Free

It's no secret that I love fanny packs and everything hands-free but when traveling, a fanny pack and a petite card holder are absolute essentials for me. I love to travel as light as possible and security is my main focus. Besides when I'm biking in Versailles, my personal stuff is front and center on my body where I can see it. This makes airport travel much easier as well, since I'm constantly pulling out and putting away my passport. I'll take full advantage of the versatility of these fannies, too. When we go out at night I use it as a clutch (placing the strap inside for later when I don't feel like carrying my bag anymore) and when I'm wearing a fuller dress I'll wear it as a cross-body bag. During the day, I'm all fanny, baby!

fanny pack clutch travel bag mickey mouse

cross body travel bag

travel bag paris

6) Explore the Doors

The doors in Paris are phenomenal. I could not get enough of them. They were grand with intricate designs and bold knobs. I was OBSESSED. Is there an Instagram account of just Parisian doors? There should be...oh wait there is...6 guys, way to commit.

paris doors

*this one is technically in Cannes but how GORGEOUS!

 paris doors

paris doors


All in all, I didn't really know what to expect since I heard mixed things about the Parisians (they hate Americans, they're arrogant, etc). But I found that by learning a few key phrases and taking full advantage of all Paris has to offer (including Jambon Fromage sandwiches) everyone we met and spoke to were incredibly gracious and lovely. I had the best possible time and can't wait to go back! 



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August 02, 2016 by Molly Shaheen

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