12 Things to Remember for Paris

I wrote these tips for a friend who was starting her Paris trip right after mine. I can’t say enough how much we enjoyed our trip and Paris is now one of my favorite cities. And here are a few tips and things to remember if you embark on a trip of your own.

  1. The metro is really easy to use. Everything is clearly marked, it is everywhere and goes to just about every part of the city. I think it is as easy to use as Chicago’s. You can buy 10 tickets for 10% off. (Doug and I used about 4-6 per day depending on what we wanted to see).
  2. Eat as many croissants as you can. (they are ah-mazing)
  3. Go to a cheese shop (fromaugerie) and make sure to also get some of their salted butter. It is one of the best things I have ever tasted. I swear that when Kate Moss said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” she had never had french butter.ParisTip2
  4. Check out a local market if you can (there is one in the city almost every day of the week). Doug and I grabbed bread, wine, cheese, meat and went by the Seine and had a picnic.
  5. Bring some portable wine glasses and a bottle opener. Always be ready to crack some vino!
  6. ParisTip1Tourists are terrible. And everywhere. So, be prepared the eiffel tower will feel a lot like times square (especially during the day). It’s still great to see but also be careful of pickpockets and people walking up to you. Doug and I saw someone getting robbed and then the police started chasing them. Craziness. We went during the day and then at night. At night (which the sun doesn’t set till almost 10:30) it is really lovely. Grab a park bench, vino (again) and wait until midnight (or on the hour after the sun goes down). The tower will light up for about 5 minutes. It is also really pretty to watch from a bridge over the seine (right behind the eiffel tower).
  7. ParisTip4Art. If you want to buy some art, some of the cheapest and best place is along the seine by the musee dorsay. There are also places in the Montmarte area but tend to be more expensive.
  8. If you want to go to a museum, buy the tickets in advance. The Louvre had an over 2 hour wait the day we went.
  9. Take time to forget about everything else and just enjoy.
  10. The people are incredibly nice. I think this rudeness stereotype is a thing of the past. They are kind, gracious and willing to help.
  11. Yelp is really helpful to find great places to eat. Some reviews are in English but we often went for the highest stars with the majority of reviews in French and found some pretty fantastic local spots that way.
  12. ParisTip3Google Maps (load maps in your phone over wifi at your hotel before you head out and you can navigate yourself to the city). They will also help tell you what metro lines and transfers you may need to make. We ended up turning on a data plan so that we could get maps out and about because our Belgium leg of the trip was more difficult to navigate than France.

ParisTip5“I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while.”
Amy Thomas, Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light


A glimpse of Paris – Part 1

IMG_2433We loved our France and Belgium adventure. Here are a few snaps from the trip. I will post more soon but we found the key to Paris, Brussels and Beaune was to embrace the experience. Choose to not be a tourist and wander off the beaten path. Our best stories came from meeting new people and discovering places that weren’t in any guidebook. So remember to take every day as an opportunity to Live fully. Love deeply. Travel often.


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Lowe London







London3 Recently, I had the opportunity to be part of a presentation at our Lowe office in London. I’m proud to work for a company that has a global footprint. Here are a few iPhone sketches of the experience. We decided to get a flavor of the city by walking from Paddington station through Hyde Park to our office in Kensington. While there, we caught a few pubs had a properly pulled pint or two, the biggest fish and chips of my life and a work trip I won’t soon forget!

Travel Textures

Travel Textures: Al Hambra

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The Al Hambra. Built over the course of 600 years, this complex is an awe-inspiring example of human creativity and craftsmanship. The fortress, castle, citadel or palace (depending on what century you are talking about), is perhaps one of the best examples of moorish influence in architecture and design within Spain. The palace court offers room after room of intricate carvings, featuring arabic and patterns within stone, marble and wood. As a designer, the attention to detail was simply breath-taking. While walking through the walls, gardens and courtyards, I imagined the people that dedicated their lives to working on one wall or pathway for years. What would it have been like to spend day after day carving intricate patterns? Was it a mission for God? Was it servanthood to the ruling authority? What do you think?

In 2010, my dad and I took the trip of a lifetime. We traveled all over Spain, visiting the ports of call he was in over 30 years ago while on a tour of duty as a pilot for the Marine Corps. One of our days was spent walking through the Al Hambra, an experience I will never forget.