I am becoming increasingly excited that I will be in France in a mere two weeks! I spent the weekend making purchases for my trip. The key and most expensive purchases were a digital camera (welcome to the 21st century, Hippo!), and a pair of cute walking shoes.
I am most proud that I have culled my packing list to the essentials. And I am determined to not panic the night before my departure and end up bringing every item in my closet. I have items that I can mix-and-match and easily hand wash and dry. If all else fails, I will go shopping. I am hoping to acquire a few new items anyway.
Speaking of budgets, I haven’t really figured out a budget for my trip. That is a little dangerous, but I think my frugal nature will ensure that I don’t go overboard. And thankfully, I have a “rainy-day fund” that was originally created for international travel, though it is now my mid-term savings account. I don’t anticipate spending a lot of cash on souvenirs and at touristy sites. I mainly want to spend my cash on food—mostly bread and fruit—specifically fruit tarts and other fruit pastries. Dear me, I have given myself the green light to gain 10 pounds in the pursuit of the perfect fruit tart. The last time I was in Paris, I went a little crazy every morning and evening at the pastry shop near our hotel. I can recall buying 3 tarts during one trip. My mother asked, “Hippo, do you really need all three? You just ate dinner and it is late.” I ate everything that night before bed.
We decided to spend most of our time in Paris, with a short trip to Blois and then Tours to see a few chateaux and experience life outside of the “big city”. According to the travel guides, the Loire Valley is perfectly situated for bike rides so we anticipate renting bikes to ride to the chateaux, with beautiful baguettes and bottles of wine sticking out of the bike baskets. My friends love wine so I’m sure a wine tour will be a possibility while in the Loire as well.
As for Paris, while my friends are visiting the spots I don’t care to visit (the top of the Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Louvre, and Musee d’Orsay), I am determined to check out a few spots that I missed on my last visit. Namely, Montmartre, Musee de Rodin, and lots of lazy hours picnicking and reading in the Jardin des Tuileries, Jardin du Luxembourg, and Champs du Mars. I also want to check out the faux beach and the evening dancing along the Seine.
I am hoping that we are able to have a quick meal with Organica on our first day. She’ll be leaving Paris (after spending a month in France—so jealous!) on the same day that we arrive. I also plan on spending the first day with my college roommate who offered to take a short holiday to Paris so that we can see each other.
Over the weekend, I watched The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, and borrowed two French novels to read during my trip, The Count of Monte Cristo and Madame Bovary. Les Miserable would have been a great addition but it is too large to lug around in my bag. Maybe next time?
All that is left now is to learn more French phrases, review my packing list, and step-up my visits to the gym in preparation for the culinary adventure (of butter, chocolate, wine, and cheese) that awaits me in France.