-This traveler’s opinion on how to enjoy your vacation Paris.
I started into the business of renting apartments for vacation because I enjoyed the experience of staying in them while I was on vacation. It gave me a sense of adventure and reality that I never found in hotels.
Yet where you stay is only part, albeit a critical one, of what a vacation means. Vacation is personal time, something we often lack in our daily lives. It’s freedom, away from the boundaries of home. What you do on vacation, and in all cases what you don’t do, is what defines this precious time. It will make all of the difference in your trip.
So here is what I learned over these years of being an American tourist in the city of Light and what I want to share with you:
I want you to travel with purpose. Now, just what does that mean?
Let’s start with what you do. As you plan your trip and well before you leave ask yourself this question: Why am I going to Paris? And once you answer it (and if you can’t then skip to the second part of this article) prioritize those reasons. It is not hard to find the experiences you are looking for There is an overload of information on the web, you will find what you need quickly and easily and there are plenty of resources to turn to.
There is another key lesson about what you do in this great city: Don’t try to do it all. Paris is a big city and that means travel times, traffic and all of the things that can go wrong. Prioritize and then localize. That means planning. You need to shape your trip around your priorities.
Here is an example, if you are going to eat, then search for Paris food blogs and go from there. Start with parisbymouth.com. It is always current, deep and unbiased. When you have found a number of restaurants you like then base other activities in the same district to maximize your time.
Be open to new foods and tastes. Ask your server what they would eat or what the chef recommends. It won’t always work but when it does the magic that is vacation starts to seep into your experience.
That is the easy part. Now here is the hard one, how to work on what you don’t do. That is right, you have to work on it. I know that this sounds counterintuitive, but you need to set aside time not to do things. Vacation is about leisure and discovery and it doesn’t hurt to prime the pump.
Let me give you some suggestions:
If you are following my suggestions you are looking to localize your day. That is critical. The less ground you cover the better you will do it and the more you will enjoy it.
Plan a walk a day. Walk to one of your destinations and give yourself plenty of time to be surprised by something along with way whether that is a park, a bakery or a view. Have an apple tart for breakfast. Treat yourself.
If you get tired then find transport. Never exhaust yourself unnecessarily.
Sit. You may never do this in your day-to-day life so sit. Sit on a bench. Sit in a café. Watch life unfold.
Explore life as locals live it. Pick something you like to do be it sports, yoga, a work out or a bike ride and do it.
It’s a funny balance, to prioritize yet plan enough so that you hit your must haves and leave enough space for leisure and surprise. You may not get it right the first time but any effort will yield results.
Finally consider extending your trip. An extra day in Paris means the difference between being rushed and finding the center of what a vacation is all about.
My last blog was on the top 25 things to do in Paris. Next, I will write about 25 steps you can take to help you do less on your vacation and places where less is more.
I hope to see you there one day, looking out at the Seine smiling and watching the river go by. Take an extra moment and let it all seep in. Remember, you are on vacation and it takes a little work to make great things happen. Or not.