January 11, 2011

Doing my Homework


With the kids back in school I too am doing my homework. We have decided to take a family trip to Paris and London in the Spring of 2012. I'm a planner so obviously I have to start researching now. Plus, how much fun will the planning be? I'm even hoping to brush up on my French, which is to say, learn the language from scratch as that one year of High School French seems to have deserted me. I speak passable English already, so that is a bonus.

I'd love to hear any suggestions about places to go, things to see or ways to get ready. We plan on going for about a week and do not have an open-ended budget. Have any of you used a Rosetta Stone type program?

As excited as I am, Emma is ten times more excited. She has been obsessed with Paris most of her life. To prepare she is reading guide books, making lists, thinking about clothing options, working on a report about Paris at school and saving every penny she can. Her goal is to have $1000 for the trip. You can beat she will do it. I, on the other hand, will likely have to borrow money from her to hit the flea markets.

36 comments:

  1. good morning!!!
    Glad to be the first one to wish you today....

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  2. Thats wonderful. I will have a think about Paris markets and ask some friends who live there what you cant miss! I can give you a list for London for sure as thats HOME! for us. Rather than fill up your comments, inbox me if you are keen and when I know what you enjoy I can offer some suggestions - Im not sure if you are walkers or if you prefer to preserve your energy for shopping. The markets on also very much depend on the days you are around. If you havent booked flights yet may I suggest that you fly into London, but catch the Eurostar to Paris? Its a high speed train (that when you take into account the check in times, security etc) take LESS time to get to paris. Its often cheaper, and as a BIG plus you will get to see both ENGLISH and French Countryside! xxx

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  3. Jen, You crack me up. "I speak passable English, so that is a bonus!"
    Tres bien!
    Cheryl

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  4. NO WAY!!!!
    that is fantastic jen!!
    i am so thrilled for you
    xo

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  5. Hi Jen~
    Oh that is so exciting. I wish I was MORE of a planner. I like to go on trips and have a big one this summer...but I am no planner. The Paris flea markets are awesome....IMO....the only reason to go to Paris.
    XO~Hope

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  6. Oooh, how fun a year of planning will be!!! No tips, myself, but Megan over at not martha went to Paris for 10ish days last year and blogged all about it. You may find some of her posts helpful (she does mention so tips throughout).

    http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2010/03/03/my-vacation-slideshow-paris-day-1-arrival-and-beating-jet-lag/

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  7. Oh how wonderfull, you will be going to Paris soon! It's my third home town (as I call it), I just love that city and I do speak French quite fluently. There is a wonderful book that I would highly recomment, it's called "Paris made by hand" written by Pia Jane Bijkerk. It's a must have, you really should try to get it.

    Warm wishes from cold Germany
    Anita

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  8. Jen- What fun you will have in France. I am looking at getting the Rosetta Stone system for Spanish for us. It is the best on the market and my son's company uses their programs extensively to train their people that go abroad. He says that you can find them on eBay and/or Craig's List as a resale item. Good Luck. I have always wanted to learn French...Hugs- Diana

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  9. how wonderful Jen! i know you will love it all!

    xo,

    annie

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  10. I lived in England for ten months (my youngest daughter was born there.) If you need any suggestions let me know, I am full of them! :) You're going to have a blast. Paris is fun too!!!

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  11. Squeal of delight for you, JJ!
    How fun. I'm jealous. Please go hot air ballooning over a lavender field in the French countryside for me. And stay away from the escargot. Just sayin.

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  13. what wonderful news!
    there is a university just up the road from us...they use Rosetta Stone in their French classes, and my pastor's wife teaches there... she highly recommends Rosetta Stone

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  14. How fun! I can't wait to see the wonderful pictures you will be taking! Better bring extra empty luggage you can bring all those treasures home in!

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  15. Shut UP! Get outta Town! (Literally.)

    I am SO pumped for you! But this better not infringe upon the big trip out West of 2011... ;)

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  16. How exciting. I see that lots of others have responded with great ideas, but if you need info on where we have stayed in both London and Paris and the places we enjoyed the most, just shoot me an email and I'll tell you what I know.

    Kat :)

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  17. How exciting! It's awesome that you are planning ahead and getting ready. Just wanted to stop by nd say hello. I found your blog and loved it. Your words are inspiring to me and have hit home in many ways. I am a new blogger. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  18. so jealous!!! rosetta stone is awesome but expensive. my kids use the french in our homeschooling.

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  19. ooh la la, jen! that is awesome! my oldest sister has been a few times so i will ask her for any tips. i so want to go someday ... and england, too (for the shopping -- is that bad?).

    how about opening an etsy shop to help bring in a little spending money. every little bit adds up, right?

    my other tip is to get a capital one credit card, use it for everything and pay it off monthly, by the time your trip comes up you just might have a free airline ticket or 2 or 3!

    okay, off to shovel and make hot chocolate (and hopefully sneak in a bit more blogging today).

    so excited for you, my friend!

    xo
    elyse

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  20. Right now, I'm learning Spanish trough the Fluenz computer program. I'm liking Fluenz better than the Rosseta Stone. I wish you better luck at speaking French than I've had.

    My advice while in Paris. Look up, look down, look all around. In Paris beauty is EVERYWHERE. Try to miss nothing. Also, everything is much farther away than it looks on the map. Each block is very long. Strange, but necessary advice.

    While Paris is stunning, its people can be a bit difficult.

    London, I find is filled with wonderful people. Talk to as many as possible. Eat at pubs, the food and beer are outstanding. They put all kinds of interesting things into their "pies."

    Ride those double-decker buses. Get on top and in the front. Go window shopping in the beautiful arcades. Go to the Tate Modern museum on the evening it is open late and have a splurge dinner in their restaurant overlooking St. Paul's cathedral. Walk walk walk. When crossing roads, look left, right, left, right, repeat.

    Have a blast planning!!!

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  21. What an amazing trip that will be! And how great is it that you are already planning?! The anticipation of a trip & the planning stages are so much fun - I'm jeal! According to The Happiness Project (my new favorite book), you are officially in the 1st of 3 stages of happiness - enjoy :)

    Ohhh, I know I can think of more suggestions, but for now, the ones that come to my head are: In Paris - It is a must that you take a river boat down the Seine! It is such a relaxing and fun way to enjoy Paris' beauty and architecture. You'll get awesome pictures this way too! And as for London, oh London . . one of my favorite places in the world! Gotta ride a big red bus. Sure it seems touristy and even a bit hokey now, but even the locals will recommend it! Also, the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace is great. Enjoy!

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  22. As a former French major, I just adore all thing French, including the language. We do have Rosetta Stone but for Spanish. I've found it very easy to use and learn with and I tend to remember the words and phrases longer term than traditional school learning. It's an investment but a worthy one.

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  23. I have been reading through your wonderful blog this afternoon. I hope you don't mind - I included a bit from your blog (with a link) in my post today - http://firstadream.blogspot.com/2011/01/inspired-by-meadowbrook-and-her-friends.html.

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  24. Jen- I am so excited about your trip to France. I have to say I just spent about 3 hours catching up on your blog and move to the village. I lost alot of blogs on my list and finally found yours again.
    All your faith and "just do it-ness" about moving there has me thinking of our dream to leave Sanford and make the jump we have wanted to downtown Southern Pines.
    Can't wait to keep following you again and see what wonderful cottage you end up making your home.
    tammy

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  25. Good Evening Jen,

    What a lucky girl you are - now that's my kind of homework!
    xo~Jill

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  26. I've spent quite a bit of time in Paris and one of my all-time favorite things to do is to go to an evening concert at Sainte Chapelle. It was a private chapel of the royal family and is near Notre Dame.

    I paid about $20 for tix and you could only by them locally but I think times have changed and you can now buy them online. Maybe cheaper locally though? http://www.classictic.com/en/Concerts-at-La-Sainte-Chapelle/10055/109018

    Anyhoo - the musicians are wonderful and the chapel is intimate but with AMAZING stained glass and carvings. It's the type of event that lets you really feel the REAL Paris.

    Have fun!!!!

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  27. Don't know if you have a hotel in mind yet, but here's one you might want to check out. I've stayed here several times - but not for several years so check recent reviews.

    My friends and I found that it was very good value for the money. GREAT location (near Eiffel Tower and Rue Cler outdoor market.) Safe area and close to a tube stop.

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  28. I'm jealous in a most fabulous way! Just promise me you'll bring me back a rock from London - just a wee stone - I've been obsessed with London like forever....so happy for you Jen! A once in a lifetime experience!

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  29. I just found you!
    ck. out my Blog!
    xxx Liz

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  30. How exciting! Have fun planning your trip, I'm sure the prep work will be almost as fun as the vacation itself!
    ~Michelle

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  31. How wonderful! I love that you are exposing your girls to foreign travel. My parents made it possible for me to travel in high school & college and those experiences were truly priceless. I believe that seeing another culture makes you a better person.

    It's hard for me to pin down all of my favorites in those two cities, but here are a few:
    London:pubs, the Imperial War Museum (actually really interesting), the tube, Boots (drugstore that I love), Kensington Gardens, the Cabinet War Rooms (secret rooms where Churchill ran WWII), London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Alfie's Antiques. Eat: Scones, Fish & Chips (preferably wrapped in newspaper), Milk Chocolate Hob Nobs. Also, make sure to find a location of Greengate, a Danish company. You will LOVE their stuff & you can't get it anywhere in the US. I lived in England while in college & have returned since, so that is a long list....

    Paris: Montmatre & Sacre Coeur, Rodin Sculpture Museum, Musee D'Orsay, Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower. Walk, walk, walk & look in all of the windows -- the displays are just gorgeous pieces of art. Take photos of everything. I haven't been to the flea markets, but I'm dying to go. DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, pass up a bakery. There is no dieting in Paris!

    You should check out the posts on her trip to Paris & London on the blog Such Pretty Things (http://suchprettythings.typepad.com/my_weblog/travel/page/4/). I think that she has similar taste to you!

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  32. Just wanted to let you know I just discovered your blog and I love it.

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  33. i loved our time in france. i'll have to check back on some of our paris highlights and email you :) but my favorite part of france was traveling down the rue du vin.

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  34. I've only been to Paris once - but it was recently - so I'll share all the stuff I wish I knew. Get great walking shoes for their fabulous streets, ride the double decker bus (one is much cheaper, by the several day pass), pack very light - if u can - don't check luggage on the way over, you can always ship stuff home or buy another suitcase, be careful of pick-pockets and scams, and I'm from a small town near a city so I walked out of the metro station and was taken aback by homeless young girls praying on the street corners (Paris is breathtakingly beautiful but also a large city with everything that goes with it - I expected soft lighting and the scent of lavendar and what we dream of over here!!). And really research the location of the hotel (I know the Best Western isn't glam but they are affordable and popular.)

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  35. We are big planners when we vacation, I think it makes for a much better trip. I only had 4 days in Paris so I really need to go back someday. You will love every second of it. The flea markets are wonderful but no great deals to be had.

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  36. I am playing catch up this morning!!! YAY for you guys!!! SOOOOO Happy for you ALL!! This is so exciting!! Someday I want to go as well! I have been to Italy, but not France! Someday.... Until then I can live vicariously through YOU :)
    xoxo

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Thank you for taking the time to say hello today! I always love to hear what you have to say.