take me abroad

In almost exactly a month, two friends and I are taking what is quite possibly the most amazing and adventurous two weeks off any of us had in an incredibly long time by taking a trip abroad.

I have never been to Europe.


It has been a dream of mine for years to go and Paris was always at the top of my list. I'm not French and have never taken the language in school, but I have similar fascination with the French culture as I do with my obsession with all things Wiccan.

My idea of Paris is a complete mix of random things actually. I think all French women to be absolutely breathtaking in their every day life, gracefully smoking cigarettes at cafes and sipping coffee while surviving on a diet of nothing but wine, chocolate and baguettes. And when you think about the diet, I don't think it is really that bad of a fantasy now is it? To live off chocolate AND bread AND wine - stick a fork in it and call it a day!

After only a few conversations of our desired travel locations, my friends and I settled on an exciting itinerary to include four cities in two countries - Paris, Bordeaux, Biarritz and Barcelona.

my reading material among fashion magazines

I envision the trip to start with an incredible amount of energy (with my touristy hat on) and seeing a list of Parisian museums and sights from the Eiffel Tower to losing myself for hours as I browse the markets to stopping at the Louis Vuitton flagship store to trying to sleep in Marie Antoinette's bed at the Palace of Versailles.

We then head to Bordeaux for three days to soak up as much wine as possibly can on our wine tour and bike through the French countryside.

After we eat enough cheese and wine for our lifetime, we head to the coast to spend a weekend at the beach in Biarritz. I l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y plan to lay on the beach, read a book the old fashioned way (no iPad for me) and sign up for surf lessons. Then after I beat up my body trying to surf like a southern Californian girl out of a Hurley catalog, I plan to sign myself up for a massage as well.

We then head back southeast to the beautiful city of Barcelona where we stay in an apartment for four days and I try to speak the native language much better than I will in France. THAT is for sure.

My very detailed trip brought to you by the snipping tool and pen

My friends and I went from being ridiculously detailed with our travel wants and needs to a little more carefree about the trip and booked the necessities ahead of time. This approach feels much more natural (and like us) rather than over scheduling ourselves with too many agenda items.

For those of you who have visited any of the cities we are headed, we would greatly appreciate any tips or recommendations of what we must absolutely visit or eat at or what to completely stay away from and avoid at all costs. Where do we go and what do we do?


OBM.cle said...

If you are going to museums in Paris buy the express pass online before going. You skip lines and it is worth it. The Louvre was my least favorite, but you still should go. Go to the Musee Rodin...it is the best museum in Paris and one of the best I've been to in the world. It is outside though, so go on a nice weather day or you'll be disappointed. Musee D'Orsay is also wonderful. I would venture to Montmartre too...it is the "hipster" part of Paris. Cool and unique and not tough to get to by the subway. The Champs de Elysee is the worst street in the world (imo) but you should still go see the arc.

Barcelona...one word: Gaudi. Even if you have zero interest in architecture, his will blow you away. Walk around Parc Guell (short cab ride from anywhere) and no matter what, take the time to see and go inside La Sagrada Familia. I've seen the Taj in India and La Sagrada is still the most amazing building I've seen in the world.

there is a cool market...La Boqueria. Right off of Las Ramblas. perfect for fresh breakfast or lunch since you are staying in an apt. I stayed in an apt right next to it and ate there every day.

And of course, go to the beach!

Sorry so long...have fun! I can't wait to read your posts after the trip!

Melinda said...

I found Paris to be mostly underwhelming, but since you're going, you should definitely see the touristy sites. You'll also find that most of Paris is VERY touristy and not at all like your vision or Parisians. I agree with OBM and venture off a little bit to get a better experience. Also: Paris is incredibly expensive, if you haven't already learned that from research. Budget double what you'd think for meals if you eat in any of these touristy areas (seriously).

I feel like I should also note: France was the only place in my European travels where locals were annoyed with - or outrightly refused - to speak English. Be prepared with that (and bring a small language book with you).

Enjoy the adventure! I hear Barcelona is beautiful -- definitely on my ever-growing MUST VISIT travel list.

Blog-The New Black said...


Paris and Barcelona are two amazing cities - the parties in Barc are unreal and you'll rage until the sun comes up!

Museums in Paris are really everything if you can - plan to do the whole day at Versailles. Enjoy, it's going to be phenom!

Adam said...

I went to Biarritz for one afternoon/evening back in 2009. Be prepared, they speak very little english there! Also, are you going to go topless with the native europeans there??

Fizzgig said...

oh mah gawd! you are going to have an amazing time! What a great adventure to have in your portfolio, I am so jealous!! Nothing sounds better than vacationing abroad with friends!! Can't wait to read about all that you get to experience!

Katelin said...

eeeee i am so excited for you! that is going to be one amazing trip. seriously so jealous and so happy for you, drink lots of awesome wine for me :)

Christina K said...

Paris is museum mecca! The Musee d'Orangerie in Paris (displays Monet's water lilies in a 360-degree-view)is one of my all-time faves (small, so makes for a quick stop). Musee d'orsay (lots of Impressionist art in an old train station) is awesome too and Musee Rodin (outdoor sculpture garden). Notre Dame is also amazing and the crypt is way cool. Oh, and Marc Chagall painted the ceiling of the Opera House...you can go in for a quick peek.

I really disliked Montmarte. It was super touristy and gross guys were very aggressive.

Go see the Eiffel tower at night since it's lighted up so prettily! Same for the Arc de Triomphe.

Jessica (Bayjb) said...

This is going to be such an amazing trip and I will be waiving to you guys from Germany! Can't wait to hear about it. And you know you can text any time about travel or shopping questions.

Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

You will love this trip so much!!! My advise is to see your top touristy places but then make sure to venture out into so off the beaten path spots too for a much more authentic experience.

If you have time and you're in the area, be sure to take a peak at the I love you wall http://www.lesjetaime.com/english/

Get the Paris museum pass. The 4-day pass is 50 Euros and it will save you 50 Euros or more if you just want to spend the time museum hopping, as it covers these museums, a few others, and the Palace of Versailles.

Love the Rue Cler! http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/france/ruecler0208.htm

You can see Jim Morrison's grave at Pere-Lachaise Graveyard.

As for Barcelona - Gaudi all the way! Super impressive and unique. Be sure to eat paella and stuff yourself with tapas. The Picasso museum is great. You could do a food tour http://www.contexttravel.com/city/barcelona/walking-tour-details/farm-to-fork-the-boqueria-and-beyond

The beaches are really nice and a perfect way to end your trip.

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