Regular readers will know that I’m planning a trip to France early next month. I’m staying four days, and because I’ve visited Paris many times, I don’t want to fall into the trap of just doing the same old things. I also don’t want to miss out on some of my favorites. So I’m taking on board the principles I spoke about in a post late last year about making a familiar destination feel brand new.
Using the format and suggestions of the original post, here is my plan to make Paris feel brand new!
1. Stay somewhere different
I actually stayed somewhere different last time I went to Paris 18months ago, so I have decided to book a room at my favorite haunt. What I am going to do is get out and about in different parts of the neighbourhood, and focus on making the other parts of my trip different to make Paris brand new.
2. Eat somewhere different
The area I normally stay in has a lot of different eating options, but like most people, I’m guilty of sticking to the same old familiar places. I’m pretty good at choosing different items from the menu, but still, it’s the same places. This time, I’ve gone through my trusty guide book and found some new places that I’d love to try, and that I vow I will!
3. Make sure you find somewhere new to visit
I have a confession to make. I’ve never been to Montmartre. It’s embarrassing, I know. This time I’m going.
I’ve visited a number of the covered shopping passages in the 8th and 9th arrondisements but there are a number closer to the Louvre area that I’ve never visited. They are also on the list. I’d also like to dig around some of the little quirky streets around the Marais, particularly round the St Paul area. While I stayed in the Marais the last time I was in Paris, I didn’t have a lot of time to just explore the backstreets and get a bit lost…….
I’m also hoping to catch up with my fellow blogger Rosemary from Aussie in France. Because we’ll be on Rosemary’s home turf, I’m hoping for a definite somewhere new to go, with a new part of Paris to explore!
4. Fall in love with your location all over again
I don’t need to fall in love with Paris all over again. I’ve never fallen out of it, since my first visit many, many years ago. But I’m still making this the focus of “making Paris feel brand new” strategy. I’m heading off to one of my very favorite places, the gorgeous Ste Chapelle church that I have not visited in over ten years. I’m also going to hit the markets, which is another favorite activity. I’ve got a book of Paris markets, and I’m going to search out some new ones to try.
There are a number of shops I adore in Paris. I love needlework, and can’t wait to spend hours browsing in the the beautiful Le Bonheur des Dames needlework shop. The only problem will be resisting the temptation to buy everything in the shop!!
I’m also going to hit the grands magasins (department stores) for some gorgeous French underwear. Sorry, if male readers find this a bit too TMI, but I adore going to the grands magasins, browsing the racks of the French labels, and choosing something. I even love the prodding and poking and ministrations of the vendeuses (sales ladies), as they cluck, adjust and generally fuss about. I end up with gorgeous gear I can’t buy at home, and just love the whole experience – SOOO French!
5. Do something out of your comfort zone
This is a tricky one for me. I’m not a very “out of my comfort zone” type person. I actually saving my “out of comfort zone” experience for my first visit to Istanbul later on my trip.
What I do love though is to do something really special and splurgy when I’m in key destinations. Normally it takes the form of an amazing meal, or staying in a hotel I wouldn’t normally spend the money on. This time though, I’m doing something different. I’m booking a facial at one of the great, traditional French beauty houses. Now having a facial is hardly hardcore, seat of the pants stuff, but this is a definite splurge – a basic facial runs to more than I would normally spend on a night’s accommodation! To make it just that bit harder, I’ve said I would take a booking with a beautician who doesn’t speak English. Is my “facial French” good enough? Who knows, but if my beautician doesn’t speak English, I’ll soon find out!
If you’re organising a trip to a familiar destination, how are you making it feel brand new?