Let’s Set Some Ground Rules

Bateaux Mouches

In order to maximize my eight weeks in Paris, I thought it would be helpful to make up a list of guidelines to stick to, so I don’t end up taking even a single second for granted. Ten sounds like a nice round number, and hopefully by sharing them with you, it will keep me accountable so you all know I’m not staying in bed, overwhelmed by everything. (I’m writing it to myself in the third person. Because of course).

1. Write every day. You are in Paris, first and foremost, because of, and for, your book. Write it.
2. Walk every day. Sure, June is the rainiest month in Paris, but that’s why you packed boots. It’s just water, get off your derrière and go.
3. Don’t go anywhere without your camera. Even if it’s a quick run to the Marché Franprix for groceries, there will inevitably be something you’ll want to capture. Delete nothing.
4. Cheese. That is all.
5. Keep the (happy) crying to a minimum, and only ever indoors.
6. Go to a museum at least once a week. Entry to the Musée Rodin gardens is just €2, and a Louvre membership will pay for itself after three visits.
7. Buy fresh flowers for your apartment, a fresh baked croissant on your morning walk, and a glass of rosé at any café you stumble upon. Parisians understand how to live a really beautiful, decadent life. Take note.
8. Speak French with the locals every day. Stop being afraid of using the wrong conjugation, the wrong pronoun, the wrong accent. Parlez!
9. Calories and credit card limits still exist on vacation — don’t go crazy. (But still remember to treat yo self.)
10.  Be present, be grateful, and be happy. You are in Paris.

Do you have any other pointers for me? Anything you think I should keep in mind? I know the entire trip won’t be a fairytale — real life doesn’t work that way, even if you’re in Paris to work on a novel, or living out any other fabulous cliché. I’m sure I’ll have lonely, off days when I’ll feel grumpy or persnickety regardless of my proximity to the Eiffel Tower. My remedy for that will be (you guessed it) cheese. And maybe a Skype session home to my man & puppy.

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April 28, 2014 / Paris / travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 35

35 comments

  • Tu as noté déjà toute les choses que j’aurais pu te dire ! CARPE DIEM. xo

    • Ah, bon! Tu es d’accord, whew :) Tu habites en France, ton avis est important! si tu trouve les autres, me dis! xo

  • N’oubliez pas d’aller à la boutique Pierre Hermé rue de Vaugirard , de remplir votre panier au marché Beauvau et au marché d’Aligre et de vous promener le long de la coulée verte en partant de l’avenue Dausmenil. Ouvrez les yeux et profitez un maximum . Bon voyage !
    NB: Votre liste est parfaite .

    • Ah, Pierre Hermé! Pouvez-vous croire que je n’ai jamais acheté leur macarons? Juste Ladurée! C’est un crime, je sais ;) Je vais aller quand j’ai faim. Quelles saveurs est-ce que vous aimez/conseillez?
      Merci beaucoup, Véronique. xoxo

      • Tu peux faire confiance à Véronique, est une bonne copine à moi et en plus elle est française pour de vraie!!!
        J’ai profite pour te dire aussi de ne pas oublier continuer avec le blog et de penser à nous!! xo

        • Oh bien sûr! Je ferai!
          Merci pour l’introduction a Veronique! :) xo

  • And, Skype sessions with……….Yo Mama!
    I’m so proud of you for striking out on your own and living your dream. It’s an experience of a lifetime. 1.Make the most of it. 2.Be careful. 3.Stay safe. 4. Accomplish what you set out to do. 5.Return…..we have a wedding!
    I am going to miss my only baby girl.

    • Numbers 2 and 3 are the same thing! And you did give me pepper spray, which I am of course bringing with me. I need to check the legality of using it in France. Hmm…
      Remember when I first told you about this plan last year? I think it might have been New Years day, even! You said, “We’ll see.” because it sounded like such a pipe dream. I’m so happy I made it come true. See you tomorrow! xo

      • A mother can never express too many safety rules! They didn’t call you Baby David, Boy In The Bubble for nothing!

        • And yet I still ended up with more broken bones than I can count. Too wild for my own bubble, apparently.

          • Apparently….We had a Frequent Flyers card for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

      • I love your blog! But pepper spray is illegal in Europe!

        • Wow, thank you for the heads up! The TSA allows you to check one 4oz or smaller personal pepper spray/self defense spray in your checked luggage. But I absolutely will not use it now! A coworker of mine gave me the advice of “Don’t get locked up abroad!” before I left, and I’m going to stick to that. Thank you for the heads up, Caroline. You’d think I would’ve checked for that, first. xo

  • you’ll be able to say “I had a Louvre membership,” how fabulous is that!? have such a wonderful time, i can’t wait to “like” every single picture you post from my sad little cubicle!! :-)

    Keep your return ticket info on you fridge so every day you remember that you’ll be going home and to make the best out of your day! (which i think maybe out of the entire time you’re gone you’ll need to be reminded of that like twice, max, haha)

    It’s so amazing and inspiring to me that you are truly living your dream! enjoy!

    • Excuse me, who is this Audrey person? I do believe I know someone by the name of “Gary Oldman” who posts here occasionally ;) Remember when I first told you my plan all those months ago?? I’m going to miss you so much! I’ll miss our Monday night dinners and gchats and your general hilarity. My coping mechanism in Paris if I get sad might be to email you and ask you for your best Jean-Ralphio quote, ha.

      I love the idea to hang my return ticket up. What a good (scary!) reminder! Here, it’s so easy to lay on the sofa all day because the day-to-day isn’t exciting, and I take it for granted. In Paris? Unless I have the flu, my ass is going outside every single day. Thank you for always being so supportive and amazing!! See you in like half an hour for lunch, haha. xoxo

  • I love these! I think they’re appropriate rules for live, not just a life (however briefly) lived in Paris. So go for it, and when you get home, KEEP IT UP! That’s the way to connect your two worlds and bring Paris back with you. (Not that you’re thinking about that!)

    • I have my fingers in my ears going “LA LA LA” about the whole “coming home” part ;) But you’re right. I never think to photograph my walk down a street here, but maybe I should start appreciating it in the same way I do Paris? Is that even possible though when you’ve lived somewhere for 28 years? I imagine I’d even take Paris for granted after that long.

      Though I think I could be happy living full time with my cheese resolution. xo

  • i really can’t think of anything to add. your list sounds heavenly. i wish i could add “if you get lonely spend the day in paris with your twinsy.” i think maybe you could add – pretend to be your characters. you know, something along the lines of maybe making a point everyday, or every couple days, to start and end a little journey as one of your characters. i can’t wait for you to start this little chapter (no pun intended) in your life. xo

    • That’s a really good one! Well, the twinsy part and the day as your character part. That’s so smart! I will need help orienting myself for the story, to get it just right. She comes up from the metro and goes which way? What shop does she pass? What a great suggestion!
      And I’m totally taking that as a pun! I love puns. You meant that as a pun ;) xo

      • yeah, that pun was totally on purpose (in hindsight though, after i saw what i had written. maybe we should add an ‘s’ though – chapterS) xo

  • I love the whole list. Along with what others have posted, some of the items can apply to everyday life for everyone. I would maybe add: Don’t be afraid to sit and ponder and people watch just for the sake of it. There always so much to see in a new place (especially Paris), but taking moments to breathe and take it all in are the absolute best. Have fun!

    • Oh that’s such a good one, Hilary, and one I’m DEFINITELY planning on sticking to. Usually on vacations I want to cram as much possible in to every day, and don’t get me wrong I still want to do that this time, but I’m really excited about just people watching and sitting. That’s part of the reason I’m going! Merci. xoxo

  • Bonne chance mon amour…

    G.O.

    • There it is! ;) xoxo

  • no, sounds like you have it all covered. go and enjoy :)

    • Ha, thank you Petra. xo

  • Don’t forget the bread (I know you won’t forget the bread)! What about meeting some lovely locals?

    • Croissant is my middle name ;) I do have two friends living in Paris that I cannot wait to hang out with! There’s my locals quota, haha. xo

  • Oh Erin, have a fab time!!!

    As for treating yo self – if you happen to stumble across some scented candles from Bleujaune en Provence you should totally grab some. I bought one (!?!?) lavender candle at easter when we had a french market visiting in our town. That candle smells divine! Really! I so regret buying not more.

    • Thank you so much, Tanja! I will keep an eye out for Bleujaune — I am a certified Crazy Candle Lady and I’m always on the hunt for good ones. If you say it’s good, I believe it! Who doesn’t love French lavender, too? xo

  • I.AM.SO.JEALOUS.

    • I am going to miss you so much!! xo

  • Ok it’s decided I am coming with you. :) I am so excited and jealous of your trip and hope it’s everything and more. but paris is usually everything and more.

    hmm any advise.. I think the main thing from one creative to another is go find your flow- you know flow. your optimal zone of creating. next the thing I loved to do when I was in Paris was wake up early before the city woke up and go get fluffy coffee and croissant and let your brain be creative before the work really starts.

    ps love the new pic on the side bar- maybe it’s new to me but my brain isn’t what it is used to be.

    • Assuming you have your appetite back by this point, Paris would be heaven for a pregnant lady :) I really appreciate the advice about finding my creative flow! I will try to get up and out before the rest of the city, but at least for the first few days I won’t beat myself up if jetlag takes over, haha. It’s a great idea though, giving your brain a head start on the day’s task. I’ll write that one down.

      And thank you! It’s a photo from our engagement shoot, but it’s new to the home page since my redesign. xoxo

  • If I had one advice : Explore ALL the arrondissements, see where real Parisians live, not just touristy/picturesque places ;) There are some gems in the 13th (Cité Florale, Butte aux Cailles, BNF & quais de Seine, Chinatown), 19th (Canal de l’Ourcq, Buttes Chaumont), 20th (Père Lachaise, la Campagne à Paris, etc…