Paris 2013


We returned home last Monday night from a summer vacation adventure to Paris.

"We" included me, Katie, her fiance Peter and my boyfriend Aaron. "We" also included my sister Jessica and her family and her friend Rebecca for part of the time.

We went to Paris to just be. To see some sights. To take our time. To absorb. We stayed up late and slept in late. We drank wine. We walked and walked and walked.

There are lots and lots and lots of photos - especially because all of us were taking photos. I love that seeing through the lens is one of the ways we each like to travel. We were able to capture each of us in the experience (vs. one person behind a camera for the duration) and found that fun balance between candid shots and monuments.

The process of going through them is a bit daunting but here are some of my favorites (taken by me, Katie, Peter, Aaron or Jessica):


We started our trip with an evening visit to the Eiffel Tower. Over the course of our trip we would come back here a bunch of different times - mostly in the evening. It was surreal to actually be there and it never got old. Love that I have real life memories to go along with the iconic images now.


The window we looked out of everyday.

We stayed in the Marais, very close to the St. Paul metro stop. We found our apartment on (vacation rental by owner). We were going for something economical for our two week stay and this was a good fit to split between four people.


The beautiful three flights of stairs we climbed up and down multiple times most days. We might have complained a few times. And Katie and Aaron may have done timed races to the top a couple times.


Our adventure began and ended with the four of us.


The walking began on the first day as we walked from our appartment over to the area near Notre Dame. Loved the red awnings in these windows.


On our first full day we headed over to Sacre Coeur.


The weather was awesome. Beautiful sunshine most days. Too hot on a couple and just right on others. Aaraon and I climbed the dome at Sacre Coeur and were greeted with these amazing views.


Love that panorama feature on the iphone.


Me and Aaron.

He's fun.


Back in the Marais on one of my favorite streets with a great crepe place and a bunch of falafel places. We came here a few times over the course of the two weeks.


A savory crepe with ham, cheese, olives, and mushrooms.


We had ice cream or gelato most days. Is was just the thing to do.


We rode the metro everywhere we wanted to go. So loved checking out all the different metro signs.




We visited a popular home/clothing store called Merci. Tons of eye candy there and a great little restaurant on the street out front.



My sister arrived a few days after us and it was fun to be there with her. She and her family have spent a month in Paris each summer the last few years - it was one of the reasons we chose to go there.


And she takes fun photos.


We visited the Rodin Museum.




And Musee d'Orsay.



Katie and Pete in front of one of the clocks.


Lots of figuring it out as we went along.


Back at the Tower. Our picnics started before it was dark and then lead to this:


You might know that the Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour for a few minutes every evening. It's a lovely combination of the yellow lights that light it up generally + the white sparkles. You might not know that if you stay up until 1am for the last sparkle you get to see the coolest thing - the yellow lights go away and it's only the white sparkle lights. Definitely one of my favorite things.

I just love that people are out and about late into the evening.


My sister's friend Rebecca joined the crew for a few days.



Lots of looking up. And just soaking it up and breathing it all in.


And eating outside (this is in the gardens near the Louvre).


And some of this.


And funny shots that captured bits and pieces of our adventure.


At the Arc de Triomphe.



A great old photobooth at the BonTon children's clothing store.


We did some hanging out in our apartment. Often it was at the end of lots of walking. We'd rest our feet and check-in online.


Katie rocked the black bow.


Heading out on another evening adventure.






We hung out at my sister's apartment a few nights. Card games and wine.


Aaron and I ventured over to the Louvre on our own. This is what it looks like when you enter the room where the Mona Lisa lives. At least on this particular day and time.


We walked the stairs to the second level of the Eiffel Tower.


My anxiety got the better of me and I didn't go all the way to the top. A combination of heights and that enclosed elevator took it's toll.


But man the view from the second level was a-okay.




We were there for the golden hour. It was awesome.


After coming down we met up with Jeffrey, Jessica and Gabrielle.



Katie is well-liked.


Jeffrey ready and waiting with the cotton candy.




We visited a couple of the lock bridges. Found this one on the bridge near the Louvre.


We browsed the flea market at Porte de Clignancourt.


And then headed back to the gardens to take Gabrielle to the little fair outside the Louvre.


And we rode the big ferris wheel.


Love my sister.


Awesome views from that ferris wheel.


It was a really lovely adventure with some very special people. I definitely missed Simon and Anna and had many moments I wished they were along for the experience.

I've got all kinds of things collected for a travel album. I'd planned to work on it while we were there - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I even brought along my little Epson printer in case I was really gung-ho. I ended up just collecting things along the way and have added it to my list of things to do in the coming months.

As for now I'm getting back into the swing of things - hanging out with my kids, working, enjoying some of the last few weeks of summer before they head back to school. I hope to get back to sharing more words and projects here this week.

Merci Paris. I'll definitely return again.

91 thoughts

  1. alice mak

    2013-08-20 01:36:32 -0400

    Love the pictures!! And how you shared them with all of us!! And how you explained each one as if you were our tour guide!! And how this whole trip was absolutely a dream come true!! Thank you!

    P.S. Love your messenger bag...looking for one similar. Do you mind sharing with me where you got it from? Thank you!!

  2. Amanda Rabe

    2013-08-20 03:22:05 -0400

    where did you stay? I was looking on VRBO and there are so many places. Also, if you could pick another place to stay in the city where would it be?

  3. helen

    2013-08-20 04:04:40 -0400

    Paris is so wonderful in summer, less traffic, less stressed people. so glad you had a great trip!!thanks for sharing

  4. Megan

    2013-08-20 05:40:26 -0400

    Oh it looks amazing! My husband and I totally will get there one day! Thanks for sharing, and would you remind me where you got your sandals. I think these are going to be what I need for our upcoming Summer. Those gold one's of katies are too cute!

  5. Tina B

    2013-08-20 10:41:21 -0400

    Thanks so much for sharing you Paris trip. After breaking my ankle in May I have done absolutely nothing this summer but have been enjoying other peoples vacations. Paris has always been on my travel list but has now moved to the top.

  6. CandyW

    2013-08-20 11:51:08 -0400

    I'm so jealous! Makes me want to visit Paris now! Loved all your pictures :-)

  7. Christine

    2013-08-20 12:02:44 -0400

    absolutely awesome photos. I've never been big into travel unless it involved palm trees and a beach but your pictures are really opening my eyes.

  8. maile

    2013-08-20 12:40:33 -0400

    Looks like so much fun! Makes me want to book a trip!

  9. Carrie

    2013-08-20 14:21:47 -0400

    Ali, it looks like you had a trip of a lifetime! Beautiful pictures and I don't envy your decisions on which ones to scrapbook! FYI, I am a stylist for a jewelry company and we are launching a brand new collection tomorrow (Aug 21) which is called "Mémoires de Paris"... you might be able to find yourself a few pieces to remember your trip! (

  10. youngmi

    2013-08-20 20:15:00 -0400

    my husband and i are visiting paris for the first time this october. loved seeing your photos! andy chance you'll be sharing your picks for food and shops to visit?

  11. Erin

    2013-08-20 23:18:44 -0400

    this is on my bucket list...what beautiful photographs! you really captured this incredible place. thanks for sharing with us!

  12. Fauve

    2013-08-21 12:53:40 -0400

    Looks like an amazing time Ali,with lots of great people!Wish you were my friend so i could join ha!Love the week in review,very well done!

  13. creole wisdom

    2013-08-21 19:18:28 -0400

    Looks like the perfect trip. Paris is just gorgeous!

    Oh, and I really wanted Katie to start a blog :)

  14. Stacy Le

    2013-08-21 21:09:23 -0400

    I am jealous! Do you speak French or could you get by with English? I really want to go! Thanks

  15. Amy B

    2013-08-22 09:47:21 -0400

    What a beautiful adventure? Nothing beats adventures with family & good friends. Glad you had a wonderful time. I have to agree with Donna C...Aaron does hit pretty high up on the hottness scale and you said he is FUN! Win Win! ;)

  16. Linda

    2013-08-22 13:09:21 -0400

    Gorgeous photos! I've always wanted to visit Paris + your post makes me want to even more. I have been to Amorino though, they are delicious, there is one a couple blocks from my old apartment in Manhattan.

  17. Katie Scott

    2013-08-23 08:26:43 -0400

    I wanted to chime in to second a couple things:

    1. The Mona Lisa room always looks like that - although both times I went it was just slightly less crowded and it was before iPhones - but even back then everyone had cameras. The size of the painting is a bit underwhelming and I couldnt stop thinking about Bugs Bunny cartoons that included the Mona Lisa while there.

    2. I have taken 3 trips via VBRO in the past couple years and have stayed at completely amazing places in Bass Harbor, Maine; Durango, Colorado; and Lake Burton, Georgia. For slightly more or the same as a hotel, we have loved each of our VBRO vacation rentals. It is where I will check for whereever the next trip takes me.

    3. I also loved your observations and that you weren't the only one taking photos! I long to go on a trip when I'm not the only one trying to capture the memories. A girl can dream.

    Thanks for the share. Really delightful.

  18. Kathy L

    2013-08-24 02:21:13 -0400

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures. Brought back wonderful memories of my trip over 10 years ago. Hope to go back with my husband for my next trip. We have each been there before we were married and would love to share the experience. So excited to see you mention the picnic at the Eiffel Tower. I did the same thing on my visit. So fun to just relax and enjoy the moment... BTW didn't go to the top either, complete and utter panic.

    Hopefully you had a chance to go to Versailles. That was awe inspiring.

  19. jeffrey gitomer

    2013-08-24 06:27:52 -0400

    Paris is always too much fun, food, art, shopping, and wine - never enough time - we'll be back next year, bring the kids!

  20. Julie M

    2013-08-26 23:53:12 -0400

    Enjoyed seeing your photos of Paris. I've been twice, but it was in my 20's (about 20 years ago). I was reminiscing a bit, just hoping that one day I will have the chance to go back with my husband. It is such an amazing place! You look so happy!

  21. Celine

    2013-08-28 16:16:19 -0400

    Ali, I'm from Paris, France ... and I just love to see how much you had fun. To see these pictures and the different points of view reminds me that when you live somewhere as great as Paris, you have to make some efforts to think outside your routine "work - sleep - kids".
    And I am sooooooooo happy for you and Aaron :)

  22. Tracey Monette

    2013-09-09 20:45:43 -0400

    That was fun to see a few of your impressions of Paris. I lived there for a year, quite a few years back and seeing your pics certainly brings back wonderful memories.

  23. julie macneil

    2013-09-20 15:15:08 -0400

    Ali, i have never seen you look more happy or peaceful. your life right now is so good for you.

  24. fafuna

    2013-10-09 06:55:38 -0400

    I enjoyed this post so much!! It's so nice to see you guys having such a good time and enjoying yourselves... I'm happy for you!! :)

  25. 通販 レディース

    2013-11-05 23:59:08 -0500

    お洒落 服 通販 レディース

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