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.

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104 thoughts

  1. Felicia Young says…


    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Megan says…

    Looks like an awesome adventure. Full of new sights and a relaxing time. Glad you had fun!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Christine says…

    So happy that you had a great adventure in Paris. I love the photos you took. Paris is on my list of places to visit. My daughter was there last month and she said Paris is a very easy city to navigate. We have used VRBO before and it's a great way to book accommodations.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. CJ says…

    Ali, that looks magical. So glad you all had such a wonderful time. Paris is beautiful. Your photos are amazing.

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  5. pam says…

    perfect. xo

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  6. Leis says…

    I was 5 months pregnant when my husband & I went to Paris. I didn't make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower either - it was so windy & shaky & i was tired from all the walking. Anyways, I agree that the view is great even if its not from the top of the tower :)
    Thanks for sharing all your fabulous photos - makes me want to go back!

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Stacy says…

    So glad you're back! You were missed. Thanks for the recap. Paris is on my bucket list. Your adventure sounds wonderful. I also loved your outfits. So cute. Welcome home. P.S. I would never have had the courage to go all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower either :)

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  8. J3SS1C4 says…

    So jealous! I was there in 2010, and loved it. I want to elope there one day :)

    Love seeing all of your awesome pics, looks like such an awesome trip!

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  9. Heather says…

    My fiance & I have been thinking of spending a couple days in Paris on our honeymoon next May. I think you're photos just pushed me over the edge. :)

    Also, what brand of sandals are you & Katie wearing? I keep seeing these & can't figure out the brand!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Katie says…

      SaltWater Sandles :)

  10. Brooke says…

    I so loved following along on Instagram. My hubby is in the middle of finishing his dissertation as well as working full time, so your holiday was mine too. Inspired by the food, the pace, the history. Just amazing. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. jennifer olson says…

    Can you tell how many pictures did you take And how many alums do you need too

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  12. Treesa says…

    wow! thanks for sharing. Looks amazing I can dream...

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  13. Dawn S. says…

    Wow!! How awesome!! I can not wait to have such an adventure one day in France myself. Thanks for looked like an amazing trip!!

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  14. Maria says…

    Thanks for sharing your photos, love them all! Where did you get that cute purse (white/blue)? super cute.

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  15. Jennifer says…

    You look so happy!

    I need to go back to Paris. It's been too long.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Erin Oltmanns says…

    Lovely. Thank you for sharing. As always you inspire me to get out of my rut and go LIVE MY LIFE.

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  17. alice mak says…

    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!!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Kate S says…

      I would love to know about both your bag, Ali, and Katie's bag. Were they both comfortable to wear over one shoulder walking so much? Thank you!

  18. Amanda Rabe says…

    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?

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  19. helen says…

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

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  20. Megan says…

    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!

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Tina B says…

    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.

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. mobile says…

      You mean I don't have to pay for expert advice like this anymore?!

    2. Bubi says…

      When you think about it, that's got to be the right anrswe.

  22. CandyW says…

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

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  23. Christine says…

    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.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. maile says…

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

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Carrie says…

    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! (

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