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paris in spring!

1. juniper rose scarf  2. chic LBD from Anthro  3. Arches watercolor paper & brushes  4. Madame Bovary  5. sandals from Madewell  6. striped sweater  7. straw fedora  8. I dream of Chloe bags...  9. vintage French phrase book

I bursting with excitement because in a week I leave for Paris. I've rented a little apartment and am hoping to wrap up all our new designs that will debut at the National Stationery Show. I normally wouldn't do something so crazy to finish designs but when I was looking for places to get away I realized that Paris was actually just as reasonable as my original plan of flying to Seattle and staying in a hotel. I've also decided to be spontaneous in life whenever possible... so Paris it is!

I've dreamed of going for so long... and was still heartbroken after I had to miss a trip back in college when I lost my passport 2 days before I was supposed to leave. TRAGIC. (I found the passport 4 years later stuck in a random book). So, any Parisian tips for me? I'd love to hear! The apartment I rented is in the 4th arrondissement, I speak about 5 words of French, I'm on a pretty strict budget, and will be traveling solo.. 

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Reader Comments (59)

i've never been to paris, or traveled alone, but i wish you luck. there are apps now where you can speak into your phone in english, pick a language to translate it to, and it will say it back in that language. it will also do the opposite if you don't understand what someone is saying.

can't wait to see what you bring back!
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkatie evans!
hi Anna - that's so exciting! I was there last June and had the most gorgeous (and insanely reasonable) authentic french fare at a beautiful little restaurant called Pramil, at 9 rue du vertbois (the staff were just lovely and the wonderful chef comes around to each table to greet everyone - so nice!) we found it on Trip Advisor and it was amazing. :) bon voyage!
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersheila
So exciting! I love this collection of Paris inspired things :) You are going to have the most amazing time!! Here are a few of my favorite things to do in Paris:
-Eat a baguette by the Eiffel Tower. Yes, I know, SO tourist-y, but so surreal at the same time!
-Visit the Marche aux Puces de St-Ouen, a great flea market that is so easy to find! The vendors were so friendly, especially if you try talking to them in French! Even if you only know a little bit, they'll appreciate the effort!
-The metro system is so convenient and easy to use. Highly recommend it if you want to see/do a lot in a short amount of time!
-Many of the museums are free on some Sundays, such as the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. Check online to find out specifics!
Most of all, have a wonderful time and enjoy every minute of it! :)
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Sounds so lovely Anna! I've been to Paris twice and last October a friend of mine gave me a tip to check out Rue Mouffetard. It's a long-ish street full of great restaurants & bars, perfect for strolling around in the day and hanging around outside at a bar at night. It's far enough away and a bit under the radar to be virtually free of tourists but still close enough to the center where it's a quick cab ride. I promise, it's wonderful!
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Belle
Hi! I just started following you because your cards and stationary are super cute :)
My husband is French and he has given me these tips:

- always greet the store owner/sales person when you walk into a store (Bonjour Madame! Bonjour Monsieur!)
- wear nice shoes
- always use a fork AND a knife (don't really understand this one)
- if people run into you, don't worry, that's just how they are

Have a great time in Paris! You'll be living my dream...
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSahar
katie, sheila, & lisa, thanks for the tips!! I'll definitely be writing those down. :)

March 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterRIFLE
Garance just posted this on her blog today. Tips from an actual Parisian. Bonus! Have fun!
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpam
I wish I had Paris tips for you, but I've never been! I just wanted to wish you well- it will be the perfect place to finish your designs. Best of luck!
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
How exciting! I have that LBD by the way (it's actually navy, and very flattering.) I went to Paris by myself one year, my top tip is that the museums are open late so it's a fun thing to do in the evening by yourself, if you don't want to eat dinner alone.
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynne
Oh my gosh, how fun!! You will have a blast and find so much inspiration there. I love the looks of the breakfast place that Jordan from Oh Happy Day blogged about today.
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElise / Pennyweight
Paris, sigh. I lived there for a whole month doing my last classes for my BFA degree. Best month of my life! I swear it completely changed my outlook and caused me to pack my bags and move to Europe from Florida right after I got home. And even though I was there with an entire class I mainly explored alone since my classmates thought it was more important to skype their boyfriends during their free time (none of them are still in the same relationship, jokes on them) I spent my free time walking down quiet streets in pretty floral dresses, riding the metro and jumping off anywhere to see where I'd end up, visiting the Louvre a million times, just hanging by the Seine feet dangling or in a park reading a book. I swear Paris has the softest grass! I just loved Versailles, the palace is of course nice but the garden is like out of a dream.

I'm going to Paris this summer with my boyfriend, it's going to be even more wonderful. Hope you have a great time and share lots of photos with us. xoxo
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteremmakisstina
i am envious. you must go to jordan ferney's blog - and her sister's blog - they just left to live in france. i lover their blogs and they have been blogging about their stay. jordan is in paris. check it out.
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnn
Museums are free the first Sunday of the month. Please eat at L'as du Falafel, and then shop at all the Vintage Shops along Rue des Rosiers. Also - get a coffee in the café at Musée d'Orsay. It's gorgeous! Go on the touristy boat at night, called Bateaux Mouche. Eat lots of ice cream and don't bat an eye when French guys oogle over you! It's part of the fun ;)

I'm going to Paris this weekend - wish I was wearing this outfit!
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrenna
that's so amazing. I'm impressed. I love Paris, but have only been on vacation. I think working/living there would be entirely different. But living on wine, cheese and chocolate alone could get me through. I would say, after hearing stories from a friend who lived there for a summer, sign yourself up for French lessons once you get there, shop like the French (only buy what you love even if it is expensive), don't forget to look up (Paris has some amazing architecture), explore small towns outside Paris.
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercasey
I went to Paris for the first time in the fall and it is even better than you think it's going to be. Here's my must-sees:

- Musee de L'Orangerie - Easily one of my favorite museums in the world. Home to Monet's giant water lily canvasses. The presentation is mind-blowing and incredibly inspiring.
- Merci - this adorable shop is on a long street of not so cute shops but worth the journey! Wonderfully edited merchandise and beautiful store and cafe. (
- Colette - also an amazing design/fashion department store
- Mariage Freres and Laduree - great tea spots!
- Le Grand Epicerie (grocery store!) at Le Bon Marche - I bought all of my souvenirs in this giant food hall with amazing food goodies. They will even vacuum seal cheese for you so you can bring it home.
- Musee Carnavalet - on a really great shopping street. Don't go into the museum, just hang out in the lovely small outdoor gardens that also have free wifi :)
- Paris is also a great city to play "spot the space invader" if you are interested in street art:

Bon voyage!
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca M
Lucky, lucky you!!!! I went to Paris in 2007 and LOVED it. So, so, so gorgeous. I can really recommend getting hold of a publication called Paris Walks for your trip. Its a great little box of cards, each card with a small map of a section of paris with recommended stops along the walk, and on the back the destinations of each stop in small detail. My husband and I used them and they were fantastic. They gave us the opportunity to find some really interesting areas and see things we would have otherwised missed.
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanine
thanks for all the great tips guys! Keep em coming.. I'll be jotting down all of your suggestions in a little notebook for my trip. I'll be there about a week. not long enough to work and see everything but i plan to explore in the mornings and then come back to my apartment to work...

anyone know of a great art supply store? I'd love to have one in mind in case I run out of my paint & paper.

March 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterRIFLE
so exciting! stayed with a good friend that lives in the marais last spring (ended up being our favorite area to wander, lots of vintages shops, boutiques, yummy bakeries, etc.). best tip he gave us was to always say 'bonjour' when walking into any store and 'au revoir, merci' when exiting. it's not a quaint art supply store, but if you're in a pinch, i'm sure that BHV (Hôtel de Ville metro) would have some art supplies; it literally has everything and is like a target + macy's + home depot all in one. don't pass an amorino gelato without getting something and hit up the lizard lounge or stolly's for drinks (in the marais) if you're craving a convo in english :) have an amazing trip and can't wait to hear all about your adventure!
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertrisha
Take the train (same system as regular Paris metro, just a regional line) to Versailles. After touring the main castle you must rent a bicycle and cycle around the garden grounds and to Marie Antoniette's 'cottage'. Beautiful, beautiful day and a must for a Paris visit. Also, you can buy a 3 day museum pass for many Paris museums, better rate and lets you skip the long tourist lineups (eg. At the Louve you can go to a separate entrance, leave for an espresso and walk in the gardens if it gets too overwhelming - so much art in one giant place!). Walk up the hills of Montmarte and Sacre-Coeur for a different view of the city. Another good afternoon & cheap thing is getting baguettes, cheese, fruit and wine and sitting in the Luxembourg gardens to people watch, read books, sketch etc. if you want a break from tourist spots. Oh, this makes me want to go see Paris again...
March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Pick
loving that dress! and scarf....and hat....okay all of it. amazing.
March 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimia Kline

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