Paris – Day 7

On our final day in Paris we tried to fit in a few last minute things, while also keeping it low key and enjoying our last bit of vacation. We went to the Museum de l’Orangerie to check out the Monet water lilies, but didn’t see much else here. We were honestly overwhelmed with all the museums we had seen. We had lunch at L’Imperial Rivoli, where I tried a Croque-Madame for the first time… When in France Right?!? We did some last minute walking around the Marais neighborhood, and checked out the Picasso Museum. I loved that we had the museum pass for this trip. We never had to wait in line for tickets, or for entry, and we didn’t have to feel bad about the museums we breezed in and out of since we had already paid for the pass. We had our last chocolate croissant, packed our bags and enjoyed one last view from our colorful balcony. It was a WONDERFUL trip!!

This wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t show us being the ONLY people in the Charles de Gaulle Airport. Always the timely traveler Sean had us at the airport hours before it even opened, which feels hard to do at an international airport the size of CDG but we managed…

The Perfect Baby Moon at The Greenbrier

Our Room

Ready for the Bunker Tour

Patterns for Days

Casino

Peach Cake

Carriage Rides

The Salt Cave and Spa

Most epic afternoon nap

Afternoon tea

Perfect place for a swim

Jerry West’s Prime 44 Steakhouse

The best décor

Sean’s favorite chandelier

My favorite chandelier

Sunday breakfast

The Greenbrier was the absolute perfect place for our babymoon weekend getaway! I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for a place to get away for a short trip on the East Coast. It’s the perfect mix of things to do and nothing to do but relax! We arrived on a Friday afternoon just in time for the Bunker Tour. This is a little piece of history that you should not miss! It is absolutely unbelievable that a fallout shelter for Congress existed for 30 years with no one being the wiser.

On Friday evening we went into the nearby town of Lewisburg. It has apparently become quite the local foodie spot. We tried out The Livery Tavern, which was honestly just OK. Our waitress was great and we enjoyed our dinner, but I think if we go back we would try somewhere different. There were quite a few spots we were considering trying out, like The French Goat and The Humble Tomato, so something to look forward to for next time! After dinner we went back to the hotel and checked out the casino. To me one of the fun things about the resort is that it still has a dress code, sport coats are required for men in the casino. It was fun to get dressed up and enjoy an evening out. Once we had run out of luck I decided it was time for late night cake! We had the funniest experience at the dessert shop. The nicest man was helping us grab a slice of peach cake to-go, and then he offered us the cake buy one get one free, so why not!? Two giant slices of peach cake, never heard of peach cake but sounds delicious! As he is packing it up in the to-go containers, another employee walks up to the counter and says “do you know what you’re having?” referencing my very pregnant belly, which I totally missed and responded with “CAKE!” After my moment of embarrassment we took the cake back to our room and it was SO GOOD!!

We started out Saturday with a trip to The Pomona Salt Cave and Spa. The Greenbrier has an amazing spa that I’m sure is worth every penny, but is v expensive. We were both able to do facials, and a trip to the salt cave, and lunch, and smoothies here for nearly the same cost as one facial at The Greenbrier. It’s about 15 minutes driving from the hotel. We loved our experience here! I’m sure it’s not as fancy as The Greenbrier, but it was a perfect relaxing morning. We also loved that there was a café and smoothie shop on site. The lunch and smoothies that we got were great! After our relaxing morning we went back to the resort to relax and I had an epic afternoon nap. We went for afternoon tea in the main lobby and followed that up with a swim in the pool. That evening we had dinner at Prime 44, Jerry West’s steakhouse onsite at the resort. The food was delicious, but the service was even better. Honestly, a perfect day!

One of the things we kept noticing all weekend was how wonderful the staff at the resort is! Our waitress told us that she was a third generation employee from her family. Everyone is so helpful and friendly and really wants you to feel taken care of!

On Sunday we closed out the weekend with the full breakfast buffet in the main dining room! All in all it was a perfect weekend away preparing for little girl!

Also happy to report that I finally checked this spot off my bucket list of places I want to visit in the south!

Paris – Day 6

I could say this about all the days of the trip, but Day 6 was one of the best. We took the train to Versailles early that morning. We got there almost as it was opening and it really was not crowded (with the exception of the crowd you see in the Hall of Mirrors photo, which I think may always be like that). I think visiting in November also helped with the crowds. One thing I will say about our trip to Versailles in low season was that much of the furniture and other things that the audio guide mentioned seemed to be missing, possibly it was being cleaned or restored, and the famous gardens were a little lackluster with nothing in season. However, we enjoyed there not being much of a crowd and still getting to experience this famous location. We stayed a few hours and then took the train back in to Paris. That afternoon we explored Montmarte. I loved this area and would love to spend more time here. There are so many amazing shops and streets that you could spend days wandering here. We watched the sun set over Paris from the Sacre-Coeur, which I highly recommended. The view at sunset was magical. We wandered from here to the Hotel Particulier for some fancy drinks in a cozy spot off the beaten path. (Also happy to report we are still making the drink the bartender here taught us.) We finished up with dinner at Buillon Pigalle. The restaurant was a mix of tourist and locals, and the food was fantastic. This was one of our best “authentic” French meals. We are still trying to recreate the beef bourguignon.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 7

Paris – Day 5

Our the 5th day of our trip we covered a lot of ground. We started with a tour of the catacombs. I cannot express how much I disliked this. Sean had booked this as something he wanted to do, and I had no clue what we were getting into. I do not like small spaces, I do not like being underground, I do not like dead bodies, I do not like there being no emergency exit. The catacombs are all of those things. That aside our tour guide was really knowledgeable and engaging. We were lucky enough to be in Paris when the Rembrandt collection was on display at the Louvre. We had reservations that afternoon to check it out. We hit the highlights of the exhibit and hit the road. The Louvre was overly crowded to the point of not being enjoyable, as it turned out our reservation was only to see the Rembrandt pieces not the rest of the museum and we weren’t sad about it because it was such a cluster. That night we had tickets to see a ballet at the Palais Garnier. I had mostly just wanted to see a show inside the famous opera house so we could see the inside. It is definitely worth seeing in my opinion. It’s gorgeous. We wound up loving the show we saw, we had amazing seats that I had purchased basically by accident, and it was great to drink champagne and feel fancy for a night.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 6

Paris – Day 4

Day 4 of the trip was a museum and shopping day. We started the day with breakfast at Brasserie Le Bourbon. There were lots of business people here having meetings and eating. We enjoyed eating here. We followed that up with walking to the Rodin museum, which allowed us to take in some sights around the area. The Rodin museum was probably my favorite that we visited. I loved that it is both inside and outside, it wasn’t crowded, and you could walk around the gardens right in the middle of the city. We then went to the Museum D’Orsay, which has lots of great highlights, but we were lost most of the time we were there. It was crowded and difficult to navigate but we did manage to see some beautiful art! From here we walked to Rue Saint Honore to do some shopping. We stopped in Laduree since no trip to Paris is complete without the famous macarons. After our shopping we hurried back to change and head to our dinner reservation at Frenchie. We made a huge mistake and tried to take an Uber since we were all dressed up, we ended up sitting in so much traffic that we were late for our reservation. The restaurant staff was so great about it, but they have a strict cancellation policy so Sean was freaking out the whole drive there. The food at Frenchie was AMAZING. It is one of the best meals I have ever eaten. We had the sommelier do the wine pairing for each course also. We were lucky enough to have seats at the bar looking into the kitchen, which was a great experience. After dinner we walked to get a drink at the Experimental Cocktail Club, which was a fantastic spot our server told us about. When we were ready to head home we tried Uber again, but had no luck as our driver drove away as we were walking toward the car. We opted for the metro back, and I was not please about being in the metro late at night in high heels, but what a cool looking metro stop.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 5, Day 6

Spend the Day in Reims

Paris – Day 3

On our third day of the trip we took the train to Reims to explore the champagne region. It took a little over an hour to get there and was well worth it. This was maybe my favorite day of vacation. Reims was a fun town to see and we found it very walkable. The Museum of the Surrender allows you to experience the location where the German’s surrendered World War II. The map room is still exactly as it was on the day of the surrender. We really enjoyed this museum. It is next to a local school and we accidentally went into the school looking for it. Ooops. From here we walked to the Reims Cathedral. It is absolutely beautiful, the stained glass is unbelievable! The history here is fascinating; It was built in the 13th century and was the location for all of the coronations of the French monarchs. After this we walked to Brasserie Le Gaulois for lunch. Our waitress was great and talked about how much she loved having a chance to practice speaking English, however the food was honestly not good. Kind of reminded me of the French version of Applebees. I should mention that we came to Reims on a Monday and many places are closed so we didn’t have as much to choose from. We knew that going in to the day and were fine with it, but I do wish we had been able to try some of the places we heard about. One cool thing about the restaurants in Reims was they have great champagne selections so we were able to try a few from places we weren’t able to visit. From lunch we walked to Tatinger where we had made a reservation for a tour and tasting. Most of the larger champagne houses require reservations for a tour. We enjoyed the tour and our guide was great. We did a tasting and ended up buying some to have shipped home. From Tatinger we walked to Pomery. We did a tasting here and bought a couple more bottles. After a full afternoon of champagne drinking we found l’edito brasserie to stop in for dinner. We enjoyed the food here and our server was great! It was the only restaurant of the entire trip we went to where the server spoke no English (our problem not his – for being in France and not speaking any French), but he kept apologizing to us and was just so nice! Our last stop before the train was the local grocery store. This was a great stop as we found many of the local champagnes we hadn’t been able to try for sale here.

More from our trip : Day 1, Day 2, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6

Eiffel Tower Photoshoot

One of the best things we did in Paris was to book a photo shoot with The Paris Photographer. Remember how I said I didn’t love how our wedding photos turned out. Well, it is so great that we booked these photos before even getting our wedding photos back, because we have some images that we love from this special time in our lives. A colleague of mine heard about our trip and told me about The Paris Photographer. Her sister had been married in a small ceremony in Paris and they had taken absolutely beautiful photos from the ceremony. I did some research and found that they book mini sessions that are totally affordable (the wedding packages would have been out of my price range). We booked our session with Ioana and she was so much fun! The session included these 15 images, which in my opinion is plenty. She happened to get stuck in the metro on the way and ended up being very late to the session. She was texting us updates the entire time and it was totally not her fault, but I think she felt really bad so what was supposed to be a 30 minute session ended up being nearly two hours, so we had a lot of images to choose from and I just love these photos!!

Paris – Day 2

On our second day in Paris we got up and had photos taken at the Eiffel Tower with a photographer from The Paris Photographer. I have mentioned before how I wasn’t too happy with our wedding photos, so we were SO HAPPY we did this! The photos turned out great and are such a fun memory. After our photo session we went back to our apartment to change into more comfortable clothes before heading out to explore the Jewish Quarter in Marais. We had heard about the food in the neighborhood and decided to go for lunch. The crowds were crazy and there were lots of long lines, we went to L’as du Falafel first but couldn’t even find the end of the line so we went to another spot nearby where we could be seated right away. I’m thinking it was Mi-Va-Mi, and it was really quite good. We took a little nap after lunch before heading out for the evening. We decided to head for rooftop drinks at Perruche, which a very cool spot on the top of a Printemps department store. We arrived just before closing time, but they were so great and let us come in for drinks anyway! The view from here is awesome and we really enjoyed this spot!! It was a Sunday evening so it was a little tough to find a spot to eat. Apparently lots of places close up early on Sunday. We weren’t far from Champs-Elysees so we decided to walk here from drinks in search of food. Since it is a more touristy area the shops and restaurants were still open. We browsed a few of the high end store before finding Cafe di Roma for dinner. It was definitely one of the more touristy places we ate, but there were locals there too with families and children. The pizza was good and we were happy to find a place that was open!

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6

Paris – Day 1

This is long overdue. We went to Paris in 2019 on our honeymoon. I don’t claim to be a travel blogger who tells you all the places to go, and takes all the glamorous pictures. I take snapshots of our real travel and real experiences. And I started this site so I would have them all collected in a place to come and look back on them. And I never posted these because, time got away from me, and then it was covid, and it was depressing to look at pictures of us travelling and having fun when we were locked down panicked about the future. So now here we are two years and (almost) two babies and a global pandemic later, and it’s wonderful to look back on these and see how much has changed in our lives since then.

We spent a week in Paris and since it has been so long ago, I’ll probably just post the pictures from each day with the highlights from the day. We stayed in the Marais District at a really great AirBnB. The host was wonderful, we were near a big metro stop, we loved exploring the area around the apartment and felt it was convenient to everything we wanted to see.

On the first day we dropped our bags at the apartment and went straight to Rue Cler. This was our first chance to learn how to navigate the metro. Sean had an app that he found that was super helpful, you could put in where you wanted to go and it would give you the best route using your current location, but overall we found the metro super easy to use. We had breakfast at a restaurant we came across and spent the morning checking out the shops along the street. We bought wine and cheese and snacks for our apartment. We had planned to try to stay up all day to get adjusted to the time change, but ultimately didn’t make it. We were up basically all night on the plane, and just crashed after our morning out. That evening we went out to explore the Marais district. We stopped in a brasserie (pretty sure it was called Cafe Charlot) along our walk for dinner and had a delicious meal. After dinner we went to Little Red Door and then to Shake N’ Smash. The Little Red Door has been rated one of the top 50 bars in the world. Pro tip – if you go there you don’t actually enter through the red door, there is a blue door to the left that you can’t see because it matches the wall. You’re welcome. We looked like idiots. But so did a whole bunch of other people trying to get in. We grabbed a few fancy cocktails, before heading home to call it a day.

More from our trip : Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6

What to do about BED BUGS when travelling?!

Remember when I told you guys that we got bed bugs on our honeymoon. Yeah that was great. In all of my googling, everything said do not panic, WELL allow me to be the first person on the internet to tell you it’s fine if you want to panic. Go finishing panicking and then come back and I’ll tell you what to do to remedy the situation.

First things first, I highly recommend that you tell someone at the place you are staying. Whether it is an AirBnB, a hotel, or a fancy resort, it’s really not their fault entirely. Bed bugs can easily hitch a ride from one place to another, like from one hotel to another, or maybe even in the airline cargo area from one suitcase to another. GROSS RIGHT!? And it doesn’t mean the place you are staying is dirty. Although you may feel as though you will never feel clean again once you encounter a bed bug. Someone needs to know, so they can treat the room and prevent other guest from having the same experience.

Also, let me be the first to tell you that people who check mattresses and other areas of hotel rooms when they travel in search of bugs, may not find them. These creatures are tiny and they only come out at night. Unless you have a full blown infestation don’t expect to seem them easily. So it’s fine if you’re checking, but that’s not fail proof.

I am no expert on this, but bed bugs have a life cycle such that they only need to feed during certain times. If you encounter them during the feeding part of the cycle, you will see the blood spots on the sheets at night. A new infestation may not yet be at this stage, and thus you won’t know about them. So we were kind of thankful for the bites in some sick way.

Bed bugs are killed by heat. There is no cleaner or chemical or anything that will get rid of them besides high heat. Ever since we came across the creepy little creatures on our honeymoon, we have followed a strict protocol when we return home from traveling just about anywhere. I’m going to share our routine with you so that if you’re in the same situation you know what to do.

  1. When you return home take *all* of your clothes off before entering your home. [Could be complicated if you live in an apartment or shared living quarters]
  2. Place all of your clothes directly into the washing machine. Wash and dry them.
  3. Do not bring your suitcases in your house. Leave them in the garage, on the porch, in the yard. Not in the house.
  4. Unpack the suitcases into trash bags. [your neighbors will think you killed someone on vacation, it’s fine]
  5. Anything that can be washed and dried goes into a bag that will be taken to a wash/dry/fold service. 1)the commercial driers get much hotter than the ones at home & 2) you don’t take a chance on the creatures getting in to your house
  6. Certain things that may not be safe in the washer, are fine in the dryer only. Remember it’s the heat you’re after not the soap. Think hats, certain kinds of shoes, purses or backpacks etc. Anything that is safe in the dryer should be left on high for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Anything that can’t be washed/dried goes into a trash bag with one of these for at least a couple of days.
  8. After a few days in the bag, cook everything in this oven. We cook our suitcases, our shoes, sometimes our toiletries.

The thing is, this may seem nuts, but if they infest your home it could be thousands of dollars to have it treated and get rid of them. It can also ruin hardwood floors and other more delicate items inside like artwork. If you can prevent them do it. After encountering bed bugs once, we assume that we have encountered them on every trip since and do this routine after every trip.

And now to really up the creepy factor of this post… a few pictures.

This is what your creepy crawly friends will leave behind.

This is when the neighbors will start to get suspicious.

The bug oven.