• Books,  France

    Great Fiction Books to Read Before Visiting France

    France is one of those countries that everyone dreams about – from the romance of Paris to the countryside in Provence and the glitz of the French Riviera. The best way to mentally prepare and get excited for your French vacation is to read these books to read before visiting France! You’ll find tons of WWII books set in France, but there are so many others as well! I’ve organized these in both WWII books, as well as non-WWII books, depending on your preference! There are thousands of amazing fiction books set in France, but these are just a few fun ones to start your list. Headed to Italy on…

  • France,  General Travel,  Greece,  Hungary,  Italy,  Romania,  Tips and Tricks,  United Kingdom

    Visiting Europe In the Summer: What You Need to Know

    School’s out, the sun’s out – it’s summer! You finally have a few weeks to take the dream vacation to Europe. Before you go, make sure you’re prepared for what to expect from summer in Europe. 1. Air Conditioning Is Not Used As Much As in the US Europeans, in general, are much more tolerant of the heat than in the US. If you must have air conditioning, make sure to double check that your hotel offers it – and definitely check if you’re using AirBnB. For places that have AC, know that it won’t be turned down quite as much as it would in the US. I heard many…

  • Costs,  France

    Spreadsheeting: How Much I Spent in France

    Oh, France! France made me decide that my new “I really really love you” is going to be to tell people that I love them more than all the bread and cheese in France! It was a wonderful week, with lots of good (but simple!) food, and enjoying the great outdoors. In all, in 7 days in France, I spent $913.51. How did that work out?

  • France

    Arles: Chasing Van Gogh

    While I was in Avignon, I decided to take a day trip to Arles. Arles is best-known for its association with Van Gogh – he lived there for about a year (incidentally right before he had a mental breakdown?), and did many of his most famous paintings there. As one would expect from the place that inspired so many of Van Gogh’s paintings, the whole city is unspeakably beautiful. I think Arles is the most beautiful place I visited in France. I walked along and couldn’t help but think of Annie Sloane paints – those wonderful chalk paints to bring a bit of rustic France to our American furniture. Y’all……

  • France

    Avignon: The Heart of Provence

    I knew after leaving Paris, I needed to head south towards Italy to meet my mom. So I tried to figure out where I’d want to go in France on my way to Italy. And then I remembered Avignon. I remember learning about Avignon in school – specifically, the Avignon Captivity where the papacy moved from the Vatican to Avignon. Avignon is also the heart of Provence, and is well-served by rail and public transit (yes, still too chicken to rent a car in Europe!). So I headed down to Avignon! I found a little studio to rent in the heart of the old town, and spent a few days…

  • France

    Paris: Notre Dame and More

    I was in Paris on a Sunday, and that happened to be the day I planned to go to Notre Dame cathedral. I walked up at just the right time, because it was right when they were starting their Sunday services. So I decided to take time to worship. It felt like no worship service I’ve ever experienced. The service was mostly in French, with some in English, and was a true, traditional Catholic service. Complete with organ accompaniment! The music for the service was just breathtaking and incredible. In so many ways it reminded me of The Phantom of the Opera – these giant melodies that come through the…

  • France

    The Girl Who Fell in Love With Paris

    Paris, oh Paris. Paris was never on the original itinerary, and I honestly planned to skip it this trip. But something about it kept calling me. It was so close, I had time, and other reasons all conspired to get me to board a plane from Naples and head to Paris. I never thought Paris was for girls like me. I always thought Paris was for beautiful people… and before you comment “But you ARE beautiful,” I’m not talking about that so much. I’m talking about Paris being for the kind of people who enjoy beauty as a hobby. Not necessarily naturally beautiful, but the people who spend their free…