Tuscany, Paris, & Junk Bonanza

Marian ParsonsAntiques, Artistic Endeavors, Balance72 Comments

I have a couple of very exciting trips and events coming up this year that I wanted to share, in case you’re able to join me.  The first one is a biggie.

A few months ago, I received an e-mail from one of my MMS Milk Paint retailers, Dana, of Le Beau Chateau.  She is a seasoned world traveler and has taken and led many trips to Europe.  She pitched the idea of a creative retreat in one of her favorite places – Tuscany.

I’ve had a few invitations like these over the years.  I would always get a quick rush as I allowed the idea to become a reality in my mind.  But the real world…small kids, a husband in school, etc. would pull me out of the daydream.  It just wasn’t the right time.  Maybe one day, it’ll be the right time.

When this opportunity came, it was finally the right time.  I said yes.

MISS MUSTARD SEED TV

So, September 12-18, 2018, Dana, my mom, a few amazing MMS Milk Paint retailers, and I, will be going to Tuscany!   Originally, it looked like this trip would not be open to the “public”, but we actually have room for four more!  That means, you can come!  Well, if the timing is right for you.  I know how key that is and we’re not all in the season of life to whisk ourselves away to Tuscany with other creatives.

(This picture is of our meeting room!)

Here are the details of the trip…

  • 6 nights in the heart of Tuscany
  • Round-trip transfers to Pisa Airport via private motor coach.
  • Accommodations are in 2 small hotels, (former homes) one is an old family Palazzo and the former home of an artist.  The second floor is still an art gallery. The other, is an old Liberty style Villa with frescoes and beautiful architecture.  Both are authentic Italy, all rooms are different in each hotel
  • We have permission to use Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint on various projects in the hotel!  How fun is that?  We are open to topics and will be asking our attendees what they want to see/do.  The group is small enough that we can tailor our workshops, balance of free-time and outings, etc. to the group.
  • A trip to the largest antique market in Tuscany, we will venture inside the old walled city of Lucca to shop to our hearts content.  We have contacts available for containers should you want to ship items home, or combine with others to get that perfect piece.
  • Day trip to an agra-farm for wine and olive oil tasting, and a lovely local lunch.
  • 2 special group dinners
  • Evening wine toast (and chat) with local wines and Prosecco
  • Bookings start at $1895 per person, double occupancy. Since each room is different at both hotels, the prices vary.  Casa Cordati starts at $1895,  Villa Moorings has an extensive breakfast and swimming pool so the price is slightly higher.  Rooms will be first come, first served. Please let us know if you have a preferred roommate.  Single occupancy is possible, spouses/friends can also be accommodated upon request.

(Villa Moorings Hotel)

You can register for the trip HERE (this isn’t a commitment, but an application to express serious interest.)  If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to inspiredintuscany@gmail.com.

Since we’re heading to Europe, anyway, my mom and I decided we would spend a few days in Paris prior to going to Tuscany.  I am so excited about this trip, I am about to burst.  If you have any tips on traveling in Paris, I’d love to hear them!  We don’t want to run around doing a bunch of touristy stuff, but mostly just want to be there and soak it all in.  We’ll go on lots of walks, eat at cafes, take a boat ride on the river, visit The Louvre, and just generally enjoy Paris in the fall.

I know it might be a long shot for most, but I hope that four of you will be able to join us on this amazing trip!

And, a little closer to home and closer on the calendar is Junk Bonanza in Shakopee, MN, April 19-21,2018.  I will be there on Thursday, April 19, to be their official Instagram correspondent.

First of all, I’m just excited to shop at Junk Bonanza!  I’ve been a fan of the event founder, Ki Nassauer, for years, so it’s fun that I get to do something with her!  (I was geeking out on the phone a little when we talked.  Her book was one of the first ones I read when I discovered a love for antiques.)

Anyway, I’ll be on Instagram stories sharing all of the exciting stuff going on at the event.  In addition, I plan to find a piece to paint and finish  throughout the day with MMS Milk Paint.  The piece will then be available (I think as a giveaway or raffle.)  It will be a ton of fun.

If you’re in the Minneapolis area, I hope you can come out to shop the goodies & say hello.

Tuscany, Paris, & Junk Bonanza

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72 Comments on “Tuscany, Paris, & Junk Bonanza”

  1. How darn exciting is that! Just had to share how amazing I think that trip to Paris and Tuscany sounds! One of these days I’ll get over there again. I have no pointers. I do wish I had had more time in the Louvre when we went. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

  2. Oh don’t publish this comment.
    I think you are missing the letter L in the word public! I did a double take 😉So sorry, just trying to help! The trip sounds like a dream! You are the best!!

    1. Someone sent me an e-mail and I could not fix that mistake fast enough!!! Oh my… Thanks for keeping this blog family friendly, ladies. LOL!

  3. I know that you don’t want to do a bunch of tourist-y stuff, but my husband and I went to Versailles a few years ago when we were in Paris. It was busy, but we were able to take our time and enjoy how beautiful it is. It’s one of the coolest places I’ve ever been.
    I would recommend getting a fast pass….we were able to save about an hour or two of wait time at the Louvre … we walked right in. It may not be too bad in the fall though (we went in December).
    We were also able to find a local artist near a bridge near Notre Dame and bought some watercolors as our souvenir just in case you wanted to find some art!
    Have fun! It sounds like an amazing trip!

  4. Out best tip from our Paris trip: buy a museum pass in advance. Gets you into all of the major art museums (incl. the Louvre) and it lets you bypass all of the long tourist lines and walk right in!

    1. And you can get those museum passes at a booth at the airport. We bought our, called UBER, and went outside for the ride into Paris. Easy, peasy and the museum pass was well worth the money. it’s around $55 US if I remember right….

  5. Oh, how I wish I were younger so I could do all that’s walking again! My two favorite places in Europe are Paris and Lucca! Love them and so will you!

  6. I’m so excited you are going to be at Junk Bonanza!! I was planning to probably go on Friday, but I might just have to change my plans…

  7. With your love of landscapes it would be worth taking a day trip to Giverny, preserved gardens & home of the painter Monet. The gardens are really something, at every turn there is an amazing scene to capture. Plus the smell is divine!

  8. Stay in the 6th arrondissement (St. Germain des Pres), you can walk everywhere from there plus lots of little antique shops in area. Also plan to be in Paris over a weekend to attend the brocante (flea market) at Porte de Vanves. It is the best. Held on Sat. and Sun.

  9. Also to add in Paris – the streets Rue Jacob or Rue de Seine – both are in the 6th and have great little authentic French hotels.

    1. Oui! to everything Sandra has said above. The 6th is a wonderful neighborhood to stay in – we stayed on Rue Jacob for our honeymoon! Portes de Vanves flea is a must and a little easier to cover than the big Puces (St Ouen/Cligancourt). A ride on the Bateaux Mouches (river boats) is a wonderful way to see many of the sights and get your bearings – it’s a perfect thing to do your first day if you’re a big jet-lagged after arriving overseas. I personally find the Louvre a little overwhelming – it’s just SO big that you could spend days there. The Musee D’Orsay is smaller and is in a wonderful old train station – it’s my favorite museum and has a great restaurant for lunch. Musee Rodin also has a wonderful courtyard and is a nice smaller museum. Luxembourg Gardens are wonderful for strolling and people watching. I also think you would love Giverney – it’s so inspiring even for a non-artist like me! Let me know if you need hotel recommendations!

  10. I highly recommend a trip to Giverny to see Monet’s gardens. You can take enough photos for a lifetime of landscape paintings.

  11. I live in Paris, but I’m moving back this July – sorry to be missing you, would have loved to have shared a glass with you and your mom! Thank goodness for Amazon, which has kept me stocked with MMS Milk Paint for the past three years.

    1. Deb, do you have the paint sent to your local address from Amazon.com? I live in Germany and am in NEED of some MMS Milk Paint and Hemp Oil! 😉

  12. In Paris, Sainte-Chapelle is a favorite of mine. It’s a jewel box of a chapel, just exquisite. I also love the Marais, a lovely old part of town with the Pl. de Vosges and a museum of the city of Paris, Musee Carnavalet. There are lots of art galleries in the Marais. I also recommend Monet’s home at Giverny. When we were last there, I spoke to a woman who was spending the afternoon painting there in the gardens. Wouldn’t that be spectacular!

    1. Yes! And quite often they schedule choirs that sing in Latin. It is so beautiful and their voices singing those old world words in a chapel that is so old and beautiful is amazing!

  13. What a fantastic trip. I hope you love it and want to do it in 2019- as I might
    be able to join then. I am so happy for you!

  14. Someone mentioned Saint-Michelle and I recommend that! They have chamber concerts which you must book in advance but well worth it. The metro stop is right near a big flower market so you can do that before the concert! We stayed in an apartment on Ile-St. Louis (the island in the middle of the Seine) and it was perfect for crossinga bridge to either side of Paris….and a very old and picturesque area. Taking the teain to Versailles is really worth it because it is just stunning to see. And I second a Museum pass as someone mentioned…..the Louvre should not be missed. I skipped the Eiffel trip to the top bc one of two elevators was broken and the line was HUGE…..I didn’t mind bc there was so much to see everywhere. Strolling along the booksellers on the bank of the Seine was dreamy. Just having coffee or wine in a cafe was wonderful……you will absolutely love it….

  15. How exciting that you will be at Junk Bonanza! I am going to look you up. I’ve been to every Junk Bonanza event since they started. It’s always a fantastic time! I have been following Ki for over 20 years. She is amazing. I look forward to seeing you there. Wish I could join you on the trip. Have a wonderful time!!!

  16. It’s good that you are planning another creative escape for yourself.

    Do you speak French? If not, you might want to take some classss and listen to tapes before you go, though I know you don’t need any more on your to-do list. Some of my most memorable encounters in France have involved conversations where I used a little French to make a 1-on-1 connection with a resident.

    Another good preparation would be to read a book by Polly Platt (can’t remember title) about the differences between French and American culture and manners. After reading it and applying the lessons, I had my best trip ever to Paris, because I wasn’t inadvertently annoying the much-more-formal French.

    You’ve already got lots of good tips. If it hasn’t been mentioned, think about a special pass for the subway in Paris, Le Metro. I also loved taking trains (especially the TGV high-speed train) in between cities.

    Versailles is essential, along with a tour. It’s not only breathtakingly beautiful (and massive) it represents a turning point in French history and is emblematic of the way Louis IV ruled France .

    There are some good historical novels set in France that you might enjoy, including several by Houston novelist Karleen Koen.

    Think about taking a good (English-language) tour of the history of Paris. When the Vikings invaded around 1000 A.D, it was a modest town huddled on an island in the River Seine. So much significant history has passed since, I wish I had gone into the history more during the times I’ve visited.

  17. I am drooling….Tuscany!!….Paris!!! These are on my bucket list, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to go. And how sweet you are to invite all your followers to this!! So glad I have you on my Instagram & I will following closely along. (I can’t imagine the antiques you could find, oh sweet Jesus!!!)

  18. A dream trip to be sure! With a stop in Paris first – you must be on Cloud Nine!. For ideas on Paris you may want to check a blog by Jamie Cat Callen – she lives and breathes anything French. She takes small groups of women on tours of Paris and she has a new book out “Parisian Charm School”. It would be a source of inspiration for you to be sure!

  19. Oh wow… you had me at Tuscany… that trip sounds AMAZING!!! Wish travel was easier from little old New Zealand…. as I’d be signing up!!! What an awesome experience. Enjoy! One day I might get there too…..

  20. If the roses are still in bloom, don’t miss the Bagatelles Gardens in the Bois de Boulogne. They are spectacular.

    If you haven’t already booked a place to stay, think about using Airbnb; an apartment is so much better than a hotel: charming, more spacious, competitively priced, and you’ll feel connected to your neighborhood. I love the Left Bank, especially the 5th arrondissment; you can walk or take the Metro anywhere from there. I can recommend a two bedroom apartment on a quiet street just steps from St. Germain de Pres and some of Paris’s most famous cafes.

    Eat at a truly historic restaurant such as Le Procope (not prohibitively expensive). If you want to splurge, I highly recommend having an overpriced drink at the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz. It’s not at all pretentious, and the memories will be worth every penny.

    Have a wonderful time!

    The last time I was in Paris, I took the train to Rouen for the day. The medieval Normandy-style architecture is exceptional, and the history runs the gamut from Joan of Arc to Monet.

  21. I just noticed the Elizabeth’s mention of the Polly Platt book. It’s called French or Foe and is a great demystifier of all things French. I have been travelling for over 30 years and the Parisians are SO much warmer than they used to be. (Not that they were THAT bad before–just French.) I think it’s the younger generation. They are very fluent in English and love to use it.

  22. How wonderful for you. I was in Paris in November of 2005. We loved the Illumination tour. It’s a bus ride through the city in the evening with a recorded guide via headset available in many languages. Then we took an evening boat ride on the Seine River boarding at the base of Eiffel Tour. The next day we went up Eiffel (WOW) and walked for miles down NEW YORK avenue and made it to Notre Dame (wow again). Biggest tip..allow for extra time as traffic jams are REAL! Enjoy every minute💗

  23. Sit at a sidewalk cafe on Ste. Germaine. Turn your chairs toward the sidewalk and just people watch. Take a tiny watercolor set and a pad of 140lb. paper. Fascinating! I agree about a drink at the Ritz. They used to give you a rose. Walk into the lobby of the Opera House and imagine the organ and the crash of the chandelier of Phantom.

  24. Ohhhhhh…. I wish I could go!! I have too many family commitments right now, but I know you will have a BLAST!!!! I can’t believe no one has mentioned the Paris Flea Market! It’s is amazing!! You don’t have to buy anything to enjoy the stroll!! And also, make sure you find a great cafe for roast chicken and sole meunière. Both are delicious and simple and most chefs are happy to tell you how to do it at home!! And did I mention the hot chococolate, pastries, macarons and bread? There is also a wonderful open air market that you and your Mom could browse take pix and buy picnic morsels before heading to a park, a boat ride or just eat and stroll!! You’ll also love the architecture, floral and decor. I took dozens of pictures of front entryways and paint colors on exteriors, doors and shutters when I was gathering info for my house here in NC. The simplest of things were works of art to me!! I cant wait to see what your “eye” will spy and hope you will have tons to share! Have a fabulous time and I will pray for good weather and good times for you all!!!😃

    1. Although I am very aware that one needs to be careful about pickpockets at Porte de Clingnancourt, someone successfully lifted my wallet. I wear my purse cross body and have never worried about theives. As a matter of fact, I have always said that my purse is so messy that any pickpocket who can FIND my wallet, deserves it. Well . . . guess what? I felt like such a dimwit until shortly after arriving home, I read that Rick Steves announced that HE had been pickpocketed at P de C. They are that good. Be careful.

  25. I’m seconding that you should see Sainte-Chapelle while in Paris. It is a small church that will take your breath away! My friend and I ended up lingering for some time just to hear the visitors exclaim “OMG” in their various languages as they hit the top of the spiral staircase and encountered the sanctuary. The feast for your eyes is truly exquisite!

    1. (This is such a fun thread. ) Absolutely go to Ste. Chapelle; it is like being inside a jewel box. It’s very close to Notre Dame, but many tourists don’t know about it.

      1. In my opinion, Ste. Chapelle is more of a must see than Notre Dame. Amazing. The stained glass is dazzling, and the gargoyles outside are fun to look at, too.

  26. Oops the apartments in the Louvre are not Phillippe II they are Napoleon III (What was I thinking?) !

  27. Wish I could go! September shouldn’t be a problem with long lines. Keep in mind that most people head out to the big sites first thing. You can miss the lines by going later in the day.
    There’s many specialized tours you can arrange depending on interest, chocolate, bread etc. There’s a bike tour on motorized bikes that’s very good. I’d recommend a Sunday morning when there’s less traffic. There are day trips to chateaux’s or Normandy. I’d choose one of those over a day at Versailles.
    Eat at the local cafes and outdoor carts are totally safe. Enjoy! You’ll want to go back again!

  28. Oh how exciting! I know you will have a ball! Marty took me for a surprise trip on our 25th anniversary last November and we LOVED visiting Versailles castle if you can get there. It took a whole day (travelled about an hour each way from Paris by train) but was so worth it to see all the furniture and decor!! AMAZING! And YES, the Louvre – especially Napoleon’s apartments and the furniture and decor of Marie Antoinette.

  29. Paris tip: The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. And don’t wait in line by the pyramid. That can take hours!! Behind the Louvre is a street named Rue de Rivoli, There is a public back entrance to the Louvre and you can literally skip in, in minutes! Tip 2: Don’t be intimidated by Le Metro! It is the cheapest best way to get around. Most guidebooks mention metro stops. It is clean and safe and when I was there, street musicians played the most beautiful music that echoed thru the tile corridors. Tip 3: If you can, visit the Porte de Clignancourt Flea Market (AKA St Ouen Flea Market) and the Porte de Vanves Flea market. The Clignancourt is huge and has limited open days but SO worth it! But I bought more at Port de Vanves, it is more charming. But both are must do’s! You are going to have the best time!! You mentioned you would be there a few days. I would schedule my visit around the open days of those 2 flea markets. THEY ARE WORTH IT! There is a hotel in the Latin Quarter I love, Familia Hotel. It is run by a family, the Gaucheron’s. They are so nice and very very helpful. If you wish to stay there, you can make a reserve online. It is very well located to everything. Best of Luck!!!

  30. You have had good advice. We currently keep a boat in France and spend several months a year there.
    I know it is a cliche but I fell in love with Paris. You will not have much time, You will return. If I only had two days I would go to Vanves Antique Market which is on the weekends only. I would go to the D’Orsay Museum on a day with extended hours as they offten have performers in the evening. It is true St Chapelle is a jewel.
    On summer evenings you can walk along the Seine and observe the locals dancing and picnicking in the open air.
    The Bastille market is truly amazing for fruit, vegetables, seafood etc. . . Have lunch there ! Don’t hesitate to use the metro.
    This year we will stay in Paris for a month. I cannot wait!

    Regards Janine

  31. A few more things, I found the French to be very nice people, contrary to their reputation. But I am a FIRM believer in manners and courtesy. If I needed help I always said please, and I thanked EVERYONE! The waiters, the maids in the hotel, the people I stopped in the street if I got turned around and needed directions, shop keepers, on and on. I thanked them all! A please and thank you will open so many doors. And you will see more than a few of Americans earning us a rude reputation. You are going at a bountiful time of year. Farmers set up farmers markets and bring in beautiful fruit/veggies. Get a bag of grapes or peaches to eat when your energy flags. I got some bronze grapes which were SO sweet and musky tasting. I later discovered they were muscat grapes which have only been in our markets here-Seattle for 2 years. Jeeze, what else? On the Rue de Rivoli, behind the Louvre is a world famous tea/pastry shop, Angelinas. They have a hot chocolate, L’Africain, that is so thick the spoon almost stands up. They have good lunches too!

  32. Unfortunately I will not be joining this trip but everyone’s generous advice to Marian has been copied into my “Paris One Day” folder and I hope to try a few of the suggestions. Enjoy yourselves. Trisha (South Africa)

  33. Paris is nice but Tuscany….sigh. I absolutely love Tuscany. The food, the wine, the people and don’t even get me started on the scenery. You’re going to take sooooo many photos!!! The light has a whole other quality to it there.
    Lucca is a lovely old town. With a great flower market if I remember correctly. We stayed at a lovely hotel (Villa Volpi) that used to be a convent just outside the walled town. I got up early one morning and caught the sun rising over the hills, with the dew settled on the valleys in a mist. Ahmazing! One of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed.
    Thank you for inviting your followers and if I wasn’t on my way to another destination on my bucket list I would definitely try to join you.
    Can’t wait to see your photos from this.

  34. Wow! What an opportunity! I might have tried to do this, but my first grand baby is due in September! Even that trumps Italy!

  35. The Louvre is The Art of the Entire World (overwhelming for a short visit) while D’Orsay is The Art of France, culled from the Louvre and two other museums, gathered under one roof. It is magical, wonderful and do-able in a few hours. I would combine D’Orsay with Musee de L’Orangerie (they sell a combined ticket for these two museums). L’Orangerie contains Monet’s large-format water lilies and is a tiny but must-see museum (To stand in front of these giant paintings is breathtaking–take a virtual tour online). D’Orsay and L’O are right across the river from each other (a 9-minute walk). This is what we did: Get an early start. Be there when the Louvre opens at 9. Spend 2 hours at the Louvre. Choose just ONE or TWO galleries and definitely go in the “back door” on Rue de Rivoli, then walk through the Tuileries gardens (20 minutes–we bought tasty sandwiches from a cart vendor in the gardens and ate lunch as we walked) to L’Orangerie (1 hour), followed by a walk across the Seine to Musee D’Orsay (2-3 hours). That would be a lovely museum day. Carefully check open hours and closed days, and be sure to buy tickets that allow you to skip standing in line. For a more leisurely pace, do this on a day that the Orsay is open late. Because food is one of the great joys in life, let parisbymouth.com help you locate the type of restaurants you want to try, in the specific neighborhood (s) where you’ll be.

  36. What an amazing ladies trip…the trip of a lifetime! Several years ago a group of well known bloggers took a buying trip to France. I think you would love visiting some of the Paris area flea markets they went to. I am sure Kim @SavvySouthernStyle would love to give you some tips and info. She found some amazing French pieces on her trip including some French Ironstone! She could also give you some info on shipping and costs.

    Make sure you plan your trip to the Louvre well in advance because its usually very crowded and the lines can be very long.

  37. Oh, Marian, I am SO happy for you. I have admired you for years and I just love what you do! I would second whoever recommended the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. Also, the only Medieval part of Paris that is left – Le Marais. Right in front of Le Marais next to the river is the beautiful medieval church St. Gervais – St. Protais and next to it is an old half-timbered building, and a cobblestone pedestrian street, and a cafe. To me, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. We even named our daughter for the place – “Gervaise.” It’s not too far from St. Germain de Pres in the 6th – which YES would be a fantastic place to stay and I think there are a few darling small hotels there.

  38. Sounds like such a wonderful trip! Can’t wait to see your pictures. My two cents on Paris…I found Versailles to be very memorable. “The Queen’s Hamlet”, Marie Antoinette’s rustic little village, was so unexpected for me, and I’ve never forgotten how pretty it was. The second thing I would suggest is to really research food before you go. Unless you are going to be there for more than couple of days, finding food that is good can be a little daunting, especially with the language barrier. My husband and I were there for three and a half days, and embarrassingly, we settled for gyros (twice!) and one strange hot dog thing from a street cart. We also had one of the worst meals ever on our first night there, simply because we didn’t know where to go and made a desperation choice. I know there is plenty of good food in Paris, and of course it is known for that, but a little better preparation would have made our trip there much nicer in that department. Despite that, I loved our trip there, and you’ve gotten a lot of other good suggestions from other commenters.

  39. You have to add a guided bike trip in Paris. You will not be sorry! Great quick way to get around and see lots in a short amount of time. Guides are great and know their history and take good care of you on a bike in the city;

  40. I am watching Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars getting Coffee on Netflix. I am watching the Jim Carrey segment. Jim is not my cup of tea, so if he’s not yours either fast forward to about the 14:00 mark. He has taken up painting and has a studio. You should see HIS stock of paint. It made me think of you. LOL!

  41. So exciting for you! I love Lucca and all it has to offer. Look for the art stores. They sell paintings done by local students on canvas at very reasonable prices. They are typically not framed yet so are easily transported home. Who knows? You may have an early piece of a future master! Have a lovely trip!

  42. Oh sweet Tuscany. It’s definitely on my bucket list. I would love antiquing but I must pass. I hope you will offer this again next year. Just saying!

  43. wow… thats a dream come true for me.. Tuscany AND painting with you guys… !! Does the trip include from Australia…

  44. My husband and I went to Paris on our trip to Italy a few years ago at the end of Oct and LOVED it all! So much so that he kept an eye on Iceland Air’s great rates and found another deal for Nov the following year. The weather was cool, but comfortable in fall attire and no rain. Yeah! I did most of our trip planning through Rick Steves’ Paris and Italy travel guide books, and we watched his TV episodes on Amazon prime. We did not buy the Museum Passes. We purchased and printed tickets online beforehand to avoid lines, which there weren’t many lines that time of the year. Save time for strolling through Paris, sitting in the gardens between the Louvre to soak it all in and watch Parisians walk by, grab a fresh baguette, cheese and salami for a simple yet delicious evening meal.

  45. My favorite thing to do in any European city is to get away from the tourist sites and just wander. You happen upon the most wonderful places.
    One much lesser known Paris museum is the Musee de l’Orangerie. It is a small museum with Monets Waterlilies. There are 2 small, oval rooms with his waterlilies encircling you. It is truly breathtaking.

  46. I second Lisa’s comment as you would like L’Orangerie, especially if you can’t get to Giverny. I spent an hour in the two main rooms, they are amazing. And you can get a double ticket with the Musee D’Orsay. And don’t miss the ballroom there (D’Orsay) as it’s stunning. Book the ticket in advance on the website.
    There’s a taxidermy place called Deyrolle that looks fascinating though I haven’t been. Try booking a ticket to the Montparnasse Tower. It’s an ugly building itself but the view includes the Eiffel Tower and is beautiful if you go half an hour or so before sunset as you get day views, approaching twilight (crepuscular is one of my favourite words) and nighttime. The lights of Les Invalides are beautiful. They even have gaps in the barriers so you can get better photos.
    What else? Friday nights there’s a city wide roller skating derby thing but not sure what time of year. You can climb the Arc de Triomphe too and Versailles is beautiful if you head out of town.

  47. First of all #jealous, I wish I could go. But this is my super busy season with two shows and two small shops to fill, darn it. But I wanted to mention that if you and your mom are in Paris you need to go to the fabric district (?). It’s near Sacre Couer in Montmartre. Start at Marché st. Pierre and work your way down and around the backstreets. When we were there two years back we just kind of stumbled into it and got lost in the gorgeous French fabric available in the shops there. I had to get an additional suitcase for my findings but it was well worth it. I’ve already refinished a set of chairs with one of my treasures from there. Secondly, climb to the top of Notre Dame if at all possible. The darling man and I did it – me with a bum knee in a brace, but again, so well worth it. Have a great trip. Look forward to seeing photos.

  48. Your trip sounds so exiting! I used to live in Paris, so I have a few thoughts.

    It is a great walking city, so I advise you to walk as much as possible. The area around the Eiffel Tower, the 5th and 6th arrondissements, Montmartre, and the Ile de la Cite and Ile St. Louis are all very interesting. I would skip the Louvre, at least the interior. You can walk by it just to see how large it is, but it’s hard to see anything and it’s like being in an airport. Plus, you will spend a lot of time waiting. Besides the museums mentioned by the other readers, the Musee de Cluny on the Blvd. St. Germain is a fascinating medieval museum.

    Climbing the EiffelTower is fun if you are up for it–I only went to the first level, but it gives you a great appreciation for the structure. You need to at least see it to appreciate its size.

    Above all, read up on Paris and decide what interests you the most. Don’t forget to eat whatever you want! You will definitely burn it off. And have a great time!

  49. Marian, we just came back from Paris, Rome, Tuscany and Oberammergau. In Paris we purchased the 2 day museum pass that allowed us into Orsay, Louvre and Versailles. To enter the Louvre we rode the metro and came up in the shopping mall that is under the glass pyramid then walked to the entrance. It was our afternoon stop. We bought the passes at the D’Orsay where we went early and stood in line for a bit. July is crowded. I loved Giverny where we visited Monet’s home and gardens. The surrounding fields were like stepping into an impressionist’s painting. It was harvest time. We stayed in a unique home about an hour away from Paris (close to Monet’s) which worked well as we had a rental car.

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