(View from my hotel room in Villefranche-sur-Mer – it was heavenly)
A lot has happened since my last post. I quit my job. I went to Colorado. I went to Paris, Lyon, Provence and Villefranche-sur-Mer. I started a new job. It’s all been pretty exciting but also of course a bit scary. I love staying in my comfort zone and starting over is not my favorite thing. But I know it needed to happen and I’m learning so much more already which is always what I’m striving for at work. And if you need to switch jobs, might as well have an amazing vacation to detox before you start.
(The top of a hike up the Continental Divide)
Colorado was a breath of fresh air. I love to ski and am so lucky that my parents have a house in Breckenridge, however all of my previous trips have been in the winter and this was my first time going in the summer. And guys – Colorado is amazing in the summer. My days consisted of running by rivers, biking to Frisco, dancing to impromptu live bands and exploring antique malls in isolated towns. And no trip to Breckenridge would be complete without stopping at some of my favorite places in town. Angel’s Hollow is the best for margaritas and gaining a burrito-baby and Après has delicious cocktails and an endless craft beer menu.
(The Seine in the middle of Paris)
And after Colorado, I went to France… I had such high expectations for this trip. Paris is so romanticized and I completely bought in to all of it. But somehow this trip still managed to exceed my exceedingly high hopes. I spent two weeks in France – the first was in Paris and the second was traveling through the south. Here’s a full breakdown of the whole trip:
Week One – Paris
Since I was going for two weeks and my boyfriend couldn’t take two weeks off of work, I decided to spend the first week in Paris by myself. I stayed in a hostel (this one, which I highly recommend) which I had never done before and I’m so glad I did. Traveling by myself was great because I loved being able to go to whichever museums, restaurants, shops that I wanted and having endless time to stroll, but by the end of the day it was a bit too much alone time. But then I would come back to hostel, immediately make new friends who were up for a dinner adventure and get to spend the evening talking to people from all over the world. My first night in Paris was Bastille Day and being alone I had no plans. However, I met a couple of new friends who took me along to the Eiffle Tower and we watched the most amazing fireworks show with thousands and thousands of other Parisians. It was an experience that definitely made the trip.
Some of my other favorite things in Paris (besides just strolling and taking in the city, because that was really just my favorite) were the Musèe D’Orsay (I thought the Louvre was overrated…), the Opera and surrounding area – rue Saint-Honoré has all of the classic French stores (Chanel, Goyard, Hermès…) and Galeries Lafayette is a must see (I ended up finally splurging on the Cèline Luggage Tote I’ve been wanting forever there) and the 7th arrondissement with Bon Marché and so many lovely side streets worthy getting lost in. I left Paris already wanting to go back. A second flat in Paris is a worthy goal right?
Week Two – The South of France
On my last night in Paris my boyfriend finally joined me and we took the train to Lyon. We spent a couple of nights in Lyon – admittedly a Sunday and Monday night which aren’t the best days to be traveling as everything quiets down. In Lyon we hiked up to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière where we had amazing views and saw some Roman ruins. Honestly, if I were to do this trip over again I’d probably skip Lyon. We had a nice time, but it was a little quiet.
After Lyon, we took the train to Marseille where we rented a car and drove to Arles where we spent the next to nights. I spent a lot of time debating where to stay in Provence and I’m so glad I chose Arles. It’s the most charming, picture perfect provincial town you could imagine with old, pastel buildings, tiny streets, antique shops filled with treasures and so many Roman ruins. We used Arles as the home base and spent the next couple of days driving around and exploring Les Beaux, Avignon, Pont-du-Arc and L’Isle-sure-la-Sorgue. If I could only visit one, I would hands down choose L’Isle-sure-la-Sorgue. We went on market day and the town is on the water with many tiny rivers running through it.
From Provence we drove to Villefranche-sur-Mer for another two nights. If my second home is going to be in Paris, my third is going to be here. It was so beautiful and laid back. I made the unfortunate decision however, to save money on a hotel that was a ways from the water – which turned out to mean it was a mile up a very steep mountain. If I were to go back, I’d want to rent a villa close very close to the water. We also took a quick day trip by train to Monaco, which I had already been to but was happy to go back. I would never spend the night in Monaco but it is the perfect day trip to see the palace, the casino and pick out a dream yacht.
On the way back to Marseille to fly home, we made one last stop in Aix-en-Provence and spent several lovely hours shopping and exploring. While I would prefer to stay in Provence in a smaller town like Arles or L’Isle-sure-la-Sorgue, Aix was a great day trip and had so many great shops and side streets to get lost in.
Writing this post makes me want to start learning French and go back tomorrow. Although not in July – it was incredibly hot – but I imagine September would be the perfect time
All pictures taken by myself