Coffee Talk 10.06.19 ☕️

Good morning! I hope you’re having a good weekend. My parents have been in town, so I’ve spent a lot of time visiting with them.

Last night was a big marching band event at my daughter’s school, and I volunteered to be a cashier at the concessions stand. I really know how to party on a Saturday night, don’t I?

It was my 2nd year in a row doing that job, and it’s definitely better than food service or most of the other options, but it means that I have to add up orders and take money and calculate change all night — with no cash register.

The saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” has never been made so abundantly clear to me as it was last night.

I used to be so quick at that sort of thing — especially when I was teaching 3rd grade, and I was always doing simple calculations and to check student work. But after three hours of adding up orders and making change in my head, I was so drained and mentally exhausted, you’d think I’d just taken the LSAT or something.

Anyway, it was fun to be a part of things, and the other parents I was working with were nice, so it’s all good.

My big news for the week is . . . Paul and I booked a week in Paris for our 25th wedding anniversary next May! (To clarify, the trip is in May; the anniversary is in August.)

This may not seem like big news to some of you world travelers, but for me, it is huge. I’ve only been out of the country twice  — ironically, both trips were within a couple months of each other (I went to Costa Rica and Turks & Caicos in the fall of 2014) — and I’ve never been to Europe.

I’ve been wanting to go for quite some time, but it always seemed like such a daunting trip to plan. And with three young kids, it’s a) hard to get away and b) expensive to take them, so we just didn’t make it a priority until now.

We’ve been talking for a couple of years about taking a big trip for our 25th, but we didn’t get serious about it until my mom called and offered to stay with the girls so we can go somewhere special for our “silver jubilee.”

Of course, the next question was where to go . . . we briefly debated a Caribbean vacation, but then we decided this was the perfect opportunity to take a trip across the pond.

I want to see it all, so I don’t really care where we go, but we settled on Paris for a few reasons. I mean, the fashion, food, and wine is an obvious draw for me. (Paul appreciates all that as well — even the shopping.) And this is our 25th anniversary, so it seems fitting to visit the most romantic city in the world.

Also, I took three years of French in high school, so that was another perk to visiting France. I’m hoping that with a few months of working with the Duolingo app, some of my high school French will come back to me, and I can communicate a little bit in the native language. I realize most people speak English these days, but still, it would be nice to show some interest in trying.

For a while, we talked about spitting the trip between two places — one for me and one for Paul. He backpacked through Europe with a friend one summer during college, so he’s seen a lot, and he really wants to go back to Switzerland.

But after considering splitting our trip between both areas, we decided they are really two separate trips with entirely different climates and wardrobes, so we’re going to keep it simple and hunker down in Paris for a week and try to experience all the city has to offer.

This way we can take a day trip or two if we want to get outside of the city and see more of France, but there’s no pressure to pack up and move to an entirely different country just when we’re getting acclimated to the first one.

Soooo . . . we booked plane tickets earlier this week, and yesterday we secured an apartment rental in the 7th arrondissement. It’s within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars Park, and the Seine. Pinch me!!!

I know we could see a lot more of Europe in a week if we wanted to, but we aren’t what you might call high energy travelers. We like to settle in somewhere, take regular breaks from activities and sight-seeing, and get to know an area. A trip with no downtime is not a vacation to me, so I think this is going to be perfect for us.

My girls are very upset that they’re not included, of course. At one point, we discussed a family vacation, but that seemed overwhelming for our first trip overseas; and since it’s our anniversary, it seemed fitting to go alone together this time.

I do hope to go back sometime in the not too distant future — either to Paris or somewhere else — and take the whole family. I’m not looking at this as a once in a lifetime trip. I expect to come home with the travel bug, and I’m hoping it’s the beginning of a new era and we can start experiencing more new places.

Anyway! That’s enough about that. You’ll probably be sick of hearing about this trip before I even go.

I need to get a move on here and get ready for church. I hope you all have a relaxing and blessed Sunday!

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51 Responses

  1. Paris!! Yay! I’m so excited for you both!
    I’ve never been, and I will so enjoy hearing about your travel plans, your packing details, what you’re wearing, all of it! 
    No, we will NOT be tired of hearing about it, trust me! ☺️ 
    Have a good Sunday, Jo-Lynne ❤️

  2. We just got back from 10 days in Paris and Versailles for our 35th wedding anniversary! We too thought about going other places but I am glad we spent the 10 days in one spot experiencing the culture not just checking “must see” things off the list. It is an easy 8 hour flight from PHL. You will love it and congrats on 25!

  3. So happy for you!  We have travelled extensively overseas and if I can offer a tip:  we used Viator for day trip tours.  This company is everywhere and we even used them in Dubai.  They are amazing and you can read the reviews and see which tours to go on…just a thought and you’re not committed to a week filled with booked events – you see what you want to see.   We have been to Paris twice and it has changed a lot…oh those chocolate crepes….

  4. I am so happy for you!  A trip to Paris!  I can’t wait to hear all about it. I have never been out of the country until we went to Canada last year. My husband recently retired, and we want to take a big trip next year, so I hope your trip will help us with our trip, although we haven’t narrowed down a destination yet. Good for you two!

  5. Paris is a beautiful destination for your first European adventure and 25th anniversary. Yes, you will catch the travel bug. We’ve been to Europe countless times and love each trip, learning so much. I look forward to hearing your plans and posts of actual trip. I’m happy & excited for you. 

  6. Paris! I am so excited for you.

    My husband and I just returned last weekend from a 9 day trip to Paris. It was our first time there and we had so much FUN! There is so much to see and experience and the food was incredible.

    It will be fun to see your wardrobe ideas as you plan your trip.

    I am so happy for you Jo-Lynne! Have a great Sunday.

  7. I was in Paris last May and loved it! In addition to the other resources I shared with you, be sure to read Chez Mireille for family travel tips https://chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com/category/travel/ and Distant Francophile https://distantfrancophile.com/ (she’s in France now, so not blogging as much, but sharing fabulous pix on Facebook!). I highly recommend utilizing the Paris Red Bus for an orientation tour – love the hop on, hop off option. And factor in plenty of time for sidewalk cafe people watching.

  8. A trip to Paris!! It will be incredible, Jo-Lynne. I’ve been there a couple of times. Just went last fall. My adivce (without being asked for it, lol) is to take the hop-on-hop-off bus your first day. You can ride around, get on and off when you like and you’ll get a good sense of the city. I’d also suggest trying a walking tour or two. There is a company that does walking tours for “free” — you just tip your guide when it’s over. These companies hire locals so you get a much better tour. I’ve done lots of these in the US and a couple outside the US and they are always amazing. I’d also suggest altering your body clock before you go so that you are almost on Paris time when you leave. As far as jet-lag, it’s a game-changer when flying in that direction. 5-7 days before I leave, I start getting up on hour earlier than my usual wake-up time and trying to go to bed an hour earlier. Each morning I get up another hour earlier until I’m getting up at my usual time– Paris time! The body adjusts fairly easily to an hour difference a day. Bonus– when you get on the plane for an evening flights from the east coast, you’ll be exhausted and actually sleep. I’m so excited for you, Jo-Lynne!

  9. So exciting!  If you are able to plan a day trip to the French countryside do it!  It’s absolutely beautiful.  When I went (years and years ago mind you) we went to Versailles and the drive there and back was amazing.   Versailles wasn’t  bad either .  😉 

  10. Paris is a lovely destination for a 25th anniversary celebration! It’s a beautiful city with so many great things to see, to eat, to do, (and oh my the shopping!!!😍)!   I highly recommend taking the Seine riverboat tour in the evening, the Eiffel Tower light show is just amazing!  I’m sure it will be a great trip!  

  11. So happy for you and hoping your flying on my airline out of 
    My daughter went on her honeymoon last year for week and had 
    A wonderful time.  They also stayed within that area…
    One of their favorite things was the bike tour at night..
    Pictures were amazing!
    Hv great Sunday!

  12. Hi!  Your trip sounds fab – we are off to Paris for 4 days end of this month- last time I was 17 and my hubby has never been. We are staying in the artists quarter of Monmartre which I remember as truly magical so am hoping it still is … 🙏

  13. Jolynne, I’m sooo excited for you! I’ve been to Europe a couple of times, but never to Paris. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it, and seeing what you end up packing/ taking with you, so talk all you want to about it. So Fun!

  14. Hi Jo-Lynne! I am so excited for you and Paul and I suspect you will get the travel bug. Travelling in Europe is amazing with all of the history and beautiful buildings and scenery. I hope that you get the chance to go on a day trip out of the city. While it’s good to think of places to visit and to see, also do some thinking on how to protect your belongings. Beware of pick pockets! This reader will not tire of hearing about your upcoming trip!

  15. Our 25th is next August too – we want to do an African safari but that takes major planning so probably won’t go till the following year.   You’ll definitely get the travel bug – we have it bad.   Heading to Vienna & Prague next week.  I say I work so I can travel 🧳 🛫

    1. Melissa, have you been to Vienna before? I’m headed there in a few weeks and would love to know what to see and to do.

  16. So excited for y’all about your Paris trip! It’s such a lovely city and there’s something fabulous to see no matter where you are in the city. My family’s travel style is similar to yours; we love to spend time in an area, really getting a feel for what it’s like to “ live” there, if only for a short time. We rented an apartment through Air B&B a few years ago that was in the 4th arr. Going to the local bakery in the mornings, shopping at the nearby market area most days—it was Heaven! Can’t wait to hear more about your plans & then the trip itself. 

  17. Did your family comment on how your youngest and her band do last night?  I would have had to use the calculator on my phone to do your job last night.  Math has always been a weakness of mine.  I thought I heard you say on Instagram that you and Paul are going to Paris.  That’s awesome!  I know y’all will have a great time.  You do need to do some bucket list things while y’all are still young enough and healthy.  That’s great that your mom volunteered to come stay with the girls!  Have a great day!

  18. Yay to Paris! How exciting! Congratulations! You will both love it. I agree with the other’s comments about the bike tour. The beauty of Paris is going to a farmers market, local bakery, local cafe…. And just soaking it all in.
    Switzerland is stunning but minding numbing expensive. We were there 15 years ago and visited some friends living there. We wanted to thank them for their hospitality by taking them out for supper. They quickly refused stating “its too expensive here”. We ended up at a local, average cafe/ bakery having coffee and danishes. The sticker shock? The bill came to $100 USD in 2005! We nearly fell off our chairs. We left that area to go into the alps. A bunk in a hostel was $100 USD per person (bunk bed, not private room)! We ate only 2 meals/ day in Switzerland. Its beautiful just astronomically expensive!

  19. Your trip sounds amazing…and will be so exciting to look forward to!  You might like to book a Fat Tire Bike tour while you’re there…so much fun, easy, and you get to see a lot!

  20. What a perfect plan – I, too, don’t like whirlwind travel and enjoy doing exactly what you are planning since it allows time to absorb the essence of place without exhausting yourself physically and mentally, particularly after a long flight. I am looking forward to seeing much more about your trip with all the details to include, of course, what you will be wearing!

  21. I think your plan to just go to Paris sounds smart. Some people flit all over Europe in 10 days and hardly see anything. Your way sounds great to me. Excited for you.

  22. Jo-Lynne,

    What a wonderful way to celebrate 25 years of marriage! Last year my youngest daughter, Lauren was studying abroad in Ireland. My older daughter, Elise and I booked a trip to go see her.  We traveled around the UK and Ireland for 10 days. I feel so blessed to have spent that time with them visiting so many amazing places. This “girls only” trip will always be one of my most treasured memories. I bet you will get the travel bug. If you ever get the chance to do a trip with your daughters, you definitely should.

  23. What an awesome idea to be celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary in Paris!! I am so happy for you and Paul!!
    I am sure you and Paul will have a fantastic time!! 

  24. I’m so happy for you and your husband! What a wonderful anniversary it will be. I’ve never been but I have heard it’s amazing ! 

  25. HOW EXCITING!!!! Paris it at the very tip-top of my Bucket List and I love that you and Paul are going for your anniversary!!! This is just so wonderful!!! I’m going to especially love every one of your posts as you prepare and go on this journey so I can live vicariously through you! :))

  26. That sounds like a wonderful trip!!!!!! I’m so happy for you two! We love to stay put and immerse ourselves when we travel too. You meet so many wonderful people! How fun to have Paris to look forward to!

  27. Your trip sounds wonderful! I’m another one who will not get tired of hearing (reading) about it! I think the way you’re doing it sounds perfect. Another poster mentioned staying in an apartment and walking to a cafe for breakfast, etc…that sounds amazing. I really want to go to Europe some time, and there are tons of places I’d love to see, but I just can’t see myself enjoying a “whirlwind” tour. I’m someone who needs downtime as well. Have a great Sunday!

  28. Some more unsolicited tips…download the Google Translate App for French so it will not require WiFi of data charges to be used. No matter how much French you’ve had in the US, it is very challenging to understand when you are spoken to in France. Even with a map on inside of the the train in the metro and the stops being announced, I struggled to understand which stop we were at! Also, always say, “Bonjour!” In every shop you enter or they will think you are rude and may not pay attention to you. And finally, don’t be surprised if you hit a national holiday which will shut down the metro system while you’re there. We were in Paris for 4 days the first week of May and hit 2 national holidays! At midnight the night before, they shutdown the metro so we had to get off and make a long trek to our apartment. But who can really complain about strolling in Paris at night. 

  29. Isn’t it fun and exciting to see your trip coming together?  It’ll all be wonderful!
     Once you know which sights you would like to see, book tickets. The line ups are very long and time consuming. Those with prepaid tickets go in a different line and get in quicker.
     You can get an app that does your exchange for you. It’s easy to overspend on items you purchase. I got caught in Italy years ago. Yikes! Paris is an expensive city. 

  30. How exciting! You will love it! I am so glad you can speak French.  We couldn’t when we visited years ago and did not find the people terribly friendly. Felt like they expected us to speak French. We heard a train conductor speaking English to a passenger but later when we asked a question he didn’t know any English.  

  31. You are going to LOVE Paris! So excited for you! We will be in Paris from May 12 thru 17 before we head to south of France. Paris is endlessly fascinating in my opinion. I completely endorse traveling slower, as you have time to savor the experience. I have no interest in just running madly around during a trip just to check things off a ‘to see’ list. This will be our 2nd trip to Paris and we will see and do new things this time around. Our only repeat will be a twilight cruise on the Seine to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. Whatever you do, the memories of this special trip will be your best souvenir. 

  32. I’m so excited for you, Jo-Lynne! I love to travel so I never get tired of hearing about it. Paris is a fantastic place to go for a special anniversary! I think that’s a good plan to spend a week with Paris as your base. My husband and I went on a Rick Steves tour last May to celebrate a milestone birthday. It was the Best of Europe in 14 Days (France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy). It was absolutely the best trip I’ve ever been on, but exhausting due to the fast pace and very full days. You have the right idea having downtime and going at your own pace. My kids are in their 20s and since we have an empty nest, we’re doing more big trips now. Going on a My Way Alpine trip next year with friends, and I’m leaving for London and Bruges with my mom and son this Thursday! Have fun planning your anniversary trip! Looking forward to hearing more about it! 

  33. I’m sooo excited for you & Paul! Only been to Europe once….when I was 13, went with my mother to meet my German grandparents. Spent the whole summer there!  I still remember so much about it.  No, we won’t be tired of hearing about the details of your trip plans, in fact, quite excited how this trip plays out.  Can’t imagine booking an apartment in another country and in Paris, no less!  I agree with you about staying put in one place, as I’m not big into cramming everything into one trip. So, good for you both!  

  34. I think you’ve got the right idea of spending more time in one place and doing some day tours. I loved the tour of Versailles we did a few years ago that was expanded beyond just the palace itself. https://www.viator.com/tours/Paris/Versailles-Full-Day-Private-Guided-Tour-Incuding-Skip-the-Line-and-Lunch/d479-131161P2. I also recommend going to Normandy to see the D-Day landing site. 

  35. That sounds so exciting. We are actually taking my parents on a trip to Switzerland later this month. None of us have ever been so we are excited about seeing all we can too. So happy for you and Paul to be able to take this trip together!!!

  36. How exciting about your trip. What a fun thing to look forward to before summer hits. Look forward to hearing more about it and see how you will pack. :).  I think good idea to leave the kids home but hard to do I know. Great your mom will be with your girls. They will have good grandma bonding time. 

  37. Fun, fun, fun! I am sure you will have a lot of fun! We have traveled abroad with the kids the past 3 years and have made it a priority to save to make those trips possible. Having grown up in Europe, I enjoy going back and showing new places to the boys. They have enjoyed it quite a lot and done really well with time changes and new cultures and places.

  38. I completely agree with Traci Z: congratulations and bring it! Can’t wait to live vicariously through you! 😁

  39. We went to Paris last year for our 20th. We loved staying in the historic boutique hotel Hotel Des Deux-Iles on Ile Saint Louis. Right in the heart of everything. Also, not many people seem to have been but do try to go to Sainte-Chapelle. It’s breathtaking. One last recommendation–Galeries Lafayette. After you’ve taken in the fantastic shopping, the food court and restaurants on the top floor provide access to the wonderful rooftop patio and amazing views (it’s beside Palais Garnier–the Paris Opera). Have the most wonderful time!

  40. What exciting news!! I love Paris. At the end of our trip, we made a pact that any other trip to Europe absolutely had to also include Paris. My first trip there was in May and the weather was lovely, but definitely take layers and a trench coat…you never know. My #1 romantic vacation tip is to take a Seine cruise after dark, which is probably the last one at 10. So beautiful!! And I’m like you, we like to have nice long breakfasts and lunches. Oh my goodness, I could go on and on! Happy early 25th! My 20th is next year. 

  41. One of the other blogs I read is Marion Parson’s she’s Miss Mustard seed. She just got back from a trip to Paris and took some awesome tours. You might read her a bit for some ideas!

  42. How exciting! We did a Rick Steves family tour last year. I highly recommend it. For that trip we did get travel insurance and we used it. My husband got sick and the insurance handled the bills for us, very helpful. Other than that, get a good guidebook and we really enjoyed the evening Seine riverboat ride. Seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up was wonderful. Enjoy!

  43. I will NEVER tire of hearing about vacations and recommendations, etc. We are taking our teens to London and Paris this summer, so I’ll be anxious to hear your stories. I’ve been to both places before, but it has been about 14 years since I’ve gone across the pond! You will love it.

  44. I just got back from a week in Paris with my 12 yo daughter and we had an amazing time. I have a few suggestions for you.

    One of the highlights of our trip was a bike tour of Versailles with Fat Tire Tours. It was a great way to see the gorgeous grounds and have a picnic with food from local vendors. You will not only learn about the history of Versailles, but you will see parts of the property that you wouldn’t see otherwise. You also get a skip the line ticket and a metro ticket inlcuded in the price. Highly recommend!

    Another cool thing we did was have dinner with a chef in his home. It was with other people, but it was such a fun and unique experience. The food was amazing and the chef was so fun and entertaining. Truly a memorable meal. I booked in on Air BnB Experiences, which has lots of other cool tours/adventures. Here’s a link to the chef dinner:


    We also booked a walking food tour of Montmarte through With Locals. Check it out for some fun and unique private tours.

    We took a day trip to Reims, which is the champagne region. We had a great day in the quiet town outside of Paris and we went on a champaign cave tour/tasting. If you like Veuve Cliquot, you can make a reservation for a tour. It’s a great day trip to see another part of France and see how the architeture is different.

    We had lunch on the Eiffel Tour, which was truly memorable. My daughter will always remember that experience. You must book months in advance.

    We did a professional photo shoot with these 2 lovely, talented young ladies. A great way to capture memories.


    We also booked a breakfast croissant tour with Air BnB experiences and that was really fun and yummy!
    You must visit Galeries Lafayette, the famous department store. They also have an amazing gourmet food area. The Opera House is worth a visit (and next to the dept store).

    Check out Paris Walks for some fun walking tours. We booked a Louvre Tour with them and it was so informative and kept my daughter engaged. Definitely take a tour because you will learn so much. The Musee D’Orsay is a must see if you like impressionist art. That is my favorite museum in the world.

    Take a boat cruise on the Seine and take it all in. If you like white wine, try the Sancerre at a local brasserie, while sitting outside and watching the people go by. Eat a Croque Madame sandwich and French Onion soup. If you like steak, you must eat at Le Relais de L’entrecote. They have several locations. All they serve is steak frites with this amazing sauce on top and the most delicious profiteroles for dessert (another must try at any restaurant).

    I should have been a travel agent! I think I missed my calling. You will love Paris! One of my favorite cities.

  45. Oh Jolynne YOU WILL LOVE PARIS. I went in 2004 with my mom and my husband and I went in July 2018 to celebrate our 35th anniversary. We did two weeks, one in Normandy and one in Paris.
    My suggestions:
    – start with the hop on hop off bus for two days – get your bearings and see the whole city.
    – get a Museum pass – its worth it. We aren’t “museum” people but with the pass you don’t feel bad going into museums you aren’t sure about and or spending a little time in some. We saw museums that we loved that we would never have paid individual admissions to
    – See Sainte Chapelle – a lot of people don’t go there and its worth it – read up on it and you will know why I’ve suggested it. (its near Notre Dame)
    -go to the Conciergerie -its right beside Sainte Chapelle and one of those places we would never have gone to and it was soooo good. Especially if you are going to go to Versailles then this gives you some back history (its where Marie Atointette was held prisoner)
    -buy some art from an artist at Montmartre – the best souvenier
    – climb the spiral stairs inside the Arc du Triomphe – such a good view of Paris AND the Eifel Tower
    -book a lunch at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. it means you skip the normal line to go to eat and are then on the 1st floor observation tower included….and lunch with a view and something to remember forever.
    -THIS ONE IS REAL IMPORTANT – get comfortable with the metro – its not difficult and the best way to get around Paris. You can read about it before you go so you understand how it works. We got better at it every day and went everywhere. Read about the different metro passes to see which one will suit you best. (DON’T RENT A CAR)
    -wander….the neighbourhoods and different areas with no real agenda, stop where you feel like it for a pastry, coffee….enjoy the ambiance and be open to discovering things that weren’t in your plans – sometimes they make the best memories and experiences.
    -a dinner cruise on the Seine is a nice way to spend an evening
    -dont miss the sparkly eiffel tower at night
    -watch out for scammers and pickpockets – invest in a Travelon or pacsafe purse and/or backpack. Nothing to fear, just be aware.
    -wear comfortable shoes – truly. Fashion aside you will WALK ALOT and comfort is key
    -don’t always count on going back to hotel to “dress” for dinner – sometimes it’s just not feasible and thats ok. What you start out with in the morning is also fine for dinner.
    -remember the people that see you in an outfit on one day won’t be seeing you the next so no one cares if you repeat an outfit or pair of shoes.
    -they eat late there….if you eat dinner at 6 p.m. you may be alone in the restaurant lol.
    – do laundry if its available in your rental….that way you can pack half as much which really reduces the stress of packing and dragging around your suitcase and leaves room to bring home your purchases
    -don’t listen to people who say its a dirty city – they have probably never been and honestly it isn’t dirty. I’ve only been twice but I’ve failed to see this any more than any other city.
    I’m maybe a tad jealous – it was truly the best vacation of our married life.

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