THE THREE DAY PARIS ITINERARY <> PARIS, FRANCE

Eiffel Tower

Five years ago, I made my first solo trip to Paris. There are many memories and pictures from the trip and I am glad to be sharing my three-day itinerary (and pictures). This itinerary is perfect if you are already in Europe and need a fun weekend trip or if you want to do an extended "layover" while flying through Paris (make sure you have the right travel documents for entry into the Country vs. airport tansit document). This was my exact itinerary from five years ago. It is light on food and shopping recommedation because I wanted to see a much of the sights as possible.  

Fly into Paris CDG (or Orly). I took the the 6 a.m flight from Birmingham to arrive in Paris just after 9 a.m on Sunday morning. I did not take into account lengthy immigration lines at CDG. Take that into account when planning your day 1 itinerary. I chose to stay outside the city center in an area called La Defense. It was only about a 20 min train ride to Paris city center and the hotels were significantly cheaper than staying in the city. If you do something similar. Take into account when the trains run - if you are out late into the night - you may need to get on the bus to get back to your hotel. They run frequently and easy to navigate.

DAY 1 : SUNDAY

I started with a trip to Versailles on Sunday afternoon. Don't bother with van ride share from the city to Versailles or personal tour guides like I did. Save your money. The trains to Versailles are easy to find and frequent and the Palace is easy to navigate, if you plan ahead. I recommend 4 to 6 hours at Versailles to get the full experience - the main palace and gardens, plus Grand and Petite Trianon. I made it back to the city just after 6 p.m., stopped by a crepe stand for a quick dinner and before heading to the Eiffel tower for the night view - the view is completely different than the day.

DAY 2 : MONDAY

Day two started late morning at the Lourve . Keep in mind the museum is closed on Tuesdays. I recommend mapping out your visit, if not you can end up spending most of your day here. My favorite parts were the greek sculptures, Mona Lisa, exploring Napoleon apartment, people watching in the museum courtyard and exploring the area around the arc de triomphe due carrousel (not to be confused with the arc de triomphe) and the Louvre Tuileries gardens across from the courtyard. My next stop - the Eiffel tower . I pre-paid for my ticket to aceess the top level of the tower to avoid the long ticket lines. You get an amazing view of the city from the top level and the top level houses the office exhibit of the architect that designed the tower.If you are a sucker for amazing city scapes like me, the trek up 250 steps of the Arc De Triomphe is worth it for views of the Eiffel tower, Champ de Elysees and Paris. Before my final stop of the day, I hopped on one of the big bus tour buses for a quick-fire tour of Paris and ended the day with a dinner cruise  on the River Seine

DAY 3 : TUESDAY

Last day in Paris and although I got lost trying to get to Notre Dame - I was determined to enjoy every minute of my last day. I intened to climb the 387 steps to the top of the south tower to see the famous gargoyle up close and the bell tower but I was running several hours behind my schedule. I scrapped  the south tower (and Palais Royale and Luxembourg garden) from the itinerary. I walked around the cathedral before heading to  the Latin quarter and the Pantheon. One of best ways to explore Paris is walking down quaint Paris streets past cafes and flower shops (and people watching as you go, of course !), so I did that in the Latin quarter before stopping at the Pantheon. 

The Pantheon is best known for its incredible interior architecture and the crypt/burial place for famous french figures including, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Emile Zola, and others. After the Pantheon, I hopped on the big bus tour get to Montmartre. I bought the 24 hour pass and used it as my transportation as much as possible during that time.  The bus dropped off in front of the iconic Moulin Rouge building. After snapshots of Moulin Rouge, I walked up the hill towards Basillica Sacre Coeur.  The view of Paris from the basilica was worth walking up 232 steps. I spent some time inside the cathedral. It was quiet and solemn as people prayed and mediated. One thing I wish I did - pack a picnic and watch the sunset from the lawn of Sacre Coeur (maybe next time).  I wrapped up the day with a stroll down Champs Elysees visiting several stores along the way including Louis Vuitton, Long Champ, and Cartier. The avenue is also home to several car showrooms. This car lover could not pass up the opportunity to see antique (and futuristic) car models. No trip to the avenue is complete without a stop at Laduree for macaroon nourishment and to pick up gifts for friends.

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NEW TO THE PORTLAND | GRACE SHOP

This summer, Portland | Grace was in New York for a bit of rest and relaxation and to shoot some updates to the New York collection. The New York collection of prints is dear to my heart because New York is where this whole crazy dream to run a print shop started.

It has been a year with lots of ups and downs, a huge learning curve, but never a dull moment. I have revamped the collection - replacing some prints, retiring others and adding a few never seen before prints to the collection. I will be retiring Concrete Jungle, I spy, Saks 5th avenue, Time Square, and Wonder Wheel.  Also, the Antionette collection is going into the P.Grace vault at the end of the month - now is the time to order those.

We are offering 20% off the Antionette collection through Septemeber 30th with the code "Retire". The new additions are available to shop now. Don't forget to use the promo code "TEN" for 10% off all order. Shop the new additions here.

Allow me to introduce the latest prints to the Portland | Grace print family.

Touch the Sky available in color or black and white in sizes 8 X 10 || 11 X 14 || 11 X 17 || 16 X 20

405 Lexington available in color or black and white in sizes 8 X 10 || 11 X 14 || 11 X 17 || 16 X 20

In good taste available in 8 X 10 || 11 X 14 || 11 X 17 || 16 X 20 || 18 X 24

New York Minute available in 8 X 10 || 11 X 14 || 11 X 17 || 16 X 20 || 18 X 24                            

Peek a boo available in 8 X 10 || 11 X 14 || 11 X 17 || 16 X 20

Fifth and Broadway available in 8 X 10 || 11 X 14 || 11 X 17 || 16 X 20

Between Two Worlds available in 8 X 10 || 11 X 14 || 11 X 17 || 16 X 20 || 18 X 24                                                                                                                          

New York, New York available in 8 X 10 || 11 X 14 || 11 X 17 || 16 X 20 || 18 X 24                                                                                                                          

FAREWELL TO SUMMER

Because I live in Texas - my summer does not end until early to mid October so this post is not quite as late as you think. What a summer we had around these parts.

When I was planning out the year (and my budget) - I had this lofty idea of heading to a new destination every other week during the summer. There were no international trip on the agenda, but I determined to see a lot of this Country. Life had other plans though.

For many reasons (including my body forcing me to slow down and rest), I did not get to visit any of the places I had on my 2016 plan. I did make return visits to D.C and NYC (always a great time) and after living in Texas for almost a decade - I finally (properly) explored Austin.

Although the summer turned out differently than I planned - it was still an incredible summer getting to slow down, cultivating new friendships, reconnecting with old friends and discovering hidden gems in Dallas. The limited travel means travel posts are down to once a week, but the "life" category of the blog is springing up with some personal, recipe and interior content. Here are some of my favorite moments from the summer....

Getting ready to head to New York City for a little bit of R & R and to shoot updates to the NY Collection arriving in two days. See preview here on 9/22.

Stopping to watch the sunrise on my morning walks has become my favorite part of  morning. I am always reminded of Psalms 65:8 - Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of praise.

Trying to do better with my eating habits and incorporating vegetarian recipes to my weekly meal plan. This chana masala is a favorite around these parts (recipe coming soon).

Discovering all the coffee shops in Dallas. My favorite - Magnolia. Go for the interiors and design, stay for the fab cafe menu.

Two of my favorite New York eateries opened up in Dallas this summer. Halal guys and Shake Shack.

Something about fresh blooms makes everything better. Picking up fresh blooms has become a part of my weekend routine.

Mornings are not complete without a London fog latte. 

Seven months later - still trying to settle into the new place. My work area and vanity setup are my favorite spots in the apartment.

Back to journaling in this pretty thoughts journal designed by mozdeb. I love it.

Discovering hidden gems in Dallas like Joy Macaroon , Set & Co and Laughing Willow in the Bishop Arts district and the hall collection at the KPMG Plaza in the Dallas Arts district.

Afternoon tea has become a huge part of weekends at home (or the random work from home days)

Spending the happiest hour catching up with friends.

Family photo shoot with my sibling shot by the amazing mozdeb

Getting to plan a surprise anniversary lunch for a friend.

What a summer, right ? Time to prep for fall.

Will love to hear about your favorite summer moment(s), pop a comment below.

EXPLORING WILLIAMSBURG <> BROOKLYN, NY

Brooklyn is one of my favorite neighborhoods to explore whenever I am in New York City.  If you have never explored Brooklyn in your NY excursions - make plans to remedy that on your next visit. I love how Brooklyn has that NY vibes without the craziness. Personally, I think Brooklyn embodies all the things I love in NYC. I have typically limited my excursions to  DUMBO and Brooklyn heights, but on this last New York trip, I decided it was time to explore Williamsburg.  I met up with "I" in the city and we started our day strolling East river park before heading out to Williamsburg. Specifically,  I wanted to see the "lost time" mural at Broadway and Bedford and sample treats from Sweethaus bakery.

It took us a while to find the mural because I could not remember what it was called so we wandered down every major street before we found it. In our our wandering we discovered the Muhammed Ali mural on the walls of Joe's Pizza , Bedford cheese shop and Devocion coffee. Devocion coffee has possibly the most impressive coffee shop set up (second to Magnolia Sous in Dallas) I have seen and the coffee press displayed at the entrance hallway is really cool stuff. 

We stopped by Sweet Haus for some nourishment. Lots of options, but we settled for the five cheese grilled cheese and the vanilla cupccake. The cupcake was alright but the star has to go to the grilled cheese which was amazing. Here are snapshots from our afternoon wandering.

SUNDAY MORNING AT THE GETTY VILLA <> LOS ANGELES, CA

Back in April, I had the opportunity redo my trip to Los Angeles. My first trip to the city of angels was sub par at best because of several factors including poor planning on my part. Once I confirmed my April 2016 trip to Los Angels, I began making plans to avoid the pitfalls of the first trip. I had my itinerary set up (by the hour) - It was going to be epic (Is that still a word the kids use ?). However, mother nature had other ideas. The rain started Ijust as we landed in  LAX and continued until late saturday night.

Thankfully, we got clear skies and sunshine on Sunday morning and Getty Villa was on the itinerary. When I am asked to describe Getty Villa - I always liken it to a muted Versailles palace. Although, nothing compares to the gandiose of Versailles, Getty Villa holds its own. With Roman and Greek influnces on  the decor and architecture, the Getty Villa is impressive in its own rights and I had a wonderful time exploring the grounds and museum. 

It would have been the perfect Sunday morning if the fountains were not turned off to conserve water due to the drought SoCal was experiencing at the time. All in all - a morning well spent and a place I will recommend for your itinerary if you are ever in these parts. Admission is free, so why not.