It might sound weird to combine the phrases slow travel and exploring with intention, but hear me out. When we went on our action-packed trip to Paris we planned to do all the things. All. The. Things. The first four days were non-stop, filled with touristy things and putting more miles on my walking shoes than I have in the last couple of years. It was extremely exciting, but it was also extremely exhausting. Today I’m sharing with you a little lesson that I had to remind myself of on this trip, enjoy slow travel.
While Steve had been to Paris before, it was my first trip and I felt this immense pressure to see and do all the things. I needed to check those must-see and must-do items off my bucket list, and oh man, did we try. By day 3 I was a walking zombie. I don’t even think I was fully soaking up the wonder of Paris. Between jet lag and attempting to do all the things I would crash out early only to wake up with 1AM jet lag again. It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t the kind of trip I wanted. On day 4 we slowed down, and by day 5 I put my foot down.
We had big plans to visit the Palace of Versailles on our last full day in Paris, day 5, but I couldn’t do it. I started feeling anxious the night before at the thought of being surrounded by a ton of tourists again, waiting in long lines, and being stuffed into an area like a sardine just to check a little box off on my list. So, we didn’t do it. It felt nice to say no, and to go against what everyone else thinks you should or shouldn’t do on a trip.
We slept in. We grabbed breakfast at a spot we’d eaten at twice before, then I took a stroll around the neighborhood with the objective to visit a store I had only ever been in before during our trip to Copenhagen. I booked tickets for the Espace Dalí museum. We took a long and winding car ride to get there, and afterward meandered around Sacre Coeur and Montmartre before heading to a small coffee shop that had vegan croissants. Then we wandered around some shops in the neighborhood before heading to quickly check out Notre Dame and watch the sunset over the Seine. The day sounds packed, but it was slow with moments of peace and delight in just the right spots. We finished it up with dinner near our hotel before heading to bed early after my perfect kind of day in Paris.
Lesson learned. Despite having a million suggestions that I am eternally grateful for, the immense pressure to do all of the big must-do’s in the city came really close to ruining my first trip to Paris. I am 100% sure that if I visit Paris again, I’ll do more of the little stuff and less of the big stuff. While I can appreciate the history and the ambiance of the more popular attractions, I think there is a lot to be said for the smaller intimate interactions of any kind of trip.
Do you ever consider slow travel?
I completely agree with you. Explore the city, but no huge check lists. Unless it’s for photos in front of xyz that’s gorgeous, or includes food, or champagne!! The photos are beautiful!! Looks like a great trip!!
I love slow travel. I feel like you get to see more when you do it that way.
sounds amazing!! i am all about doing what is best for you. sometimes the amazing things aren’t the ones that are typical 🙂
Love this! I think enjoying your time is the most important thing! I love relaxed and slow vacations. Being go go go… kind of defeats the purpose. Right?
I absolutely love this idea. I am always so focused on seeing everything big when I travel, but the little things really help you understand a place.
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Its the small things on big trips that stand out to me. We do what interests us and take the extra time to emerge ourselves into the culture wherever we are. I have learned this after many packed and rushed trips. It is the places off the beaten path that are most memorable.
I so agree with you. When we travel we usually plan and have a list of things to see. I typically take a few extra days to relax from vacation. However, you want to see everything. Thats why I think its important to stay a little longer or plan to go back.
What a cute little house! Slow travel sounds like a great idea. It will give you time to explore and enjoy the place.
What a great post. I couldn’t agree more. We’ve done the same thing .. we think “let’s go on vacation to get away from our hectic lives” and then make a huge list of all the things we want to cram into the days. So now we simply go somewhere .. find spots that we like to eat .. and pretty much do whatever we want during the days. We come home refreshed.
I Love these photos! They’re so beautiful. I really could use a nice vacation. I honestly don’t get anywhere ever.
I know that trips are usually packed full of things and by the end of your trip you need a vacation from your vacation. I am glad that you slowed down and enjoying your vacation.
I love “slow travel”. There is just something special about the idea of taking your time and savoring each moment of travel.
“Slow travel” is the only way to go. Really exploring a location and picking what it is you want to see and experience. Trying to see everything will only run you down and make your trip seem hectic. At least, in my experience.
My favorite trips are the ones where I can just go and explore. I always find hidden gems I would not have seen if I stuck to the tourist hot spots.
Man do I want to travel more. Paris sounds so delightful and comforting. A dream vacation for me. One day!
Absolutely love the house with the greenery!
Paris! I can’t wait to take a trip there. I’m so looking forward to epicness. – yolonda
I totally agree with you: I feel like people like bombarding others with information and it can easily ruin a trip or an event or a milestone. I love all of the photos you took – so airy, romantic and beautiful!