Bobby and I are planning our 2011 trip to France and are very excited! When we decided to embark on our first European adventure together we sat down and discussed what are goals and expectations were for a trip like this. We found that we had very different ideas… I had decided that I really wanted to see the big tourist sites, experience the people-made wonders of the world. While Bobby had decided that he really wanted to experience nature in other parts of the world and have outdoor adventures! After we discussed the benefits of each of our goals I began to realize that I too wanted to do outdoorsy stuff and Bobby realized he wanted to see some of the great sights that other nations have to offer. So, we decided to focus on both of our goals! We will be splitting the trip into two distinct sections with a week in Pairs and six days in the French Alps in the village of Chamonix. The week in Paris will be filled with sightseeing and schedules! For the Chamonix half of the trip we are doing almost no planning. We are reading guide books to familiarize ourselves with the hikes and climbs the area offers but setting no schedule (since the weather will most likely do that for us upon arrival). 

As May 27th (our departure date) grows closer our planning and preparations are in full swing. We have successfully booked our airline tickets to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) through IcelandAir. Their website ( was really helpful when deciding when to go because they allow you to view a calendar with prices on every day. We discovered that by leaving a week earlier than planned we would save about $400! Since our travel dates were very flexible we chose to alter our trip accordingly for the added savings! 

As we began planning this trip Bobby and I spent a lot of time discussing what type of accommodations we wanted to use. Being money conscious we first looked into hostels and what they had to offer. We weren’t too impressed when reading about them and being fairly private people we decided this type of accommodation wouldn’t be right for us. Bobby started looking into vacation rentals and we soon found that they were exactly what we were looking for. I was very keen on doing our best to truly experience what life is like for people living in Paris, and we are hopeful that the vacation rental we found will provide us with that opportunity. The apartments that we found have kitchens and washing machines in the units! 

The small apartment we found in Paris is located in the Marais neighborhood not far from Notre Dame Cathedral. As far as price goes, it is far cheaper than a hotel that centrally located at only 92 Euros a night. A deposit is required but is only 500 Euros and is refundable. The website we found most helpful was Paris Hideaways  

We decided to look for something similar in the Chamonix Valley and found that vacation rentals here are much cheaper than in Paris! The apartment we found is only 55 Euros a night and also requires a refundable deposit but it’s only 200 Euros. The website we found most helpful was Home Away. 

With our transportation and accommodations all sorted and figured out now it’s time to plan our activities for Paris and read up on the climbs/hikes of Chamonix! 

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About the author

I am the youngest of six daughters and spent my childhood vacations camping in the beautiful State Parks of MN. In 2009 I married my best friend, Bobby Marko. We have embarked on numerous adventures along with our Golden Retriever, Latigo, our son, Jack (born 7/26/2014) and our daughter, Rowan (born 10/25/2016). When not adventuring in the great outdoors I spend my time as a stay at home mom and volunteer. I am a Branch Lead for the Twin Cities Hike it Baby branch. My favorite pastimes include dog training, eating chocolate, reading mysteries and crappy romance novels, and creating paper crafts, my passion lies in writing.

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