Paris: Your Home Away From Home? by Meghan Sexton

A guest post by Meghan Sexton

Watching Midnight in Paris, recently, made me fondly reminisce about my brief time in France.

See, my introduction to Parisian life was as a child.  In an instant, Woody Allen’s cinematic representation of softly lit gay Paris brought it all rushing back.  I vividly pictured myself as a young girl soaking up the experience like a sponge.  At a tender age, I had my own romance with the City of Lights.  It was a dazzling introduction to such a historic and iconic culture.

There was a certain je ne sais quoi.  I was in store for a dizzying array of activities.  Viewing the Mona Lisa in the tightly packed Louvre was a shock.  She was the size of a stamp!  Being such a staple of Parisian culture, I thought she would have been larger than life.  One misty afternoon in a sidewalk café, my family and I indulged in the largest slice of tart cherry pie.  I couldn’t get over how opulent the café was with its wrought iron details and delicate bistro tables.  Everyone seemed impossibly chic and I was enveloped in an inner glow.

Originally my family had reservations in a centrally located posh hotel, but due to the insistence of a family friend, we stayed with them in their flat in Paris.  What a contrast!  What a way to experience the culture, the food, and the atmosphere – all from the front row seat of a local’s perspective.  Staying in a home environment as opposed to a hotel imparted a totally different vibe.  My curiosity was peaked!

Travel is my passion, but Real Estate has been my profession.  I can appreciate the essence of a home away from home.

Experiencing Paris in a vacation rental gives you the opportunity to pick up the essence of what it must feel like to be a local.  The very activities that would normally be so mundane at home are suddenly a novelty.  A hotel room can be comfortably bare and short on sentiment.  It can be beautifully decorated, but stripped of the local flavor.  The owner of the vacation rental has taken the time to pull together elements of daily life.  Perhaps they have a drawer filled with local menus with random penciled in notes.  Maybe they’ve dotted the space with quirky local trinkets.  You’d never get any of these personal touches if you were simply a guest in a hotel.  You have all the comforts of home, without the corporate feel; it’s far more intimate.

Had my family and I not stayed with friends, how else would I have been able to learn about the ins & outs of scamming the local transit.  Apparently, there was some sort of honor system.  Clutching a booklet of pre-purchased tickets, our friend demonstrated how a lot of locals would casually keep rotating the same hole punched ticket for admission.  Hardly scandalous, but I enjoy snickering at those little aspects of daily life.

Next up for this starry-eyed traveler will be jaunting through the grounds of Versailles, every nock and cranny of Champagne, and the rocky beaches of Nice.

Meghan Sexton is a Southern California native who is passionate about travel and all its accouterments.  Check out her blog geared toward first hand travel tips, insight, and anecdotes for women travelers.  Are you in the know?  Meghan’s Guilty Pleasures Travel Blog  You can also find Meghan on Twitter @MGPTravelBlog and on Facebook

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