The Paris List: I love the planning almost as much as my trips to Paris!

Everyone has their ‘Paris List’ ready for the next trip whenever that may be… I love to carefully plan my holidays – especially those to Paris!  While it’s difficult to properly express the joy of an organized itinerary, I’ve experienced both sides of the spectrum; enough to realize that I’m happiest when I have booked plans. I get the quizzical looks of disdain that make a holiday look like a chore, but to me, organized planning gives the best results, and here’s why.

Trips to Paris are not a given: still the Paris List exists

Much like many of us, a Paris holiday is not always a given. I feel fortunate to have the desires, the means & the ability to travel, and Paris is the one place I always long to return to.

For these factors to come together, I feel I should give holiday planning my every effort.

The hours of work put forth for 16 days of Paris in mid-April, was a labor of love, so to speak.

It took 7 months of impromptu scouring guidebooks, notes from previous holidays, and searches on a few Paris pages such as MyFrenchLife – MaVieFrancaise Community Group. Planning this holiday was as much fun as being in Paris for a full 14 days that, consequently, flew by like wildfire.

It almost felt like I was in Paris long before I was physically holidaying in Paris.

  • Planning for Paris - the Paris list
  • Planning for Paris - the Paris list
  • Planning for Paris - the Paris list
  • Planning for Paris - the Paris list
  • Planning for Paris - the Paris list
  • Planning for Paris - the Paris list

Does an itinerary reduce leisure and spontaneity?

With concise planning also came realistic planning.

  • On paper, I had 2 to 6 items planned each day that also included time to roam, time to savor from the landscape to a painting; time to get lost in Paris (which we did each & every day); time to linger during breakfast, lunch & dinner.
  • I booked museums, monuments, exhibitions, an opera performance, a private guided walking tour of Le Marais/Jewish Paris, a photoshoot, and a private day & night Paris driving tour. From an ‘Emily in Paris’ group walking tour to a day in Champagne.
  • I booked many dinners at restaurants we really wanted to try.

We saw – we did – we experienced – we shopped – we did so much, yet we still had time to soak Paris in, as well as make last-minute decisions of where to stop for lunch, wander or do whatever.

Did it work once on the ground?

When we arrived in Paris on the morning of April 18th, I had 14 organized folders of tickets & such to make our days easier.

When my friend wanted to forgo the Petite Palais with the Sarah Bernhardt exhibition for a nap after spending more time with our new French friends at the Conciergerie, it wasn’t a big deal. She napped, and I shopped near our hotel in Saint Germain.

  • Planning for Paris

Does an itinerary take away leisure time and pleasure?

Most importantly, I feel like we made the most of the generous amount of time we had, while also leisurely enjoying all that Paris has to offer. The worst feeling for me would be to return home with feelings of regret that we missed seeing something that with a little planning, could have been realized. That’s not the case.

  • Yes, I wanted to see Canal Saint Martin, which I have never seen.
  • I forgot to find the grand foyer & garden of the Palais Garnier, as I totally forgot about it when I could not take my eyes off the beauty of the staircases and balcony.
  • I wanted to shop at CityPharma and go
  • shoe shopping in Saint Germain.

I had a great list from the ‘le Bulletin‘ newsletter of There was a wonderful store near my hotel – Officine Universelle Buly, that I didn’t have a chance to go to. There are a few more, too.

That’s just a small consequence of Paris having so much to enjoy, no one can capture all of it – not even in a lifetime!

Pleasurable planning leads to happiness

All in all, this Paris holiday can only be described as enormous happiness. It was a lot of effort in planning on my part, yet those plans were a labor of love.

I love Paris and was excited to see my friend enjoy it as much as I always have. It’s impossible to put into words all that we saw, tasted, breathed in & experienced in 2 weeks.

While we’re hopeful, to see Paris again, of course; we’re content that if this is the last time we see wonderful Paris, we have so many amazing memories of time well spent and thoroughly enjoyed.

I can’t express how much some careful planning on my part, resulted in the smoothest, most easy-going 2 weeks in Paris I could ever imagine!

Do you have a Paris List ready in case you have the opportunity to go to Paris? Do you prefer to travel with an itinerary? Is the planning stage as much fun as the actual tip for you? Please share your preferences and experiences with us in the Comments section bel

PS: With great pleasure, I share my Paris List and full itinerary from my most recent trip.

Image credits:
All images © Debbie Brezinsky

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to be even more extraordinarily full of fascinating francophilia.

Merci Mille Fois

About the Contributor

Debbie Brezinsky

Hi, I’m Debbie Brezinsky. I adore sharing my love of Paris with Magazine members. The only place on earth besides Chicago & St. Louis (home) that captures my wholehearted attention. I never feel I’ve had enough of the beautiful City of Light!

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  1. Judy MacMahon Jun 15, 2023 at 5:54 PM - Reply

    Hi Debbie, Thank you, you’re so very generous sharing all of this with MyFrenchLife readers AND Merci mille fois for including your extensive itinerary! Wow.
    warm regards

  2. Michelle Jun 16, 2023 at 3:18 PM - Reply

    Great article! Thanks for sharing. Chicago has my heart too (that’s home for me).

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