European vacation: planning ahead

The husband and I have made the decision to follow through on our European vacation for our second anniversary in October. Back during our initial conversation/debate/argument over our honeymoon, we agreed that in two years we could go to Europe.

See I’ve never been. If I could go to one place in the world it would probably be Paris. And then Dublin. Despite my love of all things European and planning since high school, I never made it.

But I’ve been saving and hoping since that conversation. Now we’re actually planning it. I’ve decided to write about this with the hopes that some of you can give us some great travel advice, tips for places/things to see, etc.

Here’s what we have so far. We will be going in September or October so its kind of off-season. We will fly into Frankfurt, Germany and then travel to Cologne.

Cologne, Germany.


It looks awesome, right? There’s bound to be some great beer here.

We’ll spend one to two days here before heading to Bonn, the home of Beethoven. Apparently there’s a Beethoven festival about that time of year.

Bonn, Germany.


From there we’ll go to Brussels, Belgium for another couple of days.

Brussels, Belgium.


And then we will finally, finally, finally end in Paris.

Paris, France.

Let’s just take a moment to let that sink in. Paris.

Champs Elysees.

Notre Dame.

Jardin du Luxembourg.

I’ve been dreaming of Paris since I was a little girl, probably about 12.

Seine in Paris.

For some strange reason, my husband is the only person I’ve ever met who didn’t want to go (back) to Paris. So we’ve reached a compromise, Germany and Paris.

I’m slowly working through the planning of this trip. It is really tough to plan and look at flights without just packing up and heading out right away. But please share your advice.

What should we see? Have you ever been to these places? What should be a priority? 

10 Responses to “European vacation: planning ahead”
  1. Clare says:

    How exciting!!! I’ve never been to either of those countries – only England. But I’d love to go back to Europe. I would love to go to Paris too. I bet it’s going to be gorgeous that time of year!

  2. I’m so jealous that you are going to Paris. Unfortunately I have zero travel advice since I’ve never been to Europe, except take lots of pictures so I can drool over them! K Thanks!

  3. Brindolyn says:

    Since you’ll be in Germany in October(ish), you absolutely have to go to a beergarten for Oktoberfest. As far as Paris goes, bring comfy walking shoes and a big appetite. I know you’ll love it! I just hope you remember to come back. :)

    • Liz says:

      haha. I actually proposed going to actual Oktoberfest but Chas says there will be too many people. I would love to go to a brewery, esp. around colonge where Kolsh is from.

  4. lattelovek says:

    Paris is beautiful and magical – I’m sure you’ll love it! E and I’s next trip will hopefully be partly in Germany, so I’ll look forward to hearing about your planning. Such an amazing trip!

  5. mom says:

    zachary and jennifer may have been to bonn since i have a bust of beethoven from their trip
    also they might have good ideas

    i will get you a lonely planet book and check frommer’s online
    fun to read and they have $ signs to help you plan
    do you want a paris book-good keepsake
    or one of the other cities?
    I will tell someone to get you one for your birthday

    • Liz says:

      I actually almost bought the Moleskin Paris journal notebook thingy. And I need to get some books for sure. There’s too much on the Internet to know what to trust. I was thinking that today. Wow, you read my mind mom.

  6. First of all, I’m JEALOUS and you know this =)

    Second, Khara actually studied abroad for a year in Belgium, so make sure you talk to her!

    Third, suggestions! I haven’t been to Germany, but I’ve always wanted to visit Heidelberg because it looks absolutely adorable. But I have been to Paris, so here are my tips (in no particular order):

    1. Go to the top of the Eiffel tower. I don’t care if it’s a touristy thing to do– the view is BREATHTAKING and you can literally see all of Paris if it’s clear outside.

    2. Spin on the “Paris Point Zero” outside of Notre Dame. It’s this little brass plate in the front of the church, and if you spin on one foot on top of it, it’s supposed to be good luck/mean you’ll return to Paris! (Also, obviously go inside Notre Dame when you’re there because it’s unreal.)

    3. Take a boat tour down the Seine. I really wanted to do this but it was closed when I tried!

    4. Walk from the Lourve gardens, down the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. It’s the famous fashion street (and also where they finish the Tour de France), it’s gorgeous, and there are several opportunities to eat delicious crepes along the way!

    5. Walk into a random bakery and purchase a baguette. You won’t be sorry.

    6. Eat dinner in/walk around Montmartre– it’s the artsy district where the Moulin Rouge is located!

    7. Kiss Oscar Wilde’s tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery!! I actually didn’t do this and have no idea where it’s located, but I want to so badly haha.

    8. As a general rule, walk as much as you can. It may take longer than using public transportation, but you get to see so much more of the city and really get a better look at Parisian life!

    9. Pack me in your suitcase.

    • Liz says:

      Thanks for all the awesome suggestions Sam! Some of them were of course already on my list. I love the Notre Dame thing. cool idea. Eek. Can’t wait.

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