Venice Travel Guide

Venice Travel Guide

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If you followed along on my recent trip to Europe, after we left Paris (read my guide here!) we landed in Venice. But, before I get into all the juicy details on our 3-day stay let’s talk about what I talk about best: outfits. How gorgeous is this taupe maxi/midi skirt from Chicwish? I was a little hesitant when I had it sent to me (shorts girls and maxi lengths don’t always mix) but I completely fell in love! I knew right away that this skirt had to come with me to Europe. I even planned in advance what city I was going to where it in and I’m so glad I picked Venice. The entire look contrasted so well with the aged buildings and romantic canals. Plus, the weather was perfect for this outfit. A little hot, but not hot enough that the skirt would stick to me.

I kept the look simple and went with my go-to white cami and threw on some sandals. I definitely think this skirt would look so cute with heels (and they would give me some much needed height), but heels were not going to cut it in a city full of stairs and bridges.  To top the look off I wore some dainty gold coin necklaces that I’ve been loving lately.

But enough about my outfit, let’s get into all you need to know if you’re planning to visit Venice!

Warning: this was my first time in Venice, so this guide is also aimed at people who have never been before. If you’ve already been to Venice then this might not be the guide for you.

What You Need to Know Before Arriving

Venice is an island and the airport isn’t on it… So, once you arrive you’re going to have to figure out the best way to get from the airport to the island. And depending on where your hotel is, you might now be going to the main island. Luckily, there are people down by the docks who can help you figure out the best way to travel. The most affordable option is a public water taxi. We did this but be warned: it takes forever. We were on it for over an hour and half (use the bathroom beforehand!). A more convenient/more expensive option is a private water taxi. They move a lot faster but will cost a lot more.

Another thing you need to know: Venice is an expensive city. Comparing the prices in Venice to Florence, we spent a lot more. Just keep that in mind when visiting! The good thing is that it isn’t a very big city so you don’t need to spend a lot of time there. You could definitely do everything in two days.

Where to Stay

Like in Paris, we stayed in a nicer hotel than I would’ve picked if I was traveling without them. We stayed at the JW Marriott which was 1. a beautiful hotel and 2. on its own island! We had to take a ferry each morning into Venice and then at night to get back to our hotel. If you want a luxury experience while visiting Venice this hotel is a must.

Obviously I can’t recommend any other hotels because I’ve only stayed at the one, but there were quite a few in Venice itself and they opened up onto canals which would be so pretty!

Main Attractions

Venice is a pretty small city (about 3 miles long), but there are still some sites you need to see:

  • St. Mark’s Square (let the pigeons land on your arms. It’s such a weird experience but something I’ll never forget)
  • St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Doge’s palace
  • Rialto Bridge
  • Gondola ride (pricey but worth it in my opinion)
  • Rooftop view of Venice at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi department store (book in advance, we didn’t know you had to and ended up not doing this)
  • Gallerie dell’Accademia (I didn’t actually see this, but I’ve heard it’s a great art museum)

Island Hopping

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Like I said before, Venice is incredibly small so you definitely have enough time to do some island hopping! When we came in on our morning ferry from the hotel, a man who works for the city council of Venice was handing out free tickets to tour the glass-making factory on Murano. My parents wanted to see the blown glass so we were sold! We took a little shuttle over to Murano and toured the factory and showroom. Aside from that though, there’s not much else to see on this island, but the factory taxied us over to another island, Burano.

Burano is GORGEOUS! As you can see from the pictures above, the entire island is full of colorful little houses along canals. It felt like something out of a movie. And, the island is known for its lace-making. I bought a beautiful white, cotton, lace dress (check it out on Instagram) that I adore. They also make other items like table cloths, and the most adorable baby clothes!

In total, we spent about half a day on both islands and then went back to Venice for an afternoon drink and then dinner.

Where to Eat

In complete transparency, Venice didn’t have the greatest food. But, I still have a few recommendations. Something Venice is known for is cicchetti. Around 6pm Venetians like to start bar-hopping and ordering different cicchetti which are little appetizers. Usually they have their cicchetti with a small glass of white wine. If there’s one place I recommend it’s Do Spade, a bar that’s really close to the Rialto Bridge and has great cicchetti! We started at a different one and ended up here, apparently it’s popular with Venetian locals too. I definitely recommend coming early though if you want a seat!

Another recommendation, solely for the experience, is Caffe Florian. It’s extremely pricey for a breakfast spot, but it’s the most famous coffee spot in Venice. I will say, we ate outside and were charged an extra €6 per person for the music… Maybe we should’ve ate inside?

Otherwise, I would definitely recommend looking for less touristy spots to eat. Not only do I think the food will be better, but you’ll probably be paying a lot less. Oh, and I wanted to try Baci & Pasta for lunch, but we never made. I’ve heard great things and a meal should only cost around €7-10!

 

So, that’s all I have for my Venice travel guide. If you have any other recommendations, please let me know in the comments below!

xo,

Carey

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Paris Travel Guide

Paris Travel Guide

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If you know me, then you know how much I love Paris. From the food, the fashion, the culture—I’m obsessed with it all! Because it’s one of my favorite cities, I’m so excited to be sharing my travel guide with you today. I’m obviously not an expert (I’ve only been three times), but if you’re planning a trip I would definitely give this guide a read!

But before I jump into my Paris travel guide, let’s talk outfit. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this sequin dress from Chicwish! It’s so feminine and delicate and I felt so pretty wearing it. I love that the sequins make out little starfish—it’s the perfect print for summer without going over-the-top beachy. It’s also perfect for summer because even though it has long sleeves, the fabric is sheer and lightweight! Side note: the dress is a bit more low cut than I like so I pinned it to keep it closed!

If you read my previous post (dressing like a French it-girl), then you know that kitten heels are a must in Paris. Of course, I had to buy some and pair them with this dress. I love kitten heels because they are so easy to walk in, but still add a glamorous touch!

Anyway, now that the outfit is out of the way, let’s get into the guide. Just a warning, this is going to be a looooong post.

What You Need to Know Before Arriving

If you’re flying into Charles de Gaulle airport, which I assume you would, you should know that you won’t be right in the middle of Paris. You’re going to need transportation into the city and it’ll take about an hour.

There are a few different options for you to take but here are my suggestions: either call an Uber or take Le Bus Direct. Depending on how many people you’re traveling with might make the decision for your price wise. It costs about €20 per person to take Le Bus Direct and you’ll make quite a few stops along the way (increasing your travel time). Plus, once you get to your stop you still need to navigate to your hotel.

My parents and I decided to take an Uber which cost a little under €60, which would have been the price for all three of us to take Le Bus Direct. I liked taking an Uber because we didn’t have to worry about stops and we went straight to the hotel.

You could also call a taxi and there are other buses that are less expensive, but more time consuming. Regardless, just know that it’s going to take a little bit of time to get to your hotel.

 

Where to Stay

Because I went with my parents on this last trip, we stayed at a nicer hotel than I would have if I was on my own. We stayed at the Westin Paris in the 1st arrondissement. It was a beautiful hotel, very close to the Jardin des Tuileries, but also in one of the wealthiest areas of Paris. Location wise it also wasn’t that close to other attractions we wanted to see. But, don’t let that stop you because Paris is easy to navigate!

When I was in Paris almost two years ago with just my mom for the weekend, we stayed at an Airbnb which we loved. I would definitely check into this because it might be easier to find a place in the neighborhood you want to be in.

 

Main Attractions

Paris has quite a few tourist attractions that I definitely think are worth a see, at least on your first visit. Because there are so many, I’m not going to go into detail on each one.

  • Eiffel Tower (the most obvious one! Go as early as possible to beat the line or order a ticket ahead of time)
  • Arc de Triomphe (great view of Paris)
  • Champs-Élysées
  • Louvre (also super crowded so go early. Be warned, it’s a very overrated museum. I like the Musée D’Orsay 10x better)
  • Palais Royal
  • Trocadéro (go here for infamous pics with the Eiffel Tower behind you)

  • Moulin Rouge (I still haven’t made it for a cabaret show, but it’s on my list!)
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Jardin des Tuileries
  • Sacre Coeur Basilica
  • Catacombs (also still on my list of things to do)

Honestly, I could probably find at least 10 more attractions to add, but these are definitely the top!

 

Neighborhoods

Paris is comprised of different neighborhoods (arrondissements) that all have different things to offer. Here are just some that I think are worth seeing.

Montmartre

If you’re looking for an area of Paris that looks quintessentially French than this is it. The neighborhood is on top of steep hill so getting there can be annoying. At the bottom is the Moulin Rouge. At the very top of the hill is the Sacre Couer basilica. This area has religious ties dating back to pagan times and features a beautiful view of the city.

You can also find the famous Le Consultat restaurant, plus quite a bit of shopping. If you’re into art than this is also the place to go! There are so many street artists and little shops featuring beautiful paintings of Paris, especially the Montmartre area.

Latin Quarter

When I first went to Paris on a high school trip when I was 15, this is the area we stayed in. It’s the same neighborhood that houses the famous Sorbonne University, so it’s definitely a younger area. It’s also home to the famous Shakespeare and Co. book store! If you’re a book lover like me then this store is a dream come true. I honestly could have spent hours in there!

Besides books, this area also has a lot of cool cafes and a very hip vibe. I would definitely stay in this neighborhood again, especially since it feels so central to other parts of Paris.

Le Marais

This is one of the oldest parts of Paris because it features one of the only areas that Napoleon didn’t try to revitalize in the 19th century. It was once an area where the Parisian aristocracy congregated, but later became an area full of poor, bohemian artists. It is most recently known for being the city’s Jewish quarter.

If you like to shop than Le Marais is definitely the place to do so! My mom and I spent pretty much the whole day shopping while my dad sipped on wine at a cafe. But there is more to Le Marais than just shopping; there are a ton of art galleries, plus a few attractions to see. First is the Place des Vosges, the oldest planned square in the city. You could also check on Victor Hugo’s mansion which has since been turned into a museum (unfortunately it was closed when I went so I still haven’t seen it).

Where to Eat

I’ll be perfectly honest, a lot of our meals were hit or miss in Paris. There are cafes and brasseries on practically every street, so you will never be without an option. Every morning we started our day with a coffee and croissant and let me just say, there is no better breakfast. Any cafe you go to will serve this and serve it well! Just be slightly more picky when it comes to lunch/dinner.

Personally, I pay more attention to dessert and sweets, so here are some of my recommendations:

  • Angelina is a must. It’s known for the infamous hot chocolate that is out of this world. If you don’t like chocolate don’t even bother getting it. It is so rich it tastes like you’re drinking melted chocolate—obviously I loved it! But definitely go here for a nicer brunch regardless.
  • Ladurée. Probably the most well known macaron store around the world. You can go here to pick up pastries or have a sit down meal. I will say, Ladurée was my absolute favorite place to go for macarons, but now I have a new favorite. Which leads me to…
  • Pierre Hermé. If you want the fluffiest, most magical macarons you will ever taste in your life then this is the place to go. I still dream about these macarons and I know none will ever taste as good.

 

Day/Weekend Trips

If you’re going to be in Paris for awhile, I also suggest taking day or weekend trips. If you can, definitely go to Versailles. The palace alone is worth seeing, plus the beautiful gardens. There is also a gigantic open air market and the pace is a lot slower than Paris. We took a train there for €7.50 round trip and spent about half a day there.

If you have a little longer, I would definitely go to Provence. The French countryside is so different from Paris and both are equally enchanting. If you like a slower pace than Provence is a great area. And who doesn’t want to see the amazing lavender fields?

 

So, there you have it! My complete guide to Paris. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions and leave some comments below!

xo,

Carey

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What to Wear to a Summer Party

What to Wear to a Summer Party

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Happy Tuesday! I am especially happy today because I’m heading out of the country for about 10 days (check my Instagram tomorrow to see where I’m headed!). Anyway, a few weeks ago I created a poll on Instagram about what you wanted to see on the blog and a few of you requested outfits for summer parties. So, you asked and I delivered!

I just recently received this romper in the mail from Chicwish and let me just say: run, don’t walk to go buy it! I’ve never worn a more flattering, feminine romper and I just can’t say enough good things about it. The fabric is light, so even though it has long sleeves it’s perfect for summer events.

This outfit would be perfect for a graduation party (just change the shoes depending on how dressed up you want to be), a bachelorette weekend, or just a date night out. I actually planned to wear this to a friend’s graduation party, but changed last minute because of the rain. But I absolutely love it paired with a neutral pair of wedges and will probably outfit repeat for another summer party!

Also, I forgot to mention: there’s a clasp at the neckline. I like mine clasped so nothing shows, but if you want a deeper vee you can leave it unclasped!

Anyway, that’s all for now. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

xo,

Carey

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Thank you to Chicwish for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.