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Happy Weekend

I spent a good hour yesterday looking up airfares from Paris to different countries: (Copenhagen $120, Morocco $150, woohoo!) I have lots of plans to travel when we move to France because everything is so close. Anyone been anywhere off the beaten path that you loved? I like small non-touristy villages or cities with great vintage shopping I also love things like cool community events like a sky lantern festival (I heard there is one in Portugal.).

Also, has anyone ever had a large shipping crate shipped to the US before? I would love to bring home some of the furniture I find (and maybe a little Vespa and sidecar.) I’m curious as to cost and who to use.

I also write for Here are some of my favorite picks this week.

I know what Moses is getting for Christmas!
Restoration Hardware’s new line of holiday toys! Love.
Have you seen Dwell Studios new furniture line? I did a whole round up.
We found this hard-to-find fabric. (Plus that room is styled to perfection.)
Someone needs to buy that first sofa, stat. Jennifer DeLonge does it again.
I really need one of these, I just need someone to make a cheaper better looking knock off.

  1. Megan

    November 5, 2010

    Come summer, you should check out the Palio races in Sienna, there's two.

    To prep, you might enjoy reading 'Paris to the Moon', the memoir of a New Yorker writer who took his wife and young son to Paris for a year…if you haven't already.

    Shipping furniture back to the US is cheaper if you can prove you've owned it for 6 months.

  2. lanae nicole

    November 5, 2010

    Brugge or Bruges Belgium is not a non touristy place, but it is off the beaten path and is like stepping back in time. It's a medieval town worth a visit. It's a three hour drive from Paris, so not too far either!

  3. Neslihan Öcal Karahan

    November 5, 2010

  4. Teresa

    November 5, 2010

    Hello Jordon! I follow your blog from Lisbon (Portugal) and I love it! I hope you came to Portugal during your stay in Paris, i'm sure that you and your family are going to love it! The sky lantern festival you talk about in your post is in fact a tradition of an important festivity: São João, 24 June (mainly in the nort of the country: Porto, Braga…). If you ever need informations about Portugal feel free to email me (! Bonne chance! Teresa

  5. Itzi

    November 5, 2010

    Hello Jordan! I don't know if you read my last comment but i'm an spanish girl… and I've only traveled Europe….so I recommend you:

    – Southern France is so beautiful and there are a lot of lovely small towns (Cahors,Cordes-Sur-Ciel,La Couvertoirade,Carcasonne,Saint-Cirque-La Popie) (an example)

    – Prague: (in Czech Republic) is a magical city.

    – England: Loooondon… no needs images…hahah

    -Bacelona: modernist and so beautiful city:


    – Amsterdam:

    – Belgium country: like in France, thereare a lot of lovely small towns

    Sorry if my comment is too long … I just wanted to help you

  6. Susana

    November 5, 2010


    I am a reader of your inspiring blog and I have a blog myself but about travel, with a few tips related to places in Europe, Paris for example!

    Hope you'll drop by and don't forget to use the Google Translating tool on the left (sorry the blog is written in Spanish).

    Hugs from Spain and welcome to Europe!!

  7. Signe

    November 5, 2010

    You should come see Oslo, and even more so go check out Vesterålen & Lofoten up North in Norway 🙂

    Lots of pictures here:

    Have to brag about my small country when I am given the oportunity yes? 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

  8. Frenchee le Trip

    November 5, 2010

    Hi Jordan

    I'm a San Francisco to Provence transplant, and give vintage buying tours of my area to my compatriots. I'd love to show you my secret vintage spots here when you make your way to Provence (easy to do, just a 3 hour train ride from the center of Paris). And by the way, vintage is way cheaper outside of Paris, so be sure to check out the provinces before you buy that pricey Paris stuff.

    And for the nearby destinations, I can tell you about lots of great places, but the short list:

    Brugge (great suggestion from another comment)

    and bazillions of dreamy places within France.

    Feel free to email me if I can help you with any questions about life in France for an expat.

    Wishing you a wonderful year in Paris!

  9. MsAmanda

    November 5, 2010

    My sister-in-law lives in Basel, Switzerland. Beautiful. Obviously not off the beaten path, but well worth it. And the train ride through Switzerland is amazing.

  10. Tartangirl

    November 5, 2010

    I follow you from France but not Paris and if ever you need some piece of advice, don't hesitate to ask. Bye. Tartangirl.

  11. Miss B.

    November 5, 2010

    come to Copenhagen!

  12. heather

    November 5, 2010

    The Morgestaich parade in Basel Switzerland is one of the neatest things I did in Europe. Here's my blog post about it (scroll down towards the last third of the post):

    Strasbourg France is pretty as is little Riquewihr also in the Alsace region.

    Cambridge England is a charming place…take the path known as the Grantchester Grind about a mile out of Cambridge (and along the Cam river) to the village of Grantchester and have tea at the Orchard (one of my favorite places in the world!).

    Another one of my favorite places ever is the Dingle Penninsula of Ireland.

    And I agree the Bruges Belguim, while filled with tourists, is worth a look-see.

    I kept a blog while my husband and I lived in Germany for two years here at and my current blog here at (click on the Travel topic on the right margin) where you may get travel ideas!

    You'll love it! My husband and I have been plotting to get back to Europe ever since we left!

  13. marijke

    November 5, 2010

    I'm really happy for you that you get the chance to spend some time abroad. My husband and I lived in SF for a couple of years and have now returned to Belgium. Lots of things to see and do in this small country of ours (for as long as it still exists). Definitely visit Antwerp, where we live: it has history, shopping, antiques, good restaurants,… I would be delighted to give you and your family a tour, together with my little girl.

  14. Mathilde

    November 5, 2010

    Hey Jordan,

    I’m from Germany but now I live in Basel/Switzerland. It’s five minutes away (no joke) from the french and the german border.
    My favorite german cities are Hamburg and Cologne. Both cities are full of creative peopIe and sweet little shops plus there are always nice concerts. I think „easy jet“ offers cheap flights from Paris to Hamburg. Last week the „Hello Handmade“ Market took place in Hamburg – I’m sure you would have loved it.
    Leipzig and Dresden are well worth a visit.

    Switzerland is a very small country and although Basel is the third largest city in Switzerland (after Geneva and Zurich) it’s tiny. But there are a lot of houses and buildings from medival times. As a contrast in Basel and around, there is a lot of contemporary art in the museums like the Vitra Design Museum. And in june the huge art fair called „Art Basel“ takes place.
    And as Heather recommended: The Morgenstraich. It’s part of a very spezial type of carnival which lasts three days.
    So if you like the mountains, hiking or skiing, green grass, cows, goats and marmots, cheese and chocolate, you have to spend some time in Switzerland … maybe in the Grindelwald area….

    All the best and if you want to know more about Switzerland or Basel…..

  15. Renee

    November 5, 2010

    There is a FABULOUS flea market in Tongeren, Belgium you have to visit! You'd love it.

    Strasbourg, France/Germany is a lovely border city. Germany is very underrated, btw.

    Also, years my family and I went to Trollhättan, Sweden to pick up a Saab, and ended up falling in love with the country! Beautiful coast, beautiful people, beautiful everything!

    Good luck and have a fabulous time!

  16. onesilentwinter

    November 5, 2010

    you used to be very expensive to ship from paris because you had to pay for a whole crate now it has been made easier because items are combined( securely with others who are doing the same) all you have to do is go to the dock and they will take care of the rest, made simpler if you go ahead of time and get the information and papers you will need!

    oh you will love living in paris and the amazing finds you will find, also italy has amazing vintage markets!
    i am partial to bruxelles as well!

  17. Nat

    November 5, 2010

    Oviedo, Spain is a wonderful little city nestled between the northern mountians of Spain and the coast. La Dia De San Juan is a fun festival to be present for in late spring.
    Charlecote, England is a beautiful country town with sweeping fields and a lovely old church with an ancient graveyard.

  18. Erica

    November 5, 2010

    My husband and I went to Barcelona in 2009 for our honeymoon and it was amazing. My favorite part of the trip was the day we spent in a little town about and hour's train ride north of Barcelona called Girona.

    It's close to France, gorgeous, and definitely has the smaller village feel you're going for!

  19. Jennifer

    November 5, 2010

    Love that Bruges! Ate so many delicious pastries there that I got sick! 🙂 Tough life.

  20. Katy

    November 5, 2010

    I used to live in Prague so did a bit of Europe exploring myself. Check out these places for poss visits:

    Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic – a spa town and host of Czech Film Festival

    Hvar, Croatia – beautiful lavender island and Hvar town is a gorgeous little harbout with shops & restaurants

  21. Alice

    November 5, 2010

    CROATIA! Go there!

  22. communikate.

    November 5, 2010

    One of my favorite countries while backing Europe was Prague.

    Go there, and then take the 2-3 hour bus ride {or rent a car} to Chesky Krumluv. It's beautiful and has retained it's 18th century charm.

    I'll be stopping by Little Winter this weekend. I'll have to introduce myself! 🙂

  23. communikate.

    November 5, 2010

    *oops meant to say favorite country was Chezk Republic! 🙂

  24. Sarah

    November 5, 2010

    These aren't necessarily off the beaten path, but I consider these must-see places if you're going to be living in Europe for a year.


    Other places I wouldn't want to miss if I was going again: Cinque Terre, Athens, Morocco, Egypt.

    Venice was so so for me.

    Hallstaat in Austria is more off the beaten path. It's maybe 30 minutes to an hour away from Strasbourg (another fun, smaller city); it's a super quaint Alpine village on the lake that is only accessible through a tunnel. The village is built up the side of the mountain, which is really fun. But if you aren't already in the area, I don't know that Hallstaat is worth the trip just by iteslf. Goregous countryside surrounding it, though. Great mountain vistas.

  25. mh. lovely by me

    November 5, 2010

    oh my this sounds so wonderful and i'm sure i will live vicariously through you. i'm sure you've been to france before right? if not i have a small list of must visits if you're interested.

  26. Vicki

    November 5, 2010

    If you are a foodie or interested in that, the Spanish capital for food is San Sebastian–up North and close the the French border. Many Michelin starred restaurants, but I would just do the pintxos bar-hopping and try all the little dishes in the different bars. Very delicious gourmet-type food in relaxed settings. I'm so envious!

  27. Iva

    November 5, 2010

    hello! i'm from portugal, from Porto (you call it Oporto) and we do have the sky lantern festival you talk about! it's great because everyone launches their sky lanterns and you see the sky at night full of those! it's a fun tradition we have here, and it's in the 24th June! here you also have the port wine, the river, the ocean and the beaches, and other beautiful places to see! and the weather is great, especially between june and ocotober! in Porto we have ryanair (check it at, so it's very cheap to fly here from other european countries (i went to london, barcelona and florence and paid about 30€ for each flight!)

  28. Courtney

    November 5, 2010

    My sister spent some time in the Czech Republic and while she enjoyed Prague, she LOVED Cesky Krumlov which is in the south end of the country.

    Have an awesome time!

  29. pamela

    November 5, 2010

    i have had a friend ship stuff from china in the train car size carriers, and it is about $3000 – $5000. That should give you a rough idea, if you were shipping that much stuff.

  30. M and E

    November 5, 2010

    We went all over Sweden and Norway when I was in college. Two stand-outs–aside from Stockholm, which is just amazing–are Mora, Sweden, where we went to a huge carnival, and Andalsnes, Norway, right in fjord country.

  31. k8theriver

    November 5, 2010

    jk. i wish i could live in europe.

  32. Andyfaith

    November 5, 2010

    I'm heading to Portugal for the month of December. Do you know when or where the lantern festival is taking place?

  33. Lisette

    November 5, 2010

  34. Jessica {lovely jubbly london}

    November 5, 2010

    I've shipped things both way from Europe and you just have to sign a form saying you've owned it for a certain amount of time and it's your own personal items and not for resale. Cost wise a container is pricey- I would say $8-12k realistically France-CA. We used Stevens Worldwide last time and really liked them. You could call and ask for a general estimate. I wouldn't bother with any kind of car/scooter b/c the US taxes you a lot on importing those even if they are your own and you have to have a lot of testing done on them so it ends up costing way more than it is worth.

    Good luck and enjoy the adventure.

    PS. I also recommend Paris to the Moon!

  35. Bea

    November 5, 2010

    Utrecht in The Netherlands is lovely.

    It has many of the charming features of Amsterdam — canals, rowhouses, little shops, etc. — but less of the chaos, tourists, drugs, Red Light district, etc.
    There are beautiful walking paths immediately outside the town.

  36. Mackenzie {Design Darling}

    November 5, 2010

    My favorite off-the-beaten-path destinations are Villandry (a castle with gorgeous gardens about a 15 mile bike ride from Tours, France) and Interlaken (an adventure sport paradise in Switzerland).

    P.S. I tweeted at you the other day but I would love to hear your advice for getting into a creative career path! Have a wonderful weekend!

  37. Sweet Shibui Photography

    November 5, 2010

    I loved my visit to Hallstatt, Austria. If you get there by train (the best!) you get dropped off in the woods and have to walk on a path through the woods (like 20 seconds) to a ferry that takes you across the lake to the town. Nestled between the mountains on a picturesque lake–ultimate bliss! The little bakery in town had fabulous pastries and I found the people there to be so nice and accommodating! Good luck on your travels, can't wait to read all about them!

  38. Jane Flanagan

    November 5, 2010

    Hi Jordan – If you have any interest in visiting Ireland, I'm originally from Dublin and put a wee Ireland travel guide up on my blog earlier this year. Am happy to help if you have any questions etc.


  39. Honora

    November 5, 2010

    CORSICA. In June, before the school holidays start. You will not be disappointed!

  40. Jessica

    November 5, 2010

    The little village of Die in south eastern France is wonderful and charming!

  41. lilcis

    November 5, 2010

    My uncle has a freight forwarding company. I think they mostly work with businesses but they might do shipping for individuals if you really have a crate worth. Check them out:

  42. kate reymann

    November 5, 2010

    Lucca, Italy. One of my favorite places ever. It's one day trip for a lot of tourists coming from Florence and the surrounding area but my husband and I spent four days there during our honeymoon and loved it. It a small walled city and you can rent bikes and ride on top of the wall. So cool. Totally charming medieval city. We are going to retire there someday.

    We stayed at the coolest bed and breakfast there – There was a gorgeous print shop right next to the bed and breakfast where I could have spent my life savings on lovely lovely prints.

    Also, the Piedmont area of Italy is wonderful. In October they have a truffle festival in Alba and you can go truffle hunting with dogs. Fun! Asti, nearby, has its own palio – the oldest in Italy – in September.

    I am SO JEALOUS!

  43. Vinyasa Mama

    November 5, 2010

    I HIGHLY recommend Lugano, Switzerland which is in the Italian canton just over the line from Italy. The climate is sub-tropical so there are palm trees, but it also snows. Pretty crazy.

    It's the most amazing little spot b/c it has tons of italian culture but with the swiss efficency. And it's on a lake!

  44. Kyla

    November 5, 2010

    So exciting! I recommend Ljubljana, Slovenia for somewhere a little off the beaten path… It is a stunning city that I truly fell in love with. And of course, spend every second you can in Barcelona. You will not want to leave (OK, if you get to go back to Paris, it might be easier). I cannot wait for you to get there so I can live vicariously through you!


  45. april

    November 5, 2010

    If you want somewhere peaceful, quiet, small, car-free, and with amazing views of the Alps, visit Gimmelwald in Switzerland. Coolest place we've ever been!

  46. carina

    November 5, 2010

    Oh, you should come to Copenhagen! If you ever need the non-tourist go-to-places in Copenhagen, just ask me!

    BTW – think the entire moving to Paris for a year is so awesome. I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love (a million years after everyone else, I know)and I wish I were as brave as you guys.


  47. Carmenpol

    November 5, 2010

    Hi ! I am a French reader of your blog, living in a small village near Nantes, I really hope you will enjoy my country. Please do not idealize too much France, just wait and see… If you want to visit North West of France, feel free to contact me (, I will tell you about many many charming places ! Have nice dreams and nice trip, lucky ones !

  48. Molly Covert

    November 5, 2010

    Hi Jordan!

    I'm a graphic designer and love love love your blog. I'm working on rebranding an international relocation company based in San Francisco called Bloom International. They basically relocate your entire life overseas and to an amazing job. The entire operation is family owned and operated which I personally look for in a business. You can see more info on their site (which has not been redesigned yet btw)
    good luck!!!

  49. Anonymous

    November 5, 2010

    Cancale – about a 4 hour drive from Paris (near St. Malo) it's where all the mussels are brought in. teeny tiny seaside town, the residents reside on the cliff above the town, so cute, and the visitors stay down by the water – it's cheap, and the lobster bisque at the "fancy" restaurant is still, to this day, 6 years later, the best thing I have ever put in my mouth!

  50. We Joneses

    November 5, 2010

    There's no place on earth like budapest in the spring. They've got a great may day festival. I'd take budapest over prague aaaaaaaaaany day. But that's just me.

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