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Surprise Trip to Paris

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May 30th, 2015, 10:58 PM
  #1
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Surprise Trip to Paris

Hello everyone!

I am planning to surprise my mom with a trip to Paris next fall for about two weeks (End of Sept - Beginning of Oct). I'm going to tell her THIS fall on her birthday so we can plan together (I will be going with her) but I need some ideas on how to surprise her.

Here are the small ideas I have
-Theft-proof purse with box of macarons, travel guide, phrase book, and a card inside. Inside the card I will put a fake boarding pass, pictures of the apartment, etc.
-Scrapbook with the front page completed. (Boarding passes, paris pictures, apartment photos, maybe a fake metro pass) But leaving all the other pages blank maybe with a note saying "Time to go to Paris so you can fill in all the empty pages!!!"
-Homemade travel guide with tips collected from lots and LOTS of research everywhere.

Or... a combination of these three??????

A little background on my mom:
-So loves Paris but she has never been.
-She almost went a couple times but she always comes up with excuses last minute when it comes to booking a ticket.
-She is touched very easily so I'm pretty sure she'll be mad and then cry happy tears.
-She loves art, she is a painter
-She loves the Eiffel Tower

I don't have a lot of money but I have been saving for a year and a half to make my mom's dream come true. I booked an apartment off of AirBnB with an AMAZING Eiffel Tower View. A lot of the reviews say it feels like you can reach out and touch the Eiffel tower it's so close.

I'm throwing her a party this September and it's going to be Paris themed (wine, french cheese, macarons, etc) which is where I want to tell her. I want to tell her privately with my fiancé - he's in on the surprise - but I don't know how to do it or if I should do it before the party starts or after everyone leaves!

To sum it all up these are my main questions:
1) Ideas on how to surprise her?
2) Any advice for Paris

Thank you so much!!!
awyeaha is offline  
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May 30th, 2015, 11:21 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Taking your mother to Paris is a very gracious gesture. If you really want to surprise her, don´t tell her anything until you leave.

I hope you have not prepaid anything for a vacation apartment that far in advance. Most vacation rentals are illegal in Paris and the city has begun a crackdown on violators. An apartment you see available today may not be even on the market by the end of next year.
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May 31st, 2015, 12:01 AM
  #3
 
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To add to the above: if you have already booked, make sure that you have travel insurance that will cover you if the apartment shouldn't be available . . . working on the principle that if you take all precautions, then nothing will go wrong!

If I were your mum (half her luck, I say!) I think I would prefer it if you told me prior to everyone arriving at the party.

As an alternative suggestion - how about a small sketch / watercolour book that she could take with her and fill with quick artworks as you make your way around the Paris attractions and scenes? You can get ones that come complete with all the materials (paint, pencil etc) packaged into the one compact fold-out kit.

Have fun with your planning, Di
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May 31st, 2015, 04:34 AM
  #4
 
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I helped my brother-in-law create the same surprise for my sister's 40th. When the time came to hand over his wrapped Paris "goodie" box at the party ( two guide books, including a restaurant guide; a map; and a little Eiffel Tower, etc), I put on an Edith Piaf CD, one that we used to sing to in high school French class.

As soon as my sister heard "La Vie En Rose", she burst into tears. She knew.

Similar to your intent to allow your mother to share in the planning, my brother-in-law gave this gift way in advance of the trip.

Dissimilar to your intent, no part of their trip was pre-planned at the time of the gift, for good reason. My sister, like me, is the ULTIMATE planner, and my husband had wisely counseled the brother-in-law: "Don't plan the trip, because no matter what you do, it will be 'wrong'. Give her the money, the destination, and the vacation days and let her plan the trip SHE wants."

It worked out beautifully for both of them, especially because she loves to research restaurants and he loves to eat.

Happy planning both your surprise and your trip,
AZ
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May 31st, 2015, 05:50 AM
  #5
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Hello all,
My apt on Airbnb is already approved by the authorities since she lives there most of the year, has a second apartment in the same neighborhood with her mother, and the police have already inspected it lol. Just in case though if anything were to happen I would recurve a full refund theough airbnb. I can also cancel if my mom doesn't approve of the apartment but pay of me doesn't want to tell her about the view so it's a surprise.

I agree in telling her way before the date and to not plan anything without her (besides the apt) because like me she is a HUGE planner. So a day before the party? Or a couple hours is sufficient? I just really wanted to tell her on her birthday that exactly this time next year she'd be on the eiffel tower for her birthday.

I LOVE the water color/sketch book idea I can't believe I didn't think of it myself! Thank you Di.
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May 31st, 2015, 06:03 AM
  #6
 
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Make sure your mom has a valid passport or give her an application as part of the surprise package!
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May 31st, 2015, 07:10 AM
  #7
 
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I like telling her on her birthday. Your reasoning is sound.

I can tell you that the brother-in-law's presentation to my sister at the party worked well because everyone got to share in her joy.

Perhaps Photoshop her against the Eiffel Tower?
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May 31st, 2015, 07:32 AM
  #8
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Awesome idea Edward! I will definitely include anew application for a passport in the present.

AZ love the photoshopping idea! I think I will tell her before the party so she can decide whether or not to tell everyone now or later.
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May 31st, 2015, 07:34 AM
  #9
 
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book Michael Osman for a day or more for designing a tour to your tastes--and the museums. He is a very personable man, an artist in his own right.You will truly enjoy spending days with him. Book now. And he is reasonable and you will get MORE than your money's worth.
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May 31st, 2015, 09:21 AM
  #10
 
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You are going to so much trouble and thinking of so creative things that I don't think you have to worry, she'll be thrilled.

Don't even think about not telling her until you leave. First, that's impossible, you have to pack and plan, plus the passport issue. Also, the anticipation is a lot of the fun, and the planning for what you want to do. It makes the trip go better, also.

Party sounds good, as a present.
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May 31st, 2015, 10:33 AM
  #11
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My mom would probably kill me if I told her last minute... even if she knew she was going to paris lol
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May 31st, 2015, 10:37 AM
  #12
 
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And of course tell her before you go--think of the joy of her anticipation and telling her friends about this absolutely wonderful gift!!
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May 31st, 2015, 10:44 AM
  #13
 
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Tell her at the party so that all your guests can share in her enjoyment/pleasure at the gift
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May 31st, 2015, 11:27 AM
  #14
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I would love to tell my mom in front of everyone but unfortunately I have very competitive siblings and I don't want them to feel hurt. Or have my mom act a certain way to please my other siblings.. it would be better to have a private moment of joy with her no?
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May 31st, 2015, 11:59 AM
  #15
 
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Introduce your mom to this wonderful Paris blog: http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com/ It is the personal blog of an American artist living in Paris. She writes about many exhibitions of art/food/culture that have been the highlights of my trips to Paris. She also offers a monthly subscription of illustrated Paris maps that could be a nice countdown to your mother's trip to Paris.
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May 31st, 2015, 01:30 PM
  #16
 
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That is so sweet! I hope you both have a wonderful time.
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May 31st, 2015, 02:49 PM
  #17
 
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Can you post a link to your Airbnb apartment? A few months ago, there was a thread on fodors that had an Airbnb with an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower that was a scam. I would not want you to get scammed.

I have been to Paris with my mother twice and it was wonderful both times. You will have a blast!
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May 31st, 2015, 03:23 PM
  #18
 
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Perhaps add a little French Champagne?
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Jun 1st, 2015, 05:55 AM
  #19
 
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As soon as you mentioned siblings, I saw your problem with the timing of the gift. Well, no matter what, it's a fantastic gift.
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Jun 1st, 2015, 06:14 AM
  #20
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Hello all,
I have decided to tell her before the party so I can avoid hurting my other siblings feelings. I am getting a lot of great ideas from all of you so thank you!


Well the air bnb apt has a couple reviews and I have viewed the reviewers profiles and they look pretty legit so I'm not worried about it being a fake. Plus I have been in contact with the owner for a couple of weeks now and she has sent me more pictures of the apartment with her in them so I'm not worried. Thank you for all your concern
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