Tuesday, August 6
Ahhh, today we slept in until at least 9:30 a.m. No alarm. The hotel is absolutely heavenly. We have a giant king bed and gold shades that automatically lower with the touch of a button over the floor-to-ceiling windows. The bathroom has dual sinks, a rainfall shower and cozy tub. Our breakfast was nice, as we expected. It sure does help to have status at our hotels to take care of one of our meals each day. One of the perks of Sean’s many travels!
Sean met with the concierge for 30 minutes and planned our entire trip — dinner reservations, museum passes, Eiffel Tower tickets and a cabaret show. We left the hotel around noon and first went to Notre Dame Cathedral. The tour was free, so of course it was very crowded inside. The architecture is really breathtaking, and I really felt like I was experiencing history.
We ate gummy bears on the outside stairs erected for the 850th anniversary. Can you believe – 850 years? I’m sure they were not eating gummy bears back then. Sticking with our laissez-faire attitude, we figured we could make the 2:30 river boat tour on the Seine. We loved this tour because we saw every major site in Paris within the hour. We loved how pretty the city is from the river and all the different bridges. After the tour, we ate crepes from a street vendor and walked over two miles back to the hotel. Time for our daily nap!
We had dinner at La Fontaine de Mars, which was highly recommended by Sean’s uncle. The dishes were classic French, and everything was very good. I had steak frites with bernaise sauce and Sean had the duck. The only thing bothering me in France is not having a selection of salads or veggies at each meal. Where are la salades?
We walked around the area and back to a restaurant near our hotel to have creme brulee for dessert. It was nice to just relax at night in our comfy room.
Wednesday, August 7
Surprisingly, we woke up to rain today. We’ve been so relaxed that we didn’t think to check the forecast. After our hotel breakfast, we ventured out with umbrellas to the Louvre. The museum pass paid dividends when we did not have to wait in the ginormous lines. The Louvre was overly crowded on this rainy day, and the tourists snapping pictures of every single thing was annoying. We saw the Venus de Milo, Winged Warrior and Mona Lisa. (Okay, it was more like seeing millions of Mona-Lisa-Paparazzi than actually seeing the painting, but you get the idea). We had our fill of Greek and Roman statues and even French and Italian paintings. But you can’t go to Paris and not do the Louvre, right? Sometimes, we have to entertain ourselves.
Next we walked to the Ponte de Arts Bridge to put our love lock on it. Walking from the Louvre, it is on the left side, at the very top of the 13th panel. Written on the railing in white is the name “Verra Adrie.” We wrote our initials and wedding date on the three sides.
After the bridge, we strolled the streets until we found a cute cafe for lunch. Sean ate a baguette with jelly and butter, and I had soup and SALAD! It was very good on this somewhat chilly day. What a nice change from the hot temps in Italy.
Guess what’s next? Nap time!
This evening we went to the Eiffel Tower. We had skip-the-line tickets at 7:30, but unfortunately the rain spoiled our plans to do a picnic in the grass afterward. We got to the Eiffel Tower about 45 minutes before our tour, so we people-watched for a while and split a crepe to tide us over.
It was exciting riding up the elevator all those floors to the first platform. We took a few pictures there, and then got back in the elevator to go to the very top. Sean was a little hesitant to take photos near the railing. It was a little scary up there, but what freaked me out was the amount of people bumping into each other taking photos. I found it quite nicer on the second floor with a little more room to move around and soak up the incredible views.
After the Tower, we walked back to a metro stop we’ve been visiting frequently and stopped at Carrefour, a grocery store, for dinner. We picked up meats, cheeses, a baguette and tapenade. We ate dinner in our hotel room with the complimentary wine from the Hyatt, and I may or may not have indulged in another hot bath.
Thursday, August 8
A bitter sweet day – our last full day on vacation. We awoke early because the hotel lost power around 4am. I heard a loud noise around that time, but we continued to sleep until the room got pretty hot and we were curious what was going on. The hotel still served a cold breakfast despite the conditions (they are the best!) and we got ready quickly and headed out for our first (and last) early morning. No explanation for the power outage, and it was not storming, so who knows.
Our destination: the D’Orsay Museum. Hands down our favorite museum because of the remarkable art and peaceful setting. We loved the impressionists collection of Monet, Manet and others. We really want to buy a copy of something we liked for the house. We were getting tired of standing and walking, so we sat down to rest a lot in the museum and on our walk afterward. We walked to Saint Chapelle but decided to eat lunch at a cafe across the street first. I finally had French Onion Soup – one of my favorites! It took forever to eat though because it was so hot.
The line for Saint Chapelle was an hour long 😦 With our museum pass, we got in “free.” Despite the fact half of it was not open because it was under repair, it was an awesome sight to see the giant stained glass windows from 5 feet above our head reaching 50 feet to the ceiling. The windows tell the story of Christ’s life from the beginning to end, and they are truly beautiful. We would love to see this again when the restoration is complete. You can see the difference in the windows that are restored compared to the old ones below. Nap time!
We had dinner reservations at Royal Madeleine near our hotel. Our good friends back home just had a baby girl named Madeline so it was fun to take a picture of the menu and think of her and their family. I had chicken breast and veggies while Sean had sea bass with spinach souffle. We walked to a bakery for dessert – we had a raspberry macaroon, a chocolate cookie and something called a natural flat. It was like a thin cookie made of dark chocolate and almonds. I guess they have different prices if you eat in the bakery or leave, so when we bought them to go, but decided to eat in, the owner yelled at us, so we hurried away. That was probably the rudest French incident we had, so all-in-all I must say the French were good to us.
We took the metro to the Arc de Triumphe stop. I was excited to finally see this in Paris as visiting the one in New York with Sean is one of my favorite memories. It was breathtaking in the sunset light and lit up once the sun was down. We caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance. I would have loved to watch the sunset from the very top. We’ll just have to come back!
We walked the packed street of Champs d’Elyssee. We had reservations to see a 11pm cabaret show at Lido. This was the best ending to not only a romantic few days in Paris, but also the most amazing two weeks of our lives. We drank a bottle of champagne while the singers, dancers and performers entertained us. We had the best seats in the house. There was even ice skating and a rope/ribbon dancer. We loved every minute!
Friday, August 9
Today we flew home – all 9.5 hours. I was sad to leave but also happy to get back home as I miss our house when we are gone. I miss home but not as much as I thought I would. I’m kind of tired of metros, trains and walking all day, but for the most part I don’t miss the normalities of America. I definitely don’t miss having my phone tied to my hip.
I love Sean so much and am so grateful and happy we had these two weeks to spend together uninterrupted. We will have these memories forever, and I look forward to sharing stories with our friends and family for years to come.