Life list #307 – meet boyfriend for a romantic holiday in Paris. Check!
After 3 months apart, Mike and I reunited at Charles de Gaulle airport. I was so nervous coming off my plane, as I was hoping Mike would be waiting for me at my gate. Nope. After customs. Nope. At baggage claim. Nope. Haha I was going crazy thinking I’d never find him, but there he was, waiting for me at the entrance to the train station, following our plan B to a tee. It was a sweet reunion, with lots of hugs and laughing as we made our way around the train station to start our adventure.
First priority was making it to our hotel in the Latin Quarter area of Paris – Five Hotel. We wheeled our wheel-y suitcases down parisian streets, over cobberstones (!) and around an extra block or two before we made it to our room and promptly napped the morning away. The Five Hotel was the swanky-est of the hotels we stayed in during the trip and we appreciated the elevator, A/C and l’occitane toiletries 🙂
Our days followed a general schedule – sleep in until mid-morning, wander to find espresso, cappuccino and breakfast, see a few sights, and stop at a cafe for an afternoon beverage before heading home for a little siesta. Around 7 or 8, we’d start making moves for dinner and evening activities (read drinks). It was blissful gluttony.
Day one began a bit delayed after our nap with lunch on Rue Moufftard, a short walk from our hotel. Celebratory drinks were in order, so we skipped coffee for the day and went straight for a Cabernet Sauvignon and a big Stella Artois and toasted each other over a fantastic meal. Mike’s salad was fresh and delicious and my croque monsieur hit the spot with its gooey, cheesy goodness.
We walked off our lunch with a stroll around Luxembourg gardens, the Pantheon and exploring the neighborhood patisseries.
We spent our first evening at a local hole in the wall bar, watching the semifinals of the eurocup, downing Stella Artois and playing connect four. Mike and I quickly felt at home and just relaxed together. Amazing to do after 100 days apart!
Day two included a sleep in, and a mid-morning breakfast of crepes enjoyed along the walk to Norte Dame. I practiced my french with every food & bev order and translated for Mike, who totally perfected his oui oui and un espresso, but never really mastered the “carafe d’eau” request, no matter how many times I stayed silent, willing him to try 🙂
We almost made it to Notre Dame, but got distracted with our take-away espressos on a park bench. We avoided the slow service and extra charge for sitting at an outdoor cafe and instead sidled up to the bar to order a quick coffee for a euro or two. We learned this is a great way to get a quick pick me up and a bathroom break in one fell swoop. Sneaky tourists!
Finally making it to Notre Dame, we explored the grounds, admiring the details, picking out our gargoyles and people watching the lines and lines of visitors. We opted not to go in and instead headed down the river in search of the Louvre and the Effiel Tower.
Near the Louvre, we jumped on a ferris wheel to see the city sights from up high. This was one of the highlights of our trip – no line, 8 euro fee, privacy (there was only one other couple on while we took our ride) and the chance to see the entire expanse of the city. Highly recommended!
We picked up cafe cremes and a pain au chocolat on our way to the tower and promptly laid down for a picnic and siesta in the park at the base of the tower. If only we’d thought of buying a bottle of wine!!
Instead, we stopped along Rue Cler for an afternoon nosh. After a day of sightseeing, we were more than ready to relax, enjoy a leisurely beverage and comment on the passersby. Just to sit and chat without having to use Skype was fantastic.
We made it back to our hotel just as it was starting to drizzle and used that as an easy excuse to indulge in our daily nap. One thing that was great about being in Paris in the summer is the length of the day. It would be a quarter after 10pm and you’d think it was 3 in the afternoon. So, rolling out of bed for a 9pm dinner was completely and totally rational 🙂
Our best meal of the trip came this evening. We skipped along back to Rue Moufftard, set on having a perfectly parisienne meal. We settled on Cafe Tournbride and picked a little table overlooking the hill. Mike started with a shrimp and avocado dish and I dug into a steaming bowl of soupe a l’oignon. We enjoyed our appetizers with a delicious red wine and Mike’s requisite beer.
While the appetizers were delish in their own right, the main course really blew our minds. Mike had perfectly pan seared duck and I enjoyed a crisp salad with prosciutto, endive, a piece of cheesey toast and a poached egg. Yummmmm!!
We considered another drink out, but decided we were sufficiently stuffed and sleepy. It was an early night for us, turning in right after dark, around midnight or so. Day three was a big day – including our first hotel move across the Seine to the Montmartre neighborhood. Stay tuned for parts 2, 3 and 4 as we roll through Paris to Brussels, Bruge and Amsterdam!