I had such a great weekend. My best friend, Britt, came into the city to pick up her wedding dress (!!). Her little sister (my fellow MOH) and her two friends, plus my other bestie, Sara, came along, too. Britt's little sister is newly turned 21, so we had fun with the little girls, joking that we were their mentors. I have to say, if anyone actually thinks of me as a mentor, something is wrong with the world. Yesterday, I finally took down the Christmas decorations, caught up with the blog, and watched the Golden Globes. The only thing that didn't get done was uploading photos from our trip.
Speaking of our trip, I'm kicking off my first European diary. I didn't bring my computer over there with me, and I wish I would have, as I could have documented everything as we lived it. You see, I have a horrific memory and I easily forget things. Thank goodness for pictures, and my husband. I'll do my best not to give you a play by play, but just the highlights - pictures, food, etc. But, I do love to ramble, so bear with me.
Side note: Europe is an Instagrammer's heaven. You can see some of my photos here.
We set off on our trip on December 27 around 10am from Iowa, where we had been for the holidays. We hopped over to Chicago, where we had to fly to New York to catch our international flight. I'm only telling you this because we got bumped to First Class on our flight to NY and it was my first experience. OMG. No wonder people pay extra for the shit. The free drinks, the warm nuts, the hot towels...to say nothing of the huge, comfy sit that I could literally curl up in as though it was an armchair. I acted like a 5-year old on Christmas morning, I was so excited. Bryan actually told me to "Act like you belong here."
Anyway, after 3 flights, 2 trains and 1 taxi, 24 hours later (literally), we arrived in Paris, France. We stayed at Le Méridien Etoile, which was right down the street from the Arc De Triomphe. (I must also share that almost all of our hotels were covered by points, thanks to all of Bryan's travels. Otherwise, we never would have been able to afford anything!)
Although we were dirt tired, we knew that to avoid jet lag, we had to stay up as late as possible. So after a quick shower, we set out to walk around the city and grab some food.
From top left: Me on the Siene with the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees street sign, Arc De Triomphe, fun lights on the Champs-Elysees, Christmas carnival rides, the world's tallest living Christmas tree, twinkling Eiffel Tower and Christmas decoration on the Champs-Elysees.
We had our first lovely meal in St Germain, and I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant, but we enjoyed a warm goat cheese salad and veal tenderloins. With champagne, of course.
Saturday was our first full day of sightseeing and we did a TON. With only one full day to see the sites, we had to pick and choose. I told him that my must-do was the Eiffel Tower. First, we spent time walking around and seeing Notre Dame, the Louvre, Palais Royal, etc.
Notre Dame, some cool architecture in St. Germain, and Bryan and I on the Siene with the Palais Royal in the background.
He thought it was hilarious that this Asian man and his family acted like they were the only people to have ever staged a photo where he was "pushing down the fountain." His entire family was laughing and just thought it was hilarious. So did we, but for different reasons.
Anyway, we finally headed over to the Eiffel Tower. After we'd been waiting for about 30 minutes, we realized too late that we were in line for the "stairs only" hike to the top versus the elevator option. Sigh. We also realized that we were the only people waiting in line who were drinking...when in Paris.
3 hours later, we were on our way. The walk to the top was actually not nearly as bad as I anticipated. We stopped on each level (there are two before you get up to the top) and took in the views. And got more vin chaud, of course. The sun was setting and the lights in the city were coming on, which was beautiful. Unfortunately, it was also starting to rain and as we waited to journey to the top, it got to become FREEZING. You see, it was 50 degrees earlier in the day, so we left our coats at the hotel. Stupid Americans. Alas, we finally made it to the top and the wind, rain, walking and waiting were all worth the view from the top. I barely even thought about the fact that I was 1,063 feet high in the sky, weak in the knees, and that I could feel the tower moving because of how hard the wind was blowing.
Must-sees: The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Champs-Elysees ... everything. Highly recommend being there during Christmas!
Would I go back: Definitely. Because our time was so abbreviated in Paris, I would absolutely go back. Instead of doing "surface-level" tourism, I'd love to take the time to go into some of the other major sites, maybe stay in an apartment and of course, I would SHOP! I have to say, before our trip everyone told me to skip Paris - that the people were rude and it ruins the experience. I don't know if it was because we were there for such a short time, because it was our first stop and we were high on excitement, or just because Paris is not that bad, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Have you been to Paris? What did you love or hate?