In honor of our 15th wedding anniversary in October 2019, Chris and I traveled to Paris, France for a whole week without our kiddos. It was perfect! Exploring the city, eating, drinking, and luxuriating in uninterrupted conversation. Paris was everything we had hoped it would be.
Each day we would grab croissants and pains du chocolat from the local boulangerie for breakfast as we headed off on our day’s adventure. They were so fresh and delicious! For the most part, we walked everywhere we went so as to see as much of the city as we could. By the end of the week, we had walked over 65 miles!
On Wednesday, October 23, we went to the Palace of Versailles on a special tour that was an absolute highlight of our trip and had ramifications that we could not have envisioned. We met the group at a cafe outside the train station first thing in the morning and headed to Versailles. Once there we got on bikes and rode to the palace for a private tour with our amazing guide, Nico, who was knowledgeable on both art and history. Then, back on the bikes for a ride through the park to the far end of the Grand Canal where we had an amazing French picnic of baguettes, cheese, meat, and fruit. Then riding back through the park to the train station for the trip home. It was such a wonderful way to enjoy the Palace.
But the best part of the experience wasn’t actually Versailles, it was a couple we met who were also on the tour. Owen & Penny were in Paris celebrating their 20th anniversary which happened to be the day before ours. We hit it off right away and *spoiler alert* we have continued our friendship over the last 3 years. Even though the pandemic prevented multiple planned visits, we have made the most of video chats and group texts. Now, after such a long time, we are looking forward to welcoming them for a visit next month (August 2022).
The next day was our actual anniversary (October 24) and we had timed entry tickets to the Louvre. Coincidentally, Owen & Penny had tickets for the exact same time and date. Clearly, it was kismet. We met up there and enjoyed exploring the museum together. Since we were having so much fun all together, we invited them to join us for our anniversary dinner that night at Le Coupe-Chou and it was our best meal in Paris. Before meeting up for dinner, Chris and I went up the Eiffel Tower to see Paris at dusk in all her glory. It was beautiful!
Our last full day in Paris, we took a train out of the city to visit the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte. It is a beautiful estate that has been very well-preserved in its historic 17th-century state and though it was a bit chilly and rainy that day, it was still worth exploring the amazing grounds as well. At the end of our time, we missed the train by one stinking minute and because of a dinner reservation back in Paris, we had to hire a car in French that ended up being driven by a Russian. No languages in common. It is amazing what you can communicate with the most basic of terms and some hand gestures. Haha. Or maybe it isn’t that surprising after all.
The morning before we left, we took a river cruise on the Seine to see the city from a different perspective. It was a wonderfully sunny day and it was great to experience the views that way, but it was very crowded, we couldn’t hear any of the interesting information being related over the speaker, and every time we neared anything “famous”, half the boat stood up and blocked the view. Definitely not my favorite thing we did, but now we know not to bother next time we are in Paris. And having that as the low point just demonstrates how utterly fantastic the entire trip was! On t’aime Paris!