Wednesday, November 16, 2016
When I thought about my 30th Birthday, I knew that I wanted to spend it in Paris. I would have been OK with just John and I because well, let's face it, I was incredibly selfish - wanting my birthday 3000 miles away from my home city, in the city that holds my heart. But, I really do have the most amazing family - they all took time off from work and got themselves on a plane to Paris to celebrate with me!
The weekend was planned to the minute (practically), showing my family MY Paris - the sights that I hold dear, the places I eat (and drool over in between) and the shopping! Because I mean, you can't go to Paris and not enjoy some shopping. I wish I could say I took more pictures but I didn't - I really just enjoyed myself!!
Our first day was spent on the Champs-Elysees. We were staying right there and I figured when you are a little jet-lagged, wandering in and out of shops is an easy way to keep yourself going. Since we touched down fairly early (6 AM), I had our driver meet us at the airport. He's the driver I use everytime I am in Paris so he was thrilled to see us, even diverting our trip to the Hotel to his favorite boulangerie so we could have some freshly baked baguettes, croissants, pain au chocolates, etc. To say we devoured these in the car could even be considered an understatement!
We had a large apartment for everyone so we were able to get right in and freshen up. We maybe had a few more snacks and then off to the Arc de Triomphe. Down the Champs and then around 11:30 a quick detour for lunch. L'Entrecote is very well-known, this isn't a secret that only the French know about. But, at 11:30 AM, before the tourists arrive, the place is packed with businessmen and women. All french. Plus, best of all - at that time, no waiting for a table! They sat the 8 of us right away and we ate as much steak-frites as we could!
Fully fueled with protein, the next stop was a nice walk down the Seine. I might have slightly misjudged this as our next stop was on Ile Saint-Louis and although I could swear I frequently walked this on my own, everyone started to get worn out. We powered through though, as only my family can, and finally arrived at Berthillion. I do not exaggerate when I say my family is full of ice cream connoisseurs but like me, they all succumbed to the rich flavors of Berthillion.
A walk through la Cite and through Notre Dame and it was almost time for dinner! OK, yes, in advance you should know the entire trip was planned through meals. It was MY birthday after all. We meandered to our early dinner reservations at Ferdi (6:30 PM which as you all know is blasphemy in France but the only way I could get all 8 of us in). Ferdi is trendy, there's no
other way to describe it but John and I had stumbled across it two years ago wandering around our hotel (the Westin on that trip). We fell in love with the uniqueness and have continued going ever since. Burgers and spanish tapas galore and we were off again.
On Friday nights, the Louvre stays open late so we took advantage of that by heading there right after dinner. My sister, K, the art lover had identified 13 "must-see" paintings / exhibits and I had carefully mapped out each of them. It was a targeted approach with maps laying out the best way to get from one to the other. I left the Mona Lisa for last because the first time John and I went to the Louvre, we also did a late night and it turned out we were the only ones in the gallery! It wasn't that deserted this time but we could walk right up to it without a group of jostling people around us.
We walked down the Champs-Elysees back to the apartment. 14 miles in the first day...with 2 more full days to go!
The second day was filled with the Eiffel Tower because, well, it needs it's own time. I had pre-bought us lift tickets so we walked over there, a really scenic walk over the Seine and up to the top. It
wasn't the nicest day so we didn't have really any lines to wait to get to the tippy top. But, the views were still good and my family really fell in love with the structure / architecture of it. Pictures don't do it justice.
We went to an early lunch at Cafe Tourville where John loves their oeufs brouilles (basically scrambled eggs made with cream and cheese). If you are looking for a great lunch spot, this isn't it. But what it does have is all the French standards and a great location to sit outside. I introduced sister M to chocolat chaud (French hot chocolate), which we drank from here on at every stop we could find. And, I introduced sister K to the citron presse, a Parisian special that is basically a "make your own" lemonade.
We got out just in time to see the Eiffel Tower light show (once an hour, on the hour, until 2 AM). We walked back over the Seine and to our apartment where we watched the light show again. It was time to get ready for my birthday.
Sunday we woke up and immediately headed to the brocante, or flea market. It just so happened my Foire de Chatou, a fair that has been in existence for hundreds of years. We took the train to Chatou and then wandered around the stalls. We had lunch at the stalls and headed back on the train to the Musee d'Orsay. Again, Sister K came through with pictures she wanted to see and we attacked to see everything right away! Later that afternoon, we did a pastry tour through the 6th arrondissement, one of my favorites, sampling from Sadaharu Aoki with their modern pastries to Pierre Herme and his unique macaron flavors, to Maison Georges Larnicol for his chocolates and best of all Kouign Amann.
birthday coincided with the
Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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