Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Final days of a fabulous trip - off to Paris, the city of LOVE!

Well it's been an absolutely fantastic trip! And I couldn't think of a better way to top off Tommy's first European experience than in Paris - especially for an anniversary trip! He really didn't have much desire to go in the beginning, I had to twist his arm. He had a preconceived notion of the French, Parisians in particular. I am happy to say it was misplaced - the Parisians were absolutely lovely, warm and welcoming to us wherever we went.

This is one of the really cool things about the Renaissance St Pancras, this was taken looking out from the hotel to the Eurostar trains that depart from here every day.

You can see the hotel building along side the station which has two levels and lots and lots of great shops

trains up above and the tube down below

the train was super fast and we arrived in Paris before we knew it! About 2 hours time! CRAZY!

Hopped a cab to our hotel which was right on the Champs Elysees! Great location!

The hotel concierge recommended a cute little off the beaten path cafe called Le Sens Unique. It was wonderful! We have now made the transition from ales, lagers and ciders at lunch to a bottle of bordeaux or sancerre!

This place was tiny and charming

I'm in heaven with my baked mussels in pesto sauce!

so off we go apres dejeuner (after lunch) to see the sights! Fortunately my 6 years of French studies did not go to waste!

It was a gloomy day but who cares - we were in Paris!!

The Arc de Triomphe was just steps away from our hotel!

This flame was a replica of the flame on the statue of liberty's torch! We will be seeing that in person on our family trip to NYC in May!

I know, I know. You just can't have enough pics of the Eiffel Tower can you?

OK last one!

I mean it this time - last one! Haha!

After lunch we went in search of a Trip Advisor recommended fromagerie called Marie Cantin's for some of her famous cheese and sea salt butter

We found her shop on the Rue de Champ de Mars and bought some brie and butter to take back to the hotel with a baguette and some wine for a late afternoon snack.

Walking around the corner from her shop was a lovely market called Market Rue Cler. I highly recommend this cute area to shop for wine, produce, cheese, bread and pastries, the works!

The French take their cheese very seriously!

You could smell these shops a block away!

Yup - I found my nirvana, the wine shops!!

We ended up at a cute little Italian place for dinner that night where dogs are as welcome as any other guests!

Just down the street from our hotel... I had to throw this in! Haha!

So on our very last day of vacation, our last day in Paris, it was supposed to rain rain rain! It ended up being 60 degrees and sunny all day! We certainly didn't plan our visit to the Louvre very well or we would have done that the day before when it actually did rain all day! But who can complain, it was gorgeous and a fantastic way to end our trip!

Here we are heading into the Louvre. You could easily spend all day here.

Venus de Milo

And here she is... our Mona Lisa!

This painting, The wedding feast at Cana by Paulo Veronese was absolutely enormous taking up an entire wall and honestly far more spectacular and awe inspiring than dear Mona in our opinion.

This amazing Lion was carved in 350 BC!!!

and of course the winged victory

Off to walk around sunny Paris for our last day.

This is the Pont de l'Archeveche. I can tell you that as we walked up to this bridge and saw it glimmering in the sun I said to my husband, "Look at that pretty bridge". I had no idea it was the famed "love lock" bridge that has caused a great deal of consternation on Trip Advisor's forums. The idea is to take a padlock with you and your partner's name engraved on it, lock it to the bridge and keep it there for all eternity. Many people on TA are furious about it feeling that it pollutes the area and is ugly.

Having seen it from afar as well as up close we were of the opinion that it was actually pretty and much more interesting to look at than a plain old chain link fence along the bridge which is pretty much what the bridge would be without the locks. You be the judge...

We headed to Notre Dame cathedral and I won't post the pics of the monstrosity that was erected out in front of this beautiful cathedral for viewing. In my opinion that huge, ugly blue viewing area was a huge eyesore and ruined the integrity of the cathedral. Far worse in my opinion than the padlocks on the aforementioned bridge.

The cathedral from along the Seine. We took a riverboat along the Seine back to the Champs Elysees and it was a really nice way to see a lot of the area and give our poor tired feet a rest.

The beautiful Pont Alexandre III

We headed back over to my cute market on Rue Cler and grabbed a fantastic lunch (with wine of course!) at a great cafe called Cafe Roussillon. This was the menu brought to our table on a large chalkboard.

Tommy has really enjoyed Paris tremendously which surprised us both!

My prawns and risotto...Mmmmm

We ended our last evening in Paris at a tremendous wine bar cafe called L'Ecluse. It was absolutely fantastic and I finally got my foie gras that I had been dying for!

The wines were amazing and we brought our favorite, a very expensive Bordeaux, home with us to share on a special evening sometime soon.

I thought the wine menu was very cool!

So as we left the cafe after a great meal (note bag with wine in it!) we saw this car and had to take a pic!

Here you go Drew - if you get a car from us for your 16th birthday don't be surprised if it looks like this!

What a fantastic trip this was! Our time in Paris was way too short and has inspired us to return next year in the summer with the kids. 

Adieu Paris and we will be back very soon!

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