I've been putting off this blog because I've been so lazy (with the blog--not life...upcoming projects TBA!), but today, as I daydreamed on a slow day at work, I figured it was time to tell you about my trip to Paris.
Our family owns timeshares at Marriott, and we try to take a week a year. We can trade in our week at our Florida location for a week at any other available spot in the world, and we always talk about doing it...but my dad is a professor on an academic semester schedule, my mom works year round, my brother is a hedge fund trader who has to man his team and select his holidays so he's covered and I recently started a new job and didn't have any vacation time because of my probationary period.
Miraculously, we all were able to take off a week before Christmas holidays. My mom suggested trading in our Florida week for Phoenix...which I would go to in January, so I vetoed that. A few other ideas were bounced around until I insisted we go international. Our options were Spain and France. I looked at my brother and we both went, "France."
And we were all set.
Our journey was a bit of a debacle. Our first flight had a fuel leak and they kept pushing back our departure. Luckily, my brother called the airlines after the first two delays and got us on the next day's flight. We lost a day of travel but we got to go sleep in our own beds in NYC/Stamford, and have a day of relaxation before travel, rather than coming off a day of work and red-eying a flight out. The next day, our flight was on the tarmac when they said the engine had an ignition problem! Eventually, however, we were in the air. I've never prayed so hard on a flight in my life but we landed safely in Paris on a Sunday morning.
The hotel we stayed at, Marriott's Village D'Ile De France, is one of the cutest hotels I've
ever stayed at. Rather than building apartments in rows and on top of each other, each apartment is built like a tiny chateau in a village, based on a Monet painting (based on what I gathered from the art, and the Monet garden and statue on the premises). Brick-lined paths lead across the resort, while each chateau is a two-story home, with bedrooms upstairs and a giant living room and beautiful kitchen below. It was the perfect place to come "home" and relax after a long day.
Day one was spent watching movies, shopping for groceries and wandering the resort. Day two, however, we hit the ground running.
Village D'Ile De France is a few miles from Disneyland Paris. We seriously contemplated going, as Disney has always been a family thing, but we're all old and not as amazed anymore by it...so we decided to wander Paris instead. We took the train into the city, and began at the Champs-Elysees and the Arc D'Triomphe. The yellow vests were only protesting on Saturday, and I was thoroughly impressed at how quickly the city rebounded from the activism and destruction happening...the area was clean, beautiful and a joy to wander through. We made a pit stop at La Duree, S's favorite macaron shop, which only has locations in Paris and New York, and then wandered through Place De La Concorde, the open public square where Louis XVI was beheaded. The obelisk there is often mistaken for a Roman artifact, however it's actually Egyption and over 3,000 years old (history geek here...).
We walked through the Tuileries Garden and to the Louvre to check out the Pyramid, and then proceeded to wander in the direction of Notre Dame. It was mid-afternoon and we were starving, so we ducked into an Indian place to eat (parental preference...I can talk about that with you later). In a hugely pleasant surprise, the Delhicious dhaba on Rue De Bourdonnais was one of the best Punjabi places I have ever eaten. I did NOT see that one coming. If you guys have the opportunity to eat in Paris, take a break on the French food just to go to this place and dig in.
We saw Notre Dame after that, which had its giant Nativity story on full display inside. I love old cathedrals and visiting Notre Dame again was like saying hello to an old friend. We took the train to the Eiffel Tower then afterward, and waited until the light show came on at 6:05 PM. We'd walked nine miles at this point so we were ready to go on home afterward.
Day two was Versailles. I'd go on about the beauty of it but it's elaborate decor, gold-lined halls and Hall of MIrrors have been made famous through history and through the show, Versailles. For a history buff, I could see why the wealth and opulence across Versailles would have caused citizens to be upset enough to overthrow a monarchy. My favorite part of Versailles wasn't actually the palace itself--it was the hameau, or hamlet, that Marie Antoinette had built for herself on the grounds as a summer getaway. Of course, pretending to be a peasant while milking cows into a silver bucket didn't roll well with the actual poor, so she got her head lopped off too...however maintained and recreated homes exist from her time as a queen and I loved that area so much.
Day three...we took a bus tour to the city, visiting the Eiffel during the day, and taking a river cruise of the Seine, floating by Notre Dame and historical district. We also floated under the Pont Marie, a bridge that is famed for its ability to grant wishes if you go under it, make a wish, and kiss the person next to you. After the cruise, we went to the Louvre...there aren't enough hours to cover it, and to be honest, it can be difficult to see all the pieces unless you find the English translation cards or get a tour guide. Is it worth it? Yes. But do you have to have a pretty spectacular attention span? Absolutely. I've already seen it in college, so I had to work at being interested in some parts.
Our final day was spent shopping at Vallee Le Village, a shopping mall and shopping village near the hotel. It's famed for its size and the absolute charm of the shopping village. We stopped for crepes, and bought some gifts...but it was a super calm day.
The trip was a lesson in traveling styles (a post I'll put up soon), and historical sights. I've gained more interest in history since I went to Paris last, so I really was able to appreciate the gravity of all that happened in the places we visited...but if I got a chance to visit again, I'd go on an adventure, not worry about the sights this time, and check out parts of France that I hadn't already. This was, however, a family trip and that was worth every second. We laughed until we cried, watched movies at night, and loved every second of seeing the places on shows we watch.