Thursday, February 12, 2009

The City of Lights was The City of Cold!

We were counting down the hours til Cara and Poppa Ed arrived in Brussels! They couldn't pass quickly enough. We were so excited to welcome them to our world. And when they finally set foot in our apartment on Saturday morning, we barely let them put their stuff down in our hallway and give some Connor snuggles before we packed them (and us and a picnic lunch) into Kirk's tiny car and made the 3 hour drive to Paris. We must have looked like clowns packing into a circus car, but we were snug and happy to be together.

When we got to Paris we checked into our delightful Hotel Relais Bosquet and we were off. But as soon as we stepped outside it began dumping rain and snow. What a welcome to "Gai Paris"!!! You could barely see the Eiffel Tower. We decided to make the best of it and grin and bear it.

We walked up to the Eiffel Tower, visited Notre Dame Cathedral, marveled at art in the Louvre and strolled through the Tuillerie Gardens. All the while trying not to pay attention to our teeth chattering. Connor was a trooper and even napped on cue at the Louvre. We were supposed to take a bike tour of the city in the afternoon but canceled given the freezing temperatures. Oh well, next time.











That is the Mona Lisa on the left side. Pretty small, huh? But certainly a lot of tourists!

After a fun dinner (with lots of cheers-ing each other and Ed's first Belgian beer - in Paris?!?!) - and a yummy pastry dessert from a local patisserie, we put Cara, Poppa and Connor all to bed. And Kirk and I went out on the town to see what we could discover, taking advantage of our built-in babysitters. The night ended up being a perfect crystal clear night (go figure)! All of the lights gleamed and we practically danced through the streets. We had champagne at "Harry's New York Bar" which is apparently where all the American WWII soldiers would come for a drink way back when. They still serve hot dogs there at all hours! It was probably the most expensive champagne we have ever had, but the memory was worth every penny. We strolled back to our hotel again walking by the Louvre, Tuillerie Gardens and then down the banks of the Seine. We had what I can only call a "photo competition" taking turns snapping artsy photos with the moon and the lights and the monuments. We loved walking over all Paris' bridges and gazing at the Eiffel Tower. It is truly a magical city! On Sunday we visited my favorite spot in Paris - Sacre Coeur. Ed and Kirk were muscle men carrying Connor in her Bob up the winding stairs in the metro. We also indulged in crepes outside the Eiffel Tower.




and we saw the famous Moulin Rouge in the artsy Montmartre neighborhood!

On our way out of town we drove via the Champs-Elysee and around the famous 15 lane roundabout at the Arc de Triomph. Kirk had white knuckles, but we made it!








We drove to Versailles where we ate at a very traditional French restaurant (a little too traditional for me) before entering the famous Versailles Palace of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The opulence was jaw dropping. Connor's favorite part was definitely the "Hall of Mirrors" where we danced together and she hid in the corner. One cute part was when we first got in the palace Connor turned to Cara and asked "Cara's house? Cara's house?" Cara had to explain that no, she didn't live in Versailles! At one point Connor just plopped on the floor and looked up instead of craning her little neck to see the ceiling paintings!


Finally we drove back to Belgium at sunset and made a slight detour to Chimay - a Trappist Brewery where monks brew the beer. We enjoyed the Chimay cheese and beer. A very busy weekend and one I won't soon forget. To end I will leave video of the Eiffel Tower sparkling on the hour from my date night with Kirk strolling the banks of the Seine:

video

Click here for Cara and Poppa Ed in Paris (Full Album)

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