Monday, September 5, 2016

Paris Day 4 - A Little Rain Won't Dampen This Party

Monday was our day to shop.  Keith was insistent that since this was my birthday trip, I had to go shopping.  Who was I to argue? :)

What I would have liked to argue about was the weather.  Mother Nature insisted on keeping the clouds around and she brought the constant rain.  When we had packed for Paris, the forecast was for 85 and sunny each day.  We didn't pack for rain, so we had to wing it.  Fortunately, the hotel had one last umbrella for us to borrow.
We headed down to the Champs de Elysees with a goal of making it to Avenue Montaigne, the street of high fashion like Prada, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Dior and more.

The streets were lined with people and their umbrellas as the rain drizzled down.

We had a great time checking out the shops but as the rain began to fall heavier we decided that it was time for lunch.
I was super excited to finally find French Onion Soup in France.  I LOVE French Onion Soup.
Well, I'm not sure if it's the French Onion Soup in France or this restaurant, but it wasn't great.  The flavor was bland and there wasn't as single onion in the bowl.  I guess I'll stick with American French Onion Soup. :)
Keith had a simple Club Sandwich.
You'll notice, there aren't a lot of vegetable options in France.  By this time, we were really thinking a nice green salad sounded perfect, but they were hard to find and very expensive.
As we veered from Champs De Elyees to Avenue Montaigne, we stopped for a photo.
By the way, I'm totally bringing neon back to France.  Or bringing it for the first time.  I'm not certain, but I may have been the only person in Paris wearing neon.  I like to think that I'm fashion forward.  If not, I'll never see these people again and I didn't pack for rain. So there.
Scoping some fashion forward shades.
They weren't polarized so there was no way I was paying that price.  I don't think that Paris understands the strength of the Colorado sun.  What's Next?
Keith found himself some fancy shoes to go with his Murse.
From across the store, Keith says to me, "Hey, I have shoes like the ones over there."  I said "What, really?"  He said, "Ya, they have paint splattered shoes."  The difference between what he has and these is the red fur.  Surely, that's it.  He's such a fashionista.
We had such a great time checking out these stores.  Some things were great, some things were hideous and I'm not sure who would wear them.  I tried on some beautiful shoes, even though the sales lady was nearly shocked that I had such big feet.  As I told her, I'm very tall which comes with big feet.  The shoes were great, they were expensive, they hurt my feet, we left them at the store.  I'm not sure that they were suppose to be comfortable, but it was super fun.  We tried to go into Prada, but you had to ring the doorbell.  That's a bit too pretentious for our style and I don't think that they would know how to handle all of my neon.  We laughed, a lot.  We teased sales people, some.  We wondered who pays $8k Euros for a small hand bag, which we saw.  While trying on shoes, we watched a lady hand over all of her purchase decisions to her assistant.  It was such a different world and so much fun to experience.

While walking by a super fancy hotel that had a sidewalk lined with lamborghini, we noticed that smart cars were just as important to be parked out front in Vallet.  That was kind of like us.  We're the smart car with the lamborghinis on this street.  HA HA HA!!

It's so funny that two days before this we saw a rack of prints from Paris and most of them had rain, grey and umbrellas and we couldn't imagine the city being like that.  Here we were, right in the middle of that exact scene.

After a super fun afternoon of shopping in Paris, it was time for our afternoon connection over a beverage and charcuterie platter.
These were some of our favorite times, to just connect and be together.  We would sit, talk and enjoy our surroundings.  We didn't have any electronic interruptions as people were just barely waking up at home and we left our phones alone in order to save on international data.  It was just what we needed.

As we headed out, Keith wanted a picture of me with the Carrie sign.  It's red and by my finger.
It really is more fun to skip across the Champs de Elyees, especially after some wine.
On our final night in Paris, Keith arranged for a romantic birthday dinner with a view of the Eiffel Tower.  We got all spiffed up and Ubered down only to find that it was right next to the fancy lamborghini hotel.  Too funny.
It may have been raining outside, but it was cozy inside.

To the right, we could see the Eiffel Tower.
To the left, we had a great reflection of the Eiffel Tower as well.
We opted for the five course dinner.  Interestingly, it was considerably more economical and it also gave us a chance to try many different options.

Funny story.
Before we went to Paris, I had read that it was the law that restaurants had to post the prices.  If a restaurant didn't post their prices, you should leave.
When we sat down at this restaurant, there wasn't a single price on the menu.  I panicked a bit and told Keith about this.  He was so confused because his menu had prices.  Apparently, the ladies menu doesn't have prices on it.  We traded menus and I felt SO much better about it.  You know, I'm a bit of a planner.

First up, the fanciest tomato and burrata salad, ever.
The second course was a duck patte.  It really didn't do anything for either of us and it was the only thing that we didn't finish, wishing we could lick the plate.
For the third course, we had a choice.
I chose the pureed melon (cantaloupe, I think) with a fancy mild cheese (I'm sure it has a name that I can't remember or pronounce.  It was A-MAZ-ING!!!  I still dream of this dish!
Keith had the truffles risotto.  It was heavenly.  I managed to sneak 2 bites before he devoured it.
For our fourth course, we again had a choice.  I had steak that was melt in your mouth delish!
Keith had the fish.  He loved it!
As an unexpected in between, we enjoyed a small sorbet to cleanse our pallet.  It came with the smallest spoon, ever.
For the grand finale, we had a birthday dessert.  Much to our surprise, they brought it out with a 40th birthday candle.  Remember, Olivier, our Concierge?  Oh ya, he totally hooked us up with a window front seat and a birthday candle in my dessert.
Such a great birthday dinner with the man of my dreams.  I may still be dreaming, I'm not sure.  Pinch me!
Happy 40th, the best birthday EVER!!!
I didn't think the lava style cake could get any better, but when you throw a candle on top, it's  purely divine.

Keith's dessert was a strawberry sorbet of sorts and it was to die for.  I'm not sure, he may have gotten the better dessert.  Yet, then again, the freshly baked lava cake was amazing as well.
As if that wasn't enough, dinner was topped off with a tray of pastries.
Dinner blew us away and we loved every moment of it!

It turned out to be a gorgeous night in Paris and after a spectacular meal, we opted to stroll back toward the hotel.  We could call Uber from anywhere, so decided we would call them up when my feet were killing me (which never happened since we ended up walking the entire 1.5 miles home.)
Thanks for the BEST Birthday, Ever, Keith!
You and the boys are enough for me, but this celebration really was the icing on the cake.

With one last photo with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, we said Au Revoir to Paris, the city of love and the place to kiss.
Best Birthday, EVER!!!!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Paris Day 3 - From the Louvre to the Ringing Bells of Notre Dame

As we watched the weather forecast, Sunday was suppose to be cloudy with a chance of rain.  We decided that this was a good day to spend indoors at the Louvre.  Plus, the Louvre was closed on Monday, so it worked out well.
As predicted, we woke up to clouds but no rain.  After walking more than 8 miles each day, we were physically tired.  We slept in and then opted to Uber to the Louvre, which was a welcome break to all of the walking, which we also love.  Plus, as the worlds largest museum, we knew that we had a lot of walking ahead of us.  
We arrived at the Louvre to see the recognizable glass pyramid.

The castle around all around us was breathtaking and it was hard to take it all in.
Keith didn't want any proof that he was carrying the Murse.
(a man carrying a purse, that looked like a man bag.)
Finally, he gave us a sneak peak.
I took a few panoramic photos with my iPhone.  It still doesn't do the view justice, but it's an idea.

As we were taking our selfie, we started to notice people taking other selfie type photos with their finger in the top of the pyramid.  As easy as this looks, it's not.  It was quite hilarious trying to get both of us in the photo.   So much fun!
Then we got on the boxes that most people were standing on for their pyramid photo. 
Once again, a hilarious attempt to put my finger on this pyramid.  It looks so easy, but it took an eternity of twisting and contorting, so it felt like.  When I saw the one photo that Keith took, it was awesome!

Inside the pyramid.
This is a skylight like no other.

Here we go, the Museum Entrance
Walking into the worlds largest museum.
Keith's got his glasses on, he's ready for some serious museuming. 
So much fun to be in the worlds largest museum.  It requires a bit of a skip in your step.  
Mona, where are you?!
We're not positive, but we think this is some more of the red rock from Mount Vesuvius that we saw at Versailles.  You know, that was so rare?  We're not positive, but maybe.
Simply Gorgeous!

Louvre Fun.

Probably the best statue mimic, ever.  He's so crazy.

There she is, Ms Mona!
Mona's neighbors are quite large.  You can really tell how large these other paintings are when you see the people standing down below.
Hanging with Ms Mona behind me.
We waited in the crowd and got to the front to take a few photos and admire the Mona Lisa.

Hanging with the Mona Lisa
The room that the Mona Lisa is in is expansive.  To the far right of this panoramic is the corner of the Mona Lisa.
Moving on, we headed for the Spanish art.

After a few hours in the Louvre, we were getting hungry and found a cute little cafe.
Their carrot cake was like no other.
They had "Just Merlot."
I almost ordered it, just to say we had "Just Merlot."
We ordered our food and headed out to the balcony.  A balcony, like no other.
Keith enjoyed a traditional French sandwich; a baguette with ham and cheese.
I enjoyed a traditional quiche lorraine.

I may have also finally treated myself to a warm Chocolate Croissant.
The people watching in Paris was fascinating.  Keith paused next to a guy that we had seen in the cafe.  He had silver and lavender hair, a billowy flower shirt, a yellow beret and round glasses.  He may have just been painting in the Louvre.  We found it entertaining.  Maybe you had to be there.
Out one of the windows, we could see one of the entrances to the original castle.  I asked Keith if we could have an entrance like this on our house.  So fun!
We strolled upon the African art.
Without realizing it, we found the Easter Island Stone Head Statue.  There was no line and crowd of people.  He was just sitting there by himself.  We were quite excited since we recognized this statue.

So excited that we took a picture with him.
We also found the original sock monkey.
Hercules was even here.  Keith thought that surely this was a statue of him.

Just after we saw Hercules, we found Venus.  Venus had quite a crowd that we had to weed through to have a moment with her.

We happened upon the Sphinx.

One of our favorite parts of the Louvre was going to the basement to see some of the mote that was around the original castle.  It was fascinating and educational to learn about the evolution of the castle.
Keith stood around a corner with the camera and he thought he was being sneaky.  Ah ha... tricks on you!
After many hours in the Louvre, we had our fill of fun.  As we left the exit, it was crazy that we ended up in a mall.  We didn't take photos, but it was a full on mall in the louvre.  It dumped us out here, on the street.  Crazy!

After a great afternoon of the Louvre, we decided that we had the energy to check out Notre Dame, which was just across the Seine river.

The area around Notre Dame was much bigger than we had imagined.  I thought that it was just a church on an island but in fact, it was an entire community.
Everywhere we went, we saw these deli cases.  The were baguettes loaded with meats and cheeses.  We also saw a lot of hotdogs.  Unlike American hotdogs, Paris hotdogs were a hot dog on a baguette and smothered in cheese (top left of case).

The Notre Dame Cathedral
Just as we arrived, the bells began to ring for the beginning of mass.  We really couldn't have timed it any better.  The bells rang on and on for at least five minutes.

Once again, the details were amazing and you really had to stop and look at them.

As anticipated, the inside was breathtaking.

Once inside, the organ began to play as mass began.

What a treat to not only get to see Notre Dame but to see the beginning of mass as well.

After our day at the Louvre and tour of Notre Dame, it was too early for dinner but we were ready to relax at a cafe.  We found a great place right next to the river and ordered a couple of Vodka Sodas.  They are served very different in Paris.  They serve a glass with ice and Vodka and the Soda Water is served separately.  

Keith's request was to try the pizza in Paris since it's different in every city in Europe.  It was a great treat and we decided to make it an early dinner instead of just a snack.

We strolled back to our hotel, busting through our usual 8 miles or more per day.  After a cool and cloudy day, we just wanted to snuggle up and enjoy the evening, so we did just that.  We put on something comfortable and headed up to the 34th floor of our hotel to enjoy some drinks while we peered out toward the Eiffel Tower.  I chose to start with coffee.  
I loved it so much that I had a second cup of coffee.  I found out later that those cups of coffee were 12 Euros each, which is almost $14.  It was nearly as much as the wine.  Egads!
At least the coffee came with the cutest and most delicious little pastries.
As a night cap, a lovely glass of wine.  At the top of each hour, we discovered that the Eiffel Tower sparkles from top to bottom for five minutes.
Such a pretty ending to an amazing day in Paris.
We have loved each and every day and they have all had their own adventures.  We are three days in with one more to go, which we were determined to make a unique adventure of it's own.
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