Friday, February 08, 2013

le dernier jour::the last day

So here we are.  The final day.

As much as I've said about this trip, I feel like I could add volumes more.  I didn't feel like I spent a lot of time deep in thought or anything but the experience was deeply important to me.  As bummed as I was that Patrick had to work such long hours, I'm also selfishly grateful for it in a way.

I have always enjoyed time by myself.  Whether heading out for a couple hours or for the whole day...I enjoy that quiet time in my own head.  That being said, as a wife/mother/sister/daughter, I never would have taken a week long vacation in France all by myself at this point in our lives.  I've always known I would enjoy it but when I only have such a small amount of vacation time, I would always choose to spend it with my husband and/or family.  (For instance...I adore our family vacations to Duluth in August and am already excited about this year!)  So the way this trip worked out, I ended up with what I never would have given myself.  And it was actually the best of both worlds because I still got to start and end every day with Patrick.  Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE a real vacation with Patrick but I am also so thankful for this one.  It was really good for me.  It also felt challenging (especially at first) so there was a certain sense of satisfaction as I figured things out. (please see note at bottom...)

All of that being said, I was so so so happy it was Sunday and he didn't have to work!  We planned on sleeping in but ended up waking up early and ate breakfast at the hotel before we left.  We had saved going up the Tower to do together on this day and decided that would be our first stop.We stepped outside into the worst weather of the week so far.  It was super windy (like umbrella-blowing-inside-out windy) and pouring rain.  We gave each other our special smile (the one that says, omg, are you effing kidding me?) and headed out.

The top of the tower was closed due to the weather but we could still go up to the second floor.  We decided to take the elevator up due to the rain/wind/cold and bought our tickets.
There were some amazing views:

 And the cafe was practically empty so it was easy to find a spot to warm up a bit:
 Ah, Paris:
On the second floor there is a small museum and gallery with Tower inspired pieces of art.  There was no one else in there and we enjoyed the warmth and quiet while we looked:

 Right off the gallery is a little nook with a window where we stood for quite a while, just looking down:  (and feeling quite smug while we looked at those below us standing in the wind/cold)  :)

 One of the elevators going up:
We decided to walk down.  It was really cool:
 
The rain had let up a little by the time we got down but someone in our party was a little grumpy.  I mean, I get it.  It was his ONLY day (well, except for the first day when we were so jet lagged that we couldn't move for 4 hours) and the weather was absolute crap.  sigh.  Poor bunny.  We decided to try the Catacombs (an underground burial site) next so we headed for the Metro.

This amazing lion met us as we came up out of the Metro tunnel.  It took us a while to find the Catacombs, especially with the throngs of gay marriage supporters everywhere, and once we did it was closed.  double sigh!  We gave each other that smile again and I felt a little nervous.  Then I had an idea.

 We got back on the Metro and I took him to that creperie I had been to the other day.  We got a cozy little table for two (all the tables in Paris are cozy...aka...small) (not complaining, just stating) tucked in a corner and ordered some coffees.  A funny thing happened while we ate...the SUN STARTED COMING OUT.  The actual SUN!!!  For the first time all week!  Yay!!!!  Thank you, Lord!  Our moods definitely improved as the sky grew brighter and the desert crepes didn't hurt.  :)

We spent the rest of the day walking in the sunshine.  Perfect.  As much as I loved gloomy Paris?  Sunny Paris made me a little nervous, as I considered how much I could love it.
 Me standing by Point Zero:

 Patrick loved the river so we spent a long time walking along its cobblestone banks:
 As we walked we came upon the famous Lover's Bridge, where 1000s have left a padlock clipped on the bridge to stand for their undying love.  (The locks can be purchased at the foot of the bridge for 5 euros if you forgot your own.)  I had read two different takes on the bridge, this one and this one, and can see both sides.  Right away Patrick commented on how that was a lot of additional weight for the bridge to support.  :)
 Honestly, it felt kind of cheesy to me so we did not leave a lock.  (also, for 5 euro we could have another delicous coffee and they cut them off anyways!) but it was really neat to see.

When I looked behind us I saw the little spot that jutted out into the Seine, as seen below.  I knew in my heart we had to stand there or I would regret it.

Patrick suddenly recognized something so we veered away from the river into a wonderful gallery area that turned out to be where his hotel was on his last visit, 8 years ago.  The galleries were mostly closed but it was so cool to peek in the windows as we strolled by.



 This was amazing...all done in tiles.  It reminded me of my Dad.  :)

 We wound our way back towards the river and came out right by the famous bridge, Pont Neuf, that would let us down to that little island in the water!  Yay!

This picture was taken on the bridge near the stairs going down to the island:

There is a beautiful park down there and inside the park, this little booth.  I'm not sure what they use it for but it is so cute. 

 We sat on a bench and imagined what it would be like to be there in the spring, sitting on the grass with a bottle of wine.  Or to camp there.  Or just to take a nap under that bush over there.  (we were tired by this time.)  :)
The bench was this amazing faux bois design, done in concrete:
 After resting, we made our way to the tip.
 There were lots of people basking in the sunshine on the other side:
 We basked a little ourselves:


 oh yeah!  I can take panoramic pictures!  duh.

And that was my last picture of Paris.

As it got darker, we headed back to the hotel.  We napped, packed and had dinner.  Our day had started out kind of creepy but ended up being the most beautiful day of the trip.  I am SO thankful that Patrick got to enjoy that sunny afternoon.  He loves Paris and I hope and pray that we can go back someday for a proper vacation for both of us.  Also?  I would love to take our kids.  I think Paris in the spring would be irresistible and I would love to spend another week there taking our kids to see and run around all the amazing fountains and gardens everywhere.

I have a few more pictures to share from the airport (macarons!) and our arrival home.  Maybe tomorrow.  Right now let's just have a moment of silence for Paris.

:)

xoxooxoxox

p.s.  After writing this post, all I could think about was how much I wished Patrick and I could have had every day together like this one.  What I wrote at the beginning, I meant, of course, but if I could have had my choice...it would have been he & I exploring that amazing city together.  Since this was a work trip for him, I feel incredibly grateful that I got to go along. 

Want to read all about Paris?  :)  Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four part One, Day Four Part Two, Day Five, Day Six Part One, Day Six Part Two, Day Seven, Day Eight, Day Nine

1 comment:

  1. Love this all. Tout d'amour, or however you say it. Please keep adding little Paris tidbits here and there in your future posts. I can't get enough of it.

    ReplyDelete

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