Friday, June 10, 2011

Our not-so-last day in Paris

On what we thought was our last day in Paris (more on that later)Eric and I headed out in the beautiful sunshine to Musee d'Orsay. There are a ton of famous paintings here that we wanted to see, including a lot of Monet and Van Gogh, but I must say, the building itself was just as impressive as the art. The museum is an old train station, and we weren't supposed to take any photos inside, but I just had to snap one of the amazing clock on the wall. Can you believe how ornate it is? For a train station?

When we left, we decided not to do anymore "touristy" things, as we had seen all the big sites that we really wanted to visit, and just soak up the gorgeous weather. We headed over to the Tuileries Gardens to have lunch and a beer outside.

We *think* that Eric's beer was actually Heineken mixed with lemonade. It sounds strange, but was delightfully refreshing outside on a warm day in a French garden. I mean, it sounds dreamy just saying it right?

The only thing that we hadn't done yet was get macarons from Pierre Herme. Luckily, one of their boutiques is right outside of the Tuileries, and we got some INCREDIBLE macarons. Let me just tell you it was about 20 euro (25ish dollars) for 7 cookies, and it was worth every penny. We took them back to our hotel to have with champagne later in the afternoon!

Me, looking terribly windswept, but thrilled to have a Pierre Herme bag on my arm. Keepin it real folks.

 Have I mentioned how awesome our hotel was yet? I kid. But it had this incredible Executive Lounge that we had access to because Eric is a Diamond Member. Hilton is not paying me to advertise for them, clearly, but we were treated like royalty. This lounge provided 6 free food services a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner service, with snack services in between. Free soda, bottled water, beer, wine, champagne, and a FULL liquor bar people. And my favorite? Free espresso and cafes. If you have traveled in Europe you know how expensive cafes and bottled waters are and how fast they add up! The service was wonderful, the food was EXCELLENT (we aren't talking continental breakfast here), and it really added a relaxing element to the vacation to be able to just walk down the hall for an espresso or a glass of wine instead of going out somewhere.  

My beloved espresso machine.
 All of that to say that we went back to the hotel to go eat our macarons in the executive lounge over some champagne. The cookies were as pretty as they were tasty. We had some interesting flavors - pistachio was a big hit, as was asparagus. We also had a rose vanilla, which literally tasted like a rose in a wonderful way. Our favorite was apricot stuffed with pistachio filling. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

Now, please note the glass of champagne in my hand above. This was approximately my third glass in our little table in the corner by the window. That's right, we laid claim to "our" table. That third glass of champagne was key in a decision that was about to be made. Eric and I discussed the days events, completely satisfied with our vacation. At this point, the following conversation took place:

Me: You know, I'm normally ready to get back to our house and our bed at the end of a vacation. But I must say, this is the first time I have ever NOT been ready to leave a vacation! I mean, I could stay longer for sure!

Eric: Well let's stay longer!

Me: What? Okay! Let's go upstairs right now and change the flight!

Eric: (giddy that I have agreed to this) Okay!

And I must tell you folks, that after we finished a fourth glass of champagne that you see on the table right there, we marched ourselves right back up to our room and changed our flights and let the desk downstairs know to extend our stay for two more nights. Eric later told me that my third glass of champagne was key, or he would have had to do a lot more convincing to get me to change plans. I think he was shocked that I was the one who wanted to stay longer!

I may or may not have had a mini-freakout after it was all said and done. Because I mean, it SAYS in my PLANNER that we are going home TOMORROW. And now we are not. But it says that in my planner. And that is a problem. However, as the calming force that he always is, Eric managed to convince me that it is, in fact, sometimes acceptable to change your plans last minute, and that I am in fact, allowed to be spontaneous. And that nothing bad would result from changing our plans. And then I got myself together and realized that ten years (um, ten minutes) from now I would not regret spending two extra days in Paris, even though it was different than what was noted in my planner. It was a big step for me :)

And then, the excitement set in! That we had finished everything we really wanted to do in Paris because, you know, up until 8 pm that night, we thought we were going home the next morning. Changed our plans entirely with less than 24 hours to go until takeoff!  I ran back upstairs to put on flats, and we decided to go take in the Arc de Triomphe at twilight. We got there JUST in time for some wonderful photos and to see the city in an entirely different light (no pun intended. ha.)

I ran every single one of these 400+ stairs and gave Jillian Michaels an audible shout out at the top..."Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!" Rock on Jillian, and thank you for my quads.

I don't even know what to say about this photo or the Eiffel Tower at dusk. Breathtaking.

And that's that! We were so giddy knowing that we had two extra days to do nothing but be with each other and soak up the French culture that we grew to love so much. We headed back to the hotel for a nightcap (i.e. a cafe) and went to bed knowing that we got to wake up to a jog through the Tuileries in the morning, not through the airport. 

Eric's words: "Take a picture of this to put up on your blog tonight to let everyone know we're staying two extra days!!!" Love that man.
And in fact...we did stay two extra days, and his photo did make it up on the blog :) Love you sweetie!

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