Don't hate me because I'm a winner! Everyone seems to lately, but I am. I'm a winner!
In August my travel agent invited me to a luxury travel expo at theFairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego hosted by Protravel where over 50 top travel vendors were showing off their most luxurious offers. We knew we wouldn't be purchasing a private jet tour around the globe, but we thought it would be a fun and interesting way to spend an evening. Plus, we wanted to see where LeBron James just got married. We walked past table after table of some of our most coveted travel wishes. Luxury private tours through Patagonia, daily spa treatments at The One & Only Palmilla in Cabo, week-long safaris through the Masai Mara in Kenya and so many others. Little did we know that just by showing up our names were entered into a raffle where many of the vendors contributed to fantastic prizes.
While standing in an area where many of the people around us were winning big-ticket items, first class tickets to New York with hotel stay, 4 nights at luxury resorts in Canada, 4 nights at the La Costa Resort and Spa, we thought "This section has good juju!"
And then a prize was read out loud and I said to my husband, "Oh that one's mine!" Then BAM......
was heard over the loudspeaker.
This prize was a combo from Delta and EuroPanache.
With no money saved up and huge credit card debt we were back in Paris 3 weeks later.
Shhhhh…. Don't tell my dad.
The fall in Paris is beautiful! I know most would prefer the spring when the skies are clear and the flowers are in bloom, but that's also when everyone else in the world goes and it gets crazy crowded. I love the chilly nip in the air and the deep rich colors on the leaves, plus there's plenty of room to roam.
Our first evening after being dropped off at a restaurant with the same name as our hotel, a mile and a half away from our actual hotel. We shlepped our luggage down cobblestone side streets to get to our tiny cozy room. Then we unpacked for our week-long stay and searched for a famous falafel house in the Marias District.
L'as du Fallafel in the Marias was our first stop and my first falafel ever. A packed and very popular place with the locals and now tourists, but still worth the experience.
We spent very little time underground this trip. The Velib bikes aren't new, but it is fairly new for us nonresidents to be able to rent them. We purchased a 7-day pass before we left home. Once we figured out how to work the machines, we enterd our PIN that we created and choose our bikes, we were out poppin wheelies with the big boys.
I'm not going to lie. It was often stressful for me riding in the same lanes as the city buses and speeding taxis all while trying to navigate through a huge city. Once we found our quiet back streets and tree-lined bike lanes, we were in heaven.
This ended up being our main mode of transportation.
Two years ago when we were in Paris, we walked across multiple bridges with the now infamous Love Locks.
Lovers etch their initials into the locks, lock them onto the bridge and toss the key into the river vowing long-lasting love.
We came ready with our own lock already painted and ready to go. Finding a spot to actually lock it was another problem altogether. There are locks locked onto locks, locked onto locks weighing the railings down.
I can only imagine the issues it might be causing down below in the water. With millions of tiny keys building up a metal shelf to one day rise above the water.
After several different trips and several days of museum worker strikes, we were finally able to get into the Muse D'Orsay after our 3rd attempt. Then, unfortunately, we had all of one hour to roam around. We decided to split up and essentially did a sprint walk throughout the museum. This is no way to tour one of the most beautiful museums in the world.
If you really want to be fascinated by much of the art you will see in many of the museums here, read Mythos by Stephen Fry. He retells the stories of Greek Mythology. It's insanely fascinating and an easy fun read. You will never look at paintings like these again.
We spent a little time walking through the beautiful gardens at the Rodin Museum.
It always fascinates me how people will line up at popular attractions just to have their picture taken next to it. Do they frame these pictures? What's that about?
This was one of the sweetest moments I experienced. Watching this little boy sketching Rodin's most famous endeavor. His doors toThe Gates of Hell.
His grandmother stood behind him with a huge smile of pride as he drew his little gatekeeper stick figures.
Our stormy view from Tour Montparnasse.
After standing in line a good 45 minutes to get into Sainte-Chapelle. I came face to face with the security guard, placing bags into the x-ray machine, knowing I was going to have to turn around and look at Mike and tell him I just wasted our time.
I'm a girl always ready for a picnic. Thankfully, he was willing to stand in line the next day.
For the 3rd and 4th time, we did the super fun Fat Tire Bike Tour.
This was part of our gift from EuroPanache. We did 2 tours with them the last time we were here and had so much fun, we couldn't wait to pop some wheelies with them again.
The guides are all young expats who make the tour exceptionally fun and interesting. Plus they have a gift for keeping the gypsies and obnoxious street vendors away.
Another one of our prizes was a lunch cruise on the Seine from Bateaux-Mouches.
We highly recommend doing this. We had a blast and the cruise takes you at least a half hour further on the river in either direction than the typical river cruise companies do. The food and wine were great and the live entertainment was hysterical. AND….. you have your own personal photographer to pose you in very natural positions.
Plus who wouldn't fall in love with a man showing a child how to open a bottle of wine.
I would. That's who.
Before coming to Paris I was cyberstalking a few Paris blogs. Soaking in as much information as I could get into my thick head. Hip Paris, Obvious State and Four Months in Paris are a few of my favorites.
I would never have searched out a store that sells $10 eclairs but I was just so curious as to why others were raving about them.
L'Eclaire de Genie is just such a place.
Im pretty sure Paris has some of the most beautiful windows in the world.
Our last day in Paris we actually spent at Versailles. Home of Louis XIV the Sun King.
We did our 4th bike tour with Fat Tire. This was the probably the highlight of the trip for us. I've been out to Versailles before, shlepping through the villa with the throngs of pushy tourists, but this was so much better.
We picked up our cruisers in the small town right outside the villa itself. Then jumped on our bikes with our baskets attached and headed to the market for picnic supplies.
Every stall and shop is a different place you must stop. Wine, meat, cheese, pastries and finally the bread are all sold by different vendors. Then, of course, you must buy a crepe from the guy who bikes his stove around. I'm pretty sure Paris has some of the most beautiful windows in the world.
On this tour, the majority of the biking is done through the grounds of the villa and around the Grand Canal. Most of which you would never see if you were on foot.