Our final stop on our 9 month RTW trip and it ends with a bang in Paris.
04.04.2010 - 08.04.2010 15 °C
We’re ENGAGED!!! We’re ENGAGED!!!
Ok, so it happened on our first night in Paris. We have grown so much as a couple and it just seemed perfect to end this magical nine month trip in the City of Love. As soon as we arrived, we dropped our bags and hurried out to soak in all the charm that is Paris. We started with the amazing Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and were so fortunate to be there for Easter mass. It was beautiful and so moving. On our way back we caught sight of some piglets roasting outside of this crammed restaurant and decided to have our first Parisian meal there. It was our first taste of fois gras, chèvre chaud, roasted piglet and French wine in Paris and it only left us wanting more. For a perfect way to end our first day, we headed to La Tour Eiffel to get a glimpse of it all lit up. And that’s when IT happened. Please keep in mind that not in a million years did I think it was going to happen that night or in any near future for that matter.
It was a pretty chilly and windy night and Mark had insisted on finding just the perfect spot to take the perfect picture of the Tower. The whole quest for the perfect spot was making me rather annoyed and impatient since I was freezing and also exhausted from our long day. So finally we found the location and Mark asks me to take a picture of him standing at that exact spot, which I did. Then he tells me to switch places with him and he’ll take one of me, which I did.
Mark: “Thanh, what’s that velvet pouch at your feet?”
Thanh, looking at the pouch and annoyed: “It’s nothing, just take the picture?”
Mark: “Well it looks like something.”
Thanh, cold and more annoyed: “Mark, it’s just trash, just take the picture.”
Thanh now kicks the bag away: “Here, it’s gone, now just take the picture.”
Mark: “Do you think there’s something inside?”
Mark: “Maybe you should check.”
Thanh now steps on the bag feeling it with the sole of her shoe therefore digging the bag into the dirt: “Mark, there’s nothing in there, I’m freaking cold can you take the picture.”
Mark: “Ok fine let me check”
Mark comes over, picks up the now dirty velvet bag and pull out this magnificent ring
Thanh, still oblivious to the whole thing, thinks to herself: “OMG, we just found this expensive ring, maybe we can sell it and make some money to recover the cost of this trip”
Mark: “Will you marry me?”
Then there was a lot of OMGs, tears, kissing, disbelief and one very meaningful YES. I was so excited and happy that even found myself skipping in excitement.
Nothing can go wrong from this point forward, and nothing did. During the next three days, we covered many very popular Parisian sites. We went to Le Musée du Louvre and even after spending four hours there, we only got to a fraction of all the expositions. The museum is magnificent but huge! We did make sure though to see the Mona Lisa painting, the Aphrodite sculpture and Napoleon’s apartments.
After we left the Louvre, we went to see the under-renovation Arc de Triomphe and strolled down the Champs Elysees while enjoying all the luxury shopping.
Paris is such a beautiful and romantic city. Everwhere you look there is something spectacular to see. We did cover the popular sites such as the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées. However, our best findings have to have been the many sites we stumbled on just by strolling around and getting lost. During those strolls, we saw the beautiful Église St-Paul de St-Louis, Place de la Concorde, the very attractive Pont Alexandre III, the impressive Hotel de Ville and the oldest Parisian square park of Place des Vosges. We also walked on Rivoli street area which always kept our interest with its many shops, chocolateries, patisseries, supermarkets and friperies with brand name handbags for 20$. Walking along the Seine was very soothing and romantic and the long St-Germain boulevard offered us an endless arrays of tempting Parisian bistros and restaurants to discover. We also made the trek to Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise to search for the graves of Edith Piaf, Frederic Chopin and Jim Morrison. La Rue Mouffetard had so many fromageries, charcuteries, boulangeries, chocolateries, wine stores and cafés. Everything looked so tempting. Our favourite area though will have to be L’Ile St-Louis which was just absolutely charming with its many quirky shops and rustic restaurants.
In terms of food, Paris is truly heaven and never left us hungry. We would start every single day with a delicious crepe jammed with either banana and Nutella or ham and cheese. So simple yet so yummy. Anywhere you choose to go during the day, they’ll always be irresistible fine pastries and chocolate shops to keep your sweet tooth satisfied. And for lunch or dinner, there’s really an endless number of restaurants to try. Aside from the piglet, foie gras and chevre chaud, we also tasted French classics like escargots, steak tartar, terrines, duck and pot-au-feu. And of course, since we’re in Paris, every thing is accompanied by fantastic bread and wines. And contrarily to popular belief, French food does not come in tiny portions, they were very hearty and generous.
Though all our meals were delicious, the most memorable has to be at La Taverne du Sergent Recruteur. Mark had spotted this restaurant on a previous stroll around L’Ile St-Louis and we made a point to try it on our last night. As soon as we walked in, we were served a wonderful Kir then sat down at a huge table with massive baskets of sausages, dried meats and fresh vegetables. After sampling all those meats and vegetables, the feast continued with all-you-can drink wine, soup, terrine, steak, confit de canard, a gigantic cheese platter, crème caramel and fondant au chocolat. The food was amazing and the service so friendly but the most unbelievable is how I managed to fit all that food and wine in my stomach.
Paris is a very pleasant and comfortable city to visit. There’s not too many annoyances but even if there were, it couldn’t trouble me too much. The engagement left me on cloud nine so nothing could really bother me, not even these:
- Parisians pretending not to understand our French. Can you believe Québecois movies are sub-titled in Paris?! It’s the same freaking language!!?
- Those 4 billions tourists which made for long line-ups and major crowds everywhere we went.
- The subway system was so dirty and confusing, and you don’t really know if the train you’re on will stop at your station or skip it.
- Parisians are very concerned with their fashion. Anywhere and everywhere. Mothers will take their kids to the park wearing white pants and stilettos. I don’t think they are planning on playing with their kids.
- Parisians are very uptight, you rarely see one burst out in laughter.
- Owning a fake designer item will land you in jail for 3 years. Maybe that’s why we didn’t see too many Chinese people in Paris. I kid, I kid.
- Beggars in Paris have better clothes than me and wear expensive jewellery and handbags.
All I can say is: “What a perfect ending to a perfect trip”.
Our nine month RTW trip ends here in Paris (3 days in Paris is not enough!) but we are excited to go back home to our friends and families, and the comfort of our own bed!
We plan to write one final blog entry after we get back home so it's not goodbye just yet.
***PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK TO SEE MORE PARIS PICTURES***