We are all having a great time so far on my parents’ first trip to France. The south of France has been spoiling them with perfect weather, wonderful dining experiences, and breathtaking landscapes. Then on our road trip up north, everything is going according to plan. If they left France right now, I know they would have only great things to say about France. But before they leave, we have one last city to see, Paris.
With only one and half day in Paris, it’s my job to make sure my parents see what the entire buzz is about Paris. What would be the first place you would bring your parents to if you were me? Would you get Disneyland Paris tickets?
If you said Versailles, you are correct. I have many warm memories at this place:
During college, my girlfriends and I took what began a yearly all-girls trip, to Paris. We roamed the gardens of Versailles for hours and laid on the grass talking about our futures.
Then many years later, I returned to this place to experience it again with my Frenchie. It began snowing and I should have been frozen in my sandals, but being with the guy of my dreams, it felt like springtime in the park.
Then to repeat the experience all over again with my parents, I happily oblige.
As we are standing inside the city of Paris, my parents are in awe. They love all the pretty buildings around us. Everywhere we look, there is an even more impressive building, including the Louvre. There is really not one ordinary or ugly building in sight.
We stumble upon this cute restaurant to try for their first dining experience in Paris. The wine pairing is excellent and the food is unforgettable. We are very happy with our pick and when then the bill arrives, we are charged for 5 people, but we are only 4. Boris informs the waiter, who is drinking wine at every chance, and he apologizes for the mistake. Always double check your bill folks, even at fancy restaurants!
I took down the name of the wine and now it’s one of my favorites: Domaine Duseigneur Lirac Antares 2009
In the morning, we join the long lines of people eager to see the Eiffel Tower. During the three hours of waiting, we meet two wonderful Canadians in line. Thanks George and Charlie for making time fly by!
When we do make it to the elevator, it brings us only to the second level. We wait about another hour to get on the second elevator that brings us to the top.
Note to self for next time: make reservations two months in advance for the Eiffel so you don’t have to wait in line at all. If not, walk the stairs to the second level of the Eiffel and then buy your tickets to the top.
When we finally reach 80 stories high, we are greeted with champagne (not free of course). With zoom lens, we can see inside the courtyards of all the buildings in Paris.
I’m not sure if it is only my family that does this, but we have to see every Chinatown in all the big cities we visit. It’s not much of a Chinatown as there is maybe ten Asian restaurants in total, but the area feels like the new cool place to live.
We couldn’t resist the yummy smell and join the long line wrapping around this Vietnamese restaurant. Folks, stand back as we have found something worth coming to Paris for, besides the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. The pho (Vietnamese noodle) at Pho 14 is better than the pho we had in Vietnam (and California)! The other dishes we try are mediocre.
Pho Banh Cuon 14
129 ave de Choisy
Now what I have not told you is the drama that unfolds during our time in Paris. We use Hotels.com to book our stay in Paris. Even after receiving confirmation of our reservations, we come to learn about a computer error upon check-in. It seems like they have overbooked hundreds of people and ALL the hotels inside Paris are full. We are on the phone with the rep for four hours before finding us one hotel to sleep at.
We drive about one hour outside the city to a random place that got booked for us. Whenever Boris and I are faced with extreme bad luck, it’s remarkable how some good does come out of it.
We check into the gorgeous Chateau d’Esclimont, a Renaissance castle set on 150 acres of gardens built in 1543 for the Archbishop of Tours. Me And Frenchie’s room is situated in one of the rounded towers with a private balcony overlooking the moat. The interiors are completely adorned for a queen and my king.
While Boris is away to check on my parents and use the Internet, I pamper myself with a bath and the sounds of the castle at night start to be intimidating.
While our stay at the castle is a very cool experience, the drama while in Paris still lingers. My parents want to visit their friends in Denmark after Paris, so I use Orbitz.com to book them a flight. After getting what I thought was a confirmation, I get another e-mail 24 hours later from Orbitz that the flight is overbooked. Luckily, I’m able to book direct with the airline and also get a lower price! Then I get tempted by the flights to Tenerife.
On our way to the airport, we are stuck in terrible traffic. We listen to the radio to find out what’s going on. Not only do the strikes with Air France continue, they are facing some IT issues with their computers so it is another chaotic day at the airports with ongoing delays.
As we continue moving inch by inch on the highway, we run into a group of taxi drivers who are telling us to drive around them. Then we hear on the radio that there is a taxi strike so that is what we are seeing.
Folks, if you want to have a strike that is fine. But when it starts to endanger people, like deciding to have a strike on the highway, you should be thrown in jail.
Thank you for accompanying us on all this drama. Don’t let our bad luck stop you from coming to Paris or France, but just be aware this can happen, especially during the busy seasons. My parents had an amazing trip and they want to see more of Europe on their next vacation.