Our first five days in Paris went by so very slowly as we waited for my boyfriend, Cole to join us! He was to be your first visitor from home and Benjamin and I were both excited to have someone new to talk to! We spent the first couple of days exploring the neighborhood, the 14th, and we took a double decker bus tour of Paris. It was VERY cold!
The next day we visited Marches Aux Puches, a sprawling beautiful market with thousands of antique, vintage finds, and furniture.
These lovely gentleman saw me eyeing their oysters in a bucket and split one open for me. "Un cadeaux pour vous", he said.After a full day of shopping, we treated ourselves to hot chocolate at Angelina. Yum!
Once Cole arrived, we had a full agenda for the week. Our first rainy day stop was at The Louvre.
We wandered a bit more around the Paris Opera and caught the low light as well.
On my birthday, the boys surprised me with presents and a shopping trip on Rue St Honore. Our favorite boutique was Paule Ka, and Cole spoiled me with a few new things!
The big surprise was to arrive that evening. I asked Cole to write his point of view, and this was his response:
In Cole's words:
Just the facts here. Mostly.
This is the third draft of this post, but my other attempts have turned into page after page of details and backstory. Perhaps those will reappear later. For now, here's the Skinny Latte.
Start by making a sinful breakfast. In Paris, this might look like a baguette thinly sliced and covered in Nutella. Throw in some tangerines and you are home free! Oh, and don't forget the Tropical Red Bull.
Birthday breakfast, for the win.
We had agreed to go shopping well in advance. I would have tried to surprise Kerri here, but two main problems:
1. Dress Shopping
2. I am a man
The natural conclusion here is that I would have inevitably chosen the wrong stores or fumbled some of the details. I have Kerri plenty of time to plan the neighborhoods to shop in, and we found some great loot!
Spoil the Princess
Not an actual princess, nor a proverbial one. Thus, the fun of spoiling Kerri. She loves nice things but is unlikely to spend too much on herself. <Enter Cole - Stage Left> I didn't go overboard here, but I did spend a couple of hours in several stores. We also got a handful of items that were magnificent. More importantly, we followed the "I love it" RULE.
We wouldn't consider buying something unless Kerri said, "I love it!" We were in Paris, so a few items made it home with us that afternoon. It was a great way to start the day and let Kerri know that she is loved and cared for.
Armed with new clothes and some down time, we prepared for a night on the town to celebrate "Kerri's birthday." Hehe- that's what she thought! Kerri put on one of her new dresses and I put on my new custom suit. We packed an overnight bag for our special hotel for the night and we were out the door as soon as the babysitter arrived.
Arriving at our location, we saw the Eiffel Tower on our left and a beautiful vintage Carousel in front of us. We headed up towards Palais de Trocadéro, Trocadéro Square, which has a beautiful view of the city and some ornate gardens with fountains.
I led Kerri alongside the edge of one of the fountains and we carefully walked out to the corner to have our own special dance floor with a view to die for!
As I wrapped my arms around Kerri and pulled her into close embrace we swayed side to side. I started singing to her a special song that she had never heard before, "... I love your smile... I love your neck... I love your eyes...," a song which spoke of many of the things I love about her. The final stanza summing it all up:
I love the bliss we share together
I just wish it was forever
Which leads me to this point
At this point, I dropped to my knee and reached inside my coat as I prepared to finish my song...
Will you marry me?
Her hands rushed to her face as her eyes filled with surprise and delight. I waited patiently for an answer. She said, "Get up here and kiss me!" I took the ring from the case and slid it over her tiny little finger. I rose up to hold her again and kiss her, per her request.
Upon our arrival at the Carousel, I made eye contact with a fellow who had been following us this whole time. He had his camera and a mission to capture the moment so we could always remember it. Kerri had started to notice him just before I proposed, but for the most part he was incognito! After she said yes, we had an hour of photos in Trocadéro Square, the nearby gardens, and alongside the Eiffel Tower.
Drinks, Dinner, Date Night
After our photoshoot we were famished. I took Kerri to one of her favorite spots, The Hemingway, a bar located in The Ritz. We had amazing cocktails and slipped away to dinner. At dinner we enjoyed a 10 Course Food & 6 Course Wine Tasting Menu, a classic Parisian dinner from world-renown chefs! Our next stop was the Hilton, were Kerri was greeted by a room with Rose Petals, Candles, Champagne, Chocolates, and our first evening alone in 8 weeks. Breakfast was served the following morning while we were still warming the sheets of our bed. Eggs, croissants, and orange juice, oh my! Our first breakfast as a promised couple and a great end to such a wonderful night.
And from my perspective: Cole seemed to be in a hurry to arrive to the Eiffel Tower by sunset. Once we arrived, he convinced me to walk out on a fountain terrace to take a great selfie without anyone behind us. I wobbled out in my high heels, and he started dancing with me (not unusual) and singing to me (also not unusual) a new song he had written for me. Near to the end of the song, I noticed a man who seems to be taking photos of us, not the Eiffel Tower. When I turned to ask Cole about it, he was down on one knee! I couldn't be more surprised and excited!!! Cole had hired a photographer to capture the moment, and he took quite a few photos of us afterward as well. I put our favorites in the gallery below. What magical moment!
After our photo shoot, Cole took me to the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Carlton before dinner. The tasting menu was amazing! Then he whisked me off to the Hilton Paris Opera to a decorated suite. SO beautiful! I really enjoyed breakfast in bed the next day!
Cole wasn't finished with his surprises for our family. We headed back to the apartment to pick up Benjamin, he had booked another photographer to take pictures of our family near the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Here are pics from that shoot below:
Later, in the Museum gallery, Cole asked Benjamin to be his son. I captured the moment with my phone, it was so sweet when Benjamin said "yes"! It was such a special day for our new family.
The next day, we visited the Arc D'Triomphe and saw the hazy sights of the city. I painted the view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc. We then rushed off to pick up our turkey and Thanksgiving trimmings. We spent a small fortune of sweets from Le Notre, it couldn't be helped!
Out to see the sites of Paris, we wandered over to the Eiffel Tower at our pre-booked tour time. We highly recommend booking your tickets in advance. We skipped a line that looked to be at least an hour long!
On Friday of that week, Cole took us on a tour of Paris pre-arranged by my friend, Brooke for my birthday. It was a revisit of some of our favorite places in Paris from our trip two years ago. First, we started at hot chocolate at Rotunda. It turned out to be the wrong restaurant, but the hot chocolate was amazing!
Later that evening, we stopped at Le Forum, our favorite bar. It had moved locations and changed menus since my last visit, but the drinks were still very tasty!
Later, we visited Lauduree on the Champs-Elysses, and had our macaroons with champagne of course!
Our last stop of the evening was designed to replace our favor dance club, Club 79, which is no longer open. So we danced the night away at VIP Room Paris, what a great DJ!
On Cole's last full day in Paris, we visited the beautiful stained glass windows of Saint Chapelle and Notre Dame. We stopped for lunch at a Brasserie and nibbled on crepes near the Seine.
That evening, I planned our last date out in the city. We started at Experimental Cocktail Club before heading to dinner at Laperouse, a historic restaurant where France's elite took their mistresses for dinner in private rooms. The scratches on the mirrors are form the mistresses who used them to ensure the diamonds they were receiving were real. Even Victor Hugo was a patron! After dinner, we danced the night away at La Caveau de la Hauchette, famous for swing and jazz.
After Cole departed, our next visitor was my mom, Marsha. Or as Benjamin refers to her, Mimi! We were so excited to have Mimi join us for the next two segments of our trip. We were able to spend one day in Paris with her before we moved our trip to Prague. My mom has always wanted to take a cruise on the Seine, so we took a riverboat cruise at sunset. Our MC even sang to us in French!
We finished our chilly tour with a couple of beautiful cocktails at The Ritz Paris!
Before we caught our flight to Prague, we window shopped on Boulevard Haussman to see the beautiful Christmas windows. We stopped in the amazing atrium restaurant in Printemps for lunch. Paris was such a memorable stop on our trip, we will miss it!