"Par-ee holds the key to my heart..." The song from Anastasia literally played in my head for 3 days straight. Either that or Champs-Elysées. As a 30th birthday celebration for me, Nate and I went to Paris for a few days, sans kids. We went with our good friends, the Barons. I was hesitant to go because I have such a hard time leaving my kids. Partly because I miss them, but mostly because I worry about the people having to care for them. In this case, some new friends who had just moved to Germany agreed to trade with us. They were waiting on their household goods anyways, so they stayed in our house while we were gone. We later watched their 2 kids so that they could make the trip to Paris.
We left on a Friday morning. Nate drove the four hours to Paris. (if we do it again, we will take the 2 hr ICE train--it would have been worth the cost for sure) We had planned to park outside of the city and take the train in to the hotel. Unfortunately the parking place was no where to be found, so we tried to help Nate navigate his way into the crazy busy city. It was probably one of his top 5 most stressful driving experiences ever. We finally made it to one of the major train stations, parked the car, and left it there for the rest of the weekend. Our hotel was just across the street. That night we found our way to the Sacre Coure. My mom had mentioned this as one of her favorite sites in Paris. It was really fun to climb up the stairs and see the view from the top of the hill. There was also a great ambiance up there. From there we stopped at the Eiffel Tower so that we could see it light up on the hour. It was actually quite magical. The next day we started off with another brief trip to the Eiffel Tower. Just as awesome in the daytime. I have to say, I wasn't super excited for it. But it really was an incredible piece of architecture. We then walked across the famous bridge (don't know the name, though!). We wandered over to Champs-Elysées...and on our way to the Louvre, spotted a GAP! haha...it's been a while since we've seen one, so Mandy and I begged the boys to go inside for a few minutes. They were sweet to let us waste time in there. Then onto the Louvre. None of us were huge art enthusiasts, but we were determined to at least have a peek at the Mona Lisa. We spent a couple of hours inside the HUGE museum, and didn't even scratch the surface. But we saw Mona Lisa, and a few other famous pieces, and were on our way. Next up was the Notre Dame. Unfortunately, we were too late for the gargoyle tour :(. I had not planned that very well and was a little disappointed. But we could see them from below and they were pretty cool. We were all anxious to get one fancy meal out of Paris before we left. The places we searched for seemed to be way too busy. We finally settled on one, and enjoyed a yummy French meal. On Sunday, we knew we needed to head home sometime in the early afternoon, so we got out as soon as we could and caught a train to Versailles. With all the stops and train changes, it took us at least 45 min to get there. We were a bit rushed for time, so we opted not to tour the inside and just to go see the gardens instead. When we got inside and realized how big the gardens were, we knew we weren't going to make it through on foot. We saw a stand renting golf carts. Perfect!! Unfortunately, when the rental man asked for a driver's license, we realized that NONE of us had brought one!! Such a bummer. So we just started touring as much of the gardens by foot that we could in the hour that we had. Honestly, they weren't quite what I had expected. More like a maze, really, but not so much flowers or anything. If we were to do it again, I would have taken the house tour, and seen the gardens from the windows of the castle. Chest la vie. So we rushed back to the train station. On the way back, we kept running into missionaries from our church. It was fun to chat a little with them here and there. Most of them were American, so they were excited to run into fellow Americans. When we sat down in our train, we looked around and realized that our entire car was full of Mormon Missionaries! How cool is that?! We decided it was the safest place we could ask for. The missionaries were really fun to talk to on the journey back to Paris. They were in Versailles for a Zone conference that morning, and they were all headed back to their areas. Once back in Paris, we found our car and made our way back out of the city. Paris was an exciting adventure and it was so fun to explore the city of love with my sweetheart--and as always, it was wonderful to hug my little ones again when we returned.