At last.... January 5th was here! The reason we came to Paris in the first place... our birthday! I couldn't believe this day was here and this was actually happening... celebrating my birthday with one of my best friends whom i happen to share a birthday with! Amazing! We had the most adventurous day! While there was much more to see, i was beginning to panic because i hadn't had much of a chance to shop (and lets face it, the sights are beautiful but so is the shopping!). I decided that for this trip, i wanted to purchase something major. I wanted a designer piece that i could bring back and remember that i purchased it in Paris!!! We'll chat about that a bit more later. We began our day by heading to our favorite crepe place... oh what i wouldn't do for another sucre crepe right now! Then we made our way to a boat on the Seine river. There are simply no words to describe what that's like. Paris is so magical. Every last inch of the city is filled with so much beauty and is so rich in history. Our first stop was Ponte Des Arts (aka locks of love bridge). I decorated a lock that Pete purchased for the occasion. The bridge was not as picturesque as I'd imagined. Sadly, they covered most of the bridge with wood boards because the locks were too heavy. We opted to place ours on the side of the bridge as there was still some room there. That was definitely cool and i love that Pete and I left our mark in Paris. After we placed the locks we made our way to the Notre Dame Cathedral. OK, I've seen many cathedrals and churches in my lifetime but this one was like no other. It was incredibly ornate and nothing short of spectacular really. When i first walked inside, i literally felt a chill all over my body. Such a moving experience for me. We lit a few candles and prayed for our families and friends. We then made our way out and walked around the entire cathedral. The day was dark and dreary but my heart was so full at that very moment. Everywhere i looked was a feast for my senses.
\Lunch time was approaching and we knew we wanted to go to a place we'd heard had the best fallafels in all of Paris (L'as Du Fallafel's) located in the Marais district. It was walking distance so we made our way over. We passed the Hotel De Ville section which was spectacular. There was a large plaza complete with outdoor ice skating and a merry go round. We took a few pictures and proceeded to our destination. When we arrived, we waited to be seated knowing there was always a wait for this famous joint! Apparently Lenny Kravitz declared this to be the best Fallafel place ever so if it's good enough for him... Truth is, the food was sensational! This place is a hole in the wall, no frills yet always packed. This was the first time I'd tried fallafel balls and needless to say when we got back home, we craved them badly! After lunch Vilma and her husband did a little more sight seeing before our birthday dinner. I knew i needed to go shopping so Pete decided to hang out at a cafe while i did my thing.
I kind of had no idea where i was but i was determined to complete my mission. I said a little prayer that went something like this "God, if it's meant to be, you'll lead me to Valentino!" I began to walk, and walk and walk.... i passed the Louvre so i kind of remembered some of that area. I knew there was a shopping mall near there called Printemps but for whatever reason, i couldn't find it. I kept walking... at a faster pace because i knew that i was super far from where I'd parted from Pete and had 6:30 dinner reservations that i couldn't miss. I walked passed a Zara that had the most stunning black cape on display. While i wasn't totally set on the idea of buying anything at Zara since i have one 5 minutes from my house, that cape totally made me walk in. No one spoke English there so i pulled together my best french and proudly asked "Mademoiselle, ou est la cape noire?" "Ah" she said, and proceeded to have a full blown (one sided) conversation with me as i sat there and politely replied 'oui, merci'! No clue what she said, but i found the cape and it was dreamy so i purchased it! Still, i knew this wasn't the purchase so i walked on. I walked passed Pierre Hermes which I'd read was one of the most famous chocolatieres in Paris so obviously i was curious! I wound up purchasing a few more macaroons and a box of fancy shmancy chocolates. I'm actually not a chocolate lover (shocking i know) but my hubby and girls love chocolate so i bought it with them in mind (i later found out my girls would rather have a non fancy shmancy chocolate any day over my over priced box of disappointments but oh well... it's the thought that counts i suppose).
As i walked farther down, i began to recognize a few stores that we walked by a few days prior though they were closed before. And then there it was... Valentino! I darted in with major excitement. The guy that held the door open for me mumbled something in french so i told him i didn't understand. He quickly blurted out "I said welcome" in a very unwelcoming sort of way! Then i realized this was the men's store! I asked someone where the women's store was and she gave me great directions... in french! Hmmmm off i went... but at least i had a glimmer of hope that Valentino was somewhere nearby. As i walked, i stumbled into a beautiful plaza with the fanciest stores ever... Chanel, Dior etc. I took a quick video and all i kept saying was 'omg'.... i was in Paris surrounded by the most beautiful stores! Totally felt like a dream. Still, i didn't have much time to waste so i continued on my mission... a few blocks later there it was... my prayers were answered... Valentino in all its glory! I looked up at the sky and smiled... thank you GOD! I walked in and asked the gentleman who opened the door for me if he spoke English... he did not. I quickly pointed to my shoes and he smiled (in a much friendlier way than snotty pants) then pointed upstairs. I ran up the stairs, drooled past the clothing section and then.... the SHOES! OH the shoes! My dream shoes in fact.... the Rock Stud Valentino shoes in all their glory!!! There were pink ones, yellow ones, blue ones, beige ones, high heeled, medium heeled, flats... all i know is that i was sweating, my heart was racing and i may have even felt a few tears run down my face. This.... THIS was the moment I'd waited for... my Parisian moment! I decided to purchase the flat Rock Studs because i knew I'd get way more use out of them then the heels. I have bad knees so heels tend to hurt my knees. I asked the sales lady to bring me all of the colors she had in my size. Sadly, there were only two... the beige and cherry which were a deep berry hue. I was sooooo confused. On the one hand, the beige went with everything and if I'm going to shell out a million euros for these shoes, they better go with everything. Then i remembered that I'd always said if i were to get these shoes, I'd want them in a fun color! I asked the two sales ladies for a little help deciding and they all agreed the cherry was the way to go! Cherry it was! So here i am... little old me, walking out of Valentino with a massive red bag walking down the streets of Paris!!!!! Did i say walking? I was actually running as though I'd stolen something because my GPS told me i was over 2 miles away from Pete and at this point he's texting me asking where the heck i was! So i ran and ran and ran with my fancy Valentino bag until i finally saw the Louvre.... a place I'd recognized. Pete had asked me to meet him by the pyramid. When we met, we walked by the Seine to see if we could catch the boat back to our hotel near the Eiffel Tower, but there were none to be found. We were worried that we might miss our reservations if we didn't head back now. But for a few minutes, i took in that moment. It's so clear in my mind... the beautiful Seine river, the Louvre in the background, the love of my life next to me and Pete! OK kidding... obviously Pete is the love of my life... but this girl LOVES her shoes! Sadly, that moment was short lived because we got in a cab and headed back to our hotel to get ready for our last night in Paris.
A few weeks back, we'd made reservations to have dinner inside the Eiffel Tower. I put on my pretty new cape and fancy Valentino shoes and headed out with my BFF and our hubbies! We sat by a window and had a view of the entire city of Paris draped in lights. It was so dreamy! We started our dinner with champagne and feasted on a ton of french delicacies. The entire night we just sat there in aw reliving this magical trip and in disbelief that we were actually having dinner inside the Eiffel Tower on our birthday! Wow! At the end of dinner, our waiters brought over dessert with candles and they sang happy birthday. While we were a bit bummed that they didn't sing in french, Vilma and I were so grateful for that moment! Dinner was delicious and the view was incredible. The chef came over and took pictures with us which was super cool too. Sadly, dinner was over and it was time to go. As we headed back downstairs, the tower began to sparkle! We screamed and cried... what a perfect send off! Honestly, this was one of the best nights of my entire life! We walked back, stopped to pick up a bottle of champagne and sat in the hotel lobby chatting about our trip. We didn't want it to end.
Honestly, i fell so madly in love with Paris. I want to go back so badly! There is just so much that i want to see... i will definitely go back one day. If you ever have the opportunity, it's a must! Simply beautiful. Thank you so much for reliving this journey with me and for being so patient with my delivery of these stories. I know it's taken quite some time to get them all out but truth be told, sometimes it's just so hard to find the time to sit down and write... in peace and quiet. Did i mention i have twins?!
If you missed any of my other Paris posts you can read them here, here, here and here! Thank you so much for reading! Xoxo, Carla - FMM