Fortunately, one of Dan's co-workers and his wife were able to host the kids overnight along with their two boys. They were smart and took all four boys out to the woods for a pine cone hunting expedition to tire them out. Don't tell these guys that they actually had fun...
|Us? Having Fun?|
Our trip commenced at about noon on Saturday after we left the children. We took our two small backpacks to the airport, we didn't check any luggage and breezed through security. We have now embraced minimalist packing. Of course, it was pretty easy since our trip was for one night.
Our flight to Paris was short, but had quite a few drunk passengers on it. One guy was yelling stuff, harassing the flight attendants, and trying to suddenly surprise his friend who was sitting across the aisle. Oddly, other than a few mild warnings from the flight attendants, there were no other consequences. In the US, I feel like he would have been detained when we landed or something. In France, I think they even served him another drink during the flight.
On arrival, we headed to the shuttle bus that goes from Orly to downtown Paris. Of course, there ended up being a manifestation downtown that caused a re-routing in the bus' path, causing the bus to cancel one of its stops. Unfortunately, this meant that one woman on the bus decided it would be good to cause a scene, demanding her money back because her stop was impossible to go to. She didn't speak French, so this was slightly difficult for everyone to understand. Fortunately, the bus driver managed to get her off the bus and rerouted to the metro or something. We continued onward...
...to the Arch de Triomphe!
|That's us, with a landmark!|
We also found this other famous landmark:
And took a selfie!
|Tower Hat for Dan|
We went back to the tower and found the special dinner entrance. For the second time in the day, we breezed by security. We headed to the restaurant check-in. Lucky us, there was only one couple in front of us! Unfortunately for us, they had a very complicated check-in. For some reason. It took nearly 10 minutes to sort out whatever was going on with them. Fortunately, I had my super warm poofy winter coat on. Our check-in took 10 seconds and we were on our way to the elevator! The elevator was awesome and fast. We got up to our restaurant and made Dan pose in front of it for a pic.
|Happy to not be behind difficult people in line|
Once inside and seated at our table, we thought all craziness of travel and tourists were behind us. No, I'm just kidding. We knew that we were at probably the most touristy dinner destination in all of Paris, if not the world. We also knew from one of our honeymoon dinners 14 years prior, that typically at touristy destinations, the view is usually better than the food. We have always tended to do slightly cheesy things for the fun of it, knowing they are cheesy, but enjoying them ironically anyway. Just call us travel hipsters.
For part of our honeymoon, we went to Niagara Falls. We had dinner at the Skylon Tower, a rotating restaurant with a view of the Falls. The food was terrible, my order arrived with mushrooms on it (yes, I ordered it without mushrooms). But the view was great and the company was lovely. Here we are in 2002 at Skylon.
|Angela and Dan with some fancy folded napkins|
|The, um, view at Niagara Falls|
The view of Niagara Falls from the Skylon was actually pretty nice. Picture, not as much. It was dark, neither of us are photographers, we were rotating, and our camera had all of 3.1 megapixels of resolution.
Fast-forward to 2016, and we have much better cameras, on our phones, of course.
|View From our Table|
|After Dinner View from Higher Up the Tower|
Much like the food of the Skylon, our Eiffel Tower food was not great. We have amazing food when we go out to eat normally in Toulouse. This Paris food was ok. The appetizer was probably the best of the bunch, the dessert was pretty good, but the main course was quite salty, for both of us. And, since we are in 2016, here are the food pictures...
|Dan's Appetizer. Foie gras, quince and white balsamic vinegar marmalade, toast|
|Angela's Appetizer - Marinated Trout with some tiny pancakes and fromage blanc.|
|Dan's dinner - Steak, potatoes, mushrooms|
|Angela's Dinner - Chicken and Parmesan Potatoes with vegetables|
We ended up chatting with them for a short time at the end of the evening. It turns out they were old friends. The girl was currently studying in Ireland and the guy was studying in Spain. They have birthdays during the same week and decided it would be cool to meet up for dinner at the Eiffel Tower to celebrate their 21st birthdays. Although loud and annoying, I guess I have to give them credit for creativity.
After dinner, we explored the tower some more, going up even higher to the second level. However, the champagne bar at the top will have to wait for another visit, or perhaps not. It's really high.
|Internal Structure Tower Picture|
|Internal Structure Tower Selfie|
It turns out that the tower sparkles at night, each hour for five minutes. We got to see this from inside, under the tower while we were waiting in line for restaurant check-in, then again while we were in the restaurant, then again as we were leaving. It's not as awesome from the restaurant, but very pretty and sparkling in the other places.
|Tower Not Sparkling|
|Having Serious Fun while wearing touristy scarf|
Then we walked over to our show venue, but we were still early, so Dan also expressed seriousness. Here we are waiting at the restaurant next door to our show having a serious pre-show drink.
|Champagne, but not pink like on our honeymoon|
After the show, we grabbed a taxi back to our hotel as it was now even colder and darker and later. Here is the tower as viewed from our hotel! But now, it is is dark and non-sparkly.
|THE DARK TOWER|
Sunday morning we woke up bright and early. We grabbed our tiny backpacks and checked out of our hotel. We made our way to the underground entrance of the Louvre. Here is the inverted pyramid underground. We arrived about 20 minutes prior to the opening because everywhere you read, you hear that it takes hours to get into the Louvre and that the security lines are a pain. We were the first ones in line and it took 10 seconds to get through security. We dropped our backpacks off at the lockers, grabbed our NintendoDS Audio guides and went exploring.
|Inverted Pyramid Selfie|
Venus de Milo
|But I have a cool marble room to hang out in...|
|Protected behind Glass|
|Mona Lisa Selfie|
This other painting by Leonardo da Vinci which reminds me of the one at the National Gallery in Washington, DC, but different and only one-sided.
|Dan using the NintendoDS audio guide to learn more|
|Entire Room with Italy-Based Art|
|I have the wheat!|
|I can't have the wheat because... no arms.|
|...and taking a selfie.|
|Lion playing with a ball|
|Tilt-able Marble Maze|
|A pod of hippos hanging out in the gift store|
Quite overwhelming amounts of art in so many different mediums and themes. A bit before noon, we grabbed the train to the airport where we has some delicious lunch before going easily back through security to catch our plane.
The flight back was much more calm than the original flight. I napped. We got back to Toulouse and were treated to dinner at our friends' house. Yes, the boys were over having a sleep over, so we got them home and into bed a while later.
An amazing weekend! I wonder what we could possibly come up with for next year! Let's see, 15 is traditionally crystal and the modern gift is watches. Votes for visiting an atomic clock, anyone?