Our bestest friends, the Dardanos, planned Anna's birthday trip to Paris over the long Labor Day weekend and with Paris being just over a 2 hour train ride away, we had to meet them. We found a great sitter in our ward (thank you Friloux family!!) and caught an afternoon train on Friday to the Paris Gare du Nord station. We met them at the hotel and it was seriously so fun/exciting/awesome to see them again. Good friends just do something nice for your soul, but it's even better when you haven't seen them in so long...and then to get together in Paris was a dream!
We made our way to Notre Dame with its impressive facade and the fantastic courtyard full of people, pigeons and the Point Zero. We went inside and listened to the evening mass and then out and across the street, where we grabbed some much-needed hot cocoa on the chilly day. From there, we wandered over to the Love Lock Bridge and pretty sure we saw nothing on the way because we couldn't stop chatting...its so fun to catch up with Anna- she is seriously so hilarious.
Next, we walked over the Louvre. We took some hilarious pictures outside in front of the glass pyramid before going inside to see some of the amazing art work, namely the Mona Lisa! You can't get very close because of the glass, ropes, and hordes of tourists, but now we can say at least say that we have seen the most famous painting of all time! Lots of selfie sticks in that place.
From there, we went back to the incredibly charming streets of the Ile St. Louis to find some dinner. After walking for a bit, we settled on a delicious Italian restaurant and ate and laughed to our hearts' content. We probably could have stayed all night, but we had to see the lights on the Eiffel Tower, right?? Because the lights go off on the hour for five minutes and we pulled up at 11:06 PM, we walked around and then went for dessert at a nearby cafe while we waited for the final midnight showing. I do not know how Anna and Mauricio were able to stay awake all this time because the jet lag can be so rough, but they managed and it was so worth it. I love those lights and that place and those people.
Anna's birthday was the next day so we got up early and had a bike tour of Versailles to go to. But, first things first, FOOD. We stopped at the yummiest bakery and shared some chocolate and almond croissants as well as some quiche...perfect and so delicious. We caught a train to Versailles, got our bikes and headed straight to the open-air local market to pick up our fresh lunch of baguettes, cheese and fruit. Crepes and ice cream also made an appearance because, why not?!?
Our bike tour was a full day event, but Brian and I had to leave right before lunch so we could catch our train back to London. We tried to soak up as much of the gorgeous gardens as we could. We started at the Petit Trianon and then walked through Marie Antoinette's famous Hamlet, where she attempted to re-create an Austrian peasant's village and it was stunning. We were so bummed that we had to leave after this, missing most of the tour, but vowing to return because it all looked in-cred-ible. We were even more bummed that we had to say goodbye to the Dardanos. It's never enough time with them. We are already planning our next European adventure together.