Today it’s my 50th birthday (I don’t feel a day over 49) and I just experienced the best trip in all my trips to Paris and France in my 24 years of traveling to Paris. It may have been my best travel ever, not a small revelation for a journalist who has been all over the world, but I have to admit the best trips ever were the trip down the aisle to marry Mr. Weekend In Paris and the two visits to the hospital to give birth to my wonderful sons Jack and Phil. But today, I want to share with you 50 things I love about Paris and France to commemorate my big birthday.
The plan was to renew our vows in Paris. The particulars I left up to Father Tucker, the priest who married us 25 years ago. Father Tucker prearranged his “permission slip” from the Bishop which basically attests to the fact that he is a priest in good standing and should be afforded the opportunity to say mass in any church in France during the time frame he was traveling with us. Never did we imagine that he would be renewing our vows on the Notre Dame high altar where Napoleon I was crowned Emperor of France!
Monday morning came around way too early for my liking, but we were eager to board our train from Montparnasse to Bordeaux. With our Rail Europe E-Ticket Confirmations in hand, we made our way to the station ready for an adventure. I knew I had some writing to do before checking into another terrific Relais & Chateaux property, the Hotel Saint James Bouliac but Rail Europe was there to the rescue. Our seats in class 1 had ample room for me to spread out and power outlets galore for my various devices. It made for a productive and comfortable ride!
When I began the morning with a fresh cup of ripen strawberries, a warm croissant and a view of hot air balloons in the background, I knew it was going to be a terrific day. Although I hated to leave our outstanding Hotel Saint James Paris for a minute, Sunday in Paris, for me, obliges a visit to church and a mandatory stroll of Montmartre hidden gems. For others in our party, who shall remain nameless, my stroll was more like a forced death march up the stairs, down the hill and back up again. C’est la vie…