I have officially checked off the first item on my bucket list – a holiday in Paris. And it will be near impossible to top!
The whole crew (minus Penny) made the journey to Paris for New Years. On December 29th, Mom, Dad, Kara, Grayson, Max and I loaded up all our stuff into two Ubers and headed to Central Station. And we had a lot of “stuff.” Between Max’s giant suitcase and Kara’s ballgowns and fur, we were quite the entourage. I love to research ways to travel and places to stay, etcetera, and I decided on the high-speed Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris (I’ll be posting a future post on more of our travel tips and favorites later). The train was awesome (the boys loved it, anyway!). A mere three-hour ride later speeding through Belgium, and Bonjour, Paris!
I feel I need to mention the attack on Paris just a few weeks prior to our trip. I think we all second-guessed our plans as the horror unraveled and the authorities continued to make arrests; having a baby certainly gives heightened perspective. In the end, Grayson and I knew that staying home meant that terror won out again, and we refuse to live our lives in fear. At the end of the day, how safe is anyone, anywhere? Once in Paris, we were never scared and felt very safe. If it wasn’t for the impressive French police presence and the toned-down New Year’s celebrations (so we were told), the attacks would never have crossed our minds.
Now…on to the fabulousness that is New Years in Paris! Kara was in charge of the accommodations in Paris, and she did not disappoint. The Park Hyatt Vendôme hosted us in their Ambassador suite. Cue the near impossible to top! Kara parked us on a fancy bench in the lobby upon our arrival, worked her magic at the desk, and we were ushered into the most impressive hotel suite I have ever seen. I mean, it had it’s own full-size Christmas tree. In the living room by the fireplace. And we all had our own bedrooms, including Max (and Penny totally could have had her own, too). Well, Max technically was set up in the office if I’m being exact. They brought up a fancy-pants crib, high-tech baby bathtub, and baby toilet seat (ha, I wish!). There was a four-tiered tray of macaroons, a bottle of champagne, and a personal card to “Madame Kara” from the hotel General Manager on the dining room table. Once Dad and Grayson stopped being scared of the (four!) toilets that automatically opened and closed (with heated seats!), we all had a good time.
During the days, we hiked all over the city and saw so many amazing sights and enjoyed just being on the streets of Paris. Turns out traveling with Max has its perks because we were able to skip nearly every line since we had a stroller! We pre-bought tickets to the Louvre, and Kara and Grayson huffed it all over the city trying to find the random newspaper stand to pick them up. Grayson hiked Max (and I hiked the stroller) up the tiny, winding stairs of Sainte-Chapelle to see some incredible stained glass. We walked to Sacré-Cœur and all the way up (again, with Max and the stroller), where Mom, Dad, and Kara got “friendship bracelets” from some aggressive street youths. We listened to an impressive street band at the top and then wound our way down the backside of Montmartre through the Parisien streets. We saw the Champs-Élysées closed down for a New Year’s parade, Coco Chanel’s apartment, shopped ’till we dropped, and witnessed a mouse in the kitchen at the best restaurant in town. Each night, Kara would go out to eat with Mom and Dad and enjoy a glass (bottle) of wine, and then would take the second shift with Grayson and me to have second dinner and a glass (bottle) of wine. Double-duty may have gotten the best of her a couple of evenings, but somebody’s got to do it! We had some fun nights in the City of Lights
As for the actual holiday in Paris; New Year’s Eve was pretty spectacular. At Kara’s insistence, the ladies put on our ball gowns and the boys (including Max!) put on their nicest suits. A car picked us all up at the hotel, and we toured the city with a photographer for your run-of-the-mill family photos. After the photo shoot happy hour tour, Grayson, Max and I returned to the hotel. Max got his last bath of 2015 and was off to dreamland to bring in the New Year (modeling wears a guy out!). Grayson and I ordered fancy room service set up in the suite’s dining room while Kara, Mom, and Dad went out on the town for dinner. They returned in the late evening, and the second-shift went out on the town to ring in the New Year. We had drinks, listened to a great band play some classics, and danced the night away.
The first check on our bucket list for a holiday in Paris was every bit as breathtaking and romantic as I had hoped. Max is apparently a born traveler and loves to experience the world as much as his Mom and Dad. 2015 was an exciting and unpredictable year, and I can think of no better way to say farewell to 2015, and bonjour to 2016.