Wednesday morning we woke up and enjoyed breakfast cooked by my brother in law and my father. Most of our group was heading to the Catacombs which completely freak me out so I abstained. For our wedding guests I created little welcome bags. Inside was a map of Paris, Aleve, Shout Wipes, Altoids, a Sewing Kit, and this morning I went and purchased individual boxes of French Macarons from Pierre Herme. We walked up toward the Arc de Triomphe and shopped at Publicis Drugstore for the Macarons and more. Afterwards we spent some time taking photos at along the Champs Elysees. After walking back to the apartment we helped my mother to relax. Unfortunately I think jet lag and dehydration were making her feel unwell. I then got a little caught up emailing with L'Open Tour. Daphne saved the day as far as I'm concerned! In addition to being extremely helpful, fast, and friendly, Daphne was able to secure a bus for us at the exact time we needed. Daphne listened to my needs and came up with a wonderful itinerary for our group. Finally I was able to select options, electronically sign, and pay for a private double decker with 2 stops for our group. Phew!
Greg and I decided to finally leave the apartment and walk around Paris. Our first destination was Jardin du Luxembourg. We wandered past the gardens, the water features, and the children playing with the wooden boats. We stopped and said hi to the rest of our group who walked up from the catacombs before heading to our next stop.
We left the park and made our way to the Pantheon. Oh how I wish I was hungry! We walked right past my favorite Gelateria from Rome Italy....Grom!! Nearby was a beautiful church for a quick pictures. Our final destination was Notre Dame Cathedral. We wandered up past Shakespeare and Company (no time for shopping sadly) and lucked out with no line entering the Cathedral. We first lit a candle and said a prayer for a wonderful wedding and marriage for my sister and then explored the beauty of the Cathedral.
As time was running out we hopped into a taxi and made our way back to the apartment where we quickly changed clothes for the Opera. We picked up our luggage and made our way to Tourisme Avenue Hotel for check in (we booked our room a day early so that our guests could store valuables in our room until their rooms were ready. The staff were friendly at check in, found our reservation right away, and had notes about our group. Over the past few months I worked with Valerie to set up hair appointments on the wedding day, passing out welcome bags to our guests, and any other details needed. Valerie is a treasure!
Our room was a Family Suite that gave us a large king bed, medium sized bathroom with separate toilet (Japanese toilet), and separate area made up of twin beds (we wishes it had been a couch as advertised but this was just fine). Over the course of our 4 night stay we enjoyed clean rooms, a perfect location, and staff that truly go above and beyond. The only small complaint I could have is with the breakfast. The hotel offers a continental breakfast (for a cost). The breakfast includes breads, cereals, cold meats, boiled eggs, yogurt, and coffee. It would have been nice to have at least one warm dish.
After quickly dropping off our belongings we grabbed a taxi, fought traffic, and met up with our grop at the Palais Garnier to see Cosi Fan Tutte.
The Palais Garnier is opulent, stunning, historical, and all around impressive. Unfortunately, not one of the 5 of us at the opera were impressed with Cosi Fan Tutte. The music was lovely, the singing beautiful, but the modern take on the opera was not what we were looking for. The scenery was a stark white room with glass panels on the sides of the stage. The costumes were knits, casual dresses, and sneakers. I love modern art, modern dance, and modern dining however when I got to a historic opera house for an Italian opera I don't want a modern interpretation. We all agreed to tour the building more at intermission and then make our exit. The universe gave us a sign that we made the right choice. We walked out the doors and into a Tango Milonga. My sister and her husband love to tango and are actually doing a tango for their first dance.
For dinner we texted a few more friends and decided to all meet at Le Grand Colbert. After a very short wait the staff set a table for the 8 of us. For starters we ordered the Hot Foie Gras with Rhubarb, Cold Foie Gras, Sardines, Oysters, Sea Snails, Escargots, and Lentil Salad. For entrees 1/2 Lobster with Mayonnaise, Beef Tartar, Belle Sole, and more that I can't exactly remember. If you have a sweet tooth I highly recommend the Pavlova with Strawberries for Dessert.
A quick Uber ride and we were back at our apartment where we enjoyed the sparkling Eiffel Tower with a final glass of wine.