So 12 months after paying a deposit into some unknown bank account in Europe, I wake up in Paris beside the love of my life, my best friend and my better half, Iamo. All because of this silly dream/wish of mine – that on my 50th birthday, I would wake up in Paris. And have a celebratory meal in the Eiffel Tower.
It was a free day and Iamo and I chose to do our own sightseeing and not to join the group. We spent a good part of the morning resting; I guess all the excitement and activities, from previous three to four days, caught up with us.
We left the hotel just before midday to go to Montparnasse, and decided to do the Montparnasse Tower tour first. From the tower we could see most of Paris and the symmetrical way it is set out. Looks like they built everything by twos or fours in Paris 🙂
After the tour, we sat down at a little cafe for a quick bite before going to do a bit of window shopping for souvenirs and gifts. We left the cafe, and 10 minutes later, when trying to pay for a purchase – I realised I didn’t have my bag. And it contained everything – my purse, our passports etc. Iamo walked back to the cafe and found the bag, in the same spot I had left it, under the table. Either people hadn’t noticed it or were just ignoring it, it was a bilum from PNG.
From Montparnasse we caught the train to Champs De Mars, and I was feeling rather proud, taking the metro on our own and so forth, little did I know!! 🙂 When we got off the train, we walked to the jetty beside the Eiffel Tour, to see if we could do the Seine River cruise, a gift from the children. The queues were long, we had underestimated the popularity of these tourist attractions and as we got closer to boarding the boat, we realised it was almost 6pm.
Our dinner reservation was at 7pm so we spoke to the boat attendant and he advised we should do dinner first and then come back for the river cruise; the last boarding for the day was at 9.45pm. He said he’d keep an eye out for us and would let us on free as we had already scanned our tickets.
Then we walked over to the Eiffel Tower to join the queues there; they were long too, and growing by the minute. When we got to the entry, we were redirected to another entrance – one for the restaurants. So off we went again, getting worried because time was inching closer to 7pm and we were still outside the fences of the Tower.
We finally made it in and were directed to the private entrance for Jules Verne restaurant. We thought we had beat the queues – no chance of that! After another 15, maybe more, minutes, of waiting – we finally made it in and onto the private lift up to the restaurant. I honestly thought that 2nd level was just a few metres up, I didn’t realise we’d be going all the way to the top. Anyway the rest they say is history.
The dinner for two was a special gift from our children, a 7 course tasting meal (I’ve added pictures of the dishes towards the end of this blog) at Le Jules Verne restaurant. The chef is michelin star apparently, and excuse my ignorance, I don’t really know what that means – all I remember is the food was amazing and delicious, the service impeccable and everyone joined Iamo to sing happy birthday for me ❤.
We had a window seat and the views of Paris at night, this time from the Eiffel Tower, were beautiful! It was an amazing experience and everything that I dreamed it would be, many thanks to Iamo and our children! We never made it to the boat cruise though – by the time we left the Tower it was late and we had to get back to our hotel to pack up as we had an early start the next day.
Then karma struck and we made a complete mess of the later part of the night, no thanks to yours truly 🤣 Yes, me (I celebrated too early about mastering the Paris metro) – I got the train stops mixed up and we ended up at the end of the line!! We tried to go back down to the platform to reboard the train only to have the attendant, a young woman, waving her hands frantically to us and saying, ‘non nous sommes fermés’ (I totally goggled that just then 😅). She sees our confused faces and says, ‘sorry, no more train, we are closed’. And points at the signs! Oh boy! She tells us the bus stop is right outside. However! Of course, everything is in French (one thing I learnt about the French, they don’t like it at all when others especially tourists, don’t speak the language)!
By then we were so tired plus my phone was out so I couldn’t google any translation apps etc. We went back in to ask for directions to our hotel, and the young woman was helpful, giving us bus routes and even taxi numbers. Just as well Iamo’s phone was still on and had the most important app for that time of day, hour and situation – Uber! Thank God for uber! We booked one which arrived in 10 minutes and got us back to our hotel (just 15 minutes away) by 1am.
While all that was going down we missed a few calls from home as well but we kept putting off returning the calls. Of course that had our children worried and they messaged: Ali, our eldest daughter, had just received a call from her bank, advising of suspicious activity on her bank card overseas, in Paris to be more specific. She explained to them it was OK, that she had loaned it to us, her parents, (she reminded them that she did call and advise them, days before we left on the trip). So at 1am on Wednesday morning, Paris time, I’m on the phone, having a good laugh with Ali, sharing our experiences and assuring her we hadn’t been kidnapped or anything. That her card was still with us and hadn’t been stolen! What a grand finish to a memorable day 🙂😅🤣
All mishaps aside, celebrating my 50th in Paris was a dream come true! All glory and honour to God for His grace and mercy 🙏. My advice to everyone who dares to dream – keep your dreams alive, work hard to achieve them, keep doing YOU – don’t lose yourself in the process – and most importantly, keep your faith in God always 🙏❤