Sunday the 10th of July, I was at work when I got a call from my aunt. I hadn’t had a call from her in awhile so I was concerned that she had something important to tell me, something that couldn’t wait. Answering the phone I was relieved to hear my aunt beaming through the phone asking, “Do you have a minute for a quick question?” Stepping out of ear shot from my coworkers I said, “I’m at work but sure. What do you want to ask?” My aunt said, “Do you want to go to Paris with me in a couple days?” I was flooded with excitement until a tidal wave of realization crashed my beach party. I had to work. My heart sinking, I told my aunt I’d call her back after I asked my managers.
I immediately called my scheduling manager, told her everything that had just happened, and said, “I fell awful that I’ll have to turn down the offer. I don’t think that I’ll be allowed the time off because I didn’t -couldn’t- give any notice sooner.” Laughing my manager asked, “Why would you give up the opportunity of a lifetime? It’s not everyday that a relative calls asking you to come to a foreign country with them! We’ll be fine.” She had a point, I didn’t want to say no to my aunt, and she told me to call our general manager to see if she would be okay with me going on the trip. During that phone call, I was told, “What are you crazy?! We’ll be fine! Go to Paris!” Approved to go on the trip, I hastily called my aunt to tell her I was allowed to go.
Two days later, on Tuesday the 12th, I boarded a plane to Paris with my aunt. She explained to me that getting to Paris was the easy part because we were traveling with my uncle, a pilot for Delta, but getting home could be a tad tricky since he would be leaving early. I was just excited to travel again. (I was going through withdrawal after returning from my study abroad and felt disheartened.) To top off my nearly overflowing excitement, we were bumped up to first class (also called the business class)! Here is what my seat looked like!
The seats were wonderful! If you ever get the chance to fly first class, take it! It’s worth it! There’s plenty of leg room, a pillow and fluffy blanket were waiting in each seat, there’s a goody bag (with an eye mask, travel toothbrush and toothpaste, among other items), and a personal television that folded out towards me. I really appreciated that the chairs were adjustable and that there was a small table median separating me from the person next to me.
Of course I wanted a photo with my aunt, and my uncle was kind enough to take this picture for me. Then he insisted that I come see the cockpit and meet his coworkers.
All of my uncle’s coworkers were very nice. One even lent me his pilot’s hat for one of my pictures!
Once back to my seat I was greeted with a mimosa and given an in-flight menu. I took pictures to show you because the menu is too long to scan. (The stewardess let me keep my menu as a souvenir!) My favourite part of the meal was the amazing ice cream dessert with graham cracker and chocolate toppings!
I read my textbook and wrote notes as we flew, and had a relaxing nap. Once we landed in Paris we took a shuttle to the Pullman Hotel where my aunt and I stayed with my uncle. The hotel was decorated with colourful furniture and had a cart of sweets that looked like a pedal bike ice cream cart. The hotel breakfast was incredible! So many foods I’d never had before were available and I was excited to try more traditional French pastries and other delights.
After getting our bags settled at the hotel we then walked to the nearest underground station. My aunt and uncle went through the emergency procedure in case we got separated on the underground. If we were separated we would get out at the next stop and wait for the person left behind to meet up and find us. If we didn’t find each other within half an hour we would meet up at the last place we saw each other, and if that didn’t work after an hour we’d go back to the hotel.
Although it seems pretty straight forward it was a good thing we went over it because we immediately lost my uncle on the metro. After some running around, trying to get a wifi signal, and frantically trying to take the metro back to our original station, we found my uncle again and we made sure to walk onto the next metro at the same time. We hopped off the metro a few stations down and walked up to the Arc de Triomphe.
From the Arc we took the metro towards the Royal Palace, and got out a stop early so that we could see the buildings encompassing the palace.
The line for the Louvre was long, as usual, and I told my aunt and uncle, “If we were to go to the Louvre I would want to spend at least a whole day there. That way I could appreciate all of the art I want to see. But I don’t want to spend the little time I have here with you in a museum line.” They agreed with me and so we took some photos and continued on.
I loved taking pictures of the palace and the surrounding gardens. People treated the gardens similarly to a public park (although much cleaner than a public park usually is) and many were sitting in folding beach chairs browning in the brilliant sunlight.
We decided to walk towards Notre Dame and see what spurred our interest along the way, but for the sake of not making a gigantic post. I’ll put those pictures into the next post. Enjoy these pictures of the gardens and the palace!