We'll Always Have Paris !!
Happy Sweet Sixteen Savannah Elise ~ It was so beyond special to be able to celebrate my daughters sweet city in the enchanting and majestic city of Love, Paris France!! My husband and I had always talked about doing special separate trips when our kids where old enough to remember and to cherish the memories made. A father son trip to Thailand and Cambodia backpacking for Devon's 16th and Paris France for Savannah & I when our two eldest turned 16. Dillon has staked a claim to the Bahamas or Bali with BOTH of us since he will be the last parsons baby at home ;o). Times are definitely more troubled now than they have in the past, which always carries extra concern, but there is never a more perfect time on my bucket list to travel to Paris than to celebrate my daughters 16th and my 50th birthday ... it was even more of a trip of a lifetime for her Golden Birthday, Sweet Sixteen on April 16th 2017!
Day One | April 12, 2017 ~ We arrived to Paris France via the Eurostar from London England where we had spent 4 days sightseeing (Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guard, Windsor Castle, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral (rest in peace Lady Di), of course shopping at world famous Harrods (my dad bought me my first piece ...my addiction for purses/wallets ... a Gucci purse when I was 13 from Harrods on a business trip and lets just say, I will never forget that purse or my dads love of Harrods), Stonehenge, Trafalgar Square, Oxford University, Hogwarts filming, Using the Tube like good British city girls do and eating at Steak & Co where you cooked your own private steak at your seat on a heated stone plate! Savannah's favvvve :) We loved London and the Brits and was so hard to leave, but the Eurostar was so fun to go under the city in the tunnel while Momma Me was sippin champagne. We ended up sitting next to a Mother Son from our hometown San Diego traveling to Paris for Spring Break too! We became fast a furious friends and will never forget that train ride with laughter along the way.
When we arrived to Paris & checked into our Millenium Opera Hotel (thanks to my amazing travel agent Sonja), the first thing we wanted to do was get to the Eiffel Tower and see it in person!! We had arrived in Paris France (my bucket list) on the 4th Anniversary of my sweet angel mothers passing in April 12, 2013. The exact day, almost at the Eiffel Tower at the same time she passed. My mom had always wanted to visit Paris and was never given the chance, so it was a bittersweet and emotional day. We checked in our hotel, Paris Millenium Opera (fabulous in the 9th Arrondissement) and took the first 'green' taxi outside the hotel doors down to the Eiffel Tower. I could not believe my eyes when we stepped out of the taxi literally directly under the Eiffel Tower at its majestic beauty and how tall she stood! And then as we looked for a private place to say a prayer as we do every year and then we saw this beautiful purple liliac tree (ok so later I found out it was a cherry blossom tree just not fully in bloom so looked purple lol). I shed a happy tear because I knew at that very moment, my angel mother was sitting right there with us under that Eiffel Tower. It meant so much to me to be there with my girl on such a special day. We stayed and took a few first photos but were pretty tired from the travel day and wanted to get back to the hotel to be ready for the next day which was a huge surprise Savannah did not know about. After we said a prayer, I gave her a voucher for Disneyland Paris and told her we were going the next morning. It was one of the birthday presents she really wanted to see while we were there, having spent so much time in the states at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. I wanted the trip to be what we BOTH wanted to see and do (not just museums and shopping (although that was crazy fun too))! So we decided to head back to the hotel to rest up since the coach would be picking us up early to drive to Disney the next morning. Our first night in Paris and the hotel was so special, we cracked the window to the atrium and listened to the hustle and bustle in Paris through the night. It was like out of a movie and everything I had ever imagined it to be. The City of Love!
Day Two | April 13, 2017 ~ We left for Disney Land Paris and headed to the Latin Quarter to pick up one more family, The Ryans, from , the Land down unda! Little did w know when they got into the coach, not only did they speak English (total plus) but it was three lovely ladies, Mom Mabel (whSydney Australiao loves photography and does even more than i!!), her daughter Vivienne who was 17 and daughter Bridget, 9. Omg we instantaneously became fast friends and spent the entire car ride getting to know one another and exchanging stories and all of our similiarities. It was so nice to meet a family on holiday just like us. What were the chances? My mom working her magic from above! Sav and Viv even had the same identical jackets on just in different colors and it was like they were destined to meet. We got to the stop in the front of Disney Paris and it was AHDORABLE ... Our driver said to meet back just before the park closes at 6:30 for pickup, we hours almost at Disney. We all decided to stay together and spend the day enjoying rides and each others company. We were thrilled to be able to experience the magic of Disney with new found friends!! They were amazing and we promised to stay in touch. Mabel was there with her Mom and Dad from the Phillipines and were headed off to London in a day or so, so we didn't get a chance to meet again, but promised to make a trip to Sydney one day soon! Loved everything about Disney Paris too. It was only their 25th anniversary unlike our Disney is celebrating 60 years, but all of the paint was like band new and not dingy and exclusive rides like Ratatouille to Paris and character meet and greets everywhere! Even Mickey Mouse had his own house and theatre you could go to and have your own photo shoot. It was so special! Love the Ryan Family!
Day Three | April 14 2017 ~ We were a bit exhausted so we opted to catch up on some rest and relax before we set off to tour more. We had quite alot of one foot tours in London and didn't want to spend the day inside at a museum but knew we had so very much to see over the next four days. I started to realize how little time we truly had to see this magnificent city and all of it lights and opulence. So we rested and the concierge upgraded our room to a suite with a view of the front of Paris ... it was stunning and we loved having even more space to enjoy our trip! Savannah was treated like a queen in both cities! People were so over the top thoughtful and kind to her. I checked into tours for Paris at our concierge and they set me up with the Big Bus hop on hop off tour and a dinner cruise with Bautex Mouches to see the Paris lights at night with dinner. It was amazing!!!! So glad I bought this and we set off to dinner, drinks and amazing photos at the top of the boat.
Day Four | April 15 2017 ~ This was the day to shop and sight see on Champs De Elysees and head to Louis Vuitton of Paris France. A Bucket List place for me and the Arc De Triomphe!! We took a green taxi to LV straight away and was greeted with our pwn personal shopper assistant carrying a glass of champagne for me and evian for Savannah. I mean seriously, how can you NOT buy something when they load you up with champagne?!! We met Sarah who came to be a dear friend of ours after two days of laughter, stories, snap chatting and indecisiveness on what to get Savannah and I as a treat from LV Paris. We bought a few fun purchases and decided to come see Sarah the next day for free monogramming on Savs new wallet. We stayed at LV until the store closed ... They loved us lol We then went back to the hotel for some dinner and rest and woke up about 1030 pm to take the Metro to the Trocadero Eiffel Tower so we could be there at 12AM to see the Eiffel Tower at night time and for Savannah to turn 16 right there as it lit up at 12am April 16th!!
Day Five ~ April 16 2017 ~ Savannah's Sweet 16 !!
Spent the day sleeping in and then went downstairs to breakfast for a huge birthday surprise where the hotel staff and concierge manager created her own breaky eating nook area roped off. The head staff came and sang her sweet happy birthday. It was so beautiful and a GREAT buffet way to start her day;O) (even if there was a little increased police staff being Easter Sunday in Paris >;(. We went back upstairs to get ready for Savannah's photoshoot and a few side 50th smiles. Much to Savs dismay, the curling iron she wanted to use would not hold the charge in the European outlets and started to smoke, so she had to air dry curl. It wasn't the look she was going for, but she did all of her own makeup, eyes, brows and even her hair was stunning. I was so proud of her! It was hard to be awake on your bday hearing nothing from back home because all of her friends were sleeping 9 hrs behind us, but we hailed a green taxi and off to the best spot to take photos, the Trocadero at the Eiffel Tower! Glammed up and Ready for Smiles! We got down there with a ton of people for the 10 mile COLOR RUN on Easter Sunday. Say WHHHattttt?? I will say (wanting the picture perfect spot, pose and picture) I was bummed to see this massive blue tent up and people jumping all around under the Eiffel Tower with color wands and plumes of color smoke being sent into the air. But I got creative a bit with the perfect dress she had on. We started snapping photos with thousands of people all around the area. Once I started to take a few closeups of her I noticed that not only were there gorgeous clouds in the sky (it totally rained the day before and was to rain the day after her birthday) just how lucky we were to maybe have that smoke in the air because she truly looked angelic. Like she was perched into the clouds and my Mom was up there in heaven sending her bday hugs! We took a bunch of poses, but there were so many people with paint walking all around the area, it was busier than most days we had been there. We took a few hundred shots (lol) and decided to come back once the tent was down later before dinner. Off we were to Louis Vuitton to get Savannah's wallet monogrammed, have a glass of champagne and head to Ponts De Art to purchase a love padlock and leave one in Paris. We had so much fun leaving a love locket for my mom, me and Sav. They let you buy the locks there and even inscribe them with black sharpie. We found the perfect resting spot for my moms and then Savannah noticed on her cell it was 4:16pm! It could not have been more perfect if we tried. I told her to take a photo of her by the locks & right there was a lock with Dillon's name on a lock!! Then, it was off to take a few more photos near Notre Dame and then Paris City Vision to meet our motorcoach to take us to the Eiffel Tower for her Sweet Sixteen Birthday dinner. The Motorcoach took us to the Eiffel Tower where we took the lift up to the first floor restaurant. We had pre-arranged seats and sat with a couple from London, great gentleman and had us laughing most of the dinner. Took a few photos and then the tour guide told us we could climb to the very top for photos, but it was 350 steps. I had no idea you had to climb the steps and since we were straight from the photoshoot we didn't have a change of clothes. Sooooo, I opted to schlep my way up 350 steps (I know my dear friends will not be surprised) in high heel boots huffing and puffing lol. What people don't realize is you climb up the steps in the LEGS of the Eiffel Tower so wind is whipping though you the entire time and you are pretty much alone because NO ONE seems to climb the steps. LOL. We got to the second level of the tower ( you can see the levels more clearly in the photos below ) and the photography was ahhhhmazing. Very cold and windy and just after sunset so Savannah took a few fur photos and they were spectacular with Paris behind her! THEN, you could pay 6 Euro to take a LIFT all the way to the top of the tower. Now it was about 11:30 at night, my feet were killing me and cold. But we did it and it was the best experience AND to be able to say that we were at the very top of the Eiffel Tower eating a famous chocolate tower macaroon on her sweet sixteen was beyond beautiful & priceless. I will truly cherish this night and trip with my daughter forever!! It was a trip to be treasured, a time in our lives together that can never be replaced and a memory as a mother I will hold in my heart until the end of time.
Love you to the moon and back my beautiful baby girl, Savannah Elise!