We are back from France and I am back at work (womp womp) and I posted a few highlights from each day while I was gone.
The absolute highlights of our trip that I haven’t covered yet:
- dinner at Les Cocottes in Paris (get the waffle with salted caramel and chantilly cream - I am dreaming about that thing),
- our trip(s) to the Louvre. If you plan to go on a Sunday, which we did, either get there right when it first opens or purchase your tickets online in advance - the ticket line gets insanely long. It took us about 10 minutes to get inside, and from there we beelined to the Mona Lisa so Steve could see it (it was his first trip to Paris). We ate breakfast at one of the cafes there, henceforth known as site of the tooth incident (an old filling crumbled and took some of my tooth with it). We went back to the hotel and the concierge found us a dentist - our appointment wasn’t until 5:30 that night, so we went back to the Louvre and explored areas I had never been before. The Medieval Louvre exhibit was a particular highlight.
Lest you think our time in France was all sunshine and rainbows, we had a few lows:
- The broken tooth incident - although the dentist was amazing and really nice, breaking a tooth on vacation is less than ideal. It obviously happened on a Sunday and we were leaving first thing the next morning for Bordeaux (smaller town, less chance of finding an English-speaking dentist) - because these things never happen on a weekday when you have some time - plus I couldn’t really eat until it got fixed. Also, French dentists charge double on a Sunday. It ended up being an unexpected $600 expense. I should be able to get an insurance reimbursement for some of it and get the rest back from my FSA, but still - ouch!
- Our hotel in Biarritz was right in the center of town and didn’t have air conditioning. There is a nice sea breeze in Biarritz so theoretically you don’t need air conditioning - except it was so loud with the windows open, it was like trying to sleep in a bar (we tried earplugs - it muffled the bar sound, but it was just so loud the earplugs could only do so much). You had to pick between too loud to sleep and too hot to sleep. The worst was the last night when the British tourists in the room next door got into a drunken, violent fight at 3 AM our last night in Biarritz - it sounded like they were throwing things (and punches) so we were not about to knock on the door and ask them to be quiet. We were pretty exhausted for our 7:15 AM departure from Biarritz the last day. The TripAdvisor reviews made the too loud/too hot problem pretty clear - lesson learned, comb over those reviews very carefully before you book a nonrefundable hotel room!
- This is more funny than a low point now - on the way from Orly (Paris’ smaller airport) to Paris, my $13 Euro train ticket malfunctioned and couldn’t be read by the machine. I ended up jumping a turnstile for the first time in my life. In retrospect it is funny, but at the time all I could think about was getting cited by the police for not paying my fare. I am not cut out to be a criminal.