We made it back to Boston yesterday and cannot stop reflecting on the wonderful week spent in Paris and the French countryside! There is so much to write about the trip, but instead of spilling out all of the details, I’ll give you the main highlights/thoughts of our France adventure:
-The biggest news is that Mark and I got engaged! And to top it off, our friends who came with us to France- Ann and Jon- also got engaged! So much celebrating and happiness this week :)
So our Sunday started with a visit to a museum in Paris, proceeded by lunch with a friend’s brother, followed by long walk around the city. At that point, Mark surprised me with dinner plans on Montmartre (a hill overlooking Paris) at a cozy French restaurant. After dinner, we walked up to the Cathedral to see the view, but Mark stopped me in a private area before we reached the overlook and got down on one knee. I was so incredibly happy and of course said “Oui!!!!!!” a thousand times. It was such a wonderful, memorable experience and Mark really couldn’t have chosen a better place to propose! :)
Unbeknownst to me, a few hours before we got engaged on Sunday, Jon proposed to Ann along the Seine River near the Eiffel Tower. I’ve never seen a happier bride-to-be! The boys were in on each other’s plans to propose, but Ann and I had no idea. We were so excited to find out each other’s news by the end of the night and celebrate for the rest of it! It was such an exciting way to start the trip.
-We proceeded from Paris to the countryside in the second half of the trip, and were very happy with the itinerary. We managed to fit a lot in each day even while enjoying long dinners and visiting each location. After 4 days in Paris we rented a car and headed out of the city for 4 more days. Stops included medieval Rouen, a night in Honfleur, Omaha beach and the American cemetery at Normandy, a night at Mont Saint Michel, and two days and nights in the Loire Valley near Ambois. The group agreed that we wouldn’t have done anything differently, and were pleased with starting the trip in bustling Paris and ending it in the relaxed wine country of Loire.
-The food in France is as delicious and interesting as they say. I didn’t take enough photos of our meals, but they included everything from almost-daily crepes (both sweet and savory!), lots of goat cheese salads, charcuteries, baguettes, macaroons, croissants, Nutella, and lots of wine. Interesting foods included puffy omelettes (we highly recommend skipping), snails, certain smelly cheeses, and various unknown meats. And yes, it does seem as though locals head to their bakery each day for baguettes- an activity our group participated in daily as well. The best restaurant of the trip was Fontaine de Mars, a favorite of President and Mrs. Obama when they visited in 2009. I somehow managed to avoid significant weight gain over the past week, most likely due to all of the walking! I guess that’s the French diet secret.
-I also managed to get in a few runs last week, each one surrounded by beautiful and unique scenery. Routes included: Paris along the Seine (several different loops each day), around the Eiffel Tower, and around the Honfleur docks and the path to and from Mont Saint Michel in the countryside. Running was a great way to explore the various areas, and was a memorable way to finish off my Boston Marathon training. I had packed my SPIbelt, which was handy for carrying my phone, keys, and money. The little preparation went a long way to ensure stress-free running!
-Unsurprisingly, we were exposed to incredible views and historical structures in both Paris and in the French countryside. The history books and travel guides can’t quite illustrate the extent of the immense beauty and architectural ingenuity of some of these sites. From Cathedrals dating from the 10th century and beyond to chateaus dating from the 1300s, Middle Ages, and Renaissance, to alleys in Paris and little villages in the countryside full of history– nothing quite compares. It’s best to witness these sites in person if you can!
To conclude, I have put together a collection of some of my favorite photos from each day (some photos were taken by fellow travelers @the_speers and @imnotquitejack):
1. Friday in Paris, views from the Louvre
2. Saturday in Paris
3. Sunday in Paris (engagement day!)
4. Monday in Paris, views from Eiffel Tower
5. Tuesday in Rouen and Honfleur (Normandy)
6. Wednesday at the Normandy beaches (Omaha beach) and Mont Saint Michel
7. Thursday in Mont Saint Michel and Loire Valley, Chateau Chenonceau
8. Friday in Loire Valley at our Chateau
9. Saturday in Loire, heading home!
Hope you had a great weekend and are enjoying the first signs of spring! It was nice to take a break from blogging and truly soak up vacation, but I am happy to be back to my routine with Jane Runs Wild and life in Boston. With the marathon only ONE WEEK from today, check back in for more race prep and all things running! Enjoy your Monday!
Where is the most interesting place you’ve visited? What was so great about it?
Where is your top bucket-list travel destination?
What does your routine look like the week before a big race? Anyone else feel very out of shape leading up to the race due to those taper weeks? I am personally feeling a little out of shape these days!
What races do you have in your pipeline? Any run-cations? After Boston, I am running the Providence RI half with some friends…and then maybe taking a little break until another race in July!