It was wonderful.
We left the children in the capable hands of their grandparents and headed off to the airport. As soon as we left home, I was on holiday, off duty. Marvellous.
Our flight was perfectly pleasant, we landed in the afternoon and took a train into Paris, changing once to get to the station near the Arc de Triomphe from where we walked for 15 minutes or so to our hotel. Just before we made it indoors, the rain started, soon followed by some very rubbish hail.
The hotel we'd picked was nice enough, small and friendly. The room wasn't anything special, but there was a bed and all the other stuff you need from a hotel room so it did us grand.
We were keen to get out and see around so we dandered off in the opposite direction to how we'd arrived and soon ended up by the Palais des Congrès, an arts venue and shopping centre. We had coffees inside and then spent some time wandering the supermarket, feeling utterly jealous of the French approach to food production, supply and preparation. There was such a wonderful selection of great food and though we'd reservations for dinner later that night, we couldn't resist buying a small selection to take back to our room.
We returned to the hotel for some chilling time and sampled just a tiny bit of the irresistible food we'd bought. I was getting well into some TV documentary about early humans and their struggle for survival. It was far more explicit than what would be shown on UK or Irish channels in the afternoon, and all the better for it.
But I had to tear myself away from the box to get dolled up as best I could. A reservation had made at Senderens, a hugely posh restaurant. We had to take a taxi as I was wearing stupid shoes, not my usual practical and sensible gear. And the restaurant, wow - other worldly. It was very attractive inside and the food was like something prepared by angels to torture our fallible and flawed human forms with perfection that we will never be able to attain. Not unless we shell out for another top rated, pricey Parisian restaurant anyway. It was so very good.
Next morning we had the rest of our supermarket procured food in our room, and a fine start to the day it was too. Then we went out and walked for miles, down to the Trocadero area where we very obviously took photos of each other in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was dry but fairly cold and I was glad I'd packed gloves and a scarf. We headed east along the river, following the south bank for a while then switching north and passing Place de la Concorde and on to Ile de la Cité all the while marvelling at the beauty and grandeur of the city. It's so very different from Belfast!
So we dandered up to the Centre Pompidou and walked the streets for a bit looking for somewhere to eat. Before long we spotted exactly what we wanted, a cafe set over a bakery, with such an array of bread and pastries downstairs that we knew we'd be well set if we ate upstairs. So we had brunch, and it was as fine a meal as what we'd had the night before. The bread and croissants were the best we've ever eaten, the coffee was good and the atmosphere was fantastic.
Now we embarked on our quest to enjoy some more trashy culture and we took a train out to Disneyland Paris. We've been before, but wanted to ride the faster, scarier rides without having to worry about who would look after the children. We had such a blast, and managed to go on 4 roller coasters and the Tower of Terror.
Next morning we just had time to have another great breakfast and do a bit of shopping before getting a bus back to the airport and flying back to Belfast. The children had all been fine and had enjoyed their time with Granda and G. and as ever, it was great to be home.