How I Spent My Summer: Adventures in Paris - The Final Chapter

It was our last Parisian morning. We checked out of our apartment (sniff, sniff), but since our flight home didn’t leave until later in the afternoon we enjoyed a final stroll through the city streets and along the Champs D’Élysées. Here are some of our more memorable street shots…

The ornate architecture is so inspiring…

Several times we had these “party busses” drive past us!

And check out the way Parisians park!

Whenever somebody wants to leave, they just start whacking against the cars in front and behind until they eventually maneuver their way out of the parking space. I guess that’s what “bumpers” are for, er, oui?

We also took one final sightseeing excursion to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

As we stood in line to go to the top, I once again took advantage of my captive audience and shared the fact that this 160-foot triumphal arch was planned by Napoleon. He liked to think of himself as an heir to the Roman emperors so he had the arch built to celebrate his military successes. It’s actually inspired by Rome’s Arch of Titus. Check out the similarities…

Arch of Titus

Arc de Triomphe

Also, France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is buried beneath the archway to honor soldiers lost in World War I. The Eternal Flame is rekindled every evening.

Here’s a detail of one side of the arch showing this incredible sculpture by Francois Rude, titled The Departure of the Volunteers, honoring the hallowed figures who fell on the fields of battle. 

Finally, we climbed the nearly 300 steps to the top to see L’Étoile, the “star” effect of the 12 radiating avenues below. 

Here’s the amazing vista down the Champs D’Élysées.

And see that massive hollowed-out square-frame structure in the horizon? That is La Défense, Europe's largest purpose-built business district.

Then…it was time.

Exhausted, we trudged onto the airplane where we discovered my well-travelled hubby had arranged a surprise for us. He’d used his Frequent Flyer Miles to upgrade all of us to Business Class!  It was so awesome!

I realize all of you regular business class travelers won’t be impressed by this, but for the rest of you: Our seats reclined nearly horizontal without impacting the person sitting behind us at all! And the provided blankies were much bigger, warmer and comfier than mere economy class blankies.

Chris, the well-seasoned traveler that he is, immediately set up his bed and went to sleep. I knew I should have done the same thing but I was way too excited to sleep. Who knew when I would get to experience amenities like this again?!  So instead, I enjoyed a marathon “chick flick fest” on my supersize movie screen while sipping champagne and dining on some of the best Parisian cuisine of our trip. I also played with every button, switch and lever available. I couldn’t believe Chris was sleeping through all this great stuff! Oh, to be so cavalier about such luxury! And apparently, he did not appreciate me waking him up to share every new found delight I encountered.

All in all it was an incredible adventure. Au Revoir Paris!  Until next time!

 Image by: ReneS


HOLLY: Oh. My. Gosh!  Chris, hey Chris! This airplane seat has a massager in it!
CHRIS:  Zzzzzzz.
JOSH: Mooooom!  Ashleigh took champagne when the flight attendant was passing them out before the flight!
ASHLEIGH: Cut it out, Josh! I thought it was apple juice!
HOLLY: Never mind. We’re technically still in Paris, so it’s not illegal. Did you guys see that the seats have massagers in them?
CHRIS: Zzzzzzz.

If you’re feeling particularly inspired, click the links below for my previous Parisian posts:
Parts I-II (just skip the Quotes of the Week!)
Parts III – V (ditto note above!)

All photographs © Holly, Chris & Ashleigh Bowne unless otherwise noted.


Nancy said...

What a great trip. Your picture of the arch is fantastic.

Hope you got some good flicks along the way. I'm with you. I would be pushing all the buttons, too.

TeresaR said...

Wow!!! I don't get to travel biz or first class, so I'm as excited about it as you were. Party bus? LOL! Wacky. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

Heidi Willis said...

Holly - I've been so buried in school work I've missed all of these awesome Paris posts!! What an amazing trip! And such gorgeous photos!!

My new book has a Paris scene in it... I may have to go as "research." :)