French Sabbatical

My family's year in France…

Day 243 (28 February 2011) – “Best Birthday Ever”

It’s been quite a day, one that ended with this lovely sentiment from Chloe, “I think this was my best birthday ever.” Wow, that’s really saying something, and was a statement that really touched Melinda and me. We wanted this birthday to be very special, especially considering that 18 is the REALLY big birthday in France. Most new 18 year-olds have big parties thrown for them by their parents, parties that include family and friends. But we really couldn’t provide that for Chloe. So instead, we figured out how to bring the four of us to Paris and then throw a day-long family party for her.

The *party* began after Melinda and I completed a 30 minute jog around the Luxembourg Garden. Chloe wanted Mexican food so Melinda found an affordable and quick Mexican restaurant, BocaMexa, (courtesy of David Lebovitz’s blog) for lunch. Chloe wanted some birthday photos at the Eiffel Tower so we took a bus there, using the Rick Steves Paris guidebook to take a bus that gave us a bit of a Paris tour. It was cold today so riding in a warm bus seeing the Paris streets was nice. After the Eiffel Tower photo shoot we went back home to get ready for dinner. It turned out that we had a few extra few minutes so Melinda & I took Chloe out for a legal drink at a nearby bar (the drinking age in France is 18 – she had a Kir Cassis, btw, and has a great story to tell about the bartender giving her a shirt and telling her to ditch her parents on her 18th birthday).

Regarding dinner, earlier in the day Melinda made reservations for us at Chez Janou, a wonderful Parisian restaurant not far from the Bastille. In making the reservation, Melinda commented that it was Chloe’s 18th birthday. The restaurant staff went all out, including making her a special cake that was delivered with restaurant-wide fanfare, dimmed lights, loud music, and 18 candles. What a sight as you can see from both Chloe’s and Ella’s faces. We had a champagne toast and enjoyed the incredible cake, before taking the Métro back to our apartment, located a 5 minute walk from Notre Dame.

Oh, one more thing about tonight’s dinner. Just after blowing out her candles Chloe spotted American actor John C. Reilly sitting about 5 feet away. Was this her birthday wish? Really, John C. Reilly, when Johnny Depp lives in France?

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February 28, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Congratulations to your beautiful daughter. Her cake is really special. John C. Reilly may not be a heart throb, but he is a really good actor! Guess she did not approach him for an autograph. What a day you and Melinda provided for her, one she will never forget, I’m sure.

    Comment by linda taylor | March 1, 2011 | Reply


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