This is a post written by my sister Roberta, who loves traveling.
In January, my family had just returned from a 7-night cruise and I was eager to plan our next vacation. Maybe it was the 50 below wind chill that inspired me? Or maybe it was just my love of travel. In any case, the same night we returned from a Western Caribbean cruise, I was on my computer at home considering various destinations. At one point I decided to go to the Sun Country airlines website to check on fares, and an advertisement on their home page caught my attention. It said something like, “Visit Paris for 30 hours”. I had been to Paris several times before, and it is one of my favorite cities. My husband had never been to Europe, and I knew it was something that he really wanted to do. So, having just returned from a week-long vacation, I did what any other vacation-lover would do… I turned to my husband and said, “Do you want to go to Paris for 30 hours, leaving two weeks from now?” My husband’s response? “Sure, let’s go!”
Here’s what Sun Country was offering. They were trying to meet some type of requirement in order to obtain a specific contract. In order to do this, they needed to accumulate a certain number of hours flying internationally each month. I’m not sure about all the details, but in order to meet the requirements, they decided to offer one flight to Paris, with certain restrictions. Passengers had to depart and return on the same aircraft (same flight crew and everything), and the plane would only stay in Paris for 30 hours. Although this isn’t very long for a city like Paris, the price was right: $230 per person round trip! And for us, with three small children, this was an ideal quick little getaway. I called my mom right away and she was ready to go. Seats for the three of us were booked within the hour.
This turned out to be one of the best trips I have ever taken. Along with the exhilaration of being able to be so spontaneous, I was excited to be going back to Paris, and to be sharing the city with my husband for the first time. I booked a hotel room with 3 single beds for a great rate at a small hotel called Hotel La Bourdonnais, which is very close to the Eiffel Tower. This hotel is simple, but the rates are good, the rooms are clean, the location is great, and it is close to a metro stop. I would definitely stay there again the next time I go to Paris.
During our flight from Minneapolis to Paris, we stopped at a military base in Newfoundland, Canada to refuel. We were allowed to go inside the airport terminal for about an hour to stretch and get snacks or souvenirs. Then we were back on the way to Paris again! We arrived in Paris at about 10 am local time the next day. We had arranged a shuttle to our hotel, which was waiting for us at the airport. We made it to our hotel and checked in with no problems. We were so excited to be in Paris!! We dropped off our luggage and set out on foot right away. There was a small grocery store along with a few souvenir shops nearby, so we browsed for a while and then kept walking. Two blocks later we turned the corner and there it was: the Eiffel Tower.
This is the view that awaited us just a few blocks from our hotel.
It was a beautiful sight. No matter how many times I go back to Paris, I still get excited seeing the Eiffel Tower in person each time. We walked through the Champ de Mars, which is the park leading up to the Eiffel Tower. It was a chilly day, but there were still quite a few people out enjoying the day. There were also a lot of vendors underneath the tower trying to sell various items, and they were quite pushy, but we managed to convince them we weren’t interested. We bought tickets to go up the tower and headed to the elevator. The top level was closed for repairs, but we were able to go up to the second floor and look out over Paris, which is always stunning. We also bought plenty of cheesy souvenirs in the tourist shop on the second floor. The kids were thrilled with our choices!
After visiting the Eiffel Tower we headed back to our hotel room to get ready to go to a show at the Moulin Rouge, which we had booked before leaving home. We took the metro to the Montmartre area, made our way to the big red windmill, and were seated in an excellent location. The show that night was called Faerie, and it was amazing! After the show, we took a cab to the Champs-Elysees, which is a famous shopping street in Paris. Most of the stores were closed, but we found a cafe and had dinner at midnight in Paris. By the time dinner was over, we were exhausted. We headed back to our hotel to sleep for a few hours before trying to fit in a few more sights the next day.