Unfortunately, all the activity of the previous four days (see part 2, part 3) caught up with us. On top of that, the weather was especially unpleasant — cold and rainy all day. So I went out for breakfast croissants (I do have standards, after all) and spent most of the day reading and listening to music. (Thankfully, the Airbnb included a Bose SoundDock with Bluetooth capabilities, so connecting my iPhone was a breeze.)
We did make sure to end our last full day with a great dinner. We walked about five minutes to Les Papilles, a bistro in the 5th that Virginia and I visited a few years ago.
Eating here is well worth the trip. First, the food is amazing, full stop. Second, it’s a great combination of “small bistro” ambience and high-end food. Third, it’s very reasonably priced — we paid $35 per person for the following four-course dinner:
- Carrot soup with bacon, chives, croutons, and creme fraiche
- Baked cod with mashed potatoes (so much butter!), tomatoes, lemon, and chives
- Brie with apple and dried pimento pepper
- Chocolate pudding with caramel foam
Fourth, the wine selection is incredible and novel! It’s all French, of course, and there isn’t a menu — there’s a wall. You wander up and down the wall and pull the bottle you want off the shelf. For us, that bottle was a Dominique Laurent Pommard 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes 2011, a delightful Burgundy that paired very well with all three savory courses. We had a great time and went to sleep full and satisfied.
Our flight was scheduled for 9:40am from CDG. I’ve had very little good luck there with lines, so I wanted to be there by 7:00am, which meant leaving at 6:00am to take the train. Sounds easy enough, right?
WRONG. This day was a strike day for transportation workers. So our flight was delayed until 1:15pm. Also, the same strike meant we couldn’t take the train all the way, so that was out. We found out at 5:30am about the delay, so Mom went back to bed while I tried to stay awake so we could leave at 9:00am.
In the meantime, our Airbnb host, Ghislain, stopped by to drop off a travel bag on his way to work. He was extremely gracious and I’m glad I had a chance to say hello.
Around 9:00am, we got into an Uber car to go to the airport. Uber was taking full advantage of the weather and strike to make the surge pricing less than fun. But we needed to get to the airport, so it was what it was. At least this way we had a lot less walking inside the airport.
It turned out check-in and security were both very easy (hooray again for using miles to get into business class!). After picking up a few final things at the duty free shop, we ended up in the airport lounge. That was a very good choice, as they had good food and coffee options. We spent maybe an hour and a half there before heading to our gate.
The flight itself was very nice. We both spent most of the time watching movies, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens in sync. (It was my third time watching the movie, and doesn’t get old.)
After getting through passport control and customs at Chicago O’Hare, we met with the black livery car I had pre-arranged for Mom. We hugged and kissed good-bye, and then Mom headed home while I took the monorail to the domestic terminal for my flight to Orlando to join my friend Doug’s wedding.
The trip was an unqualified success. Mom’s still talking about it, and I think we created any number of memories that will last. In addition, she’ll keep talking about it with her granddaughters, getting them excited about travel and other cultures. So high fives all around!