I want to tell you all about the best day ever. Do you have a best day ever? A day when everything, in spite of all odds, somehow turns out perfectly? My best day ever is the day Mr. C proposed to me. And it wasn’t just about being engaged, it was everything else in the universe aligning to make the most amazing, absolutely perfect day.
But first, let’s start at the beginning.
One day last February I was home from work and wistfully scrolling through images of Versailles on my computer. I was showing Mr. C some images and talking about how much I wanted to return to Paris. I was trying to convince him that we should visit Paris in November when I knew we’d have a week off for Thanksgiving break. Suddenly Mr. C bent down beside me. He had a puckish twinkle in his eyes. “What if we went to Paris for spring break?” My heart stopped. I stared at him for a moment. Mind you, spring break was only around four weeks away at this point. The idea of hopping on a plane and making a spontaneous trip to Paris was both exhilarating and terrifying. Really only terrifying in a very mundane adult sort of way: How much would it cost? Where would we stay? Can we really do this? Should I feel guilty about spending this money (when I really need a new car…)?
Now, to be fair, it’s a little cheaper for us to travel than for most people. My dad is a pilot for Delta Airlines and I fly standby for a discount. The catch is that I only get on a plane if and when there is an open seat. I have higher priority than Mr. C, who flies on a buddy pass. Buddy passes are like the dripping pond scum of the airline world. Buddy passes are practically useless these days if you don’t want to spend hours or even days waiting in the airport to fly somewhere. This makes planning vacations very stressful. So while flying to Paris would be relatively inexpensive, we also might never end up in Paris—or we could end up in Paris a day or two behind schedule. This in turn makes it nearly impossible to make hotel reservations. It is always a gamble.
I spent the rest of the night thinking it over. A few months earlier Mr. C and I had had “the talk.” You know, the one where you talk about getting married. We’d also recently been scouring both the internet and local antique malls for the perfect antique engagement ring. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go. The idea was taking a deeply rooted hold in my mind. I could be in Paris in a few weeks! I could see Versailles again! I was giddy with excitement. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night.
In a few short weeks we were off to Paris. It was our first international trip together and Mr. C’s first international trip ever! Due to some airline miracle we had zero problems getting there and we arrived at Charles-de-Gaulle, the most ill-conceived airport in the world, on March 12th. I had checked and rechecked and triple checked the Paris weather for weeks. I felt like an outdoor wedding bride as I obsessed over weather forecasts. Paris is a walking city. You spend a lot of time outside, especially on the grounds of Versailles and the Petit Trianon. A few days of bad weather could make the whole trip quite miserable. But the weather was perfect. It was a little humid and chilly, but it did not rain. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. The cherry blossoms were in bloom. It was Paris in (almost) springtime.
And then it started. When would he propose? I mean, he was going to propose, right? We were in Paris, the most romantic city in the world. If it wasn’t happening there, then it wasn’t happening. But it didn’t happen at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It didn’t happen on a sunset boat cruise on the Seine. It didn’t happen on the Champs Elysees as I greedily consumed my Ladurée macarons, or at the Louvre, or in the lovely Jardin de Tuileries. I was beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, I had gotten my hopes up about nothing. Maybe Mr. C really did just want to go to Paris for the fun of it. I started to feel a little bit silly.
On our last full day in Paris, we visited Versailles. It was my second time at Versailles and I came prepared. I had read not one, but two different biographies about Marie Antoinette. I read a book specifically about the history Versailles. I also somehow convinced myself that I needed a giant Versailles coffee table book which I studied carefully for days. As soon as we made the decision to go to Paris I booked a special tour of the private apartments of Louis XV and Louis XVI. They only offer these tours to prearranged groups who have purchased tickets in advance. I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity! In fact, if you have a chance to go, make sure to check the Versailles website to see what tours they are offering. You get to see parts of the palace that are inaccessible to other visitors.
The tours were to begin at 9:00 am, but we were running a little behind schedule. I remember sitting on the train from Paris to Versailles and staring at my watch, silently sweating despite the chilly morning air. We weren’t going to make it. We’d never get there in time. When the train finally stopped at the station we sprinted off for the palace. I will forever remember the morning that we ran halfway across the town so that we would not miss a tour of Versailles. Mr. C was running behind me laughing, “We’ll make it! We’ll make it!” Turns out we burned off those buttery morning croissant calories for nothing! The main palace gates didn’t even open until 9:00 am and the tours started 30 minutes afterwards. We made it in time after all!
The tour began and as I was floating through the glowing, gilded rooms of the private apartments, I knew it was an awesome day. Maybe the best day ever. Surrounded by history, touring the palace with my very best friend beside me–it was absolute heaven. It was also a beautiful, uncharacteristically warm day, the nicest weather we’d seen all week. We even had the rare opportunity of seeing the royal opera which is often closed for performances. Everything was perfect.
After the tour I wanted to view the rest of the palace, but it was packed with tour groups who arrived via bus in droves for a quick morning visit. Instead we decided we would visit the Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet before the crowds shifted out into the gardens.
On our way to the Petit Trianon, out in the parterre near the Fountain of Latona, I noticed a young couple trying to take a “long arm” picture of themselves and I offered to take the photo for them. Mr. C then asked if they wouldn’t mind taking a picture for us. Actually he said, “Could you take a couple of pictures?” I passed my point-and-shoot camera over and moved into position beside Mr. C. Suddenly he got down on one knee and pulled a ring box from his pocket. I froze. Everything suddenly felt like it was moving in slow motion. I keep thinking, “is this really happening?” I mean, I knew it could happen, I thought it might, but it really was happening. Mr. C opened the box and inside was a gorgeous antique ring, so delicate, sparkling like mad in the morning sunlight. I can’t really remember what he said, I was too shocked. The girl with my camera was snapping away, a crowd of French school children were cheering. Everything was very surreal. We were at Versailles and it was the most perfect day and the man I loved was on one knee with a delicate, elfin antique ring presented before me. I said yes.
Then it was suddenly very awkward. What had just happened? There’s a sort of strange, quiet moment afterwards where the enormity of the moment begins to seep into your consciousness. We embraced, he slipped the ring on my finger. I thanked our makeshift photographer profusely (she even took a bit of video, with zero prompting from us!)
We spent the next 20 minutes walking through the gardens leading to the Petit Trianon. I was still in a daze. I couldn’t believe what had just happened and I couldn’t keep my eyes off my gorgeous new ring! Finally I got my senses together and we rented bikes and rode around the gardens, visited Marie Antoinette’s hamlet and the Petit Trianon. It was my first time visiting the Queen’s Hamlet (it was closed the first time I was at Versailles), so being there was exhilarating. I’ve already shared my intense love for the Queen’s Hamlet in a wedding inspiration post, but I have to reiterate what a special and magical place it is. Please visit it if you are ever at Versailles! We also rode the bikes around the entire canal. It took us a good 30 minutes or more, but it was one of my favorite parts of the day.
Before I knew it, it was already two o’clock and we had yet to eat lunch! Luckily we were able to grab a table at a restaurant located on the grounds of the palace. We sat outside near the waters of the canal. It was just another puzzle piece in our perfect day!
To spend such a magical day in Paris, at Versailles with the love of my life, and to get engaged in a place with so much history—I really have no words for it. I was 100% happy and content through and through. I couldn’t have asked for a better day. It’s now filed away into my extremely happy, peaceful memories which I draw strength and happiness from when times are bad. Which is silly because life is actually really, really amazing.
And that was my best day ever.