– Fin –

After a week of some of the best days of my life, we headed down to Bordeaux for wine-tasting and villa-staying. THIS PLACE.

We stayed at Relais Franc Mayne, which is one of the prettiest places I’ve ever stayed in my life. Waking up in the morning and opening the windows onto the vineyards was like being in a dream.

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Most of St. Emilion sits on top of caves. The limestone has been mined and going underground into them was seriously trippy.

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Our first tasting was at Chateau Canon, which is owned by the Chanel family. Afterwards, we went to the oldest winery in St. Emilion, Couvent des Jacobins. The hostess was lovely and the wines were out of this world. Sometimes I think about the fact that this is an actual job and wonder why I didn’t know about it back in college. Dream life.

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My mom, making a wish for my dad.

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I mean, even the bathroom at that hotel was amazing.

And the dinnerrrrr we went to that night. Good grief. Wild mushroom risotto with local black truffles, crispy sea bass with root vegetables, and that dessert platter!!!

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I really think I could be totally fine with coming down to a breakfast like this in a setting like this every day of my life.

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The next day was so special. We’d been chatting with Alice, the communications liaison at Chatea Rauzan-Segla, for months. She’d been so helpful in setting up tours and details for us, and she was even lovelier in person.

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Wine tasting in that little tower room overlooking the vineyard was such a moment.

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And lunch. I averaged about 20,000 steps a day, and barely ate any carbs, so ended up actually losing weight on this trip. Goddamnit, France, you’re magical.

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After touring Chateua Pichon-Longueville, we headed to Le Grand Hotel De Bordeaux.

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Colly and I had dinner and walked around a bit – such a cute city. The next day we headed back to Paris.

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Mom finally got her ham and cheese on a baguette!

We stayed at Hotel du Louvre, which is where I stayed with my parents when they came to visit me when I lived in Paris. I love this place. Those balconies!! We went out to do a little shopping and then stopped for dinner at Cafe de Flore, which needs no introduction. Ended up sitting next to Ivry Gitlis, who flirted relentlessly with my mom and was generally adorable and charming.

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When we came back to the hotel, we had a little rose on the balcony and waited for about 30 minutes for the staff to bring up ice, which never came, so we left to go to Willi’s Wine Bar. Willi’s is a classic and used to be one of my favorite places when I lived there. It’s so cute and the wine is (obviously) amazing. Rose for days!!!

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When we came back that night, I just stood on the balcony for a long time and watched the city go by below me. I don’t know when the next time I’ll be back here, and I really wanted to soak it all in.

Sleepy sisters and Paris morning views.

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My mom and my sister went shopping, and I went for a run around my old neighborhood to have a little moment at some of my favorite places. This ended up being more emotional than I thought, and when I was sitting at the boat pond I was pretty overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. I thought about who I used to be the last time I was here, and who I am now, and how grateful I am for all the experiences and people that have happened in my life over the past 15 years. As a 21 year old living in Paris, I had no idea what was in store for me. I’ve lived in some of the best places in this world, shared such happy moments with my family, raised millions for children’s charities, maintained friendships going on close to 20 years now, and have really just lived my life. At 36, I’m grateful I’m happy. I’m in love with the greatest guy I’ve ever known, I’m surrounded by a community and people that mean so much to me, the people I love most in my life are healthy and happy themselves, and there’s so much on the horizon. Paris puts things into perspective for me. This trip was no exception.

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Finally, after one last day of walking around to some of our favorite places, we headed home. I got emotional in the airport, hugging my mom and telling her that this had been one of the best weeks of my entire life. I just couldn’t be luckier and I couldn’t be happier that my mom and my little sister and I got to spend that time together. I’m getting teary-eyed just writing this! Paris strikes something really fundamental for me, and it recharged me in a way I forgot about. I’m proud to be this 36 year old woman, but I needed a shot of that 21 year old girl I used to be.

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Not going to lie, it was tough to come home. But coming home to this and the arms of the man who I love most of all made it easier. Here’s hoping I’ll see you soon, Paris!