We decided to make the most of our layover and explore Paris.
We power walked the Seine River from the Norte Dame to The Eiffel Tower.
I wish we had more time but we had to head back to the airport to catch our flight to Valencia.
We were so jet-lagged and exhausted from Paris we fell asleep at the gate and almost missed our flight!
It is Saturday night in Paris and I am officially 26 years old!
After a day of sites and photos with my Airbnb Experience photographer, it was back to the hotel to get cleaned up for my birthday dinner.
WHAT DO I WEAR?
You have already seen the pictures and know I went with a bold, red, low-V, mini cocktail dress.
I bought this dress at a boutique in New Orleans during the Red Dress Run. I thought maybe some gentleman would invite me to a Christmas Party or on a date and I could wear it and he would just be floored.
But here I was in Paris, the city for lovers, where everyone wears black.
And I am alone and in a red dress.
Some people may think "Wow, attention seeker" but this was something I was really having a dilemma with in my hotel. Just wear black.
Then I thought to myself: Yes, I am alone but I am not lonely. I am not everyone. I bought this dress. It is my birthday.
PUT ON THE DRESS!
I put on the dress and my big black coat to cover up.
Fast forward to the restaurant: Georges was more than I could have imagined.
Bonjour Veronica Olivarez, table for 1 (UGH, yes!) and then the hostess asked for my coat.
Oh man. No turning back. Here we go.
I get to my table and breathe. No one is looking at you. Chill. You are not important.
OMG! The Norte Dame! The Eiffel Tower! It's raining! I'M IN PARIS!
"....are we waiting for one more?" SKKKrrrrrt thanks to the waiter for reminding me I was alone.
I ordered wine and started to look over the menu.
The couple to my right were debating on whether or not I got stood-up.
The table to my left were all in classic black.
I did not want to spend my birthday dinner on my phone but I did manage to check-in on Facebook before I put it away to admire the views around me.
After I devoured the appetizer, cleaned my entree plate, I placed my order for a piece of chocolate cake. I reached for my phone and was surprised when the manager came to sit across from me. He introduced himself and asked how my meal was. I raved about everything and then he asked if it was my birthday. I'm sure I lit up and was shocked, how did he know?? (Now, looking back, maybe he noticed my FB check-in) I said yes! It is my birthday! and he responded with "okay, 1..2...3!"
I was so confused! Then...
I heard it! I felt it!
The whole waitstaff came out in their black-ties singing Happy Birthday with sparklers!
I am so glad I pulled my phone out earlier and gave it to the Manager just in time to capture the above pictures.
...and it didn't stop here!
A lovely couple visiting from Colombia came to my table to say Happy Birthday and buy my a drink. We chatted for about an hour. The girl thought I was some blogger and could not believe I was by myself. She wished for my confidence. Little did she know my doubts before all this!
They were a lovely couple and now new friends.
We closed the place down but it didn't stop there!
The DJ asked if I had a song request and of course, I had two!!
We danced to Me Rehuso by Danny Ocean and Felices los 4 by Maluma.
PARIS IS FOR VERO!
I wanted to go to Paris for my birthday...
So, I went for my 26th birthday!
My advice to anyone who wants to go somewhere or do something, just do it! Stop waiting for someone to go with you or some guy to take you.
Why Paris? It is a place for lovers, why would you go by yourself?
HELLO! I LOVE MYSELF! Doesn't that count? lol
Friday, I explored all the must-sees and stumbled upon other hidden places. A boat ride on the Seine River was such a great idea. I sat in the very front and it felt like the ride was just for me.
*SideNote* In high school, a coach said "If you're not in front the view never changes" and that has just stuck with me. No, I don't want to look at your backside for this mile run. And no, I don't want to see the back of your head and 3/4 of Paris, TO THE FRONT!
Saturday, I met up with a photographer I hired through Airbnb Experiences. For $50, she took amazing pictures of me around Paris. Happy Birthday to me! I was so happy to put the selfie-stick away!
That evening, I took myself to dinner. That experience needs its own post!
They say you never forget your first trip to Paris and I hope they're right and I never do.
Traveling alone has been the scariest, most liberating, and life-changing experience of my life, so I thought I would document it. My blog is named Table For 1 to inspire others to lose the fear of being alone and to get rid of any self-doubt. You deserve anything and everything you work hard for.