Not Really Valentine’s Day

Cal turned 40 this weekend. On Saturday, in fact. Yep – my guy was born on Valentine’s Day, 1969, in Paris. Can you think of anything cuter? We’re planning a trip sometime next month, maybe to Madrid, to celebrate like grownups. But this past weekend was for him and his friends – and that meant Guitar Hero, poker games, and an endless stream of people stopping by the expat pub to wish him well.

As you can probably guess, this is not my idea of fun, and I’m also not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Which is why Cal’s present to me was a totally fun sleepover at a local hotel with two of my girlfriends. I got out of his hair, and still had a special treat!

Hotel de la Palais

The story actually starts the day before, on Friday the 13th. We were out and about, finalizing our plans, and decided to go up to the hotel to reserve the room in person. We were met by a woman who bore a striking resemblance to Mrs. Danvers, who could not have been less amused by us.


Like schoolgirls brought before the headmistress, we pushed Al to the front so she could do all the talking. The next day, I went over to check in so as not to lose our reservation.  I explained that I was here alone, had no bags and we would not be back until around 9PM. She looked me up and down, told me to come back at 9, promptly dismissed me with a nod of her head and pointedly turned away from me.

I decided to reinflate my ego by taking some pictures around town:

Cross Shadow


Ancien Courier

On the big day Fi, Al and I stopped by the pub for about an hour or so, and then hightailed it over to the delightful Hotel du Palais, bags brimming with pajamas, delicious food and bottles of Champagne.  I set up the standing buffet on the writing desk; Fi set up her portable DVD player; and Al inspected the chocolate I bought her and arranged blankets and pillows on the daybed in the room.

We snacked on pate, hummus, tzatziki, cheese, and smoked salmon,  sipped our Champers and howled like madwomen at the first series of Benidorm.  Then, we retired to our beds and Fi read to us from an old popular English children’s book – but she kept inserting the most bawdy things in her perfect English reading voice, and I didn’t know the story, and so I kept interrupting her: “Wait, what? Was that IN THERE? WHAT KIND OF BOOK IS THIS??”

We giggled ourselves to sleep and all slept soundly and awoke to a lovely, calm Sunday. I received a text from Cal that he had in fact survived the carnage, and was being plied with croissants and orange juice by his buddies.  Mrs. Danvers is apparently the sole proprietor of the hotel, as she, her scowl and her 453 strands of pearls were  awaiting our checkout. We left and went in search of coffee and juice, then parted ways with promises to make it a monthly ritual! And, knowing these girls, it’ll happen.


6 thoughts on “Not Really Valentine’s Day

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