To Paris with love
A London lad enlists the help of MLP to create a super romantic Christmas gift for his girlfriend
It wasn’t a random lad! It was a relative but…that shouldn’t take anything away from this love-filled quest to impress and spoil the lady in his life. Admittedly, I didn’t expect to get a call from Luke, my nephew, asking me to help him devise a cunning plan to surprise his girlfriend, with a trip to Paris! But I was so glad I did!
MLP was pretty surprised by Lukes request, as all previous conversations with him about the city of light were peppered with phrases like; “never again“, “it’s not for me“, “only if it was the last place on earth and I had no choice, then I might consider it!” “The streets are covered in *#@!” “Auntie if you weren’t living in Paris I wouldn’t have this city on my list of places to visit!” I don’t want to misquote him but, you get the gist! Luke had visited Paris when he was 11 and was evidently still scarred by the experience!
Then he met Abby and it didn’t take long for love to bloom, but not long into the relationship, he discovered that one of her most ardent desires was to travel to the French capital one day and experience Paris. #damn! One might think that given his feelings about Paris he might’ve just ended the relationship, abruptly muttering “merde” under his breath but…he didn’t!
Of course, he considered selling her the virtues of all the other places in the world she could visit! But instead, Luke decided to surreptitiously turn Abby’s dream into a reality, one year into their romance, by curating an unforgettable Christmas gift for her.
When I got the call, Luke already had clear ideas of what he wanted to do, but the most magical idea he had devised, was how to actually tell her! That part of the plan required a bit of time and work so… it was his priority. (MLP will fill you in on this slice of genius later!) While he worked on that, my job was to help him choose a romantique place to dine and suggest how the two of them could explore the city together in a unique and fun way.
At this point in the planning, Christmas 2016 was a few months away. Twenty-six-year-old Luke had already booked the Eurostar tickets, bound for Paris on December 30. With the date set and four days to fill, I started investigating restaurants. Luke had been very specific about wanting to find somewhere with a beautiful view of the city, to create a memorable moment for Abby. MLP scoured the city in search of eateries with views of the Eiffel Tower, or a stunning landscape, skyline or just a space that evoked quintessential romantic Paris.
Afer booking a few options online, giving Luke time to make his final decision on where to dine on New years Eve, we were thrown a curveball when the prices shot up to 250 – 400 euros per head for the privilege of seeing in 2017!! Going back to the drawing board, Luke picked his favourite and opted for a reservation on the evening of their arrival, at the lovely Chez Julien by the River in the 4th arrondissement!
Next, the tour! There are so many ways to see the Paris: a bus tour, Segways, walking guides, by boat, on bikes! But the idea that seemed to fit perfectly with the personal and loving tone of this gift, was to hire the much loved French classic car the 2CV, and be driven around the city taking in well-chosen landmarks – tailored for the two of them. Even better, the company –2CV Paris-Tours – although not scheduled to work that day, agreed to participate in Lukes cunning plan!
He booked a hotel not too far from Gare du Nord and MLP got to work on creating a memory box for Abby, packed with a 2017 diary, a candle, a Lonely Planet guide to Paris, an Eiffel Tower key ring, mini macarons and a few other little delights! It was fun fun fun!
Your present is a trip to Paris…I love you and I can’t wait
Meanwhile, Lukes idea of how to give Abby her present was taking shape…literally! To add a little drama he enlisted the services of a game making website, having decided that the best way to retain the mystery of his gift, was to slowly reveal the surprise. His way of ensuring this happened, was to make Abby assemble a 200 piece jigsaw which when completed, would spell out her Christmas present in no uncertain terms! He had spent hours photo-shopping images from Paris, together with photos of Abby, and the finished image was then cut into 200 little pieces scheduled to be delivered to her for Christmas!!
When Abby received her gift it was Christmas eve, but they weren’t together that night. She admitted that she didn’t know what to make of it. With a bright smile, she revealed that she guessed her boyfriend was definitely up to something but she had no idea what it was! She loved Lukes sense of humour, so she knew he would be entertained by the idea of her having to solve the puzzle, so she got to work and Luke waited patiently…
“It took me three hours!” Abby laughs!
Through her tears and her mums too, they read – with the help of Google translate – the message: “Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary… Your present is a trip to Paris…I love you and I can’t wait” Abby was completely in shock, tearful, happy and bowled over, excited and mortified that it had taken her so long to decipher the 200 piece clue!
“I was overcome with emotion when I found out that I was going to Paris. I’ve always wanted to visit”
Luke by this point was brandishing a bit of a swagger! Feeling well-chuffed and enjoying his new found status as boyfriend of the year! So far, the plan had gone meticulously well!
It didn’t stop there! Abby knew nothing about the trip except that she was going to Paris! So imagine her surprise when she was escorted by Luke for dinner that evening, to a table for two at Chez Julien followed by a romantic walk along the river. This, of course, came after the tour of the city in a 2CV! Then there was the gift box which she loved and was personally delivered to the hotel by MLP, while they were dining! It took a few tries in French to explain to the lady at reception that it was to be kept hidden – “C’est un secret pour un Paris romance”, I whispered conspiratorially. And the rest of the time? The two of them explored the city, visiting Sacre Coeur, the Louvre, Notre Dame, spent time with family and got to know the city together.
Below is is a mock-up of the gift box – Ibiza book is the visual representation of the wrapped Paris book underneath!
MLP asked Abby how she felt about Lukes gift to her and she said ” “I was overcome with emotion when I found out that I was going to Paris. I’ve always wanted to visit and it was finally becoming a reality. I wouldn’t have wanted to attend ‘the city of love’ with anyone other than my love!”
And did Luke enjoy it? Had his opinion of Paris remained the same or was he falling in love with Paris too? He sent MLP this message…
“Yes, my opinion has changed for the better. I would describe Paris as a beautiful city with more to offer than the usual tour guide kind of stuff. From someone who has never been a fan of city holidays, I didn’t have much love for the idea of Paris. But because I knew Abby has always wanted to go, I decided to look into it and it actually turned out to be so much more fun than I thought it ever could be.”
“Taking Abby to Paris was one of the best decisions I ever made. We had the best 4 days of exploring I could have hoped for. The highlight for me was the 2hr tour of Paris in a 2CV.”
Honestly, this was such a beautiful gesture and a wonderful idea, MLP just had to share it with you. Thank you, Luke and Abby for giving MLP permission to do so. If you want to see more photos of these two you can follow them on Instagram. Luke – @_flighty_01 and Abby – @boo3090.
MLP wishes you both all the best for the future and can’t wait to see you back in Gay Paree. Good job Luke!
Ahhhhhh so nice to know that romance is still alive and kicking.
Love MLP x
All mentions are genuine picks by MLP with no funds solicited! That’s how we roll…