Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A very English take on a very French engagement

I don't know why I haven't posted this story before, but as I provided a tiny taster of it in my answers the other day, I suppose I better finish the whole story. I'd like to say it's a romantic story of epic proportions, but as will become clear, it has a slightly quirky twist that I'm sure Mr. B didn't plan.

Rewind to December 2007, my first year of being a qualified teacher, and I was fortunate to work in a school that gave us an extra week off before Christmas. Thus, Mr. B and I planned a romantic mini-break to Paris, taking advantage of the out-of-term-time cheap air fares. The weather was beautiful - cold, crisp and clear, and a steady minus 5 degrees celcius for the whole time we were there. Having been to Paris before, Mr. B and I happily spent our time wandering around the Marais (the Jewish quarter - Mr. B loves his falafel!) and winding our way through the narrow streets of the Latin Quarter and the left bank, stopping for coffee and chocolat-chaud from the amazing 'Paul' bakeries around the city. 

The steps that ascend to the sacre-coeur
from rue du Mont Cenis - slightly off the beaten track
On the second day, however, Mr. B seemed to be a little more direct in his wandering and persuaded me (not that I needed a great deal of persuading) to accompany him via the Champs Elysees and the Jardin Tuilleries to the Montmartre area of the city. Once there, yet again, he was very insistent that we find the beautiful and slightly out of the way steps that ascend the hill to the right of the Sacre-Coeur (as you look at it), citing a desire to take photos as the reason for the slightly longer treck. As we reached the summit we paused to catch our breath, Mr B sat down on a wall overlooking the staircase and beckoned me to join him. Bearing in mind the temperature and the relatively thin coat I had on, I declined and said "I can't sit there,  it's far too cold, I'll get piles" thus ruining the very moment Mr B chose to pull a tiny, vintage styled ring box from his pocket. Fractions of a second too late I realised what was going on, Mr. B managed to salvage the mood by pulling me towards him and sitting me on his knee before popping the question. 
The Sacre-Coeur, looking out over Paris
So, in the middle of the possibly the most romantic city in Europe, atop the steps to one of the prettiest quarters of the city, on a perfect day in the middle of winter, I managed to nearly completely ruin my now-husband's carefully orchestrated and very romantic proposal. Needless to say I said yes immediately but it didn't stop Mr. B repeating the story in his wedding speech and thus never letting me live it down, much to the amusement of our wedding guests, several of whom thought it may have been dare and therefore a fictional way for Mr. B to weave the (wholly inappropriate) word 'piles' into his speech! Sadly it was not, but I guess it is uniquely unforgettable - and still romantic in its own way too!


  1. luckily it happened it Paris where even the mention of Piles in a proposal becomes acceptably romantic!

  2. I think it's charming! (And even cuter that you were on his knee!)

  3. Hehe! Childlike empress I read that 2 ways... I realise that ANYTHING in Paris is romantic, but I also thought it was funny that in France, Piles is appropriate romantic talk, since my sister assures me that the french love to talk about any medical problems even more than the English!

    Hannah - it was charming. Well, it was certainly unforgettable! :D