Ladies, would you ever propose to your partner? SuperBreak gave one romantic lady the chance to do just that this leap year with a Paris proposal break. The winner of our Paris Proposal Break competition, Alison King, shares her experience of taking the leap, and popping the big question herself.
Guest post by Alison King
Over the last few months of umm-ing and ahh-ing and various chats over the years with my boyfriend about that big decision, I decided to take the plunge and be the one to propose.
Leap year tradition tells us that women can pop the question on the 29th February (of course we can propose any day we want), but thanks to SuperBreak and a romantic trip to Paris I decided to take on the leap year tradition and ask the love of my life to be my official partner in crime, back in the very city where we first met.
How We Met
Rewind seven years, I was on a summer trip to Paris visiting some old friends I had met when traveling. A few of us had settled outside Les Philosophes in the Marais when my friend Fabian arrived, with a dark-eyed brooding guy in tow.
His name was Charlie, and he looked somewhat nervous when confronted by a rowdy bunch of wine drenched young‘uns sat looking back at him. When I asked him to sit down and have a glass of wine, I saw the relief wash over his face as he realised he didn’t have to attempt to revive his GCSE French.
As we started chatting I discovered he was also from London, and strangely enough knew many of my friends from back home. We found ourselves talking about our lives, our loves and our opinions; from music, films and books, to dogs who look like celebrities!
We talked about everything and nothing, and he made me laugh so much. I have to admit, I felt that spark that everyone had always talked about – it was a true Parisian romance.
That night we kissed and agreed to go for a walk the next day to browse some bookshops and visit Montmartre. Sitting on the steps of the Sacré-Coeur the next day we kissed again and made plans to meet when he was back in London. Another date led to another and another, and now here we are today! Still laughing and still as silly as each other.
7 Years Later
We’ve been through everything together – job changes; meeting each other’s friends and families; going on adventurous holidays; moving in together, and loving each other through the exciting bits to the everyday life bits. We support each other, laugh together, cook together, annoy each other at times and utterly love each other’s wonderful quirks.
We’d talked about marriage a few times over the years and though we could happily live as partners, getting married seemed like such a blast.
We liked the idea of making our partnership ‘official’ and showing our friends and families our commitment and devotion to each other, but we hadn’t gotten any further in our plans than just chatting.
I decided at Christmas to ask Charlie to marry me. I knew it was a leap year tradition for women to propose and although outdated, I thought it would be fun. Plus, we’d always wanted to go back to Paris together.
So when I saw the amazing opportunity on offer from SuperBreak I was so excited to enter the competition, and couldn’t believe it when I won.
It was so special being able to take a stroll down memory lane together, and create another special memory in the same café where we first met, with the same old friends joining us to celebrate.
I kept my proposal plans a secret from Charlie of course. I had borrowed one of his rings to measure his ring size and had a designer friend make an engagement ring.
I pretended to Charlie that the Paris trip was a pre-birthday getaway, which he seemed to easily accept, and we were excited to revisit the city of love again after all this time!
After an amazingly posh Eurostar journey in the premier carriage (with complimentary champagne and Raymond Blanc designed dinner!), we arrived late on Sunday 28th February at the grand and beautiful Hotel Powers, nestled just behind the Champs-Élysées among a handful of designer shops and traditional bistros on the corner.
Our exquisite room even had a view of the tip of the Eiffel Tower; could there be a more perfect setting for a proposal?
The next day was The Day! Leap Year!
We had a delicious breakfast in the gorgeously ornate, breakfast room which was decorated with wonderfully carved cornice work and large grand fireplaces, before heading out to see the city.
The sun was shining, our walking boots were on and we headed off towards the Eiffel Tower, across the bridge to the Jardin de Tuileries. We walked past the Museé D’Orsay and the Grand Palais, through the shopping streets of Les Halles, buying beautiful handcrafted plates and candles from Astier de Villatte.
We wandered up through a few wrong turns to Montmartre passing the famous Clos-Montmartre, the only official vineyard inside Paris, and past the artists square where Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir and many more artists drank and discussed art.
At the steps of the Sacré-Coeur, we sat overlooking the sunny, clear dramatic view of the city, sharing a baguette on the steps just like we did all those years ago.
Sneaking back towards the Moulin Rouge and then past the Centre Georges Pompidou down to Canal St-Martin we wandered around some book shops and stopped at La Caféothèque.
We eventually found ourselves back in the Marais and had a cocktail at La Perle before a late dinner at Le Petit Marche, where we enjoyed their delicious (but ginormous!) caramelized duck and a classic steak et frites.
As proposal time approached, I felt increasingly nervous.
We settled down for a glass of red wine around the corner at Les Philosophes and my heart was racing. I snuck the ring into my pocket while he was looking at a menu and then held his hand.
I looked at him, told him that he was the love of my life, that I was so happy to bring him back to the spot where we met, and that I wanted to keep making our journey together in life.
Followed by a slightly awkward getting down on one knee.
“Will you marry me?” I asked.
The next few milliseconds of shock turned into utter relief and delight as Charlie smiled and responded with a loud “YES!” (thank goodness!)
We hugged and kissed and laughed and he said into me ear, “of course I will you silly idiot, I love you!”
Passersby and diners around us cheered and clapped, as I wedged the ring onto his finger and I took off a ring of mine for him to put on my left finger temporarily.
He chuckled as he told me he thought I had been acting rather suspiciously, and had wondered but then quickly dismissed the idea that I might be proposing.
Our friends soon arrived to meet us, and the night was filled with hugs, love and celebrations.
The Morning After
On Tuesday, we woke up for late and lazy breakfast of eggs Florentine, followed by some window shopping for an engagement ring for me – though I did find myself slightly distracted by the handbags in Chanel and the macarons in the patisserie!
Hopping back onto the Eurostar to London, we snoozed hand in hand, my head on his shoulder, both bewildered and happy to have revisited where we first met – and now starting a new journey as a couple ready for marriage.
Like all people, it doesn’t matter who says it, how you do it, or if you don’t even want to do it! It is so personal and completely unique.
I love Charlie and we’d talked about marrying one another before so I decided to be bold and take the plunge!
Charlie is so happy I did it too, he told me he was worried he’d fluff it up if he had proposed himself. He laughed at how sneakily I had his ring designed and loves the simple but unique design I got for him.
He and I agree that the whole proposal experience has been magical and I’m so happy SuperBreak could make this happen in such a wonderful, romantic and unforgettable way.
Next time we go to Paris, it will be for an anniversary!
Take the leap, tell the person you’re with that you love them and be true to each other whatever you decide!
Vive le romantiques!
Want to plan the perfect romantic proposal for your partner? Have a look at our Proposal Planner, to find out where and how you should propose.