It is the family's first trip to France, and both Gwen and Chris marvel at how their children have adjusted. The kids love the métro. They play with French children who speak no English. They've taken to croque monsieurs, a kind of grilled-cheese sandwich turned inside out; the best, the Harrisons say, are at Cafe du Trocadero. "And they're obsessed with the Eiffel Tower," Gwen says. "Hey kids, look!"
At seven p.m. on the dot, as it does every hour, the tower bursts into sparkles. The kids stop to admire the spectacle, like the world's most impressive pixie dust.
Afterward, we walk down the winding, cobbled streets, flooded with warm lamplight, toward dinner at a cozy Italian restaurant. The Harrisons have become regulars at a handful of restaurants in the area, like the Cafe du Trocadero, the only restaurant on the square with a view of the Eiffel Tower, and Scossa in Victor Hugo Circle, where Chris goes if he feels a hankering for American fare, like a chicken Caesar salad. Tonight we're headed to a mostly-locals spot called Fra'Diavolo, where the English-speaking maître d' generally takes their order. This time, however, he's not around, and when Chris asks the waitress for a wine recommendation in his halting French, the woman simply goes to the wine cellar and reappears with a bottle.
"It's … tres bon?" Chris asks, hopefully.
She nods, expressionless, uncorking the bottle and pouring us each a glass.
"Well," he says to us, after she leaves, "with that kind of shining recommendation, how could I refuse?"
Despite his dampened demeanor on The Bachelor, Harrison is something of a cutup. "Whenever people meet me, they always say, 'I thought you'd be so serious!'?" he says. But the solemnity is a mask, part of the show's endless building of tension, all leading up to … the final rose. "The final rose" is the climax of each episode, the moment in which the audience learns who is staying for the next episode and who may end up in tears back in the van. Harrison hasn't always been a fan of the phrase.
"Like, do I really have to do the math for America?" he asks. But it has proven a good way to heighten drama, and it has become the show's catchphrase. Now, Harrison gets asked to repeat it all the time. Guys will pull out their cell phones and ask, "Hey, will you call my girlfriend? Will you tell her this is the final rose?"
Women have become a permanent fixture in Harrison's life since he began hosting the Bachelor shows. Says Gwen, "Everyone always asks me how I handle him being around all these beautiful women." She smiles as she cuts up Joshua's spaghetti into bite-size portions. "We've been together so long, though, it doesn't bother me."