One of the things I enjoy the most of living in London is the convenience to travel to many other European cities for the weekend. Having recently reacquainted a love affair with Paris I decided to take a trip back to the city of love after celebrating New Year there in 2015. With the Eurostar leaving regularly from St. Pancras who could resist a trip to Paris for the weekend. Especially when booked in advance it only costs £59. The most ironic thing is is that it is cheaper and quicker to travel to Paris by train that it is to travel to Glasgow, where my home town is.
The Eiffel Tower from Pont Alexandre III
Arriving Friday night and leaving Sunday evening meant that I eschewed the normal tourist spots having done them before and took time to leisurely stroll around the city seeing some things along the way. I stayed in the Madeleine District which was an ideal base to walk to many key areas by foot or alternately by taxi (Uber can be used in Paris) Our hotel was within walking distance to Rue Saint Honoré along with Rue Cambon which is the famous street where Coco Chanel famously opened her first store and lived in a private suite across the road at the Ritz Hotel.
Of course I couldn’t visit Paris and do some shopping. First stop was the legendary Colette which unfortunately is due to close down in December. The store has been at the heart of fashion since it opened in 1997 and is run by Colette Rousseaux, who still lives above the shop, with her daughter Sarah Andelman as its public face. The shop is a concept store featuring a water bar with over 100 variants of bottled water. Also it hosts many pop up shops and special collaborations. At the time I visited there was a unique collaboration with Balenciaga with special items only available to purchase at Colette. It’s a definite must to visit this pioneering store even now more so as its due to close as the founder has decided to retire.
Outside of Maison de Serge Gainsbourg
Further along the Rue Saint Honoré you will find many other high end boutiques and off the Rue Saint Honoré you will find the gardens of the Palais Royal where many French fashion houses use for Fashion Shows. This is definitely worth a visit to leisurely stroll along the gardens and take some photos. What I like about Paris as most of the sights are within a short distance of one another. This means you can leisurely stroll by and see sights on your way by foot across the city and stop off at a Bistro or two along the way.
Tuna Niçoise Salad from Les Antiquaires
When it came to eating in Paris I took a gamble most of the time and most often that gamble paid off by having some delicious food. I kept it French all the way and tried Croque Madame, French Onion Soup and of course some amazing croissants from the local Boulangerie. The cute little Bistros and coffee shops are hard to resist especially in the Summer when you can sit outside and people watch. The Marais area has lots of places to eat and drink as well as lots of independent boutiques. What I like about the stores in this area is that they all feel unique not only for the products they offer but also due to the Parisian architecture. For an authentic French meal in the Marais district be sure to visit Le Petit Fer a Cheval which has an intimate atmosphere perfect for enjoying some good food with a glass of red wine.
To end of a perfect trip I managed to catch the Dior Exhibition at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs . The exhibition celebrates 70 Years of Dior and features collections from every designer of the brand including many designs from the John Galliano era as well as from the new Artistic Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri. This exhibition is a definite must see and is on until the 7th of January 2018. Plan to spend at least a few hours here to take in all elements of this extensive collection in celebration of 70 years of the House of Dior. I would recommend also booking in advance to avoid long queues to gain access to the Exhibition. Some of the pieces on display are truly breathtaking especially in the environments created to compliment the clothing. This brought a perfect end to my trip to Paris especially when it was finished with a tasting of Escargot before I left, well I couldn’t try everything else bar this traditional French delicacy! I can say I wont be trying them again but at least I can say I’ve tried them after my 4th trip to Paris.
For further recommendations please do not hesitate to ask me any questions and I will do my best to respond to them. September is a busy month for me with lots of exciting trips so please look out for more future travel posts.