Sunday, 27 January 2019

Weekend away - Things to see and do in Paris

I excitedly and ambitiously started writing this post documenting my top tips for a weekend away in Paris on the Eurostar on my way home from the dreamiest December weekend spent in the romantic city with my boyfriend. I had so many lovely instagram messages about my trip and many of you mentioning you were heading to Paris in the coming weeks I wanted to share my top tips and favourites from this weekend’s visit with you sooner rather than later. That said I didn't quite manage to keep my momentum and my to do list got the better of me but I am excited to finally be able to share some of my favourites in Paris with you and hope they inspire your travel plans this year. I loved this piece by Tracy Emin at Kings Cross St Pancras, 'I want my time with you' couldn't have been more apt a sentiment.

Having grown up with travel loving parents and living in nearby London I am extremely lucky to have been to able to visit Paris a number of times. If you’re reading this and it is your first visit to the city there are some brilliant tourist 'must see’s' that you should get on your to do list- these include climbing the Eiffel Tower and wandering into Notre-Dame Cathedral - this post is a collection of fun and fabulous things i’ve seen and done in my two trips to the city in the past year. 

So first things first getting around...

Paris is split by arrondissements, these are numbered and referred to as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. A bit like the boroughs of London let's say. They're super easy to navigate too.

The Metro
The Paris metro is brilliant and inexpensive. I’d suggest either walking around the city or hopping on the metro. The station stops are very close together so it’s very easier to walk down to the right lines than changing more often than not. You can buy a carnet of 10 tickets at a time which is slightly cheaper than buying them as you go along. 
We used all ten easily, especially as you can share them with more than one person.

Uber has also landed in Paris, if you’re like me and didn’t bring sensible shoes it was very quick and easy to use. Plus there were no surcharges which was a miracle and not the case in London at the moment! Ps. Pack sensible shoes!

Places to stay

The Hoxton Hotel of dreams is as good in real life as it looks on instagram. We stayed here in January 2018 and it was so lovely and very convenient as it’s in the 2nd arrondissement. I’m not a fan of staying in the same place twice plus it is the top end of our budget so we choose a smaller and more affordable pace to stay for our December visit.

Is a boutique hotel in the 13th it’s a little less central but super close to the metro and very easy to get around. It was such a beautiful space, really pretty interiors and a cosy with a more air bnb feel. The room we stayed in was really lovely and I have to say the bed was especially comfortable! It was hard to get up and out the door in the morning.

Places to Eat in Paris

You really are spoilt for choice in this city, it’s full of delicious independent cafes, bars and restaurants. These are some of my favourites that we either stumbled upon or had been recommended by friends.

(Area: Close to the Marais)
Top of the list and by far the best food we’ve ever eaten in Paris! 
A twist on the traditional french menu expect and cosy interior and delicious meat and two veg vibes. Book if you can i’d say it’s 100% worth queueing if it’s busy and if you aren’t opposed to sitting outside they have blankets and heaters and you will feel incredibly Parisienne.

One of the Big Mamma group restaurants, they have a range of different locations and offerings and are guaranteed to have a beautiful interior and delicious food. They are as popular as the name suggest so do book but if you have to queue they're big so it doesn't take too long. The only caveat is yes it’s an Italian in Paris but that never stopped me.

A short walk from the Hoxton Hotel this is a fun Italian bar/ restaurant/ cafe vibe. We waited for a table with delicious red wine and blankets under the heaters on the outside tables. Yes Pizza again, there's a theme.

L’as du Falafel 
Delicious and cheap falafel you'll find them in the Marais - and it was so yummy!

The trendy Hotel Pigalle for a drink at the bar. Similarly Hotel Amour and the Hotel Grande Amour are fabulous for that 'insta-snap' and light bites or a glass of wine. Next time we go i'd love to stay in one of these!

Sweet Treats

When in Paris it would be rude not to enjoy the delicious patisserie... 
Laduree Now I know we have these in London but it isn't quite the same and I have never been able to resist a macaron.

L’eclaire de genie makes the most beautiful eclairs that are almost like pieces of fine art. Everyone should try one! Truly delicious.

Angelina’s one of my favourite stops in Paris for a very indulgent hot chocolate and patisserie. Definitely worth the queue for the cosy and very Parisienne interior. But if you're in a hurry there's a counter inside you can takeaway from instead.

Shopping - My favourite part

The famous grid patterned escalators you may have seen all over instagram. 
This is an incredibly beautiful and well curated shopping experience. They have many exclusives in store and a cafe on the top floor. It’s more than just a department store it feels like a museum filled with trinkets you might not find anywhere else. Plus the packaging is on point.

The famous red car sits outside in the courtyard. This is a dreamy shop come cafe come restaurant. They have a wonderfully curated collection, gorgeous coloured linens and incredible fashion pieces. It's not cheap but great for browsing and getting some inspiration from the collections plus they have fab homeware so you might leave with a little something. Stay for a coffee in the cafe or lunch.

Bon Ton
A short walk from Merci this is one of my favourites in Paris. It's a children's shop filled with beautiful treasures from stationery to children's homewares and stationery. They also have an old fashioned photobooth that Zack and I couldn't resist getting in.

This one is for my fellow sewing lovers, Make My Lemonade has just opened a brand new shop in Paris. Pop in for printed fabrics, sewing patterns and indie designer goods that you won't be able to get anywhere else. There's also a cute cafe at the back that sells yummy lemonade too. Lisa Gachet founded the brand after having a successful blog which is always great to hear.
If you do visit nearby you'll find Chex Prune for fresh oysters, cheese and wine. It's very French and the toilets are horrid but it's very fun!

La Super Marquette
Around the corner from the Pompidou pop into this cute independent Parisienne store for stationery, trinkets and socks.

The dreamiest outfits of dreams that will forever be on my wish lists. I'm a big fan of the beautiful interiors of their boutique stores and conscious collections. 

Le Marais 
Head to the Marais for designer brands, beautiful streets and a drink at one of the many cafes. Some of my favourites are;
The Frankie Shop
Vintage shopping at Le Coiffure

Paris is filled with art and creativity. If you're still in the Marais pop into the Picasso museum it's a beautiful space and free entry on the first Sunday of the month.

Other favourites include, Foundation Louis Vuitton, the Pompidou Centre, Musee des arts decoratifs, Musee d’Orsay and the Rodin Museum.

Secret Gems

Whilst wandering around the streets of Paris look out for the space Invaders! Made using a mosaic of tiles the artist has dotted them all over the city. 

The Pigalle Basketball Court
The most colourful basketball court I have ever seen and a must visit this is a really secret gem in Paris. Designed and painted by French design agency and fashion brand Pigalle (with the help of Nike) this space is burst of colour sandwiched between two very normal looking buildings. Find it on Rue Duperré along with kids and grown ups playing basket ball and the occasional model.

You can find out more and see what I got up to in my Paris highlight on Instagram here.

Happy travels x

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