One of my best Christmas gifts this year was a quick trip to Paris.
The trip coordinated with my best friend’s family EuroTrip so that we would get to spend a couple days with them in when they reached their last leg in Paris.
We stayed in the gorgeous, modern boutique Hotel L’Adresse in the 8th Arrondissement. It has black and white interior with a signature scent and contemporary fixtures. The hotel is tiny but incredibly romantic and you can book here.
My favourite thing to do in Paris is to wander the streets aimlessly with nowhere to be. Actually, that isn’t true. My favourite thing to do in Paris is to eat. Second to that, there’s nothing like discovering little shops with the latest fashion trends, hidden markets with local specialties, and flower shops bursting with colourful, fresh bouquets.
We walked the streets of Paris, popping into art galleries and stores before beginning heading to Poilâne, Paris’ legendary bakery. The bread is available in their two shops in London and at select specialist stores, but it isn’t the same. Besides, I was looking to snap a picture of the famous, fully functional bread chandelier.
We could smell the shop before we could see it. The windows were lined with fresh loaves of sourdough marked with Poilâne’s signature P. As Christmas had just passed, other loaves were decorated with winter scenes made from bread. After nibbling on fresh bread samples, I selected a miniature loaf of sourdough to take with me for later. The bread is phenomenal and the shop has an incredible history which you can read here.
More wandering led us to my next food item on the list, Pierre Hermé Macarons. A long line snaked out of the shop as it always does. The macarons are also available in London, but again, it’s not the same. As we waited in the shops, I drooled over the pastries and cakes. One in particular caught my eye, La Cerise Sur Le Gâteau, or The Cherry on the Cake. This stunning cake is made of Dacquoise Biscuit with Hazelnuts, Wafters of Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Ganache, and Milk Chocolate Chantilly. I wan’t this cake. Although, I don’t know if I could destroy it’s perfect exterior. On second thought, i’m sure i’d forgive myself. We selected a six macarons to take with us and set out to explore more.
We continued walking into the night, passing the sights and snapping away. It was quite cold and I was beginning to get hunger pangs, so we stopped at a hidden steak restaurant near the Eiffel Tower. We shared a beautifully cooked Thick Rump Steak with Béarnaise, Pomme Frittes, and a luscious Mushroom Risotto with Truffle.
We chatted into the night as the restaurant packed with locals. Happy and full, we took a cab ride home. Did you know, that if an accident occurs on the Arc de Triomphe roundabout, your insurance doesn’t cover it?
Once we had snuggled up in the room, we shared our Pierre Hermé macarons with tea and flicked through the day’s pictures. We planned our next day around food, as I so often do, and went to bed.
The next morning began with a nippy walk to Marche d’Aligre, one of the most famous Parisian food markets. It consists of an indoor market, Beauvau-Saint-Antoine, and an outdoor market in the place d’Aligre. Food markets are typical part of the Parisian way of life, and happen to be one of my favourite things, ever.
We drifted around the market, watching locals exchange with stall holders and mothers stock up on supplies. As we were meeting Lauren (best friend) and Marty (other mother) at the train station, we bought a huge hunk of Brie and a fresh baguette to take with us. As we were leaving the market, a man was selling an entire box of figs for €5 as he was packing up. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
We headed to Gare De L’est Train Station, happy as could be with my newly purchased market snack. As we were early, we found a table to eat whilst we waited for their train to arrive. Bite after bite of the fresh, fluffy baguette smothered in creamy Brie with ripe fig spread over the top. I was in heaven.
We greeted them at the platform, and took a cab back to their hotel. After they settled into the Concorde Lafayette, we went back out on the town. We walked around the Louvre and through Jardin des Tuileries to one of my favourite stores, Colette. Colette is a concept shop with an eclectic, trendy mix of luxury goods and fashionable garments. I definitely recommend a visit, even if you’re there only for, as the french say, léche vitrines – which literally translates to window licking.
After more window licking, we stumbled upon the most amazing chocolate shop with a Willy Wonka-esque chocolate wall fountain, Jean Paul Hévin. The shop had bowls of chocolate, macaron towers, and a killer pump made solely from chocolate. We left with with a box of the most incredible macarons to have after dinner. Sadly, they got a little mushed on the journey.
We stopped for dinner and chatted about their EuroTrip so far. Look how decadent my French Onion Soup was! It was much needed after the long, cold day and I ate every bite. Considering the French are particularly opposed to ketchup, I found their rather American serving bottles to be quite amusing. For dessert, a decadent Crepe with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce, and a Banana.
We walked down the Champs Elysees and around the Eiffel Tower. As it began to rain, we went back to the Concorde Lafayette and marvelled over the views from their Panoramic Bar. We lounged, listening to the Parisian singer serenade the guests before heading downstairs for some tea. We sampled the macarons and chatted late until the night before saying goodbye and heading back to our hotel.
Sad to be leaving on our early Eurostar trip back to London, only one thing could cheer me up.
Au Revoir Paris xx