The fine food, artistically presented boutiques and enchanting ambience of Paris made for an invigorating weekend away from the hustle and bustle of our work lives. Here’s what we got up to:
- Lunch at La Belle Ferronniere
After a walk from Madeleine metro station, through the back alleys of Champs-Elysees, we stopped over at a bistrot for lunch. The outside was a stereotypical burgundy, and the inside full of old posters and brass railings. We had classics like escargots and onion soup and croque monsieur. The portions were huge and the bread fresh. Comfort food at its finest and just what we needed after a cold morning.
- A tour of the tour Eiffel
We were told that we should climb up the Eiffel tower at least once, but we concluded that we were far too alternative to follow orders. Instead, we found excellent views of the landmark from the Champ du Mars park and enjoyed a stroll round the beautiful landscapes.
- A lesson in shop front presentation
Walking through the Latin quarter and the Rue de Sevres revealed numerous boutiques. Each one selling anything from artisan sweets to beautifully crafted wares. Despite property being a sought after asset in Paris, there seemed no shortage when it came to selling one’s wares. Whole centres of shopfloors were dedicated to selling cupcakes and individual shelves dedicated to displaying a single piece of chocolate. Parisians sure know how to make things look classy!
- Eric Kayser bakery
The best kind of a morning involves fresh baked goods and coffee. It was a rare opportunity to enjoy fluffy croissants in our own sweet time.
- Lunch at Rue Montorgueil
As we walked from Madeleine, we stopped by the beautiful grounds of Le Palais Royal. Here, on a crisp winter morning, you could find Parisians enjoying simple pleasures in life such as, reading a book or browsing the various boutiques that lined the perimeter of the courtyard. On this sunny day, we even spotted a modelling shoot happening in front of this fountain.
From the palace, we stumbled across a bustling market street at Rue Montorgueil. Heating elements filled the rows of cafes as al fresco diners enjoyed their Saturday relaxation. Numerous delis and patisseries attracted a large crowd looking to indulge in all the fresh produce. Each independent grocer displayed their fruit and vegetables in neatly arranged and organised boxes. Think Whole Foods but for your typical grocer!
- One of the many things we loved about Paris is the numerous hidden passages, essentially shopping arcades lined with chic and quirky boutiques, often in beautifully restored buildings. One of our favourites was Passage du Grand Cerf not only because it was not too crowded but it had the most amazing antique shop, Rickshaw Objets du Monde. After spending nearly an hour in the shop exploring every single item, we walked away with an antique mirror which now looks slightly out of place in our modern flat.
- Rue Mouffetard
The photos don’t do justice but this street is really cosy and untouristy. Here, stalls sold fine antique furniture and ornaments. Popular with local families, you could see people go about their daily lives – picking up a bottle of wine, getting a piece of cheese and sometimes indulging in a cheeky stand selling warm hot chocolate and mouthwatering waffle.
- Montmartre and Sacre Couer
Montmartre had a bustling vibe when we visited in the evening. We climbed up the hill to the Sacre Couer where we were rewarded with panoramic views of the city. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to climb the tower within the building itself as we were told that it would have offered an even better view :(.
On our final day, we stopped over at Bastille to visit the Sunday market. It was large and fairly busy with a wide selection of fish (so much that it makes you wonder how much we really take from the sea), cheese and meat (see a common theme?). Of course, we couldn’t leave without getting anything so we bought a Camembert cheese which we had the luxury of carrying it in our rucksack, to the delight of the salesperson at Longchamp.
We finished off our trip with a final coffee and croissant before making our way back to Gare du Nord. The walking had taken its toll on some, but safe to say there were many enjoyable memories (and exclamation marks) to remember.