What better way to start your day than on route to Paris?
What gave me away? The beret? The boobs? You may have gathered that subtly really isn’t my thing and I’m OK with that.
Forever in search of the next adventure, a few weeks ago we packed our overnight bags, hopped on the Eurostar, snoozed and et viola, 2 hours later, strolled out of Gard du Nord into the Parisian sunshine.
Trundling through town, cases and cameras in hand, we headed for the Instagram dream that is the Hoxton hotel.
Tucked down a side street in the 10th, oh my is it pretty. Originally three buildings that are now connected by glass atrium's, you can easily while away the hours sipping chocolat chaud (coffee is not my thing) and snapping away at this place if you are so inclined.
Alas, the rest of Paris called and it would be rude not answer.
What with it being so close, I’ve been to Paris a few times before but oddly enough never with mon amour. We wrapped up against the November chill (it was bloody freezing) and took to the streets in search of all things Parisian (and of course festive).
Before quickly realising we needed something to help warm us up and ducking in to Café de Flore.
I am a shameless people watcher (not in the odd stalker way, in the I wonder why that person is rushing/crying/laughing kind of way…OK, maybe still a bit odd) so luckily for me, Parisian cafés are made for a spot of voyeurism. Grab a table outside (if you go in winter then just remember that layers are your friend or else you may freeze), order something warm and kick back to watch the world go by. It’s all very romantic and wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without hitting up a street side café now would it?
Everyone likes to travel in their own way, some mooch around museums (I’m not a fan of queuing for ages to see often underwhelming things, Mona Lisa anyone?), some run from one tourist spot to another. However you prefer to do it, when you’re in Paris, make sure to stroll around. If pointless meandering is your thing then you don’t even need to be heading any where in particular but chances are something will catch your eye quick enough. Say, a Christmas market with Santa’s lodge for example.
I had a peek to see if the big man was home but afraid not, perhaps busy in the workshop with his elves what with it being December and all.
Giving Rudolf a run for his money on the red nose...I told you it was freezing!
When in town there are a few things not to be missed so get those walking boots on (or you know, grab an uber) and stroll around these beauties.
Searching for Esmeralda and the Hunchback...
I had absolutely no interest in standing in the queue to get inside to see the (no doubt) beautiful interior. With a line snaking around the building itself I figured that I value my fingers and toes more so instead, we popped just round the corner and to find this little gem.
Abound with flowers in the summer and spring, we were instead treated to all its festive glory. Cute huh?
Deciding we were still OK braving the cold, we strolled along the Seine to meander past the Louvre (again, more to drink it all in than wander round the museum itself). We were lucky with the weather, despite being nose bitingly cold, it was bright and sunny for most of our stay, save one afternoon when we found ourselves in a snow flurry. But if the weather is not on your side then who cares, pull up in a café and watch the rain soaked world go by and uber yourself around town.
If only I understood French...
Well known spots aside, get of the beaten track and discover some hidden places. Like little bookshops tucked down alley ways that smell like untold stories and memories long forgotten. La Galcante ticks all the boxes.
Peeking in to someones past.
Get raiding the shelves to find some new friends...
and familiar faces...
Paris is split up in to arrondissement's or boroughs and each one has it's own distinct vibe. One of my favorites is Le Marais, which is full to the brim with boutique shops and beautiful houses hidden away behind ornate gates just waiting for you to peek at.
When can I move in?
But let's be realistic here...all the wandering and wondering at Parisian sights is going to wear you out so make sure you have somewhere comfy to recharge your batteries pre dinner. Parisians eat late so it doesn't matter if you don't head back out until well in to the evening.
Post nap (one day I will grow up and not need to/love napping in the afternoon), we headed to Bistrot Paul Bert, an old school Parisian classic, where you will find locals chatting away loudly, tucking in to some no frills (tasty) French food before ending the night at Chez Papa listening to jazz and chatting to the American's next to us, pretending I knew about jazz music (I don't) and failing miserably. Its OK, I don't think they noticed.
Before leaving town the next day, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and check out Parisian concept stores Sezane and Merci but not all of us were quite as excited to hit the shops so after a brief snoop we headed to check out Sacre Coeur. After all of 2 minutes it started to snow so we made a quick dash and sought refuge in a nearby café to watch the snow fall instead.
Santa got himself some new wheels and elves by the looks of things...
Thoughts on 'concept' stores, Sezane is cute, Merci was full of things I couldn't see myself buying with an extraordinary price tag but cute courtyard.
And of course, no matter how touristy it may be, we had to have a quick sneak peek at the Eiffel Tower before the day was out.
After a quick dinner at Pizzeria Popolare (its so good, you should go), we popped ourselves back to Gard du Nord and headed home-bound back to London town.
Whatever it is that takes your fancy, jump on the Eurostar and go find your favorite corner of Paris. After all, I hear that it's never a bad idea.