Paris has won my heart – what a beautiful city!
G and I planned a surprise trip for his mum’s birthday and it was just the most perfect long weekend away. We started with prosecco on the Eurostar, strawberries and pastries, before hopping off 2 hours later to beautiful sunshine at Gard du Nord.
As we’d all been to Paris before the weekend was less about ticking off the tourist destinations, and more about exploring the hidden gems, eating incredible food and soaking up the Parisian sun. We had the perfect balance of keeping busy, but also taking the time to relax and enjoying what this beautiful city had to offer.
I will give you a whistle stop tour of what we got up to and my recommendations!
Our first stop of course, was the Champs-Élysées and although this isn’t anything new for anyone – it still has to be on my list because it really is where everything is happening. From high-street shops and designers, to little coffee shops and bakeries, restaurants, gardens and obviously the Arc de Triomphe. My favourite spot is Ladurée which sells the most exquisite macarons of all colours and flavours. Call me boring but my favourite will always be vanilla…
I’ve never been to this part of Paris before and I will definitely be going back on my next visit. About a 30 minute walk from our apartment, it gave us the chance to stretch our legs and take in some fresh air on our first morning. When we arrived we were lucky to have clear blue skies, although it was still a bit chilly. Many people had flocked to the gardens to have coffee, go for a stroll or sail a small toy boat on the water in front of the Palace. It was just stunning to walk around and see the beautiful architecture, plants and landscaping.
The most popular tower in Paris is obviously the ‘Eiffel’, however having all been before, we decided to do something a little different. A short walk through a slightly less glamorous end of town, saw us enter the Montparnasse Tower which is a 59 floor skyscraper. We’d pre-booked tickets which meant little hanging around before stepping out onto the observation deck where we enjoyed a glass of fizz (would you expect anything less?!) Once we’d walked round and spotted all our favourite Parisian spots, we headed up to the ‘top deck’ which is open to the elements but completely guarded and safe, for those of you who are scared of heights. It had the most beautiful views of Paris and was perfect to get a shot of the Eiffel Tower standing tall amongst its surroundings. I’d definitely recommend this as it is good value for a pretty spectacular view and experience. Visit their website now to find out more.
Le Bon Marché
Le Bon Marché where have you been hiding…? Well nowhere actually, but how have I not been here before!?! If you haven’t already guessed from my love of everything fashion and beauty – I love shopping and this is only one of Paris’ most famous department stores, that was ahead of its time when it opened over 150 years ago. Selling every brand you could imagine and more, this store was more than an ordinary department shop. Beautiful decor, impressive glass ceilings, the latest and largest designers alongside unique and small pop-up shops – it is as much about the shopping as it is about the experience. Currently there is an innovation exhibition on, where brands have teamed up with the store to offer the latest in technology and personalisation. From bespoke lipstick shades, to t-shirts designed by yourself, AI beauty technology and hologram toys for the kids. It was very, very impressive and hope all retailers can take some inspiration and up their game in the future!
Kong has to be one of the trendiest and most quirky restaurants in Paris. From the moment you step out of the lift you are welcomed by gorgeous hosts that escort you into the glass dome-covered restaurant that is clad with Japanese décor. Arriving in daylight made it even more exciting as the sun dims and the city lights come up – making it a party venue to be seen at! Our food was amazing too – softshell crab, duck spring rolls, tuna steak, salmon fillet and beautiful cocktails to pair. Get your glad rags on for this restaurant and after dinner go and enjoy a drink or two at their stylish bar on the floor below! We booked a few weeks in advance for a Saturday night and you can find out more by visiting their website.
Is it over the top to say ‘best pizza EVER’? Well, I’m going to say it anyway because it was just amazing. Firstly, this restaurant is hidden away along a sidestreet that was very understated. But as soon as we walked through the entrance you can see that this is clearly a place to go because every table was packed! We had a gorgeous spot round the back of the restaurant so we could still enjoy the atmosphere but luckily had privacy at our table. We started with Parmigiana Focaccia, 7-month fermented salami and gorgeous chunks of Parmigiana Reggiano with balsamic – all were actually very unique to usual flavours I’ve tasted before. We then followed with the pizzas…no words to describe but I’d recommend 100000%. I was ‘umming and arring’ before seeing a waiter bring one out to another table and I was SOLD. Want a sneak peak at their menu? It’s online now!
Montmartre and Hotel Particulier
Montmartre is one of my favourite places in Paris and although a little further out and heavily saturated with tourists it is still worth going. G and I had our portrait drawn a few years ago here because the whole place is teaming with artists. Everything from caricatures, to line drawings to full scale paintings. Be careful not to get drawn into a service if you don’t want to, the artists are quite pushy! You can however stroll for a good couple hours around the cobbled streets, exploring the little tourist shops, art galleries and the Sacré-Cœur.
This time we visited, we opted for a lengthy brunch in the ‘Grand Salon’ at the Hotel Particulier – a very well hidden venue set in a little garden behind big metal gates. We arrived promptly at 12:00 to a pink, velvet interior with low seated tables, pouffes and white table cloths. We were in for a treat. Despite the service being a little lengthy, it was no worry for us as we had set aside a good few hours to enjoy our final food destination of the trip. Brunch comes at a set price and includes unlimited hot drinks, freshly squeezed fruit juice, pastries and breads galore, hot breakfast (obviously I had avo) and your choice of eggs, with a finishing touch of dessert. I told you we were in for a treat… Well worth a visit if you are having a special celebration and you can make a reservation online here.
With it being a special weekend we decided to stay in an AirBnB so we could spend more time together when we weren’t exploring Paris. It allowed us to enjoy a lazy morning on Saturday with eggs and avocado (made by G and I) and cheers with champagne before going out for dinner. It made us feel like we had a home from home and our choice was spot on! Clean, spacious, stylish and with views of the Eiffle Tower one way and the Sacré Cœur the other – we picked a pretty splendid spot (find our AirBnb here)! Haven’t tried AirBnB before? Browse incredible apartments and houses on their website with something to suit everyone. A great way to spend a special weekend… visit airbnb.co.uk now!
Any of you have other reccomendations for Paris? Comment below as I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m back and will want to try out some new hotspots…!