As Audrey Hepburn famously said once, “Paris is always a good idea”, and Mrs. O couldn’t agree more.
After being picked up at Charles de Gaulle airport by our pre-booked driver, we were driven to our apartment and faced with this view. I know it looks like a postcard, but it really wasn’t! I was also equally impressed with my welcome hamper which included champagne, cheese, saucisson, a fresh baguette, tea, toiletries and.. salted caramel macaroons. This was going to be a good evening!
It was time to hit the town! We said goodbye to the concierge team, who kindly handed us a French mobile phone, so we could use it for local calls etc. I think it was a really nice touch. Mrs. O was very impressed by the details.
Time for a glass of champagne and dinner. Following a friend’s recommendation, we booked a table at the Louvre, no less. Café Marly was not a disappointment and I loved the intimate ambience, the food and couldn’t help notice the waitresses, clad in Lancel handbags and Christian Louboutin heels. So French and so chic! (and not very touristy!)
And then we had an idea – we did not know we had a 2 bedroom apartment.. and there is one person who we love and has also been bitten by the O’Reilly travel bug – Miss O. So we called her and told her: “get on the Eurostar first train tomorrow to Paris”! And when we woke up the next morning, guess who was there? I love a bit of last minute excitement and was delighted to have her with us!
We had a market and foodie tour booked with My Genie in Paris, kindly organised by Avenue Story. But I need my breakfast shortly after waking up, and this is Paris, after all.
Following our apartment “booklet”, we ventured up towards Trocadero, a short walk from our “home away from home” and found Carette, a beautiful patisserie. Excited by the display, the choice was obvious: a chausson aux pommes pour moi, and a palmier for Mr. O. And a café crème each. What shocked us ever so slightly? The €24 bill – the pastries were beautiful, but I personally thought that €7.50 for a coffee was a bit extreme. (A tip: if you take away the pastries, they are only €3!!).
We then met David, our guide for the morning, who promised us an incredible itinerary. We met him not far from La Bastille, and we were to spend our morning walking, eating and drinking around the Marché de Aligre.
It was time to eat again, and David took us to a beautiful patisserie where we obviously had to eat a little bit more. We were spoiled for choice and I loved the variety!
From there, it was time to have a look at the market – I love markets and do tell a lot about a city. The smells, the different foods and flavours, and of course, the people. I love it that it is still possible to buy one’s food in markets in Paris – I cannot do it where I live and I would love to. From there, it was time to buy some wine.. so we could taste some cheese. Of course I wasn’t going to say no to that!
So after some wine, charcuterie and an incredible cheese selection, it was time for more food – and I am sure you can guess: it had to be oysters. This is where, after almost 4 hours, we said hello to our A Genie in Paris host, and spent the next hour or so savouring these not-so-pretty delicacies, paired with a lovely Sancerre at Baron Rouge, a simple and very local eatery which certainly deserves a mention here.
We spent our afternoon getting lost in Paris – my favourite past time in this part of the world. We started with a bit of shopping at Le Bon Marché, my French department store of choice, and continued down Rue des Sèvres, towards St. Germain de Près.
I had promised myself I wasn’t going to buy anything (not *anything* anything, if you see what I mean), but the January sales had started the day before. I just couldn’t say no… so I decided to do some “replacement shopping” as I am currently operating a very strict “one-in, one-out” policy when it comes to shoes. Do you know when you simply adore a pair of shoes and wear them to exhaustion? I have that problem – so I just had to replace them… and wasn’t I lucky I found the exact same pairs, at the same shops as I did on my last visit to Paris? But the plus side… they were half price, ha!
After a good 3 hours, it was time to go back to the apartment, and change for a great evening ahead! We started with cocktails at Mandarin Oriental hotel – a stunning property. I must also say, the most expensive cocktails I remember having. At €26 a drink, this is when you notice that Paris is way more expensive than London.
But I have to be honest – it was worth the money. The bar was beautiful, the staff were incredible (something that surprised us pretty much everywhere in Paris on this trip. People were nice to us, if we tried to address them in our pidgeon French, we saw people’s teeth.. and got a response in English. Something strange happening, in my opinion!)
But back to my cocktails – the list was great and creative, the nuts/olive selection was the best I ever had – think truffled nuts, and everything was perfect. Absolutely worth a visit!
Dinner took place at Le Fumoir, also a recommendation from a friend (I totally trust her). Chic, trendy and delicious – and surprisingly good value with a set dinner menu at €35. We loved it so much we ended up staying for drinks there all night, as it turned into a bar.
I did not wake up early – I am not going to lie. And being super hungry, it was time to discover a new breakfast haunt. We tried and loved Café Malakoff on Place du Trocadero, which I have no problem in recommending. At €7.50 per person, it was perfect. From there, Miss O wanted to head to the Louvre for a Raphael exhibition. I wanted to check out Lancel’s new season handbag collection, so the Carroussel du Louvre was a good starting point. Useful to know that this little mall is open on Sundays if you are in need of a retail fix – it is not very big and has a good selection of shops. Plus it is pretty!
From here, we headed towards L’Opera, walked up one of my favourite streets, Rue du Faubourg de Saint Honoré (one of my spiritual places in Paris), Place Vêndome and walked back to the Louvre.
When I spotted a Pierre Hermé macaroon shop, I obviously couldn’t resist. After reading The Lazy Travelers’ scientific comparisson between Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, I have to agree with them. Pierre Herme´s selection is eclectic and the flavours far more interesting. Do you know what I had? Foie gràs and dark chocolate macaroons. Sounds revolting, I know – but they were incredible!
And with this, it was time for a lazy lunch. A very lazy lunch. And I knew what I wanted: escargots and onion soup! I love these French classics, with a side of fresh baguette and a glass of St Emilion. We went to Au Pied de Cochon, not far from the Rue du Louvre and can report very very good things indeed.
Purely in the name of research, and for the love of my blog, I ate it all. It was, without a doubt, one of the best onion soups I have ever had. And it wasn’t small!
With that, it was time to head back to the apartment, before my driver picked me up to take me to the airport, which surely meant I didn’t have to stress with traffic or anything!
After the perfect weekend in Paris, it was time to say Au Revoir. But I shall be back, mais oui!