A couple of weeks ago, we went back to Paris for our yearly pilgrimage. I was besides myself with excitement by the prospect of going back “home” and…(dreamy sigh) bask into the aching beautifulness of this magic city (over the top, moi? always ). As I was (trying) to plan ahead and fit in all the things I missed about Paris, I thought I could turn this into “whathindlikes” guide to my favourite things in Paris. Watch out: there will be no mention of the usual iconic places as I figured you could find those in any decent Paris guide.
So what do I miss the most about Paris?
1. Walking my favourite “promenade”
- Starting at Le Bon Marche – my favourite shop or actually department store (it is actually a department store that feels like a shop if that makes sense?) and getting distracted by its deliciously gorgeous Grande Epicerie and its other-worldly food selection (maybe I should wipe that drooling…) .
- Then, fully inspired, go and wander through the lovely and so boutique-friendly streets of Saint Germain (Des-Pres of course!), stopping at 2 of my favourite
secret shops each at a completely different end of scale: a shabby family owned shop where I am always sure to find a 50% Marc Jacobs pair of shoes and an uber exclusive-with-sleekly-dressed-doorman for inspiration on all the Alaia iconic dresses and latest Pierre Hardy creations.
- When arriving to the Seine, crossing over to the right bank, enjoying the breathtaking view of Paris (both banks equally glorious) before heading through the Louvre court to the Jardin Des Tuileries, where I would lay on those iconic Parisian Green garden chairs, to enjoy reading my books (this was pre-kindle times obviously) and when I get lucky a bit of sunbathing as well.
- To finally end my journey rue de Rivoli at the Calignani Library (the 1st english library on the continent) – or in short heaven. Gorgeous building, amazing books and an heteroclite american-student-in-paris-meets-Karl-Lagerfield crow. Priceless.
2. Eating Berthillon ice cream in the Ile Saint Louis.
Ok – so it took me 4 paragraphs before I finally got to mention … food. Not food actually. Better. The best ever. Not just Ice Cream. Generations-passed-recipe-hand-made-to-die-for- Berthillon ice cream. I really want some now. N-O-W. “Hum, Hubby, I would really fancy a Berthillon now?”. “Mmmm”. “Mmm? Really? YOU think I am fat? Is that it?”. “(sight) I think YOU live in London” (you will notice he didn’t actually reply to the obvious lose-lose question…clever man…).
3. Brunch in Le Marais on Sundays.
In Paris, everything is closed on Sunday (yep, shocking, I know). Except in Le Marais. Which then happens to be the most popular destination for Brunch, followed by shopping spree in one the historical quarters of Paris. It makes the 1h queue wait worth it all. Of course, this being said, as I used to be often shamefully late (when I didn’t own a watch, not trying to make an excuse or something…), I never waited more than 30minutes. Still, the point is still valid.
4. Crossing the Alexander III bridge. By night.
Nothing feels as luxurious as a late night ride in a comfy and lush Mercedes cab, coming back from work/night-out/party on the right bank and crossing the uber gorgeous Alexander III for a breathtaking (another one) Paris by night overview. One of those sheer priceless unique life moment. Hubby felt THAT starring at the Grand Canyon for the 1st time. 15 years later, I still get the same emotion crossing THAT bridge.
5. The FNAC
This is my contribution to the peacefulness of my “marriage”. In other words, compromise. Hubby absolutely loves living in London but if there is one thing he faults is the absence of store where he could indulge all his passions: gadgets + geeky books + french comics. In France, FNAC is one stop shop to do just that. Well, I say I compromise but I secretly love it too. It’s at the other end of the spectrum of Calignani but it has…books! And wherever there are books, I am more than happy to hang around. But shuuut don’t tell Hubby..otherwise I would really need to start doing something he likes that I really dislike. Like programming computers. Or going on hikes. We don’t want that, do we?
Soon, I will share my top 5 differences between London & Paris.
If you have any personal Parisian tips you’d like to add, please feel free to share