Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dreaming of Paris with A Brit Greek

Today's post is from Sandee of A Brit Greek with her expert advice on what to do in Paris!

It's been an achingly long time since I visited the 'City of Light', but everything about Paris is still there stored in my memory file to revisit every now and again. When Jess asked me to guest post, my mind initially travelled back to those early morning wake up calls to get the first Eurostar train out of London at 5:17am to make it across the channel for business trips... ugh! But once there, I always knew there would be great things to look forward to... after all, Paris is ever so breathtaking.

I've already started day dreaming already, where would I go in Paris? Where would I stay? If I all the time in the world, where would I have coffee and people watch all day? Where would I party? Ok, maybe not party excessively as I once did for one of my birthdays in Paris... 

There's simply so much I wanted to share with you all, so forgive me for this excessively long post, hopefully the following will get you dreaming away.

J'adore Paris- Don't Miss!

1. L'Ouvre at night - Stroll the grounds at night and if you're lucky, you'll probably stumble across some musicians playing some beautiful music in the archways. Also visiting the Eiffel tower at night means avaoiding the crowds and masses of tourists.
Inside the L'Ouvre - there's plenty to see here, so wear decent footwear. Actually, stuff that, bring a pair of flats with you - you'll thank me later when you stumble across cobble-stoned pavements!
2. St. Sulpice - one of Paris’s many impressive churches, has a Delacroix painting on the right as you walk in, if it all looks a little familiar that's because it's been featured in The Da Vinci Code movie. The fountain out front is pretty gorgeous too. Nearby you'll also find the luxe names - YSL, Christian Lacroix, etc. Place St.-Sulpice in the 6th. Plus: the famous shop dedicated to the Chanel and Hermès vintage …

YSL (5, avenue Marceau), House of Dior (27 rue Jean Goujon) and LV (gorgeous building at 2, rue Du Pont Neuf) - if you are obsessed with fashion, perhaps you'll be lucky enough to run into some famous fashion faces at the main houses or as they say HQ!

3. Catherine B, for some shopping at 1 rue Guisarde 
4. Palais Garnier: Opera National de Paris - See a Ballet or Opera, it is just an experience that you'll never forget.
5. Chandeliers in Starbucks??? I think it was the one on 3 Boulevard des Capucines... 
6. River Seine - If it's a glorious day, take a walk along the river for the best views, alternatively take a River bus (batobus) and be taken to some of the best hot spots.
7. Macaron madness - take your pick - Laduree (75, Avenue des Champs-Elyseesor Pierre Herme? (There are two locations: 72 rue bonapoarte in St. Germain des Pres or 185 rue de Vaugirard - near Metro Pasteur)

8. Collette  - The mother of all shopping destinations. Even if this concept store is completely out of your budget, it's one of those places where you can absorb the fabulousness, it is a beautiful store and it's also filled with exceptionally beautiful things (lifestyle and fashion).
9. St-Germain-des-Prés - Coffees and window shopping on a chilled Sunday.
10. Musee D'Orsay - This is a 'not to be missed' museum! Whether you know your Monets from your Matisse or don't, it doesn't matter, this place will open your eyes, not to mention the architecture! There's free entry on the first Sunday of each month.
11. Jardin du Palais Royal - such a breathtaking place and the perfect back drop for you stylish bloggers to do an outfit post! Enter the gardens via rue St.Honore and take a little time to stroll the gardens which date back to the French Revolution. Grab a coffee, rest your feet a little and watch the sunset over the Louvre at Le Cafe Marly - 93, rue de RivoliDon't have great expectations regarding service, but try and snag a table on the terrace for awesome views!
12. People Watching Paris - Head over to Au Petit Fer au Cheval in the Marais 30, Rue Vieille du Temple  or Pause Cafe 41, Rue de Charonne just off the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine.
I came across this recently - sounds quite geeky, but the inner photographer in me wanted to check out the reviews on Better Paris Photos - 32 Avenue de Suffren. I've heard really good things, but the Tripadvisor reviews confirmed it and just looking at the website would make me wanna go back and try something, well different.


Stay in areas which you like the sound of, there are loads of gorgeous little hotels in Paris - I'd highly recommend checking out what people have recently said via Tripadvisor - the holy grail of travel, places, budget, romantic hotels etc. 
I've been lucky enough to crash at Hotel Costes 239 rue Saint honoré. One of the most prestigious and fancy hotels ever in Paris. It's eye-wateringly expensive (I sneaked a peek at our bill once when my boss signed it) and yes, staff can be rude but the vibe of the places just oozes a certain je ne sais quoi. The bar is where it's all at anyway - all the fashion folk flock here around fashion week and you'll probably have some interesting and exciting rendezvous! Also love Pershing Hall 49 Rue Pierre Charron (beautiful courtyard for breakfast) and the lovely Hotel Saint Germain 88 rue bac- not to be confused with the other St.Germain de Pres hotels. Waking up and going to work whilst passing all the beautiful shops always made my morning.I've heard great things about Hotel Le ALe fabe Hotel and Hotel Le Six. So maybe on my visit in another life.


If you're obsessed about crepes as much as I am you will love Creperie Broceliande15 rue des Trois Freres. Don't want to blow the budget? Try Boco3 rue Danielle Casanova and French cuisine at Hugo12 rue papillon, Love bread, want a great bakeryEric Kayser - There are plenty of locations, have a peek here. Also cheap and cheerful, but tiny is Bonjour Vietnam6 rue Thouin. Oyster lovers! I haven't been here personally but lots of peeps have said this place is amazing and the prices not OTT  - Huiterie Regis3 Rue Montfaucon. Proper French cuisine at Au Petit sud Ouest for Duck and foie gras. Best view/break the bank? Has to be Le Jule Vernes at the Eiffel Tower. Steak and pommes frites! Yup, can't not have steak and chips whilst in Paris, I love Le Bistrot Paul Bert18 rue Paul Bert OR Chez Julien 1 Rue du Pont Louis Phillipe.
I love all things sweet especially cupcakes - the best kept secret is Synies Cupcakes - 23, rue de l'Abbé Grégoire. Uber random but have to include, is Sushi Marche - 20, r. Mirabeau,  (TEL: 01 42 88 11 49) Close to the Mirabeau Metro  - you'll need a reservation as it's a wee little place, but does the best sushi - the authentic kind! 

Drink and Party:

Barrio Latino - 46, rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine (Latin Quarter). The food there is lovely, the Caipirinhas and Mojitos super yummy and the atmosphere super... well that's how i'll always remember this place. After dining hours, it's weird seeing the ground floor turn into a brilliant dance door space since the place is quite majestic. It is so much fun! I'm trying so hard to remember all these other bars and clubs. Erm, ok L'Experimental Cocktail Club - 37 rue Saint Sauveur does well amazing cocktails and closes at something like 5am on the weekends!
Curio Parlour - 16 Rue des Bernardins is one of super dark bars which takes a wee bit of getting used to but they also make the finest drinks everrrrr!

Stuff you need to know: 
  • Pont de l'Alma 
  • - Jump aboard a romantic river cruise on the Bateaux Mouches
  • Beach in the city
  •  - during summer, tonnes of sand are laid out as a beach along the Seine.
  • Nuit Blanche
  •  - Sleepless night is taking place on Oct 6th in Paris this year  -hundred of galleries, cafes and public building remain open all night. Enjoy!
  • Taxis
  •  - not always easy to hail so make sure you're at a taxi rank and the prices are fairly reasonable
  • August Holiday
  •  - Just like Greece a lot of places shut down for 2 weeks.
  • The Metro 
  • - A super easy and cheap way of getting around Paris - I always pick up a 'Carnet' pack of 10 tickets (around €12) once I jump off the Eurostar at Gare du Nord, head down the escalors for the metro and immediately on the right is the ticket booth. You can also buy your tickets at the Tabacs.
  • Arc de Triomphe 
  • has 234 steps to the top! Don't do this in heels! You might still cope in wedges, but your legs might just die on you!
  • Champs Elysees
  •  - beautiful at night when the lights are on. If you're trying to get a good photo vantage point, please stay away from the middle of the road!!! The drivers will not stop and it is nearly always super busy! 

With work, I didn't always get the freedom or time to roam around and lose myself in such a beautiful city, but when I did go with family or friends, there was always a moment that made me smile, somewhere new to be discovered, the Parisian spirit and even serendipity, which for some funny reason always happens to me whilst there.
I still have something on my bucket list, something which I haven't done yet and that is to create my own perfume... Well, I guess there's always next time!

Thank you so much for having me Jess! Bien de choses à tout and Grosses bises!
Cool websites for extra Paris reading:My Beautiful Paris//Hip ParisBlog//Girls Guide To Paris
Useful references/sources via Telegraph.co.ukHg2 and Lonely Planet

Thanks, and Happy Dreaming!

1 comment:

rooth said...

This is a great guide, now I just have to start planning my trip to Paris