Monday, 16 July 2012

For Me Paris Was Always A Spectator Sport

It was my babe Fiona's 24th birthday recently, and when she told us she wanted to celebrate in true style - in Paris - everyone proclaimed a loud "OH OUI!"

Fiona and The Gang flew from Glasgow and I joined them via London at Charles De Gaulle airport, escaping the miserable London 'summer' in favour of some Parisian vibes. 

I think the best thing you can do in Paris (much like any great city) is to just walk. Walk everywhere and anywhere. We explored our pretty little area around Bastille, where there were many authentic patisseries and wine bars, cafes and beautiful little independent shops all with local people going around their usual business - naturally looking tres cool whilst doing so.

We headed south of the river for some dinner, in a place which reminded me of East London but where the hipsters were replaced by laid back French kids. Way better. The place we wanted to eat at was a recommendation by a friend, so away from all the usual tourist-y places - but still just as popular. We waited around 3 hours before a table was free for us! But the wait was enjoyable - we made like the cool cats on the street and joined them in drinking cheap but amazing sangria while the sun went down. In the restaurant itself, the staff were so friendly, giving us complimentary shots and joining in with us whilst we celebrated our gal Fee's bon anniversaire til the early hours.

Any hangover felt the next day was promptly dispelled by excitement. Last time I had been to Paris I was about 6 years old, and only really wanted to go to Disneyland. 18 years later, and back to Disneyland we go! Only this time I am actually tall enough to go on rides other than the tea-cups (though who doesn't love the tea-cups?!)

Finally, for any of you planning a city break to the most stylish place on earth, here are some of my recommendations.

As our last day was a lot more chilled, me and fellow blogger Fee made everyone stop off at this amazing traditional French pharmacy, where we stocked up on French goodies from cult brands Caudalie and Nuxe! There are plenty around, I'd say about one on each street, so the choice is vast. Stick to independent ones rather than big chains for the best selections.

I'd also recommend the hotel we stayed at - Mercure Bastille - for a lovely room and great deal with a rooftop garden overlooking the beautiful city. If you fancy a museum but have done the Louvre et al then hit Palais de Tokyo for some seriously cool modern art. It also has the photo booth as featured in film fave Amelie, where you can make your Paris memories last forever on a strip of 4 black and white photos. How very French indeed.

 Au revoir Paris, til next time!

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