Weekend Getaway - Paris, France
"Paris is always a good idea" - Audrey Hepburn
There is just something about Paris. Or maybe, there are just so many things about Paris! I have been lucky enough to visit numerous times but I’m always giddy at thought of returning. So when Mr Goodden surprised me with a weekend away in the ‘City of Love’ for Christmas I just about exploded with excitement.
Dauntingly short but oh so sweet, here’s what we did with our 30 hours in Paris.
First Stop: Kings Cross – ok so we aren’t in Paris yet, but hey the adventure begins with the journey! Kings Cross station is basically a destination in itself. Head up to Searcy’s for quick sip of pre-boarding Bubbles, then make like a Parisian and nab yourself a croissant, a last minute Mac splurge, board the Eurostar, wave au revoir to grey London town – Paris here we come! *Squeal!*. Post boarding Bubbles and Saucisson are a must and are available from the onboard ‘Café Metropolitan’ be sure to toast to France as you emerge from the Chunnel!
We dropped our bags at our Airbnb for the evening, opting to stay in the Latin Quarter. It’s Paris’ oldest quarter where you will find idyllic old narrow cobbled streets lined with cafes, exuding a bohemian vibe that turns all a bit lively after dark. We grabbed a baguette for on the go and set out to wander the city – beginning of course at Le Bar!
Forget the Eiffel Tower, Arch De Triomphe and Notre Dame, my favourite piece of Parisian architecture is ‘The Palais Garnier’. The Paris Opera is the epitome of ‘fancy,’ this gorgeous building is elaborately decorated and emblazoned with gold leaf. The best place to gaze upon it’s beauty is from the Metro exit, however if time and budget allows, one should pop into Le Bar at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand and have an exorbitantly priced cocktail if only to sneak a peek at their lavish ballroom.
Next stop - retail therapy! Frances’ major department store players, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are conveniently located right next-door to eachother and sell just about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G you could ever dream of owning. However, enter at your own risk, it’s 2 Euros just to use the bathroom, so shopping adventures here are dangerous!
After battling with crowds of the designer hungry, it is time to escape to the most serene spot in the centre of Paris, The Tuileries. Here, the chairs are set in a permanent recline, allowing you to fully sit back and take a moment to admire the surrounding gardens, The Louvre and The Eiffel Tower off in the distance.
Paris’ wide boulevards and cobbled paths that line the River Seine make it the perfect city to wander. We recommend you stroll your way towards the prettiest parts of Paris , it’s two natural islands; the Ile de la Cite and Ile St Louis. It’s quite a walk from the Louvre but with loads to see on the way and a world renowned Berthillon Icecream at the finishing point, it’s well worth it! We needed some extra refueling so ducked into the lovely St Regis for coffee and and an Eclair; when in Paris!
With only one dinner in Paris, it’s vital to make it a good one. Le Procope back in the Latin Quarter did not let us down. This is the oldest Brasserie in Paris and serves up the classic French Fare that you travel the world for; Escargot, Coq Au Vin, Tete de Veau and the most perfectly fresh Oysters (all best washed down with a bottle of chilled Champagne of course!) The decor is classical French Brasserie with crisp, white tablecloths, waiters in waistcoats and gilded bronze ornaments. It allows you to feel as if you have stepped back in time and while history’s greatest writers and artists once dined here, it is in no way intimidating. The perfect place to eat and drink the night away!
Sacred Sunday’s are for two things: sleep-ins and brunch and Parisians know how to do this better than most. Shops are generally closed on Sundays so no distractions there. Have a lie-in and when you can drag yourself out of bed, head for a boulangerie or better yet, a local market to pick up a little something to get you through to the main event.
Le Marais, it is the heart of Parisian fashion, food and culture. This is where you find trendy boutiques, artisan goods and queues of parisians lining up for their Brunch spot of choice. Having had our fix of traditional french cuisine we were ready for something a little different so popped into Hanoi, a Vietnamese restaurant serving up some deliciously crispy, flavour filled Dishes that kept us there for a long lychee-cocktail-fuelled afternoon!
Heading home after a fairytale weekend away is never easy, picking yourself up some Pierre Herme delicacies for the Eurostar home will certainly help the post-getaway depression. Paris is never far away and as Audrey says, it is ALWAYS a good idea.