I‘ve always felt like a little bit of an anomaly; I don’t like Macaroons, I’ve never seen Amelie and am not into quaint French cakes.
However, I am totally into cheese, red wine and Fois Gras (sorry) so for these reasons only I’ve always wanted to visit Paris. But Paris seems to me is the sort of place you can’t take yourself to. It requires a gentleman friend to whisk you off at short notice so you can stroll hand in hand through cobbled streets and he can treat you to vintage scarves and espressos.
It only took 8 years for Will to get the hint. Good job.
The day before we left for my romantic two night birthday treat I made a bold decision: I was going to leave my DSLR at home and take only my iPhone for photographs. I may have had to post-process them to buggery on our return for them to look any good but it was liberating to be able to go to dinner with a teeny tiny handbag.
I was delighted that my GCSE French served me so well (I got a B but it was my very worst subject, I am a language dunce) and it has encouraged me to take the plunge and learn more. I totally showed Will up in the Français stakes, anyway. Où sont les toilettes, s’il vous plait?
The food was everything I’d hoped it would be – bloody delicious. Even the steak tartare I had on the first day was worth the dodgy tummy (next time I will save the raw meat for the final day). We ate like kings: Fois, veal (so pretty much every un-PC food there is), beef, croque monsieur, rabbit… it was wonderful. I would wholeheartedly recommend Le Miroir in Montmartre as being one of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten in. We couldn’t decipher the hand-written menu board (which changes daily) so went for the insane degustation option. Amazing.
Plus, there was a dog wearing a hat in the restaurant.
We had a slight incident at our hotel, Hotel Amour, in Pigalle. It was a super trendy establishment with none of the usual hotel trimmings (TV, aircon, safe…) but a pretty amazing design ethos and was filled with patrons who would fit right in on the streets of Shoreditch or Williamsburg. Our room had a futon bed with a mirrorball-covered ceiling and a HUGE roll-top bath.
However, we woke in the morning with bugs all over our pillows (ew) so checked the hell out of our room. But to be honest it wasn’t my cup of tea before the infestation; there was dust, paint had chipped off the walls and the bathroom reminded me of a Berlin youth hostel I visited at the age of 15. In short it felt slightly seedy and was so not worth the 250 euro price tag.
Still, the ceiling was cool, as was the inappropriate Micky Mouse who lived at Reception. Though the hotel allowed us to check out of our room immediately, wiping the room charge and previous night’s drinks bill off our tab so the customer service was where it should be (it probably shouldn’t have been anywhere else given the situation…).
The second night we checked into Hotel Gabriel Paris in The Marais, a hotel I would not hesitate to return to. Loved it. Also loved the local area – there were some divine vintage shops and Merci was a sight to behold.
One of the best times was for me was our night at La Pharmacie, a typical French Bistro; the food wasn’t as amazing as Le Miroir but we got chatting with a group of lovely locals and had a great time conversing in a weird mix of bad French and bad English. Admittedly the French was much worse.
Our final day was mostly spent at the food hall of Galeries Lafayette (HEAVEN) which totally shit all over Selfridge’s Food Hall (previous heaven). I will return with a cool box and an empty suitcase to fill with delicious French delicacies.
Unfortunately I have no purchases to show you as hangover shopping just doesn’t do it for me and Will refused to spend 600 euros on a Louis Vuitton scarf (“it’s just a piece of cloth”) and apparently I was pushing it with the 3,000 euro Tiffany eternity ring. I didn’t even buy anything in Sephora which just about describes how little I was in the shopping mood that day.
In summary: loved Paris, can’t wait to return. 10/10.