Paris at Christmas


Paris is always a good idea

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Mark and I took a little weekend trip to Paris with his mum. It feels as though we are so often in Paris these days, but that is certainly no bad thing and Paris at Christmas time is always particularly lovely.

I love to see the Christmas lights, and the decorations in the department stores are so stunning. This year, the decorations and window displays at Galeries Lafayette were all made from paper and so were beautiful, sparkling white. The windows told the story of a family of polar bears who made the trip from the North Pole to see Paris, and who ran amok in every department of the store taking Miu Miu shoes, Chanel No 5 and all manner of other treats.

We also popped in next door to Printemps, where we stopped for tea under the dome, next to a rather more traditional tree! Our day of Christmas shopping was rounded off with a trip to Sephora on the Champs-Elysées, where I treated myself to a bottle of Yves Saint Laurent’s new perfume ‘Mon Paris’, as well as a couple of treats from Urban Decay (eyeshadow in ‘Backfire’) and Benefit (powder blush in ‘Sugarbomb’).

As Mark’s mum was with us, we also did a few more traditional touristy things. We visited the Sacré Coeur in beautiful winter sunshine, and decided on an afternoon boat trip down the Seine. We chose an hour’s cruise on the Vedettes du Pont Neuf, which took in the Ile de la Cité to the Eiffel Tower and everything in between. We were sceptical but it was surprisingly good fun and had some unexpectedly interesting moments, including the restaurant that was used as the model for the restaurant in the film Ratatouille!

On the morning before we returned home, we walked to Père Lachaise Cemetery. The whole place was bathed in glorious early morning sunshine and it was so quiet, so peaceful. We didn’t have a lot of time, and we’ve visited most of the famous graves on previous occasions, but we eventually managed to find Jim Morrison before it was time to head back to Gare du Nord and the Eurostar home.

Paris, tu es toujours dans mon coeur. A Bientôt!















Honeymooning down by the Seine


Way back when (well, in November 2004), Mark and I were sat outside the Cercle cafe opposite the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris drinking wine. This was during the months I spent as a student in Paris, Mark was over to visit and so we’d gone for a bit of an evening out. A friend of mine lived just around the corner, so we used to frequent this area and this cafe in particular because it did nice soupe à l’oignon with tons of bread and cheese for a reasonable price.

As we sat there, an american lady walked past, turned to us, and said, loudly and excitedly, “ARE YOU HONEYMOONERS?!”. No, we replied. But ever since that day, we agreed that in the event we were ever honeymooners, we would go and sit outside the Cercle again, drink wine, and see if she walked past again.

And so, almost 12 years later, there we were. Sadly, the lady did not reappear, but we nevertheless had a nice glass of wine.

Otherwise, Paris was its usual marvellous self for the one and a half days we stayed there. I have spent more time in Paris and know it better than most cities in the UK, so it’s always nice to be back. We arrived on rather a wet Sunday night, but the Bistrot du Peintre, just up the road from our regular hotel, kept us warm and fed and well wined, before a break in the rain just long enough for a walk down the Seine to Notre Dame.

Monday began with much better weather, and we headed over to my favourite cafe in a backstreet in the Marais for a croissant, coffee and an orange juice. Some ambling around Rue des Rosiers and Place des Vosges was followed by falafel for lunch, a metro trip and some more ambling around the Latin Quarter, Boulevard St Germain and the aforementioned Jardins du Luxembourg. I bought Poirot novels in French for 50 cents, which some days later into the honeymoon turned out to be a good call when I almost ran out of books.

In the evening, we returned to one of my all time favourite places to eat in the whole world, Chez Imogène, for galettes and crêpes, followed by a trip to the Eiffel Tower, where we sat on the grass and watched the sun set and the lights twinkle. A trip to the bright lights of Montmartre and Pigalle followed that, before we realised the time, remembered we had to be up at 6am the next day for our flight to Italy, and sensibly retired to our bed!