Coucou From Paris

I spent my birthday in Paris and felt like writing a good old diary-style post about my 2½ days. I love to go there every few years and in addition to wandering around and eating all the food, I also like to cross off one or two things from my never-ending to-do list.

After a super smooth Eurostar ride, I checked in at Adele et Jules. When I stumbled upon the hotel, the name sounded vaguely familiar and when I researched it was because it was all over the blogs a few years ago. Whoever did their PR back then did a great job because I booked it years after that campaign ended.

Once the bags were dropped off it was on y va towards Palais Royal, where I literally stumbled upon the National Library and went inside to take a look at the reading room, or Salle Ovale. It’s amazing. Entrance to the reading room is free and there’s a great selection of coffee-table-style books displayed for easy viewing.

Walked down to Palais Royal where they were setting up things for Paris Fashion Week so there was not much to see. But I did figure out where one of the scenes in the film Charade took place. It’s worth mentioning that on this trip I encountered a lot of the Paris film locations I mentioned in my post here

Fuel stop at Cafe Kitsune. I’m a big fan of their sandwiches but have to say that the bread was dry instead of the usual fluffy. There is a lesson: when in Paris just go to a boulangerie and get your sandwich there. That said, the oat milk coffee, or café au lait d’avoine was sublime.

Via Louvre and the riverside I walked towards Le Marais with a lot of historical stops on the way. The first one is these two old houses that date back to the 14th century (but were only restored in the 70s) and have timber-framed facades and carved beams.

Further up the street, you’ll find Maison d’Ourscamp, which looks like it’s something out of a Wes Anderson film, but inside you’ll find the Paris Historique, an association that protects and promotes the historical and architectural heritage of Paris. You can book a tour of the Gothic cellar they are currently restoring and walk the stairs of another timber-framed house, this one with a hidden back. 

Le Marais has a bunch of museums you can visit for free. I ventured into the Carnavalet Museum which showcases the history of Parisian heritage through paintings, sculptures and more, and seems a lot bigger than it looked on the outside, plus the cute garden was a nice place to take a breather. 

And then the Musée Cognacq-Jay, with a lot of dogs in paintings. I don’t even remember what else there is to see as my dog goggles were well and truly on. But I definitely recommend it. 

Coffee and cake stop at Fika! I haven’t been a huge fan of French coffee places so I was happy that I stumbled upon this place. Great coffee, delicious blueberry and lingonberry juices, and the best carrot cake. 

A quick walk around the National Archives, which is a bit small and more interesting if you are into historical records of France from the Merovingian period to the present day, but I loved the secret door in one of the main rooms and the grand garden. 

Ended the day at La Candeleria where I had some delicious food last summer and needed to go back to see if it was as good. Spoiler alert: yes it is! Their guac is too good (though everything on the menu is amazing), and I can’t wait to return to the tiny little place. 

Day two started in Montmartre where I walked up the Sacre Coeur. Visiting the Basilica is free, but if you want to go up to the top then you’ll have to pay: in both euros and the energy needed to climb those stairs. Honestly: I don’t think it’s worth it because Paris doesn’t have that recognisable skyline and when the weather is bad it just looks gloomy. 

During a stroll through Montmartre where I learned that there are two types of Paris visitors, those who visit because of Emily in Paris and those who visit to follow Amelie’s footsteps. In Montmartre those two worlds meet Montmartre you’ll find both. From the pink house to the mill and art-deco cinema.  

I ended my Montmartre visit with lunch at Pollisons! They do a €21 3-course / €17 2-course menu that I would describe as well-seasoned comfort food with a twist. Think mashed potatoes with a fluffy side and devil carrots, instead of devil eggs. They also went the extra mile to get me something pork-free which I really appreciated considering the place was packed.  

Towards the Eiffel Tower via Jardins du Trocadero and Pont d’Iena, I mainly wanted to get a photo of some scenes from the Dreamers, but that sadly failed as they were setting things up for Paris Fashion Week. Another reason to go back.

The last morning I spent on Ile de la Cite where I chased the steps of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn along the river, saw how Notre Dame is closer to completion, and got lost on my way to the Shakespeare and Co bookshop. 

Followed this up with a walk through Jardin du Luxembourg where I enjoyed the scenery, relaxed in the iconic green chairs, and people watched by the fountain. Before I was chased away by smoking Parisians. 

I closed my visit off with lunch at Bon Bouquet Café that I had been to for a takeaway coffee the day before and the food caught my eye. There was a huge queue, but I had set my mind on the delicious pancakes I had seen and did not want to leave the city before I tried them. Thankfully the wait was only 10 minutes and the wait was well worth it for the soft, sweet pancakey goodness.

After that, it was time to pick up the bags at the hotel and head back to jolly London. Until we meet again, Paris.

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