In June, I was invited by my friend; Julia of Humphrey & Grace to spend the day in Paris. Eurostar very, very kindly offered us return Business Class tickets, which came with a menu created by Raymond Blanc.
Ok, the experience came at a cost, a 3.17am wake up time, over an hours drive to Ashford, to catch the 7am to Paris, then returning to Ashford around 9pm getting home at 1030pm. But who needs sleep when there is a day in Paris on offer!
Julia and I had both made lists of places we wanted to see, first stop was the Eiffel Tower, Julia had actually never seen it and I had never seen it from this angle, having been all around the bottom many times and on the one occasion I went I up, I got terrible vertigo and had to come straight back down!
At Gard du Nord we got our day pass for the metro, aside from getting stuck in most of the turnstiles, it makes getting around Paris so easy. Our first metro stop was Trocadero, as we exited the station and rounded the corner, there was the view! Regardless of how you feel about the Eiffel Tower, cliched or over-grammed, I thought it was marvelous. Sometimes it’s really joyful to see a sight that is so familiar with your own eyes. I feel that way about Big Ben. There is no shade in this area and it’s bright and harsh and the temperature was already soaring plus we had to compete with a lot of couples dressed in their wedding gear having romantic photos taken. We clicked away and headed back to the Metro.
Next stop was Galerie Vivienne, with it’s beautiful glass ceiling and array of weathered book stalls. Just before you enter the Galerie you will find the famous windowed facade of books and piggy bottoms. (We walked from station Quatre-Septembre)
We walked to our next destination, through back streets, open squares and part of the Seine until we got to Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole ( 24 Rue Chanoinesse) we had missed the incredible wisteria that had been doing the Instagram rounds but the pretty green facade with it’s purple tables are still lovely to see.
We stopped for a quick lunch (unfortunately not for pictures just for jugs of water and fuel to keep going in the heat!) and then walked on towards Odette, what a beautiful facade, I loved this quirky one.
The early start, coupled with lunch and the very intense heat and I have to be honest I was flagging and there wasn’t a coffee shop in sight. We started our walk to Merci and like an oasis, we brushed past the open doors of Folks & Sparrows, and I nearly collapsed on those gorgeous tiles. A totally lovely pit stop, the barista promised us a wonderfully caffeinated iced coffee and it was so very welcome. Friendly service, lovely light, my favourite kind of homely surroundings, great, great coffee and we were good to go.
It was now just a short walk from here to Merci, a shop I had wanted to visit since reading all about it on Holly Beckers blog and of course my favourite, most loved car is parked just outside. Short on time we had a whizz round inside, I would have loved to have lingered and actually had lunch here as the menu looked really good but one to remember for next time.
Our last big stop of the day was Montmarte, we took the Metro again to get us as near as possible. I remember from a visit many years ago the carousel, I had a very romantic version in my head but it’s since been upgraded and it was also closed and had none of the charm that I remember or had invented in my head! The walk up is steep but it’s worth it. We had some spots we wanted to find in particular, like Rue Berthe and its famous flamingos and of course La Maison Rose, which Julia and I patiently waited for the fashion blogger to perfect the art of rocking back and forth, bag swinging and looking over her shoulder… our patience was rewarded with some clear shots of the street scene.
We headed further up to see the Sacred Heart and the views of Paris below, before making our way back down, getting the metro back to Gard du Nord and somehow getting lost and confused and walking around the entire station (and it is a very big station!)
It was an incredible day, I can’t believe we managed to see so much in such a short time, especially with the temperature being in the 30s. We were incredibly grateful to sink into those business class seats and be served our 3 course Raymond Blanc meal and reminisce about the adventure we had just had!
Thank you Julia for asking me to come along, and to Eurostar once again for the tickets. Thank you!