A Weekend in Paris (+ some new recommendations)
There are few places in the world that I love more than Paris. I know that it’s a total cliche to be a 20 something woman who is obsessed with Paris, but I really don’t care. I love it, and I love it because no matter how many times I visit, a weekend there always feels like medicine for my soul. And that’s exactly what I needed last weekend - some medicine for the soul to counteract a tricky and challenging start to 2019. I was craving a break from reality, an opportunity to indulge in the finer things in life, a reminder to pause and soak up all the good around me. Where better to do all of those things than Paris?
Having been lucky enough to tick off all the big sights on previous trips to the city, this weekend was all about relaxation. It was about wandering along pretty cobbled streets until we were lost, bistro hopping in neighbourhoods we’ve never visited before, and buying far too many books at Shakespeare & Co. It was about adopting the very Parisian laissez-faire approach to time and plans, stopping for a glass of wine whenever we fancied it, and indulging in a pastry when the cravings hit. It was about spending some quality time with my husband and making plans together for the year ahead. It was perfect.
We also managed to squeeze in a gig at the beautiful Le Trianon theatre (we watched Death Cab for Cutie, who were as great as ever), a booze-fuelled late night spent putting the world to rights with friends, and a visit to one of our all time favourite restaurants, Le Relais de L’Entrecote.
It was just what the doctor ordered, and it it was the little break that I needed to remind of what I want this year to be all about - time spent with loved ones relaxing, enjoying life, and dreaming big about what the future will look like. Bliss.
We also managed to pick up a few recommendations on our travels, and I thought I’d share them with you all in case any of you are off to the city soon - enjoy!
I’ve stayed at both Hoxton hotels in London before, so I had big expectations when we rocked up to their Parisian hotel, but we were absolutely blown away by how beautiful this place was. The interiors were incredible (seriously, I have about 300 inspiration photos sitting in my camera roll…), the staff were super friendly and helpful (not always a guarantee in Paris!), and our room was so comfortable.
I love how The Hoxton think about all the little details that make such a difference - proper milk in the fridge for your morning cuppa, beautiful cut glass in your room so you can enjoy a glass of wine, a Roberts radio set up to play French jazz as you arrive. Plus, the amenities in the Paris hotel are second to none - we ate at their restaurant Rivie and were super impressed with the food, plus Jacques’ bar was absolutely gorgeous.
We were gifted one night of our 3 night stay, and received a small discount on the other two nights, but I would not hesitate to pay full price to stay here next time I’m in Paris. I’m convinced that having such a beautiful space to retreat to each evening made our stay 10 times more relaxing, and the location was great too. I’m now dying to make it to their Williamsburg branch - a little 30th birthday treat, maybe…?
Another thing that makes The Hoxton exceptionally dreamy is that it’s only a 3 minute stroll away from the beautiful Sezane apartment. If you haven’t come across Sezane yet, they’re a French fashion brand who create the most beautiful pieces.
You can buy online, but if you’re in Paris I would thoroughly recommend visiting their gorgeous store, which will have you swooning as soon as you walk through the door. Be warned though - it’s so popular that people queue, so try and visit during an off peak time.
If you’re after some great natural wine and delicious small plates, Aux Des Amis in the Oberkampf neighbourhood is the place to head. T’s a crowded, no frills, tiny little restaurant, but the menu is inventive, the wine selection is thoughtful and reasonably priced, and the staff are friendly. I can thoroughly recommend their acorn fed ham served with smoked almonds - divine!
Just around the corner from Aux Deux Amis is La Buvette, another great spot serving up an excellent wine selection and small plates. We found the atmosphere to be a little less buzzy in here, but that could have been the time we visited - plus, the friendly staff more than made up for it. They also have a well stocked bottle shop if you’re looking to take some wine away with you.
This wasn’t a new discovery for me, but I had to put Shakespeare and Company on the list as it’s a must visit for me whenever I’m in the city. This beautiful bookshop is located on the banks of the River Seine near the Notre Dame, and it’s the perfect place to spend an hour, browsing the shelves and picking out some new reads. Be warned - if you’re a book lover like me, you’ll probably spend a small fortune.
Literally translated as popular pizza, this place does exactly what it says on the tin. In fact, it was so popular that the first time we visited, we found a queue snaking around the side of the building. We came back the next night at opening time instead and were seated fairly quickly, so I’d definitely recommend doing that if you want to check it out. The pizza was really delicious and their pasta options looked great too - plus there’s a little hidden photo booth downstairs if you’re looking for a souvenir.
We’re always on the hunt for great coffee spots, and Ten Belles was definitely our favourite find of this trip. The coffee was great, the pastries were yummy, and this light, bright cafe was the perfect place to while away half an hour on Sunday morning.
It should be illegal to go to Paris and not visit at least one patisserie, right?! For this trip we chose Pain de Sucre, where we devoured a delicious millefeuille and a chocolate eclair between us. Not only were they delicious, but their pastries were also intricate works of art.
If you’re looking for brekkie near The Hoxton, FTG should be at the top of your list. Serving up delicious options such as yummy pancakes and breakfast muffins, you’re bound to leave with a happy tummy. The takeout lunch and dinner menu also looked very tempting!
Writing down all of those recommendations has definitely convinced me that I need to hop across the channel again sooner rather than later! Have you visited to Paris before? Do you love it as much as I do?