Paris is always a good idea – you’ll be pleased to know that our trip was good. So good in fact that I’ve had to break it up into 3 consecutive posts, Paris by day followed by 2 Parisian nights. So, how do you spend two days in Paris when you already know the city well? You revisit a few of your favourite places and make the rest up as you go along. This was our weekend…
When we woke up on Friday morning, the weather forecast had changed from bright sunshine to heavy rain. This meant I decided to empty my suitcase and start packing again from scratch so we were a bit late setting off. To our dismay, when we arrived at Liverpool airport it was being evacuated following a security incident. So we waited outside, endured the chaos of 3000 angry people being sent back through security and then spent a long time sitting on tarmac. You won’t be surprised that I didn’t refuse this when it came round.
Much later than planned we finally arrived in Paris.
Hush jumpsuit; Whistles blazer (this year’s version now 25% off); Boden shoes; Hush earrings. I was also carrying a new Coach cross body bag – you’ll remember that I had some Selfridges vouchers that my colleagues gave me when I left work.
I’ve always loved Hemingway but I didn’t know much about the impact that Paris had on his work until I read The Paris Wife a couple of years ago. I was so captivated by the story of the Lost Generation and his relationship with Gertrude Stein, F Scott Fitzgerald et al that I really wanted to absorb the atmosphere of Montparnasse and the grands cafés that they frequented. So, I had booked us into Hotel Sainte Beuve, a boutique hotel off the Boulevard Montparnasse.
image c/o Hotel Sainte Beuve
It was small, sumptuous and intimate with fantastic service
This was our room
Because it was so late when we arrived it was great to have the famous grand cafés literally on our doorstep. Some of the legendary places that I’ve been to have been a bit of a disappointment in real life – the Taj Mahal was exactly as I imagined it would be but no more, the Statue of Liberty was much smaller – but seeing Le Select with La Coupole across the street made my heart leap. I guess we all have our own cultural meccas.
On our first morning, we decided to start with breakfast at Angelina’s.
In my view there’s nothing quite like a jug of pure molten chocolate to set you up for the day.
I confess to not being very keen on macarons but they are so pretty
Despite the forecast of rain, it was a beautiful morning so we had a stroll around the Tuileries…
… relaxed in the sunshine for a while …
…then walked down the Rue de Rivoli. When I was a student in Paris my older brother came to visit me for a weekend. After breakfast at Angelina’s (I’m a creature of habit) we both insisted that we knew the best bistro in Paris for lunch but neither of us could remember their names. We couldn’t agree on whose to choose but they seemed to be close to each other so we decided to have one course in each to compare them. When we arrived at the first destination, we realised that out of all the little cafés in Paris, we both loved the same place, La Tartine, so now each time either of us is in Paris we go there to text the other (in French for some reason). It turned out that he was also in France for the weekend, spending some time down in Albi at the Toulouse Lautrec museum (another place I’d highly recommend).
La Tartine isn’t a famous café but it does have an original Second Empire interior and it serves very good, very reasonably priced food.
Brother duly contacted, we then swerved left into the Marais which if you don’t know it, has a great selection of independent boutiques. Actually the most visually impressive was Uniqlo, much nicer than the London flagship. The Parisians obviously really love Uniqlo and it was heaving with people. In fact when the weather worsened, I noticed that almost everyone in Paris, male or female, young or old, seems to wear a Uniqlo ultralight jacket under their coat / trench / blazer as a chic extra layer.
The shop is in an old converted gold factory. Mr MC has little interest in clothes shopping so when I lost him I wasn’t surprised to find him here watching a video of the gold making process!
Footsore we trudged back to our hotel and I had a long luxurious soak in the bath before going out for dinner. More food! I’ll tell you all about it and the dress I wore in tomorrow’s post. We awoke on Sunday to the sound of heavy rain drumming on the rooftops so we had a long, lazy morning at the hotel. Then we went out for brunch.
I had discovered when we were planning the trip that Mr MC hadn’t been to the Musée Rodin. I used to spend a lot of my afternoons there because it was next door to the college where I studied art history. Outside, the garden is filled with many of his commissioned bronzes with plenty of trees for shelter.
Mr MC paused for a moment of ‘Thinker’ inspiration …look at that foreboding sky
It’s a very peaceful place and even though I know it well, Mr MC helped me to appreciate it from a whole new angle. His degree was in 3D Design so he explained the complexities of sculpture and casting in bronze. He was particularly riveted by the detail on the hands and feet, apparently this is especially hard to achieve …
…and the struggle Rodin had to get them right.
By the time we left, the clouds had rolled in and the rain was torrential. There was nothing for it but to spend the afternoon sitting in a café in St Germain, listening to a live jazz band who bravely played on outside the Louis Vuitton shop across the road.
We ate (again) – onion soup…
…followed by delicious cheeses and still it rained.
In the end there was nothing else for it but to make a dash back to the hotel so that we could go and prepare for our special dinner. I’ll tell you all about that on Monday.
Thank you for all your good wishes after my last post, it turned out to be exactly the break we needed and it was planned as part of Project Happier in January. As you know if you’re a regular reader, Mr MC and I worked together for years before we were even a couple and have done ever since. It has therefore been a really strange 12 months – when I decided to branch out into a new job it almost felt like a fracture. We had to learn how to function alongside each other rather than together which is fine but we’ve felt slightly out of gear.
Somehow spending time in a city without a set agenda where there we had the opportunity to do things – or not – gave us the synchronicity we needed. I suppose it’s a bit like the theory of reconnecting with your teenager by having a long car journey. Because the focus is less intense, your thoughts and conversation are free to flow.
So please do join me tomorrow when I’ll publish the first of my Paris nights posts and then again on Monday when I’ll do the second. Next week we can get back to normal and see if anything interesting has appeared in the shops. I hope you all have a brilliant weekend especially those in the UK as we have a Bank Holiday. Keep in touch.