This week has been absolutely amazing! I met Orsola De Castro and her partner Filippo, the inspirational brains behind the British Fashion Council’s Estethica green design initiative and the creative mind behind the up cycling brand From Somewhere, this was topped off by a fantastic show of young Asian artists in Upper House (partnership between Leica x Swire Hotels) and finished off by the opening of the legendary UK gallery White Cube in Hong Kong. This weekend I am looking forward to a live music event, yoga, brunches, afternoon tea, hiking and some reading.
So I owe you one last post about my trip to Europe a few weeks ago. My last day in Paris, Air France gave me a gift by going on strike, thus allowing me to spend a whole extra day in one my favourite cities.
The air was freezing and the skies were striking blue. I ventured out of the hotel after a lengthy and lazy breakfast and headed over to Montmartre, passing by the famous cemetery, I walked the cobbled streets walking higher and higher towards the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. On the way I came upon a Russian church and ended up being invited for a borscht in a nearby restaurant. Russians have long had a passion for France: in the 19th century all aristocracy spoke French and during communism heaps of intellectuals fled to France.
Montmartre, was like a perfect picture, cobbled streets, small cafes with lovers and old chic Parisians indulging in coffee and hot chocolate, vintage book stores and shoe shops, I stopped off in one of the brasseries to get my hot chocolate fix and quietly wished for more hours in the day. One of the little shoe stores on the side had a pair of ASH wedge trainers, that I succumbed to buying. My hubster thinks they look like moonboots, but I love them.
The Parisian Taj Majal (Sacré-Cœur) looked like it was made out of ivory, but what was even more exciting was the textile market right at the bottom, rolls and rolls of materials, with people from North Africa, Middle east and Asia selling pieces to seamstresses and the last few remaining clothes makers in Paris. I wish I had a little more time to browse, but time was not on my side.
I headed over to Merci concept store, a place where I can spend hours on end, browsing the treasure chest of jewelry, clothes and furniture. My favourite place in the whole store though was their wholesome cafe on the ground floor overlooking a courtyard full of shabby chic plants and wooden boxes full of vegetables. Their freshly made carrot cake was so light and perfectly moist, it didn't even need cream cheese. The waitress was one of the sweetest people I have ever met and gave me as a gift an extra slice of the cake to go. Happy Days :)
The twilight hour is the most beautiful time of the day, whichever city you are in. In Paris twilight makes the city even more magical. I ran out of Merci, realizing I had no time left to do all the things I wanted to do like visitng Louvre and Musee D'Orsay, instead I decided to just walk and see what I could find. I came across a whole area of art galleries, where I got lost for an hour, then I walked passed Louvre catching a glimpse of the glass pyramid, I ended my trip at Pierre Herme, buying Macarons for Sam (check out her collage below) and my hubster. P.S. my dream is to go to Paris for fashion week...
10 Hours in Paris: Mini Guide
Since (rue Saint Roch 75001) for the best vintage, and Le Marais - Freep Star, Roi de la Fripe, for all things thrifty.
Merci, possibly the world coolest concept store @ 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais. Marie France Cohen and her husband, (the team behind the legendary kids clothes brand Bonpoint), opened Merci in 2008, creating a first “Charity Store” (or Magasin Solidaire ) in France, with 100% of their profit (post break even) going to a kids charity in Madagascar. The 1,500 sqfeet store has a library, cafe, interior design space, flower shop, perfume corner, all things for the house and kitchen, a perfect selection of clothes from APC, Vanessa Bruno, Stella McCartney and other quirky designers. Do not miss their delicious cakes and the jewelry from Maison Michel.
Princess TamTam , grown up but cute, affordable underwear! I bought a beautiful thin blue bathrobe and some matching short/top sleeping sets. (At 27, I am trying to stop using old tracksuits and ripped tshirts for sleeping)
Continue down Boulevard Beaumarchais and take the first right, crossing Rue De Turrene to Rue de Thorigny. The streets around the 3rd arrondissement are absolutely beautiful, every turn opens up a new gallery, shop, mini museum. My favourite was Topographie De l'art gallery.
Musee de Rodin is my other absolute favourite place in Paris, although I didn't have time to go there this time.
Every brasserie has pretty amazing food and good wine. For hot chocolate I am huge fan of Laduree, but for macarons I prefer the grown up Pierre Herme.
For a lunch with a view LE GEORGES on the rooftop of Centre Georges Pompidou is unbeatable. (Don't come here for the food, it's all about the views here).
A La Ville de Petrograd - Opposite the Russian cathedral, the chef doesn't speak any English or French, but knows how to make the best borscht 13, rue Daru, 8e, Mº Ternes, tel: 48.88.07.70.
So that was Paris for me, breathtaking, charming, full of history and character. Every street told a story, every turn of the road lead to a new adventure. The city of lights skillfully managed to escape its own cliches, a perfect brand that I couldn't help but fall in love with again.