15 November 2012

One Day in Paris

What better way to celebrate entering the last year of my third decade than by hopping over to Paris for the day? The last time I was in Paris for my birthday was in 2005, when Papa had wanted to surprise Maman for her birthday, which is the day after mine, so he flew her over for the day. The Bro and I, meanwhile, took the Eurostar over the night before, staying at Moniseur Exquisite's, before rendez-vous-ing with the parents in the Jardin du Luxembourg just before lunch.

There was no overnight stay this time--just a very early start, which was worth it means you can be strolling along the Canal Saint-Martin by 11.30. Before that, though, there was the excitement of a birthday gift on the Eurostar. As well as Prince Charles, BBC Radio and the Top 40, I also share my birthday with Eurostar, who were celebrating their 18th and giving out bottles of champagne to the fastest two 14 November babies on the train. Thanks, Eurostar!

Top: Canal St-Martin; Louvre by night. Bottom: Birthday gift from Eurostar;
posing on the canal; the padlocks of Pont des Arts

Paris turned out to be very chilly yesterday. It was also grey and foggy--the opposite of the bright sunshine I had seen in the forecast. This meant a trip up the Eiffel Tower was out, but a long wander along the canal and through the Marais was very much in. We ate lunch at Merci, a hip lifestyle boutique on the boulevard Beaumarchais. After perusing the pretty, colourful scarves and the beautiful and (occasionally) useful homeware products, it was lunchtime and luckily Merci also has a couple of cafes and a restaurant. I ate a delicious pesto risotto with bresaola and parmesan at the latter, saving enough room for a mid-afternoon chocolate éclair from Miss Manon in the Marais. I was also keen to prove that it is actually possible to get a decent macchiato (or noisette, as they call them) in Paris, and La Caféothèque, on rue de l'Hôtel de Ville, did not disappoint (I'll be reviewing this in a separate post).

Cheeky afternoon snack in the Place des Vosges

After a little more strolling, a little more (window) shopping and a lot more trying to keep warm, we ended up at Le Bon Marché, my favourite Parisian department store. I just about managed to resist buying some beautiful bedding, which was exactly the colour I have been searching for, but which was also way over my self-imposed budget. A consolatory steak-frites at Le Relais de l'Entrecôte, one of the Parisisan originals of my favourite Marylebone steak-house, Le Relais de Venise. I say "consolatory," but the steak and accompanying fries were both excellent.

This only left time for a brief amble over the Pont des Arts and back to Gare du Nord, via the Louvre and its pyramids. I love to walk through there at night when the lights are on and there aren't many people around. And then I was back in SOTR by 11.30, after a tiring but very fun birthday.

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