How To Spend A Weekend In Paris

I spent last weekend in Paris for my Dad's 60th birthday. When we asked him what he most wanted to do to celebrate the occasion, spending time in the French capital with the family was the immediate answer. Paris is special for us all; we've spent a lot of time here together and some very poignant family moments have taken place there. From infamous tantrums storming across the Tuileries (me) to inhaling a creme brûlée in one (sister) it's all happened here. As we know the place pretty well, our weekend was full of visiting favourite haunts and discovering a few new places away from the obvious places. I wasn't planning on doing a post but when so many asked for tips and tricks via Instagram I thought I may as well. Pop the kettle on and have a read.

outfit links = jacket / jeans / trainers / tee and similar here / bag and similar here / sunglasses

product links = overnight bag / trainers / croissant tee and team colette tee / marble lap top cover

We decided to stay with Air BnB rather than a hotel. As there were four of us, hotels get really expensive as we'd have needed two rooms - and we find that staying in a home means we feel we can get more "in" with the culture of the place. We found a place (read: my sister did, I had very little to do with the organising) on Ile Saint Louis - a pretty little island smack in the middle of Paris. Walking distance to Le Marais,  and we walked to the Louvre in 15 minutes. If you wanted to, you can catch the water taxis from a little harbour 2 minutes from the flat. There are lots of little shops, bars and restaurants in the area too that are worth an explore.

products links = trench coat similar here / black leather handbag

You can find better pictures on the listing here, and it's worth noting the host was lovely to deal with. Couple of points also worth a mention; firstly, it is on the 4th floor and there is no lift so if you're coming with little ones you'll need to carry them upstairs (there is ample room for buggies in the entrance) and although it states in sleeps 6 you'd need 6 people who know each other well as the flat is open plan and you'd have 4 people effectively sleeping in the same space. That said, for 4 it was perfect and I'll most definitely go there again. If you've never used Air BnB before, then use this link to book as you'll get £30 off your booking.

Our parents didn't arrive until the evening so my sister and I made the most of it being just us and head straight to rue Saint Honor to coo over all the gorgeous stores. If you're into Parisian-cum-Scandi style you'll like it around here. It isn't necessarily the cheapest place on earth, but there are affordable items and it's Instagram opportunity central.

We first went to Fragonard, which I didn't realise was a thing. My sister bought me their wash bags (find them here) when she lived in the South of France I thought they'd come from a quintessential market - thats very much their style. I use them every day and they're a godsend when travelling. If you like white cotton, embroidery and sweet smelling stuff this place is great. Ooh and if you do go to one of their stores please make sure you sniff the Brioche candle because it actually smells like baked goods. Or rather "baked really goods."

Next, Colette. It really is a place of happiness. Alongside Merci (which is further down in this post) it's my favourite place to shop in Paris. The fashion areas have all of my favourites, from Zimmermann, to Holiday (if you like stripes and simples, this is amazing) to APC's new range Hiver 87. It's all sort of effortless fashion but hipster central, everyone there is a "flat white" customer. Go with it as it's great for a browse, and prices aren't that horrendous. I bought my "Team Colette Paris" tee for 40€, here.

We then retreated back to the nest to meet the parents, freshened up (threw my credit card in the Seine to avoid a spontaneous Zimmermann purchase) and the head out for dinner around the corner from our flat. As I said before, Sant Louis has lots to offer and the street out apartment was on had the Saint Regis on the corner - a paired back French bistro with a classic menu and great people watching. The Aperols were strong, the parents loved it, and my scallops were insane.

The next morning we pottered around for a bit before heading to the Marais district for breakfast. My parents had found Carette inside Place des Vosges on a previous trip and wanted to go back. Mum and Dad are really good at recommendations so we weren't going to argue. Sure enough, this one was brilliant.

I love breakfast, it's my favourite meal of the day. This one in particular was a feast of everything a Parisian start to the day should be. Ultra strong coffee (ask for extra milk if you can't cope with anything stronger than a single slot latte), fresh orange juice and enough carbohydrates to fuel an army. My sister had the "scrumbled eggs" too, which they cook and then bake in the oven with cheese on top. Enough said.

Next, the ultimate cliche; Merci. Yeah,obviously we stood by the car and took photos and obviously we bought the 5€ string charms and oogled over everything. That's what you do, right? If you're feeling in any way sensitive about the state of your home, don't go here because it'll only make you feel worse. 

Merci's home department only shows us Brits up and they make it look so easy. Who else could pile up string in a way that makes you want to buy it all? A worn pair of Reeboks? Yes please. A woollen salami? I'll take three! Even the way they stack plates is cool. I left with a few bits, but ultimately determined to improve my flat to Pinterest-worthy Merci-ness (hence all the pictures).

Worth also mentioning that we found a place called Maison Plisson that is effectively a French version of Daylesford. We could have bought the whole store, but limited it to a couple of mugs and was sad to leave a jumper with "Paris Champagne Team" behind because frankly, I want to see what it would get you in life...

After an afternoon shopping it seemed only fair to give Dad a break and a sit down. We head over to one of our favourite spots. We call it the "Tintin cafe" and if you go on my recommendation please tell me if you spot why... The sun came out just as we sat down and a strings orchestra pitched up and played Vivaldi (I got some excellent brownie points for knowing one of the tunes was "Spring") whilst we devoured pate and lemon pressions.

We then head back to the apartment for a rest and to get ready for the evening. We ate at a great place  called Le Grand Colbert which I'd never been to before but the rest of them had. I didn't take many pictures as it was quite dark, but I'd really recommend it if you like quality French food. I had oysters, steak and a massive Baked Alaska (which, curiously, the French translate as a Norwegian omelette) which they "cooked" on the table in front of us. Wine was great too...

On the way we stopped at Palais Royale. This place is very special to us, we've been taking snaps of us all since my sister and I were babies. It's also the first place Gus and I took photos of us together, following a weekend at Le Bristol hotel ten minutes away during the Rugby World Cup... 

outfit links = jumper / earrings / trainers / velvet flats / trench coat / bag

The following day we popped over to Gare du Nord to store our luggage, and then walked to the Opera area. It's full of hidden passageways with stalls and restaurants - really worth an explore. We'd spotted a cafe called Le Brebant on Rue de Faubourg that we wanted to check out, and even though the coffee was quite expensive we really weren't disappointed... The interiors!

Next we went to Galleries LaFayette which has vastly improved and got three floors of brilliant womenswear, absolutely loved it. Before lunch, Mum wanted to pop into a little sweet shop she always goes too - also on Rue de Faubourg. It's called Maman de Famille and is like walking into a time warp. We bought some dark chocolate orange peel and tested out the lemon chocolate before making our way to the headline act...

Our last stop was rather special. This restaurant is very personal to us and I very nearly didn't post about it. It's tucked away on the same street, and it's called Chartiers and it's an institution. My parents first came here in 1981, we've since spent very memorable times (from my 1st birthday, to Dad's 60th) here. I brought Gus here two years ago and it he hadn't liked it, it would have been an issue.

A former Victorian soup kitchen, nothing has changed inside. Recent changes include a shop selling memorabilia at the front, and they now accept cards (there used to be an old lady by the kitchen door who did all the accounting...). You can't book, expect to queue and to be sat next to strangers (who for us have often become friends, at least for the afternoon), the pace is fast and the wine is cheap. Hell, all four of us had three courses, aperitifs and coffee and the bill was 96€. Where else in Paris can that happen? If you do one thing from this list, please let it be Chartiers. 

Thoroughly full of steak, chips and way too much bread we then head home! I hope this helps you plan a weekend away to my favourite place.

Photos taken on the Olympus Pen 7 here using the 25mm lens here



Anonymous said...

I adored this post! So many gorgeous pictures and outfits. I can't believe you know Chartier, it's been my family's favourite restaurant for years, it makes me so happy that it's someone else's fave too! xxx

Polly said...

So much love for Chartier - my parents honeymooned in Paris many moons ago and recommended it to me when, years later, I went with my boyfriend (now husband). So special. xx

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