Thursday, December 11, 2014

We'll always have Paris

There's nothing quite like escaping to Paris for the weekend. More so, there's nothing quite like escaping to Paris for the weekend with your significant other. I was lucky enough to get to do both over the weekend. As someone that travels often for work and does most of their sightseeing alone, there is no better feeling that getting to travel with your best friend and share all the sights and experiences of another city with them.

Thomas Jefferson once said, "A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life." He most certainly wasn't wrong.

The trip didn't have the smoothest of starts, we almost didn't make our flight (I won't even go there) and feeling extremely relieved and slightly groggy after a gin and tonic induced sleep, we touched down at Charles de Gaulle and made our way into the city. After having my feet firmly on the sand in Dubai for the last month, the cooler temperatures, Christmas lights and decorations gave me my first proper taste of the festive season. It was a magical sight driving into the city and seeing the sparkling lights on the Eiffel Tower and festive decorations all over the Champs-Élysées. Our hotel, Hôtel D'Orsay, was tucked down a little street about a minute's walk from the Musée d'Orsay in Saint Germain. After checking in, we wandered down through the neighbourhood and grabbed dinner at a local restaurant Mucha Cafe before turning in for the evening.

Our first day started as it should when in Paris with delicious fresh croissants and coffee followed by a train ride to Disneyland. We arrived as the gates opened and weaved our way through the crowds of parents, grandparents, children and girls in princess dresses to hit the rides. I refuse to believe I am too old for Disneyland and had such a good day there. We left as the sun was setting, full of hot dogs and pick and mix sweets and made our way back to the hotel. After a quick nap we headed out, strolling past the stunning Louvre Palace to Chez Denise, a restaurant notorious for serving up some of the best french cuisine only to find they were fully booked for the evening! Having gazed into the windows of far too many restaurants and boulangeries on the way there I was absolutely starving and suggested we find somewhere to eat quickly before I succumbed to eating my weight in pastries. We backtracked to a restaurant we had passed earlier called Le Fumoir, the restaurant was busy and full of French people which one can always take as a good sign so we headed in and were not disappointed at all. The food was incredibly tasty as was the wine and the staff were fantastic as well. After walking back across the Seine we headed home to bed.

The second day began with a visit to the local boulangerie to stock up on crossaints, pain au chocolats and an assortment of other pastries for breakfast, followed by a visit to the Musée d'Orsay which is definitely worth checking out. We then meandered down the surrounding streets making our way to a lunch reservation near the Eiffel Tower. Our travels took us past many beautiful stores and florists and I got some very strange looks as I stopped to smell real Christmas trees being unloaded off a truck outside one of the florists - the things you take for granted in Dubai! One store worth a mention is Maison M Paris a concept store full of luxurious sheepskin and fur throws, gorgeous glassware, leather notebooks, handmade cards, cookware and a multitude of other beautiful things including a huge M light - which you'll see laterAll our walking obviously justified us another trip to a boulangerie for eclairs and we slowly made our way down the Champ de Mars taking in the beautiful autumn colours, fresh air and Eiffel Tower. 

Our lunch destination was Les Ombres and it did not disappoint. Situated on top of the Musée du Quai Branly, the restaurant has an amazing, unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower and the cuisine is to die for. It truly was a magical lunch. We then headed down a very overcrowded Champs-Élysées back to Saint Germain for more wine at a local bar followed by a quick visit to the neighbouring Macaroon shop before sadly making our way to the airport.

There's still so much I would like to see, do and eat in Paris and there's just no way a weekend can do it justice. So au revoir pour l'instant Paris, I'll be back!