a march weekend is a perfect time to visit Paris – especially as we managed to purchase the £52 offer on eurostar together with the advent of spring and warm sunny skies. Paris looked as beautiful as ever, but without the busyness of other months. you have to watch out for the offers, but they are quite frequent and if you are flexible about dates they will always be available.
this time we tried another smaller hotel, hotel des saints peres – ideally situated in st germain, it fulfilled our needs, though wasn’t exceptional – we will keep on searching….. we popped into the bar at l’hotel – which has been recommended to us several times, but thats more pricey, but it did look more opulent and bohemian. the surrounding streets of st germain des pres – rue de seine, rue de bac … are all great window shopping for furniture, antiques and unique independent shops. its why i love paris for its wealth of individual shops – areas dedicated to fabrics, or shoes, or even door knobs – if you avoid the bigger streets, you will not find many of the usual chain shops that you find in london. note that little paris shops shut on sundays and mondays, but window shopping suited us well.
for beautiful inspirational clothes, i still love the Dries Van Noten shop – his forte are prints and this years designs hark back to japanese flowers with the hint of the kimono and the mystic east. just visit the shop to feel inspired – each collection influences the look of the shop interior, this season there is definitely a nod to victoriana with intricate lace, embroidered velvet and chiffon collars as well as the orient. of course it was hard to resist and i treated myself to a beautiful pair of off white wide trousers …..
paris is a city for walking – aim for a gallery or a restaurant or just an area – wind your way through the streets, taking in the wealth of street cafe life. we always seem to find ourselves lost – but thank goodness for google maps! we ate very well this time – sometimes a bit of pre planning helps, as eating out is not that cheap, but if you choose carefully, its affordable. most restaurants offer a menu prix fixe – which means that you can usually get 3 courses at a reasonable price and usually its whats in season that day. we ate in La Ferme Saint Simon, described as japanese/French fusion, but it was more typical french, La Petite Chaise, apparently the site of the oldest restaurant in paris, quite charming and delicious – in just one room and we lunched at the wonderfully atmospheric Chez George – probably our best meal of the trip – but this doesn’t open on a weekend. i totally forget how tightly packed the tables are in parisian restaurants! we ate thai food in madame shawn, in the up and coming Canal st Martin area – pop into the Hotel du Nord for a drink – its where the artists used to visit. we also stopped for a coffee at the very atmospheric le petit fer a cheval cafe in le Marais – take a look at the back restaurant, so wonderfully unspoilt and unmodernised. we also dropped in for a drink at the popular bar /restaurant la Palette where the cheese and ham sharing plates looked great quality. another restaurant we want to try is le Rubis but again not open at weekends.
artwise we visited the Picasso museum, but disappointingly found that only 2 floors were open, due to the instalment of a new exhibition of olga; and a visit to Cy Twombly at the pompidou left me pondering whether i enjoyed the graffiti squiggles on large scale canvas – I always quite liked them in books, but seeing them so large made me wonder. they are definitely unique – but i much preferred his beautiful poloroid still lives.
so here’s to my next visit to paris, probably in another year…..