One of my good friends recently moved to Paris for a time and luckily, another friend and I got an invite to go and visit! We went for 4 days after easter and travelled with Air France from Birmingham.
Neither myself or my friend Siobhan speak much French so our first challenge was to negotiate ourselves from landing at the airport and onto the train to Gare du Nord, we managed pretty well I thought considering we could have easily ended up on the overnight train to Spain! We met Jenny who whisked us away on the metro to the flat she was renting with her boyfriend. The flat was everything that my imagination considered a Parisian apartment to be, entered through a courtyard, up a crumbly staircase and full of charm from the tiled floors to multicoloured kitchen tiles!
Our few days we had were filled with both a few touristy things and lots of general wandering and rambling around the maze of streets, exploring the shops, sights and markets.
On day 1 it was pouring with rain so we sought solace in La Galeries Lafayettes, a department store to rival all others, with a fantastic view from the roof. We spent rather a long time procrastinating in the food hall which was magnificent. There was an outstanding array of fresh food from seafood to fruit and veg to raw spices and it was a wonder I didn’t spend all my Euros in one go on little presents for everyone! There was also a huge wine and alcohol area – I have never seen so much in one place before.
That evening we went for crepes at arguably the best creperie in Paris, Chez Imogen. They really are fantastic and there were some great flavour combinations – I had one of the specials on that day – chorizo, gherkin, jambon, emmental and a fried egg!
On day 2, after a customary trip to the Louvre we had lunch in a gorgeous little traditional restaurant where I had one of the best Confit Ducks I have ever tasted, before we went off hunting around the cheese shops looking for some great cheese I could bring home to my husband. Dinner that night was had in one the the ‘cool’ bits of town Saint German Des Pres, a lively area with some great looking nightlife, restaurants bars and clubs.
Day 3 first encompassed a Paris Saturday tradition – brunch. This consisted of a lot of gorgeous sweet pastries bought from the local boulangerie and eaten leisurely whilst discussing the day ahead. A tradition I really feel should be introduced into Birmingham very soon!
After brunch we wandered down from the flat all the way down to the Seine, shopping lots on the way before ending up at Notre Dame. We then headed over to the spectacular Sacre Couer, bringing with it another great view of the city. Here I managed to get charmed into being drawn by a street artist before we escaped to have a browse around Montmarte and sample some gigantic waffles from a street food vendor.
On our last day we went to the Musee L’orangerie, housing some of Monet’s greats including Waterlillies. We also caught some of the Paris Marathon which managed to make me feel suitably guilty for all the great food consumed over the few days! To get rid of this feeling we visited one of Pierre Hermes’s renowned patisserie shops to choose a selection of Macarons!!
Sadly we were coming to the end of our visit but before the trip back to the Airport, a quick visit to one of Paris’s great markets – The amount of food on display staggering. If only markets of this size and frequency existed in the UK!
A fantastic trip to brilliant city – a must for foodies, so much to explore and experience.