In Audrey Hepburn's words "Paris is always a good idea" oh boy! she was SO right wasn't she? so with my well thumbed guide books in hand, we headed for a four night stay in this city of lurve at Easter.
The first time I visited Paris I was eighteen, I hitch-hiked from Le Harve with no idea where to go, what to do and nowhere to stay. Rookie mistake!! It was during this trip that I vowed that that was the last time I would ever visit a city without at least a bit of research, a vague plan and a back pocket full of cool places to people watch and get my fix of good coffee.
I've never been one for heading to the tourist traps, so when I came across Messy Nessy's blog and book 'Don't be a Tourist in Paris' I knew it was a done deal. Another bible that made it into the rucksack was Elodie Rambaud 'Paris Style Guide' full of cool hang outs and quirky shops. I'm not sure four days was enough time given the amount I'd book marked.
We arrived late afternoon and after dumping our suitcases at the hotel we hot footed it straight over to Montmatre to seek out a little bit of Amèlie's magic.
Instead of making a bee-line straight up the hill to the Sacrè-Cœur we meandered around the surrounding cute little side streets, filled with fabric outlets and independent shops, stopped off for an obligatory carafe of red to numb our legs before pumping up the steps to the Sacre-Coeur to enjoy the views of the city spread out below us.
I could have sauntered around Montmatre forever, but we were working up an appetite for our supper, so after bookmarking a few places, the consensus was to go to Le Refuge des Fondus. This as it happened, was the perfect way to finish off our first day "not being tourists" it was hilarious!
We knew to expect our wine in baby bottles, but we didn't expect to have to climb over the tables to our seats (space was that tight) and to be on first name terms with our fellow diners by the end of the night. This place is a must if you're in the area (but be warned, don't wear your favourite flammable outfit)
Day two we headed to La Marais, starting the day the right way and seeking out a good brunch spot. I think we found my favourite place EVER!! Holybelly - don't be put off by the queue outside, it soon dispappears, the all-day brunch menu and coffee is to die for.
La Marais is a shoppers paradise, brimming with cool independent shops and has something for everyone, whatever your jam is, once my belly is full, mine is a corker of a homewares shop, in case you hadn't figured this out already. Here are a few places that I wore out the rubber on my trainers.
We did succumb to some classic touristy sights in Paris, but we did them slightly differently. A visit to see the Louvre Pyramid at night and instead of climbing the Eiffel Tower, we elected to drink yet more wine with a picnic on the grass underneath it (nothing to do with my fear of heights)
One of my most treasured memories was hiring a little sail boat to push along in the pond at Le Jardin du Luxembourg, for just 4 Euro you are transported back to a time when ipads and Netflix simply didn't exist, a blissful afternoon.
The rest of the trip was largely made up of eating brunch, visiting beautiful independent shops, and strolling through parks that brought tears to my eyes with their beauty (with a few wine stops thrown in for good measure).
Hope you've enjoyed the tour. Now when can I get back? Let me know if you find any cool spots that I need to add to my itinerary.