Wednesday 28 June 2023

Paris ~ Part one

I'll never forget my first time in Paris. Strolling the streets, marvelling at the beautiful buildings, and eating the most delicious food. The smell of freshly baked croissants drifting through the air, cobbled streets. Parks filled with people having picnics and kids playing with toy boats in fountains. It's magical! Paris is a feeling. I get chills thinking about it. I would move to Paris in a heartbeat!

You can see why I’ve come back 4 times since my very first visit…..and It hopefully won't be my last. Mum and I have talked for years about doing a Mother and Daughter trip to Paris. What a dream come true and even more special that I got to bring Belle, my daughter here with us 3 generations all together. My heart could burst with happiness!

It was time to channel our inner ‘Emily in Paris’ and have the most epic girls trip ever! Since I’ve visited Paris quite a few times now I think I've truly nailed the best places to eat, do and see! If you're visiting or planning to visit Paris, I hope this post helps point you in the right direction. These spots sure made our trips special. You can also find this blog post I did called Paris is always a good idea with a list of all my favourite spots and you can't miss this blog post of our Anniversary shoot we did in Paris. Because it's magical!

Ok, Ready to explore with me?

First stop was the Louvre which was right around the corner from our accomodation, highly recommend staying in this area if your going to Paris. We didn't visit inside this trip as Mum requested not too many museums as Paris has quite a few! You could spend days just visiting museums in Paris. But you can’t not explore outside the Louvre, it's a beautiful spot to see and take a look around.

Finding pretty buildings that matched my outfit!

We popped over to Place du Palais-Royal. Paris is full of both well-known and secret gardens. One of my favourites is Jardin du Palais Royal. It's always had a special place in my heart. Every time I visit Paris, I make sure to pass by even for a little while just because it makes me really happy to be there. What makes this park a bit unique is undoubtedly Daniel Buren’s black-and-white striped columns. A super cute place to take a few snaps, however it was raining so we didn't stick around long.

We headed inside out of the rain to Angelina’s! I’ve been back here every trip I’ve had to Paris and once you try one of their famous hot chocolates you’ll see why! It is one of the most renowned tea houses in Paris. You can find it right opposite the Jardin de Tuileries. Of course nowadays there are a number of Angelina’s throughout Paris and even now in other countries, but nothing comes close to scheduling a rendezvous at the original Angelina itself. I adore this quaint little cafe! Make sure you order one of their sweet treats too, they are melt in your mouth amazing!

Once the rain eased off It was time to explore the beautiful Jardin de Tuileries gardens. It doesn’t get more ‘Classic Paris’ than this park. Stretching from just in front of the Louvre all the way to the Place de la Concorde, this French formal garden has been here since the 16th century. It’s where Parisians come to hang out and is a great place to do the same. There is so much to see in the Tuileries, wide alleys make it ideal for a leisurely stroll on your way to or from the Champs Elysées. Plenty of spots to pick up a coffee or a snack. Oh and don't forget those iconic green chairs you’ll find most of these chairs at one of the two ponds at the park. Perfect to sit down and people watch, however we were lucky because of the drizzle and pretty much had the park to ourselves!

The next day we headed to my favourite museum in Paris. Musée de l’Orangerie home to a 360 degrees painting of Monet's famous lilies painting. As soon as you enter the oval-shaped rooms you find yourself fully immersed from floor to ceiling with Monet's eight water lily paintings. There are seats along the middle of both rooms where you can sit and feel like you are enveloped in Monet’s blues, sweeping greens and expertly brushed water lilies. I actually studied Monet at highschool and learnt what made his paintings so iconic. I really enjoyed myself. One, being able to see these paintings again but also being able to talk to Mum about them. I was able to explain to her just what makes these paintings so special and iconic. I showed her how to stand back from the painting and let all his brushstrokes form his recognizable garden and then to stand right up close and see how his water lilies were formed. It just looked like three or four perfectly placed red brushstrokes, that seem to have been painted at random! But from afar these make the most perfect Lily! If you're visiting Paris I urge you to make time to visit L’Orangerie and experience Monet's world. It’s magical!

Then it was time to hit the shops! I don’t believe there is a more famous street in Paris than the Champs Élysées. Translated to “Elysian fields,” the name of the avenue means heaven on earth. Champs Élysées is an internationally renowned shopping destination, with everyone from high fashion designers to fast fashion retailers installing their flagship stores on the street. At the top of Champs Élysées you will be rewarded with Arc de Triomphe, one of the most iconic sights on any trip to Paris. Best of all, you can climb to the top! Nearly 300 stairs later, you’ll find a viewing platform with spectacular views over the city. It was built to commemorate the victories of Napoleon. It costs around 13 euros to climb the monument and experience the spectacular views over the Champs Elysées and Paris rooftops.

Our lunch destination today was something I was so excited about! If you've been following this blog for a while you will know how much I love high tea. I had heard alot about the high tea at the Ritz in Paris and how unique it was. Gosh I could nearly write a whole separate blog post on our experience. High tea at the Ritz in Paris has been on my afternoon tea bucket list for a long time, the last time I visited Paris the Ritz was closed down for its €200 million four-year long renovation. It's impressive just walking into this hotel, we were seated in the famous Salon Proust room where the high tea is served with its gold and red velveteen sofas and armchairs.

For our first course rather than the traditional 3-tiered stand our waitress brought us two plates, with their famous madeleine’s infused with milk. Setting the plates down, we are given the history between Author Marcel Proust (who the salon is named after) and the madeleine. In one of his books, he wrote a whole page describing a madeleine – the little lemon flavoured cake which is a classic of French cuisine. When we taste……sublime! These little meringues are just one of the main reasons why their high tea is so famous.

Finally it arrives. We take a deep breath and look at each other in shocked amazement as the waitress explains its contents. The stand is completely full to overflowing. And it’s all sweet. No little sandwiches, no savoury tarts. Instead, it’s petits fours, little gateaux, tarts, biscuits and tuiles.

Don’t be fooled by all the light biscuits and mini cakes: it’s just not possible to finish everything that’s presented. A box of untouched goodies are yours to take home, I loved our experience and every little detail. If you don't have time to spend an afternoon indulging then make sure you pop around the corner to Le Comptoir Ritz Paris yes that's right The ritz even has their own swanky hotel bakery! Here you can also try François Perret's sample of the crème de la crème of baked goodies and his signature desserts like Proust madeleine or purchase a few to take home to enjoy later.

If you're looking for a free view over the city then I know just the place! Galeries Lafayette’s another great shopping destination in Paris. Now, even if you’re not looking to go shopping, head up to the rooftop of the Galeries Lafayette department store. Eight floors up, this terrace offers a really impressive 360° view over Paris, with the Opera House in close range and the Eiffel Tower as the stately backdrop. The store itself has a famous stunning glass dome which makes this also one of the most beautiful destinations to shop in Paris!

More Paris adventures coming soon!

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