48 hours in Paris: little time before me and a lot to see. Challenge accepted!
I was actually invited to join my aunt and my cousin from New York, another aunt from Valence and my mum and sister from Lyon for a weekend as my aunt and cousin from the Big Apple work in fashion and had to be in the gorgeous French capital city for fashion week! Okayyyyyy if I have to!!!!
So I caught an early afternoon plane from Belfast to arrive in the evening in Paris. Interesting fact: bus tickets bought 3 years ago and stored in a tin box ever since still worked!
I already described in A Weekend in Dublin how much I luuuuve Airbnb, so here again we opted for a really stylish and cosy Airbnb apartment close to the Porte Dorée (12th arrondissement).
Ravished, we met friends and family at one of Paris most trendy and scrumptious restaurant, Chez Mamy, where we were lucky to enjoy succulent French food (foie gras, clams, beef cheeks, slow cooked lamb, cheese platter, crème brûlée, tarte tatin, baba au rhum, rice pudding with salted caramel sauce and other delicious stuff I forgot!), flawless music and an edgy interior design. I truly believe that all the coolest and most stylish people of Paris decided to meet there on Friday night! But it was yet surprisingly not snobbish in the slightest.
On Saturday, it was so hot in Paris I couldn’t believe my eyes! We headed for the Tuileries for lunch where my aunt and my cousin had their fashion exhibition. At normal times, the Tuileries Garden is usually packed with beautiful and fashionable people, so can you imagine how it looked like during fashion week? Extravagantly, edgily and scandalously well dressed people everywhere = heaven for people-watching lovers like moi! Apart from the people, the Tuileries is also one of the most beautiful places in Paris in my opinion. At the heart of the capital city, you can see the Luxor Obelisk on the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe of the Carrousel in front of the Louvre Palace and Pyramid, the Musée d’Orsay and even the Eiffel Tower in the distance, from the comfort of one of the many long chairs provided by the gardens. I simply love the Tuileries; if I lived in Paris I would come every weekend, have a coffee and pretend to read my book while actually do some people-watching for hours…
After lunch, we went for a walk around the Tuileries, strolled through the The Arc de Triomphe of the Carrousel (picture above), passed the jam-packed-with-tourists Louvre, and crossed the Pont des Arts, better known as the “Love Locks” Bridge, where thousands of lovers once added their locks engraved with their initials, symbolising their eternal love (I know awwwww, right?). Unfortunately, all the locks were removed as their weight was dragging the bridge down (45 tons!! cough cough cough!!). It’s now covered with cool graffiti art instead! We then couldn’t resist stopping at each and every bouquiniste (second-hand book sellers) of the Quai des Grands-Augustins, who probably make most of their money by selling posters, post cards and Eiffel Tower shaped key rings rather than books sadly enough. Finally, we arrived at the majestic Notre Dame de Paris! It was all in all a really nice, lazy walk in the stunning sunshine I must say!
We finally arrived at the Institut du Monde Arabe where we really wanted to see an exhibition on Osiris that looked fascinating, but oh! horror and disappointment when we saw the enormous queue in front of the exhibition… Instead of losing our precious time, we went to a photojournalism exhibition where no one queued at. It was beautifully exposed, in a dark room with lights coming from behind the photos, but the photos themselves were rather hard to look at with themes such as Ebola, a wounded Ukraine and the Syrian War… We then decided we well-deserved a coffee at a sunny terrace! To be quite honest we were quite outraged! When you go to Paris you expect a certain level of rudeness and badly served over-priced food and drinks – it’s not too much to ask, am I right? You’d be surprised! Not only was the waiter very friendly (and rather nice looking I might add), the coffee was delicious AND the price was the same as anywhere else in France! What a scandal! Paris is definitely not what it used to be!
We continued our stroll through the narrow streets of Paris and met… Claudia Cardinale! Who was ever so charming, she didn’t mind at all that my aunt and my mother were acting like young groupies, telling her she was their feminine role model growing up (I suspect it actually made her day!). She told us she was still filming at her age (77!!) and she was making her 152nd film to date! How amazing! All this emotion made us hungry for shopping, so after passing the Bastille and the Place des Vosges, we stopped at a few shops, including a vintage shop called Sissi’s Corner where you could find literally all the luxurious brands you could think of (I very nearly succumbed for a gorgeous Moschino black leather coat and a really cool Le Coq Sportif black leather bowling bag – I’m in my black leather phase I guess). It’s not cheap if you’re looking for normal second-hand stuff, but considering the quality of the items, it’s actually far from expensive!
After walking what felt like 100km, we finally met the rest of our group for dinner in Belleville. We ate again much too much food at a splendid Vietnamese restaurant called Le Président until one of my aunts spilled curry sauce on my vintage dress, while my other aunt ran to bury the spot with some strange-looking stain-removing powder, in the middle of the restaurant, without really realising I would need to shake off the powder somewhere at some point… (did I mention we were still in the middle of the restaurant?) Yes, quite a lot of alcohol was involved that evening! If ever you are worried for my dress (thank you by the way), you’d be happy to know that the strange-looking powder did work in the end and that my dress is spotless!!
Sunday – after sobering up a bit, we headed for the Tuileries for yet another lunch in the sun (Lebanese take away this time, YUUUUUM!!!), though the temperature was clearly much lower than the previous day! We thus strolled up and down the rue de Rivoli after lunch to warm us up and finally hid from the freezing wind in a nearby Starbucks (I know, it’s quite lame, but the warm Pumpkin Spice latte made it up for it!) before finally departing all in our respective directions. *Sadface* time flies when you’re having fun!
48 hours in outfits – What I wore for a stylish but practical weekend (have to consider we walked a bloody hell of a lot!):