Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My favorite things to do in Paris, part 3

It's been a week since I came back from Paris, but looking at these pictures still makes me slightly nostalgic. Leaving the City of Lights is always hard, especially after such a wonderful week filled with laughter, joie de vivre, delicious food, amazing shopping and general happiness . What's more, going away, even if for a brief time, was the best thing I could do. I forgot all my worries at home, and did nothing but enjoy myself, the city, and the wonderful company of my Parisian friends.

What's really funny is the way the old habits kick in: It's been more than 2 years since I left Paris, but each time I land in France, I transform myself into a real Parisienne. Paris feels like home, and I always feel more confident, independent and happier there. I spend my time walking around the city, instead of driving everywhere, I indulge in sweet treats without remorse, I experiment with lipstick colors, forgetting my favorite nude gloss for a while, and I spend all my money on beauty products and great books. Le bonheur.

Now, I could share a day-by-day recount of all my French adventures with you, but I'd rather let the photographs do the talking. Here comes the third installment of "My favorite things to do in Paris":

 11. Stroll the banks of Seine. This will forever be my favorite thing to do (you can read more here).

Fragonard museum really deserves a visit. You'll learn so much about perfume history, you'll try new scents and you'll have a hard time picking the best gifts in the shop. Plus, the guided tour is free. What could be better?
I have a thing for art nouveau, and this gorgeous vitrage at Musée des Arts décoratifs simply took my breath away. It's one of the most beautiful and inspiring things I've ever seen.

12. Discover new, original museums. Like the Musée des Arts décoratifs where I spent almost 3 hours just wandering the corridors, admiring the originality, wit and talent of so many creative people. Or Musée du Parfum de Fragonard, where I learned the history of perfume making, tested my own olfactory skills, admired the perfume bottles that were hundreds of years old and indulged in a delightful orange blossom scented candle and an intoxicating (in a good sense!) verbena soap.
Also, one of my favorite things is to pick an exhibition on a whim, when seeing the ads on the streets or in the métro. This is how I discovered The impressionism and the fashion last December, and it was one of the best exhibitions I've ever seen. You should definitely give this technique a try!

A quiet moment in the Luxembourg gardens, with a captivating book and a delicious drink (with the added bonus of my name completely transformed by Starbucks).

13. Have a picnic in the gardens. There's no shortage of beautifully designed and maintained gardens, parks and squares full of greenery in Paris. Whether you like private and peaceful, or dynamic and bustling with people, you are bound to find your bonheur. I have several favorites, but Jardins du Luxembourg will always top the list (there may, or may not be some sentimental reasons involved). In summer, they are bursting with flowers as well as with citrus and palm trees, and despite the fact that they are probably the most visited gardens of Paris, you can always find a quiet corner, grab a chair, and spend an amazing hour (or three) reading a book, sipping a fresh drink or cuddling with your other half. Plus, the Medici fountain, Orangerie and the marionette theatre are definitely worth a detour!

14. Have a tea and pastries at Ladurée or at La Pâtisserie des Reves. Another perennial favorite. You simply cannot visit Paris, and not indulge in some of the dainty sweet creations this city has to offer. Whether it's a girly pink Saint-Honoré with raspberries and rose water at Ladurée, or a mouthwatering coffee éclair at La Pâtisserie des Reves, forget the diets or the calories counting, and savor these little parts of heaven. Because that's exactly what they are.
One more piece of advice: there are several Ladurée restaurants and tea rooms scattered around the city, but I would definitely urge you to skip the most "touristy" one at the Champs-Elysées. Not only it's always packed with tourists, which considerably diminishes its charm, it also feels a little bit like a "factory" and it seems to urge you to get in, grab your pastry and get out. If you're after a more intimate and calmer experience, I recommend my favorite Ladurée tea room situated on the Left Bank, at Rue Bonaparte (the Blue salon is especially beautiful!).

15. Wander the aisles of Le Bon Marché. This elegant and chic department store is my new happy place. As much as I love the energy and the endless choices available at Le Printemps, its overcrowded character and its very fast pace can be a little bit tiresome and overwhelming. What's more, for the first time I had an opportunity to visit Le Printemps on the first day of summer sales, and it was both an exhilarating and a scary experience (so people really are fighting for clothes and shoes!). Le Bon Marché, on the other hand, is very calm, serene and has a glamorous and chic feel to it. You may not have as much choice as in the other grands magasins, but the selection is extremely beautiful, chic and very Parisienne. I'm especially in love with their beauty floor where I can discover new and unique brands. Diptyque stand is also rather dangerous: it's very hard to resist all those divine perfumes and gorgeous candles. And I always end my visit in the bookstore on the top floor, browsing through gorgeous coffee table books and picking a bunch of nouveautés to take home with me. Oh, and have I mentioned that there is a genuine English tea room there as well? Rose bakery serves English tea, sweet cakes & tarts and freshly made fruit smoothies. What's not to love?

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  1. Lovely pictures, they really make me miss Paris right now... Glad you had such a lovely time and it's quite funny to see that you went to the Fragonard Museum as I went to the one in Grasse. I'm sure you have some wonderful memories (and souvenirs) to last until your next visit. xo

    PS: Love the Fentimans Rose Lemonade - doesn't get much more British than that ;-)

  2. Beautiful! I want to go back so badly! And now I have another reason: the perfume museum! What an amazing idea, I didn't even hear of it when I went. Sounds lovely :)

  3. Sam @ Frills & ThrillsJuly 9, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    Eventhough I have never been to Paris, your descriptions are so vivid and photos are beautiful, I feel like I have travelled there through your blog

  4. Ivana @ Macarons and PearlsJuly 10, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Merci, Carole! Actually, you were the one who inspired me to check out Fragonard (when I read your description of the museum visit and the lovely candle, I absolutely wanted to see it for myself). So huge thanks for such a great idea! Oh, and the Fentimans Lemonade was a pure delight: I keep wishing I could bring a few bottles home with me!

    Hope you are well! With all the painting and furniture moving around here, I didn't have time to read blogs these past few days, so I'm looking forward to making myself a cup of tea and catching up on all your posts!

    Have a lovely day!

  5. Ivana @ Macarons and PearlsJuly 10, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Thank you, Holly! I know exactly how you feel: as soon as I landed home, I wanted to go back to Paris :) The perfume museum is really worth a detour: it's such a lovely historic place!
    Have a lovely day!

  6. Ivana @ Macarons and PearlsJuly 10, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Sam, thank you so much! This is the best compliment you could give me! I'm so sorry for being such a bad friend lately! I promise to write you a long email soon, and catch up on all your posts (it's been so crazy around here lately!) Hope you are well, and that the autumn weather isn't taking its toll on you!
    Have a lovely day!

  7. I just love experiencing the thrill of Paris through your words and photos Ivana! Your passion for and knowledge of the city is awesome and it's great that you had such an amazing time there cause you deserve it after everything that's been going on lately. It's been years since my last visit there and I'm really yearning to go back but at least I can visit through you for now. Paris definitely seems like a city where hidden treasures are always yet to be discovered. I totally want to have a picnic in the garden and visit the Fragonard Museum the next time I go.

    LOL on the new name Starbucks gave you! They've transformed my name in some interesting ways too :)

    I totally owe you an email which I hope to finish writing tomorrow. Missed you and hope you're doing well sweetie.

    Rowena @ rolala loves
    Enter my Firmoo Eyewear Giveaway!

  8. Wow! These pictures make me really want to visit Paris! That food looks amazing.

  9. I visited Paris recently and you just made me miss the city so much! Thanks for the virtual tour dear! xo

  10. I can't take my eyes off these breathtaking images......thanks for letting us share in the adventure!!



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