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?