Bonjour, Paris

A few weeks ago I treated myself to a birthday visit to Paris. It's only two hours on the train, so I thought, let's just go for the day. It didn't exactly feel like a treat waking up at 5am with a sore throat. I had to drag myself to the train station where only the extra large size cappuccino gave me that necessary push to get my sleepy head on the train. But once I was there I had forgotten about the early wake up call, Paris was basking in the sun and I was ready for my one-day holiday.
The main reason for my Paris visit was the phenomenal exhibition of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founding fathers of the Magnum photography agency and the man who shot all major historical moments of the 20th century. What a life that man had! The exhibition is finished now but if you can find one of his books, you will recognise so many iconic photos. 


I had been saving some new addresses to visit in Paris and was so looking forward to try them out. Here's my list of discoveries that day and also some that I visited before but are still favourites.

First stop was Café Pinson. When you wake up at 5am I think you are allowed to have two breakfasts. I smelled cinnamon when I passed the bar and choose one of the comfy window sofas. I was the first guest that morning. They were still baking the madeleines that look so good on the menu and would have been my choice for breakfast, but the trio of tartines with homemade spreads was a good other option. The apricot jam was my favourite and the not too sweet chocolate spread a second, the butter with sea salt, almonds and hazelnuts not so, but I gave it a try anyway. Everything is organic and homemade in this new and cosy coffee and lunch spot and everyone was so friendly and helpful. In good coffeehouse tradition there is free wifi and baskets full of French magazines, although reading all those articles on cellulite and diets is not so good when you just tuck into a chocolate covered baguette. I almost wished I had been here for lunch when I saw the nice salad menu. Wholefood, organic, homemade, yes the green wave has arrived in Paris too.

Café Pinson
6 Rue du Forez
75003 Paris
and in
58 Rue du Faubourg Poissonière
75010 Paris
website


From Café Pinson is a 15 minutes walk to the Centre Pompidou, hub of contemporary art, along the nice Marais quartier. From Centre Pompidou is another short walk to one of my favourite spots in Paris: the Notre Dame cathedral. I love the place for its history, but most of all because you can cross the bridge over the Seine there and have an amazing view.
On the other side of the bridge you turn right and then take the first street on your left that leads to a cute corner tea bar called Odette. I had my most expensive coffee in Paris there and a cream puff bun in the same price range, but you pay for the cuteness and the idyllic view of the cathedral. Sipping your expensive coffee while listening to the church bells. From there you can take a nice stroll along the Seine walking from bridge to bridge (the famous one with all the padlocks attached is there) and let yourself being absorbed by the city while waving at the tourist boats passing by.

Odette
Rue Galande 77
75005 Paris
Website




At the far end of the Marais quartier is a lovely little park with swings and slides for children to play, Square Casimir Perree. You almost forget you are in Paris there, it feels like a village in the city. A few years ago we had a very cosy lunch on one of the corners: Chez Sancerre and I was happy to see the place was still packed with locals and the plates looked still great. At another corner of the park is Bar Manfred, where they serve cocktails and burgers.




But on the other side of the little park is now a brand new concept store: The Broken arm. Trendy and hip designers, think more I-D magazine than Kinfolk and gadgets that fit the uber trendy fashion. Downstairs is a great selection of coffee table books too. The fresh cucumber and apple juice gave me an afternoon health kick at the annex breakfast and lunch café. With the afternoon sun warming my back and The New York Times magazine to read (yes, an English magazine in Paris!) I stayed longer than planned. I am on holiday, who cares about time then. The Broken Arm has a relaxed but trendy atmosphere, I saw quite a few Japanese tourists and Frenchmen with black rimmed glasses.

The Broken Arm 
Rue Perrée 12
75003 Paris
website






I like to go to Paris every other year and here are some other great spots I have visited before:

Cafe Breizh for the authentic Breton crêpes with a bowl of apple cider
109 Rue Vieille du Temple
75003 Paris
http://www.breizhcafe.com


Come à Lisbonne where you can have your take-away Portuguese custard tarts. Just the right amount of sugar boost to keep you going shopping.

37 Rue du Roi de Sicile
75004 Paris



Le Loir dans la Théière for afternoon tea and cake and to rest your shopping feet in Le Marais quartier.

3 Rue des Rosiers
75004 Paris




A bientôt!

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