Last Friday we escaped London for Paris on the Eurostar. We were welcomed by a beautiful, warm summer’s evening at Gare du Nord and - after a quick taxi ride through streets so picturesque that they looked like a film set - we arrived at our hotel, Le Bristol.
We were lucky enough to be ‘double upgraded’ (is there any other kind?) to a suite overlooking the Presidential Palace, and having jumped on the beds and marveled over the size of the closet, headed downstairs to eat at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, 114 Faubourg. I couldn’t recommend this restaurant enough if you’re planning an elegant evening in Paris. If you order one thing on the menu, make it the artichoke soup. Neither of those words sounds appealing alone, but together they create one of the best starters I have ever tasted – and oh-so French.
On Saturday morning we walked to Pont Alexandre II and wandered around the Seine before heading back to the hotel to enjoy the weather on the rooftop. I’ve visited Paris a few times and whilst the sites are stunning, it felt incredible to be in the centre of the city, lying by a pool, and it be so peaceful. That evening we went up to Stade de France for the England vs France rugby game – again something that’s not in the forefront of everyone’s mind when they think of Paris but an activity that’s well worth the visit. Keen to make the most of our evening, we headed down to the Opera district after the match. We found a quintessential café and ordered huge bowls of onion soup and equally as large glasses of Aperol and red wine.
Sunday morning was complete heaven. After breakfast at the hotel, we walked past Hotel des Invalides to the Musée Rodin - a beautiful garden showcasing the best of the French artists work. I had no idea it was there and felt very smug recognising some of the artwork. For 2€ entrance fee, it’s a great hidden gem and an absolute bargain to visit.
Later, we strolled through the Palais Royale (a very special place for my family) and had a quick drink at the café next door before heading to my favourite restaurant in Paris, Chartier. I’ve been going since I was a baby and my parents had one of their first dates there so it was lovely to visit again. If you want typical, French cuisine, I think this is the best place in Paris. Over 100 years old, the former soup kitchen was created to provide Parisians with a place to eat a good meal for a reasonable price. We rolled out after three courses and a bottle of wine having just paid 60€, which is incredible value for the city.
After a quick dip in the pool it was sadly time to go home. Two and half hours later we were back in London and ready to face the week ahead.
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