Last week Joe whisked me off for a short break to Paris for my birthday. Both of us had been to Paris plenty of times, but never together, so it was nice to visit without the pressure of having to do everything touristy and to just mosey about as we pleased.
We got the red eye Euro-star first thing on Thursday morning and arrived in Gare du Nord before making our way to our hotel. Usually, we stay in an air bnb apartment, but we couldn’t find anything last minute so ended up booking a hotel. It’s without a doubt the nicest hotel in Paris I’ve personally ever stayed in. It was called the Select Hotel and we picked it due to its proximity to one of my favourite areas – Saint Germain des Prés – and because it was only about £100 for the night. We were expecting your standard, run of the mill, cheap hotel, but it was a lovely boutique-feel hotel located on a beautiful square with lots of greenery and stunning water features. It was decorated with lots of exposed beams, quirky art and modern facilities and felt like it should have been much more expensive to stay there. The staff were also incredibly helpful and spoke fluent English meaning I didn’t have to use my pigeon French – trust me, a good thing!
After we’d checked into our hotel, we set about meandering around Saint Germain. As I’ve mentioned we weren’t really all that fussed about seeing too much of the tourist stuff, so instead we used our trip to Paris to wander the streets and eat. A lot. We did do one touristy thing, we took a boat along the river Siene which, in the sunshine, was lovely.
I personally can’t stand the super posh, fine dining restaurants in Paris, and much prefer the bistro scene. It feels a lot less pretentious and the quality of the food is usually up there with the best. We went to La Cuisine de Philippe as it was relatively close to our hotel and I’d heard amazing things. Turns out, it’s probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I started with the lobster soufflé which was absolutely divine, then followed it with a beef and orange casserole main. The beef fell apart and was served up alongside some of the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had in my life (my stomach is actually rumbling as I write this). Finally, I had another soufflé for dessert (overkill perhaps, but the place specialises in soufflés so I had to try a sweet one too) and again, it was just heavenly. Undoubtedly one of my favourite ever meals, even more so because it was very reasonably priced. It cost us about 60 euros each including wine and coffee etc.
It’s worth noting that you’ll need to make a reservation if you fancy eating here (we asked our hotel to do it for us) as it’s a tiny set up with about 10 tables. Philippe, the chef, and his wife run the place on their own. Philippe was such a sweetheart and came out and introduced himself to each table. La Cuisine de Philppe is not a place if you’re after fancy fusion trends and delicate, over the top presentation. It’s a place for really good bloody food, in a laid back, friendly setting.
Of course no trip to Paris is complete without a good raid of the pharmacies. I’ve spoken about City Pharma on here before, because it really is the best and cheapest pharmacy. I went first thing in the morning and found it to be quieter than normal. As usual the staff were great and the offers on many cult French classics were unbeatable. I picked up a LOT of stuff which if I went through in this post would surely bore you to death, so I’ll be sure to do a separate post in the next week or so.
An obligatory trip to Sephora was also on the cards. As much as I like the size of the Sephora on the Champs-Élysées, I couldn’t stand the thought of trekking up there, so settled on the smaller, albeit still quite large Sephora’s in the Saint-Germain area. Again, I picked up a few bits so I’ll share what I bought in a post later this week.
A short, but very sweet trip that reminded me of just why I love Paris so much.