I’m so excited to write this post as I haven’t written anything travel based for such a long time!
This year my darling mother turned 50. During the lead up to her birthday I found myself struggling to come up with the perfect present and then one day the perfect gift hit me… A HOLIDAY!
Once I decided that travel was the only way forward the destination required no thinking time at all!
It just had to be PARIS!
Paris is the one city that I constantly go back too. Why? Because it is super accessable from London (God bless The Eurostar), every inch of it is beautiful to look at don’t even get me started on French food, French shopping and French men.
The mother’s birthday was in October but I wanted to give her something that she could look forward to so I started planning for a mid-February visit.
I thought it might be nice to share with you my trip highlights and my Parisian recommendations.
Pre departure bants.
1. The apartment.
I began the planning by booking our Eurostar tickets and then I booked us a hotel room in a swanky looking hotel in the St Germain district. However, Paris is known for being a little small when it comes to hotel room size and since trying to be better with my money I am constantly wanting to get more for my money. Late one night I found myself trawling through all the Paris listings on Airbnb and found an absolute gem.
Our apartment cost £89 per night. That meant that the total cost for accommodation was under half of what I was intending to pay for the hotel. It also meant that by staying in an apartment we had our own kitchen, living area and dining space.
This meant that we could save money on food and this created probably the world’s cutest breakfast arrangement. We would wake up at 9am, mum would hop into the shower and I would make a quick trip to the bakery which was only a two-minute walk away. By the time I got back mum would be done and I would then hop into the shower whilst she prepared our packed lunches for the day: fresh French baguette with Boursin, cherry tomatoes and a banana each. After all the showering was done we would sit down and eat breakfast together (French pastries and yoghurt) whilst we planned what our adventures were going to be that day.
The apartment was in such an amazingly brilliant location. Just 250m and a 4 minute walk from both the Louvre and the river, this then allowed us to walk absolutely anywhere that we wanted to and we did (more money saving points to us).
Sephora, Collette, the Pharmacies, Galarie Laffayettes and the cute dog shop where you could actually ask the question ‘How much is that doggy in the window?’ Paris is the home to some of the very best shops in the world and we went into the majority of them. By walking everywhere we bumped into some of the most beautiful views and the most exciting shops that we had not planned on visiting. This would not have been possible if we had sat on the metro.
None of the shops that we visited. however, are as fabulous as one of my most favourite shops of all time: Merci. It is located just to the North of the Marais area and it is stuffed full of clothes, homewares, jewelry and some of the most beautiful stationary that you could ever hope to find. Think Anthropologie *whispers* but better! Seeing as I only brought handluggae for our 3 day adventure I had to limit myself to just a couple of items. I left, the proud owner, of two egg cups and a box of matches. That could be the most random mini haul yet! If you can only visit one store in Paris make sure its this one!!!
3. The Waterlillies
In my opinion you can not visit the Musee Rodin when it is cold. Instead you need to visit on a beautifully summery afternoon where you can eat a picnic whilst surrounded by some of the most beautiful and moving sculptures in the whole entire world. Let me tell you that Paris in February is freezing and it is not the time to whack out your home-made French baguettes and settle down on the grass for some alfresco dining. So we decided to give Rodin a miss and we instead spent the afternoon getting lost in Monet’s Waterlilles. They are housed in the building that Monet designed for his work to be hung and is located in the Jardin Tulleries which is worth a walk around itself. I really could sit and look at these paintings all afternoon. I really do think it is probably one of the most romantic galleries in the whole world…just the type of place to take your mum.
4. Late night wanders.
I firmly believe that Paris is best explored and looks its most beautiful at night-time. Whilst Parisians may think that the Eiffel Tower sparkling on the hour every hour once it becomes dark is tacky, I think that it is beautiful and it makes me squeal with such excitement that I startle all that are around me.
Each evening after we finished eating we would take a wander along the River. I am sorry London but in the battle of Thames vs Seine the Seine will win every single time. Lovers padlocks, bohemian folk strumming on guitars after one to many absinthes and beautiful lit buildings mixed together with the cold crisp air biting at your face makes for some truly memorable moments.
5. Traveling with your best friend.
Taking my mum on holiday, just the two of us, for the first time was a magical experience. It was like giving her a big thank you for all the things that she has done for me. I mentioned at the start of this post that I had been to Paris many times before but traveling with your best friend, mother or anyone that you love allows you to see the world through their eyes. You notice things that you otherwise would over look. You find beauty in places that you would never normally venture to and you laugh ALOT! There is nothing quite as lovely as treating your mum and making the time to go on adventures together. No one gets me quite like she does and I don’t think that anyone ever will!
Mother Bear…I adore you.