After a good ten hours sleep and a missed breakfast, James and I bundled ourselves up in our warmest-winter-wear and jumped in a taxi to The Louvre. We both love art history and had the most gorgeous day perusing the masterpieces, asking the non-English speaking locals to take photos of us being happy and generally being a little bit in love.
From there, we strolled across the fabulous bridge of locks and on through the streets with one perfect destination in mind – Shakespeare and Co. If you haven’t visited this delightful bookshop, please – make it your mission to go. It’s a treasure trove of literature, both old and new – and if you have the kind of affinity for real books as I do, it’s a slice of heaven. I actually got rather emotional upstairs in the library, as a fellow browser stopped to play a tune on the piano and I thumbed the spines of ancient hardcover’s…letting my imagination drift away to dream of all the people who had enjoyed those pages before me. It was a beautiful moment that only fellow book lovers will truly understand.
We explored every inch, breathing in the smell of decrepit and brand new pages, before leaving a message with the thousands of other notes in the alcove tucked away in the children’s section. James bought himself a couple of novels, and I could not resist purchasing a copy of The Little Prince for my Godson. I hope he gets to visit himself one day – but until then, there’s a special stamp in a special book for a special boy.
We weren’t supposed to take photographs in the store but I couldn’t resist a sneaky shot on the stairs, just to give you a small snapshot of how incredible this place is. If I were to leave London? It would be to work here. Magical.
That evening, we took a trip back up over the river to Champs Elysee to soak in the atmosphere of the enchanting Christmas Market and stop in for dinner at the Marriott Champs Elysee – the only 5* hotel on the most famous road in Paris.
Our meal was delicious. I started with an astonishingly rich Foie Gras, Pear and Balsamic Vinegar parfait, whose flavours and textures were perfectly balanced. Halfway through I wondered if I’d be able to finish as it was seriously rich – but “one more mouthful” took over, until every scrumptious scrap had disappeared.
James declared his Onion Soup to be the best he had ever tasted and I have to agree – neither of us could understand just how you packed so much flavour into one seemingly simple bowl. Fantastic.
Main courses were – predictably for us – steak. I chose Rib-Eye while James had the Fillet, and they were cooked just as we asked for. The truffle chips that accompanied them, and the carrot taglietelle were both yummy…but we both ended up leaving the broccollini. It was purple (which is no problem in itself!) but a little mushy and had a strange taste. A shame in an otherwise great course.
For dessert, James opted for the Creme Brulee which was very good. I initially chose the nougat dish but unfortunately may have been a little allergic to something in there so they kindly swapped it for the chocolate fondant with stewed figs – which was smashing. Gooey, dark, chocolatey heaven was cut through by the fruit underneath. It really was a treat.
If you do choose to eat at The Marriott, definitely ask for guidance from the staff for both the food and the wines. We were looked after brilliantly and had a new wine matched with each course, which made the meal extra special.
We waltzed off into the Parisian evening extremely full and satisfied, and a little bit sparkly from all that wine and their beautiful Christmas decorations!
It was the perfect end to yet another wonderful day in the French capital – and back to that amazing Tempur bed at the Legend.
On Sunday morning we drank coffee, mooched around the quiet streets (most of the shops and many restaurants were closed) and navigated our way to Gare du Nord on the metro, before making our way home on the Eurostar mid-afternoon. Our gorgeously romantic little mini break was tiring but packed full of loveliness. If we’d have spent another full day there, I’d have liked to check out Angelinas hot chocolates, La Cigalle restaurant for what @SimonMajumdar assures me are the best souffles in the city and perhaps visited the Moulin Rouge or Crazy Horse.
Oh well. There’s always next time.
What are your favourite things to do in Paris? I’d love to hear any new tips for when we return. Planning new adventures and discovering new things in a city you think you know well is one of my favourite past times.
I already can’t wait to go back!
See the rest of our holiday photos here:
Image credits: All taken by James Whatley and myself – on either Samsung Galaxy S3 or Nokia Lumia 920