|Sunglasses: £20, Next. Sweatshirt: £24, Next. Lipstick: 'Bright Poppy' by Bobbi Brown. Photographs: Marisa Georgas|
What a difference a year makes, last year (for my wedding anniversary) it was sideways rain when I was in Paris. This time round, it was absolutely glorious - perfect blue skies and crisp autumn weather - what Parisian dreams are made of.
So, I made like a proper local and wore stripes - when in Paris, eh? (and while we're on the subject, I really enjoyed this Hadley Freeman article on how to be Parisian - hilarious, as always).
I have been so many time to Paris, but usually only for work so I wanted to actually stroll the beautifully wide Boulevards, have long lunches and enjoy the city. But with limited time, it's a huge city to devour - here's what I got up to in 24 hours...
WHERE I STAYED
Hotel Des Academies et des Art
What a gem of a hotel - one of Mr and Mrs Smith's more affordable offerings (rooms start from roughly £200 a night for a double room). In the Art district on the Left Bank off Boulevard Montparnasse, near Jardin du Luxembourg, it's on the same street where Gauguin lived. Don't expect anything too grand - its rooms are homely yet bijous, the beds super soft and the staff wonderful - just what I was after. It's also on a straight route from Gare du Nord metro line.
|Cashmere mix scarf: £40, Next. Sunglasses: £20, Next. Postcards: bought by the river Seine. Necklace: £16, Next|
|Hotel des Academies et Des Arts|
|Lunch at Vavin, Boulevard Montparnasse. Sunglasses: £20, Next. Snake effect bag: £20, Next|
On the walk to the Seine, you pass numerous Patisseries, often with queues outside - and you have to stop in Bon Marche - foodies heaven. Even if you don't buy, you can adore:
WHERE I WENT
The great thing about Paris is that you can stroll the streets and take in the sights for free. I travelled mainly by foot and metro (which is such great value - €1.80 for a single trip, no matter how many stops/changes).
The Eiffel Tower
Obviously, it's a must - but don't feel you have to climb it - just appreciate its beauty in the landscape (I've actually heard that the view from the Arc De Triomphe is better - but I didn't get to go up it this time as my glasses broke in the queue and had to go back to my Hotel!).
|Coat: £55, Next. Jumper dress: £32, Next. Fringed leather bag: £32, Next. Pom pom flats: £28, Next|
We went super early morning to catch the early light (that's blogging, for you), and walked up to Jardins du Trocadero for the infamous view - there were about 15 wedding and engagement photoshoots happening at the same time - it was quite hilarious. Hashtag tourist.
|Jumper dress: £32, Next|
Musee du Rodin
Half of the museum is currently closed and is due to reopen 12th November 2015 - but it was still wonderful to stroll the beautiful gardens and see the wonderful sculptures (and it's only €7 entry). I felt truly French taking my book, and sitting in the gardens watching the world go by.
|Rodin's 'The Thinker'|
|View across the street from Musee du Rodin|
Ironically, I have always wanted to visit the bridge of love messaged padlocks (my family are all locksmiths) but it wasn't really on my agenda this time. And that's when we accidentally stumbled upon it! It isn't such a dramatic vision as I anticipated, but lovely to see whilst walking post the river, which was how we captured it.
|Riverside strolls. Coat: £55, Next. Sweater: £24, Next. Bag: £20, Next. Jeans: £12, Next.|
|Coat: £55, Next. Cashmere mix scarf: £40, Next. Sweater: £24, Next. Bag: £20, Next. Jeans: £12, Next. Sunglasses: £20, Next. Lipstick: 'Bright Poppy' by Bobbi Brown|
WHERE I DINED
But of course, in Paris, you just eat macarons and hot chocolate,
non? Well, we tried...and Angelinas is the place to do it.
And then from Angelina's, you're a stones throw from Jardins de Tuileries and right by Le Louvre...you decide.
Just walking along bustling Le Marais in the evening is exciting anyway - so many restaurants, bars - so little time! This was a wonderful recommendation from an instagram follower - and it was great. The good thing about Paris is that all the brasseries are pretty much capped, there is nowhere that is particularly pricier than others. You get good quality food for roughly €25 a head. Cafe Charlot is a great brasserie with bustling atmosphere and cool clientele - it reminded me of Schillers in New York (or rather, Schillers reminds me of Cafe Charlot).
And if a day like that won't make you sleep like a baby, then the Bloody Mary definitely will...
I stayed in a complimentary room in Hotel Des Academies et des Art organised by the fabulous Mr & Mrs Smith (but paid for an extra room for my photographer).
This post was in collaboration with Next, which made this entire Frugal Guide possible.