EATING, SHOPPING, OTHER STUFF
Goop is our bible and Gwyneth recommended Buvette www.ilovebuvette.com (it was uphill from our hotel, so arrived by bike very hot and sweaty). Proper, very small, French bistro with great food and atmosphere to match. Most of the other people there were not French, could they be avid Goop fans too? So maybe it’s not that much of a proper French bistro, anyway we really liked it. Postcript: Have just googled Buvette and it turns out it’s an American operation! Shock horror, so it’s not a proper French bistro after all but it is as near as dammit and if it’s good enough for GP then….
We also went, again by bike, to recently opened, new import from the UK, The Hoxton. We liked the buzziness of restaurant but didn’t love the food, craving a steak frites I chose theirs, but the steak was marinated in ginger and citrus – WTF? However having said all that had the budget allowed we would have loved to have stayed there www.thehoxton.com/paris
Sadly we didn’t have time to visit our all time favourite gallery, the Pompidou Centre, @centrepomidou, to view the work of the optical art founder, Victor Vasarely. But as part of the business trip bit, we did go to the antiques market at Les Puces Saint-Ouen but came away empty handed – maybe because we were on bikes! The warehouse style Paul Bert Serpette section had a much better selection than the alleys on the other side of the road, lots of lovely mid century pieces but at mainly eye watering prices. En route there we stopped for breakfast very near to Montmartre, we’d meant to go to Rose‘s Bakery but overshot it on the bikes and ended up sitting outside on a pretty corner at Kb Coffee Roasters www.kbcafeshop.com which was an excellent mistake, serving delicious brunch and hence very popular.
If you only have a short window for shopping like we did (sacré bleu) then definitely head to Merci www.merci-merci.com on Boulevard Beaumarchais. A temple of complete loveliness to adorn your home, body and skin, it has plenty of off-radar brands, co-labs and fairly unique pieces, in-store art installations or exhibitions are common plus there’s a café. Pick up a handy Merci tote bag and fill it up. Even more reason to go is that whilst carrying every item you could ever want and more, Merci donates heavily to an endowment fund to pay for educational projects and development in Madagascar. Win, win.
Finally, not sure what I was thinking, but I thought for a bit of relaxation after so much cycling and walking (clocked up 15km inside the exhibition space!) it would be an idea to hit a hammam. We picked the one at the Paris Mosque, a female only affair, which also has a very popular and pretty mosaic tiled cafe. The hammam was definitely not up to Istanbul standard (perhaps more on that another day) but it was the perfect antidote after miles of cycling, to spend a couple of hours being scrubbed, heated, cooled and then massaged.
First Grace Sisters business trip in the (Merci tote) bag. Et voila, that was Paris.