I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been to Paris, the city of Love – with a French other half, it feels like a home away from home. I always love coming back and there’s always new places to discover. Wandering along the Seine, sipping coffee outside a quaint cafe, gazing up at the shuttered windows and coming across pretty quiet corners – Paris is just perfect for a weekend, whether you’re exploring it by yourself or have someone’s hand to hold along the way.
Last weekend we hopped on the Eurostar (literally hopped, we live in King’s Cross…) and explored the city like locals. Avoiding the tourist trail and bustling museums, we instead wandered from coffee shop to coffee shop, meeting friends and family en route. The whole weekend revolved around food and drink, from hot chocolate and crepes to a glass of vin (or several…) and oysters – we returned full to the brim and with huge smiles on our faces.
Here are some picture postcards from the weekend, along with a couple of places to put on your list next time you find yourself in Paris…
A stunning couple who had just got married had just got out of the blue car above, I was too busy snapping the pretty scene behind them!
Who can spot three little piggies in the photo above?!
So many pretty street corners to stop for an espresso or perhaps even a kir royale or pastis?
We walked along the river to check out the bookshop Shakespeare & Company’s new cafe on the Left Bank. Popular with literary culture in bohemian Paris, you might recognise it’s signature green awning, book stalls and cavernous spaces from films such as Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
The cafe is a welcome addition to while away an hour or so reading a book and sipping a coffee. There’s not much space to sit inside the cafe, but I’m sure those benches will be packed come summer. We had hot chocolate and the tastiest little madeleines to warm ourselves up, but they also had healthy options such as chia seed puddings and brown rice maki rolls.
Another favourite stop was Lily of the Valley on rue Dupetit Thouars. Specialising in teas, infusions and homemade cakes, it’s pretty floral interior is cosy and cute, with a sprawling green ceiling and a comfy bench along one wall. Tea comes in the most instagrammable little vintage cups too 😉
Fueled up, it was time to move on again.
For serious coffee lovers, head to Boot Cafe just around the corner from the Merci shop in the Marais district. The place is tiny, but for what it lacks in size it makes up for with hospitality and bunches of beautiful fresh flowers.
No trip to Paris, I believe, is complete without a visit to the Merci shop on Boulevard Beaumarchais, where you’ll find everyone from locals to chic fashionistas and scruffy students. The concept store and cafe is laid out on three floors in a former warehouse loft, with functional but beautiful homewares, shelves of French linen, eclectic clothing, accessories and more. The coffee shop is cosy and relaxed, with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to dip into and read. But you must take a snap of the red car before you enter…!
If you’re not too caffeined up by now, I also recommend Café Kitsuné at Palais Royal for the perfect flat white. Developed by Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki, this small stand-up coffee bar has a clean, modern look, while the picturesque setting of 17th-century architecture gives it the charm of a quaint European cafe. Have a quick espresso at the bar or get a coffee to go and enjoy it in the peaceful gardens.
Paris, I can’t wait to be back again!
All images my own