Monday, 6 July 2009

Paris love II

Having just returned from a blissful week of Parisian indulgence, I'm a bit sad to be back in the chaotic metropolis of London town. I had a wonderful week of research, rest, and relaxation.

In the generosity of spirit inspired by the refinement of the Parisian capital, I'll share with you some of my favourite places in Paris:

- Berthillon ice cream on the Ile St-Louis is recognised as the most famous of Paris' ice cream shops and while it is delicious,
Amorino, an Italian gelateria really takes the cake. My favourite branch is in the Marais on Rue Vieille du Temple - they do a divine Amaretto flavour and a cherry and vanilla flavour called Amarena. Yum!
- The Palais Garnier is one of my favourite places to go out in the evening. It's a beautiful neo-baroque theatre which primarily puts on ballets. A little known secret is that you can pick up super cheap return tickets about 45 minutes before each performance.
- Falafel! This trip marked the first occasion of falaffel eating on the rue des Rosiers in the Marais. It was without a doubt the best falafel I ever had - this amazing concoction with grilled eggplant, cabbage, hummas, tahini, falafel, and some spicey sauce! And at only 5 euros a pop, it's the cheapest, most delicious lunch option in town.
- Ladurée. On the other hand, if you're feeling a bit flush or have something of a sweet tooth, Ladurée is one of my favourite places for pastries and sweet things. I could eat their macaroons every day for the rest of my life. There's a branch on the Champs Elysées, but it gets a bit packed. The one on rue Royale is must nicer, especially for lunch.
- Not quite as grand as the Pompidou or the Louvre, the Musée Carnavalet is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon. Carnavalet focuses on the history of Paris and is laid out beautifuly across two ajoining mansion buildings in the Marais. It's also one of the few free museums in Paris.
- Though it isn't strictly in Paris, the château of Versailles is one of my favourite places in the world. It's steeped in history and is astonishingly rich architecturally and aesthetically, but too often overlooked by weekend visitors to Paris. Versailles is easily accessible and even if only made as a day trip simply should not be missed. It is really quite something.
- The top of the Printemps department store. There's a cafe at the top of Printemps which isn't great, but which has an amazing outdoor terrace with splendid views of the city. Skip the nasty, overpriced food, grab a drink and enjoy the panoramic views of Paris. People always make the mistake of going up the Eiffel Tower, but it's better to go up something else so you can actually see Eiffel's masterpiece.
- Last but not least, my favourite place in Paris is the rue de Bourg-Tibourg branch of the Mariage Frères tea shop. As I sit typing this, I'm sipping on my latest purchase, a first flush Darjeeling Castleton, which is divine. The interior is brilliant, the staff are super friendly, and most importantly, the tea is first class.

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