Just before Christmas we made our way over to Paris for a spot of culture and shopping. We didn't get around to half the stuff we had planned, but we thought we'd offer up some highlights here, as well as a few links to other places to check out for inspiration if you're planning a trip.
We took the Eurostar from the recently re-opened London St Pancras. We weren't actually all that impressed with the new station - the boarding procedure forces you to wait in a cramped area under the platforms rather than up in the station itself, which feels like a really missed opportunity. But at least the train is greener than taking the plane.
Our favourite shop was Le Petit Atelier de Paris, which is an utterly wonderful combination of shop and workshop, featuring a fine collection of ceramics and other products. We picked up a ceramic alphabet, and were deeply tempted by a post-modern interpretation of a dog kennel.
We also shopped at Les Archives de la Presse, a bonkers shop stacked to the rafters with old magazines and journals, as well as the odd poster or two; at Colette, a high-concept design and fashion store, which veered a little too close to achingly-hip for our tastes; and at the brilliant I love my blender, a warm and friendly bookstore in Le Marais.
After all that, we stopped off for a bite too eat at the lovely Le Loir dans Le Theiere, a charmingly boho cafe with a speciality in huge and gorgeous desserts.
We then moved on to a spot of art.
First we headed over to the Palais de Tokyo , which houses an exhibition space, a product design store, and a great bookshop. Just next door we checked out the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, which has a remarkably good modern art collection, though it feels slightly eclipsed by the groovier one at the Centre Pompidou, where we saw a fantastic Richard Rogers exhibition. More on that later.
Things we noticed about Paris:
The Parisians just love to smoke while they eat and drink. But as of yesterday, they're not allowed to.
It's really quite expensive.
A croque monsieur is one of the finest dishes known to man.