Paris is always a good idea …strikes or not !

Paris is magical even to us us French . Whether it is on your bucket list or not at all , this city will sweep you away . I rarely have the opportunity to go so I totally feel like a tourist when I go and that makes me appreciate this place even more ! This January was calling for a visit . The Show Maison & Objet was just days before my Mom’s 90’s birthday … Even though I research for new things outside of conventions a lot , this Show has always been amazing , a fantastic source of inspiration and on Alice ‘s bucket list . Paris in winter and during public transportation strike …that won’t lessen our excitement ! It will be cold and we will walk a lot so we will NEED to eat a lot …all indulgences allowed !IMG_0772 (Large)Alice has been working for us for 10 years and her creativity transforms the shop with her beautiful windows and displays . I am sure this trip with get her creative cells in overdrive and she’ll come back with more fabulous ideas for our little shop . It is about time we go to France together ! IMG_3010 (Large)We just landed and yes it is confirmed …the strikes are still going on ; but there is always one going on and I’d rather be that than protests with shops boarded up , so we decide to take the shuttle bus from the airport and then a taxi from the Opera to our hotel . And here we are in the heart of Paris …got to take  at least one tourist selfie ! But the best is that we will have that same view from our hotel window for the next 5 days . Now I am really glad I switch from my old favorite tiny hotel l’ Hotel du Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower (  ) for this one . I’ve been a huge fan of French designer Christian Lacroix  probably because his fashion creations were always inspired by his roots from Provence . Not everybody gets it or like it but I love it ! And the central location is key specially when you cannot rely on public transportation .

The hotel revamp was done a few years ago and since there are plenty of new hip hotels , the prices have gone down.  I found it very affordable with nice size rooms . Plus when the subway is reliable the line goes straight from here to the airport in less than 40mns . (Large)We dropped our bags and head out …we are seriously hungry and it is time for lunch . Serious lunch ! IMG_3012 (Large)I’ve been dreaming about a real choucroute Alsacienne since we missed out when in Strasbourg a couple of summers ago ( there were no way we could eat this kind of food when it is 95F )  Brasseries serve a very typical french menu and in general serve NON STOP all day and that is a big difference with restaurants that will only serve lunch from  noon to 1.30 pm . I still like to go at lunch time so you get the ambiance with the locals who will certainly not go out to lunch at 2 … We love Brasserie Lipp in Saint Germain ( )  had wonderful meals at Le Wepler before to go to the Moulin Rouge  ( ) and we really enjoyed our meal here at Brasserie Flo ( )

We tried both the regular choucroute and the one cooked in beer …loved the rich flavor it brought to the sauerkraut . Ad some real hot French mustard , thick smoked bacon, sausages , knacks, pork shank, potatoes and this will fuel you for the next 10-15 miles you are about to walk ! Ad bottle of mineral water for a total cost of 43E for 2 … amazing to have such great food for only $46 .

IMG_3021 (Edited) (Large)Now we need to walk off these calories … window shopping or “lèche vitrine ” as we say  ( literally “licking window displays ” ) Le Printemps is a bit old fashioned …

The Galeries Lafayettes are always a stand out . You have go to the old building to see its glass dome and the art nouveau architecture . Plus you can find all the top fashion brands . IMG_0783 (Large)IMG_0785 (Large)The roof top offers magnificent views of the Opera Garnier , the Eiffel Tower and to the other side Montmartre Sacre Cœur . They even have an outdoor bar / snacks in summer .IMG_3033 (Large)Next door is also the Galeries Lafayettes Home decor and Food Hall …a concentrate of all the best pastries and chocolatiers like Alain Ducasse

IMG_3043 (Large)One of my favorite is Sadaharu Aoki who opened his very first shop in Paris in 2001.  Using traditional Japanese ingredients and flavors in French-style pastries was a real novelty back then . His style is defined as a combination of minimalistic aesthetics with rigorous French techniques .

King cakes are everywhere right now and eclairs are way more fancy than ever

You cannot miss Laduree …they are everywhere ! All over Paris all the way to the airport . I don’t think you can leave France without buying a box ; even I did after resisting  dozen boutiques, stands in various corners of town until the very last cart inside the gate terminal in Charles de Gaulle ! After all the box alone makes a wonderful souvenir gift that your friends will adore !

The Prada windows were already very spring like …IMG_3031 (Large)While Repetto was all about Valentine’s day IMG_0790 (Large)An other of our favorite designer , Celine Wright  had a whole display of her paper clouds lights  . I find her work poetic and inspiring …an other French made with some Japanese influence

Our first day after just landing here has already been very fullfilling and it is time to head back to our hotel …on foot ! Traffic is crazy at this time and it takes 40mns by car versus 25 by foot . As we are making our way down from the Opera to Place Vendome I remember The Ritz hotel having a cart during the Holidays , selling pastries from their newly crown Best Pastry restaurant of Les grandes tables du Monde . ( )  The cart is no longer there so we wonder inside the galerie and into the patisserie . Cakes look like nothing we’ve ever seen so we decide to buy a couple to take back to our room …we had no idea these 2 would cost us more than lunch …Oh well c’est la vie a Paris and they were delicious ! (Large)IMG_3058 (Large)Please subscribe to the blog to get the next blog post on Le Marais , Maison et Objet …

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