I'm sitting on the Eurostar on my way back to London St Pancras after a lovely weekend walking the streets of Paris. Olley and I decided against buying each other more 'stuff' that we didn't need as Christmas gifts and instead bought ourselves a trip to Paris.
We haven't visited this romantic city together since before the children were born – except for one of Olley's birthdays when we went for lunch, but that was with the children and my parents, so the romance was a bit lost on us!
You can fit lots into 48 hours, and we did! The Metro and bus systems are quick and convenient, and easy to understand, but we walked a lot too. And took the boat… we boarded the Bateau Mouches as dusk fell and the Eiffel Tower was lit up by 20,000 gold-toned lights which apparently took 25 mountain climbers five months to install.
Travelling up the Seine is a good way to get your city bearings and see some of the main sights – including the Louvre, the Notre Dame and the French answer to the London Eye (not half so impressive, though.) The boat has powerful lights on either side so the beautiful architecture is floodlit to stunning effect.
But Paris isn't just about the big names – there are so many wonderful little cobbled streets with bistros, brasseries and cafes to sit in and linger over a cafe au lait (or vin rouge!) and we also found a bustling street market filled with mouthwatering foods of every description.
The white domes of the Sacre Coeur Basilica are visible from much of the city, and inside is the most beautiful and ornate decorative ceiling – how did they paint upside down? The church sits atop Montmartre Hill and gives amazing views across the city.
We were lucky with the weather – last weekend the city was snowed in, it was still cold but we enjoyed plenty of sunshine and sat outside the cafes under heaters that kept us warm (helped by my down-filled Centigrade coat!) The best way to people watch and enjoy Parisien street life.
Thankfully, I was wearing the most comfortable shoes ever, from a British company called Hotter Footwear, which has its premiere show in our Best of British event on Friday at 11am. It's a range I haven't come across before, but I'm so glad I have now. The shoes are lightweight and made of buttery soft padded leather with extra comfort provided by millions of tiny air bubbles that are trapped with the soles of the shoes – I was literally walking on air.
But then, what else would I be doing, when in Paris with my husband Olley?!
I hope you had a good weekend too.
P.S. Back in London and driving home through torrential rain and high winds, with delays and traffic everywhere. Welcome home!