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Thursday 10 January 2013

3BM in Paris : Day two...

As Audrey Hepburn once said "Paris is always a good idea" and I whole heartedly agree with her! On day two of our New Year adventure we treated ourselves to an 11am lie in ... a little lazy, but we were in major need of it after our exciting introduction to the city the day before.

We started out with a brisk stroll through the Canal Saint Martin neighbourhood and I couldn't resist taking a snap of this picture perfect Parisian block of apartments. Oh what I would give to live somewhere with so much architectural charm and against the morning's crisp blue skies - wow! I was once told to always look up in new cities, you often look to the floor or straight ahead and miss everything above eye line - wise words!

With our tummies rumbling and a Parisian spring in our step, we walked onwards to Derriere, the place where brunch dreams really do come true! This hidden gem is tucked away within a sweet little cobbled courtyard, serving brunch on Sundays and bank holidays from noon till 4pm so make sure to factor this around your itinerary - you won't be disappointed! The brunch set includes as much as you can humanly fit in from the buffet spread, a starter, a main course, fresh juice and a hot drink and all for 35 Euros. 

Special mentions have to go to the quirky menu complete with dictionary definitions of the food, the spectacular buffet made up every cheese imaginable, the tastiest fresh fruit and heart stoppingly delicious cakes. The main course of scrambled eggs with cream and Parmesan cheese was out of this world amazing and the cappuccino's were sent from heaven!

In a city as popular as Paris it can be tricky to find food spots that aren't crammed to the rafters with tourists, so we were relieved to find that Derriere was a firm favourite amongst locals - phew! The interior is decked out to look as if you're stepping into your cool friend's apartment - nik naks everywhere, retro furniture fills the space with a ping pong table as the centrepiece!

69 Rue Des Gravilliers
75003 Paris  
+33 1 44 61 91 95

Next up ... the Eiffel Tower. Tourist heaven, yes, but seeing as this was Mini Mouse's first time visiting 'gay Pareeee' we just had to make sure a few of the iconic landmarks were on our hit list! We had planned to whizz up to the top but realised this part of the plan was majorly flawed with the queue snaking back seemingly as far as London St Pancras! Instead we settled for some snaps in front of the towering beauty and trotted off to fulfil our next French mission! 

This time the Champs-Elysees was calling and the hordes of thousands of tourists all walking painfully slowly! We think Selfridges is bad on a Saturday but honestly that's nothing compared to what we had to battle with. After what seemed like an hour we finally arrived at the beautiful Arc de Triomphe. 

Luckily the queue was pretty pain free and we had paid and made it up the 284 steps within half an hour. Puffed out and panting we stepped out to be greeted with the city of lights laid out before us - amazing...

After spending a large chunk of the day sightseeing we decided a glass of icy cold champagne was in order and what better place to quench our thirsts than at Hotel Costes. Let me introduce you to the hotel of choice for fashion editors during Paris Fashion Week. Achingly chic with a red carpet runway lining the corridor entrance, its decor is vampy and opulent with lashings of red velvet, candlelight and gold baroque detailing. Bar prices are eye-wateringly expensive but you're holidaying in the city of love and I personally LOVE champagne! 

239 Rue Saint-Honore
75001 Paris
+33 1 42 44 50 00

Champagne flutes drained and tipsiness setting in we made our way back to our hotel to get glammed up for the night ahead. First up, dinner at the chic Hotel du Nord which is right on the Canal Saint Martin literally a few steps from our hotel - perfect! This place can only be described as pure Paris. We actually picked up the recommendation from our Wallpaper* city bible that included an insider's guide from well-known French fashion photographer/blogger, Garance Doré. Garance included Hotel du Nord as one of her favourite places to eat out in Paris. We were sold!  

We made sure to do our research in advance and uncovered that the restaurant is in fact a rare piece of French film history, originally made famous by Marcel Carné's film ‘Hôtel du Nord’. The restaurant's decor is reflective of this paying homage to the 1930's film ... black and white flag flooring, retro posters of the film's cast and a shabby chic book worm corner library all beautifully lit with candles scattered everywhere.


The small but perfectly formed menu boasts traditional bistro classics and the bill presented to us at the end of the evening didn't hurt a bit - very reasonably priced.  

102 Quai de Jammapes
75010 Paris
+33 1 40 40 78 78

Suitably full and alcohol cheery, we waddled out and flagged down a taxi to take us on to Mama Shelter, the final chapter of day two. We had read a lot about this little gem in the lead up and were itching to check it out for ourselves. Located off the beaten track in North East Paris the hotel is a little out of the buzz but well worth the ride out there I promise. 

First things first, don't be fooled by the drab hotel exterior, Philippe Starck beauty awaits you inside! Described as hip design on a budget, the interior takes the word quirky to the absolute max! We're talking graffiti-clad black board ceilings, plastic lilo snake light fixtures and higgledy-piggledy seating arrangements - we dubbed it childlike chic! 

We headed straight for the island bar floating in the centre of the open-plan space and ordered in some tasty cocktails. Me and mini opted for a Hendricks, lemon and rhubarb concoction and HK mouse a cucumber, elderflower and Hendricks combo. We're gin gals through and through! 

We didn't trial the food as we were practically bursting from dinner but definitely one for the list next time. The Sunday brunch is apparently really popular and we've read rave reviews of the pizzeria. Always good to leave a city wanting more!

109 Rue de Bagnolet
75020 Paris
+33 1 43 48 48 48

Day two done and dusted but day three will be winging it's way to you pretty soon so keep your beady eyes peeled!

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