Thursday, 17 December 2009

My Day in Paris en BlackBerry

I decided at short notice to go to Paris for the day yesterday, which is possible thanks to the wonders of the Eurostar (of which more later) which takes you from central London to central Paris in just 2 hours 15 minutes. You can do much more than you might imagine in a day, and it's like the perfect mini-break because you don't have to pack or pay for a hotel. Of course at the end of the day I didn't want to leave at all (especially since my friend was staying on for a few more days - lucky!), but because I've been fortunate enough to go to Paris quite a few times before, I now feel under no obligation to do touristy things or rush around trying to see everything, so I was able to relax. It may be just over two hours away by train, but Paris is so different from London, and I still find it totally mind-boggling how you can experience two of the world's greatest cities all within the same day.

Here are some of the BlackBerry pics I took yesterday...

Place des Vosges.

Dropped by my favourite optician in the Marais (more here).

Crystal-encrusted Be@rbricks and Jeremy Scott x Adidas shoes in Colette.

Snow domes filled with Swarovski crystals and €40 Swarovski crystal-encrusted water bottle lids (amazing or what?!!), also in Colette. How under dressed my Evian feels in comparison..

More Colette... quite loved the business card holders shaped like miniature MacBooks.

The Ladurée x Colette window display.

Aww! Don't think we have one of these in London.

The very cool Comme des Garçons perfume store.

Nearly had a coronary when I saw this window display, given my major Acqua di Parma fetish...

Inside the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, where we saw an exhibition of Playmobil (oh yes!)

How amazing?! (We might just have been the oldest people there, without any children of their own, by about 10 years at least, but you can't deny the amazingness of Playmobil, right up there with Lego..!)

The ubiquitous risking-death-standing-in-the-middle-of-the-road tourist shots of the Champs-Élysées.

Ave Montaigne Christmas lights.

Karl badges in the Palais de Tokyo design shop. I am so obsessed with the Palais de Tokyo... if you have no idea what I'm going on about, I did a post all about it HERE.

Palais de Tokyo bookshop.

The amazing Space Invader book which I bought; if there's one thing I like almost as much as Lego, it's Space Invaders. There is a French street artist who puts them up in cities all around the world (including London), but I'm pretty sure they started in Paris and that's where the highest concentration of them is. This book is the guide to the invasion of the first 500, with location maps and photos of them. I'll do a full post about it soon, because its layout and design is really cool.

Love the Palais de Tokyo bookshop bag, featuring (coincidentally) books in 8-bit graphic/Space Invader style..

Chairs in the bar at the Palais de Tokyo.

Cocktails + a big quilted Chanel (not mine!)

Cocktails x 2. These were very strong (no stinginess with the spirits, as is usual in London, here) so that later finding the way back to the Gare du Nord, let alone leaving the building without crashing into anything, became somewhat challenging. Trust the English to come and hit up the cocktails menu (they really are very good in there) with enthusiasm at a time when all the French people in the bar were sipping coffees or small glasses of red wine in a very civilized way.

The restaurant there (bar is around to the left, out of view).

The vintage Photobooth downstairs that produces cool black and white snaps (probably best used sober, as we discovered).

View from the Palais de Tokyo terrace. Doesn't get much more Paris than that..

Very quiet Eurostar home. Travelled in Leisure Select, which is Eurostar's 1st class for leisure travellers. It is exactly the same as the (much more expensive) Business Premier 1st class, except you don't get lounge access and fast-track check in/security at the stations (which is a small price to pay for relative affordability).

You can upgrade for much less than you might expect (especially if you book in advance), and I always feel like it's very good value for money, because the at-seat service is so good:

Free newspapers/magazines (often they have French Vogue and Numéro) and very decent free Champagne. Having just recovered from the cocktails, this was probably not such a good idea because they are very generous with the refills, in fact so much so that I started to lose count...

Eurostar food is surprisingly good (even though this, being chicken breast with romanesco broccoli and mashed sweet potato, is not particularly photogenic). It's just like how flying used to be, how they come around with menus first, how the cutlery is metal, how they bring around the bread basket separately, and then bring hot towels at the end. Could have had wine too, but honestly I wanted to be able to step (not tumble) off the train on arrival so I resisted.

Green tea... let the detox begin! The onboard staff are so good, they even managed to make green tea (on a train! not in Japan!) without over-stewing it.

Back in London at St Pancras International :(

FYI: I know Eurostar did a big PR offensive on blogs recently, giving some bloggers free day returns in exchange for nice coverage. In light of my big rant, I should make it clear that I arranged and paid for this trip myself, with no contact with Eurostar other than their ticket office. I genuinely love the service Eurostar provides, which could hardly be improved upon (although onboard wi-fi would be good). Of course if they want to retrospecitvely give me free tickets in exchange for this publicity then they are more than welcome to, haha (j/k)!

14 comments:

  1. I love your pictures! And SpaceInvaders around Paris was great fun, my bf tried to photograph everyone we came by.

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  2. oh looks like a hel lot of fun (:

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  3. what a nice suprise and a brilliant whistle stop day trip. shame you couldnt stop longer love the 8-bit computer game style carrier, reminds me of being about 5

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  4. Paris is by far my favorite city, but I rarely get to go. How I envy the lives of Europeans....

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  5. Nice photos! Have you checked out the Ketel One True Gentlemen APP on Facebook? Go to http://sn.im/tji6l to find out more.

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  6. Amazing photos. I hope one day I could go there. Hey, does Hapscial like Dion Lee??

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  7. Wow! I'm so jealous right now...I've only been to Paris once and I was six or seven so that doesn't really count...

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  8. here you go : the palais de tokyo font.
    now you're going to be able to post it everywhere.
    have fun.
    http://www.mmparis.com/tokyopalace.html

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  9. I'm a regular Paris day-tripper from London too.
    I agree with your sentiments, It is quite fascinating to be able to go to a different country empty handed, and be back at home at night with a cup of tea and bag full of goodies!
    Some great pictures and observations here!

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  10. @ funkyfrenchy

    that is AMAZING thank you so much!

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  11. Darn, I see we were in Paris over the same time.
    Was also there for a short time, and had a great time visiting the great exhibitions that were on and just walking around all over the place.

    I agree with your rating of the Eurostar, I don't know why anyone would go through the nightmare of flying to Paris when the Eurostar is just soooo much easier.

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  12. Love these pics, Sir! All you need is a link of Lucy complaining about the Eurostar service and it would be perfect ;p

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