I stepped off the metro, on the first Thursday in February to the smell of croissant.
I followed my offline Citymapper to my hotel a four minute walk away, undoubtedly looking like the tourist I so clearly was- dressed in a giant hat, wide legged trousers, a blazer, and once-upon-a-time white Reeboks, peeking out at the toes.
I arrived at Hotel Providence in no time, and it looked just like the pictures, a high rise Haussmannian, situated on the corner, with cute alfresco tables enveloping the entire building.
As my room wasn’t quite ready I decided to go on a wander. I wasn’t too far from the Notre Dame but even closer to Le Mariais, the hip shopping area, thats shop selection isn’t dissimilar to east London’s Redchurch st. After losing myself in Chinatown, I found my feet at a nearby shopping centre (if in doubt!), jumped onto their wifi and was swiftly on my way to Le Marais, a 6 minute walk away.
I was on a mission to find Aesop but had gotten slightly sidetracked at Supra, (the first standalone store I’d seen) and quickly made friends with a cool french dude whilst I tried on trainers.
Aesop was next and it was gorgeous as per. After a few failed Nicolas trips, I figured it was the perfect gift for my french host, and something I could definitely blag I’d bought in England. The chap at Aesop was amazing, and talked me through most of the range, before whipping out a few secret gems; most significantly the soap slab, which is so chic and huge, and perfect for a dude’s bathroom. After adding a few more bits, I was free to shop for me.
I found a cute vintage shop on a small side street, which stocked everything from vintage trackies, to 80s YSl and 90s Moschino. It was everything a French vintage shop, off the beaten track should be, and just so happened to be opposite Supreme. Score.
After filling my bag to its breaking point, I returned to my hotel, stopping by an exquisite and incredibly soothing Church on my way home, it was called St Nicolas de Champs, and is a must visit if you’re in the area.
When I returned to Providence, the receptionist checked me in and let me know that my luggage was awaiting me in my room. I took the glass lift up to the fourth floor to find my little piece of heaven. The room I picked was the smallest, but it had all the essentials I needed and was decked out to Parisian perfection. The plush walls were decked out in a printed maroon velvet. The bathroom: an Instagram haven, with black and white tiled floors, gold taps, and touches of marble. It’s the type of bathroom I’ve been dreaming about having, but sadly sans bath.
The minibar was decked out in rose gold cocktail equipment, with spirits, chilled glasses and mixers in the fridge. Before their stay each guest is sent a short online questionnaire, including your preferred cocktail set colour and favourite spirit. Above it – and in between two french doors which open up onto a small side street, allowing every visitor to have that Carrie moment- is a huge iMac, programmed with the latest free movies, French tv, internet, free adult movies (saucy!), the weather and hotel services. At the other end of the room, lay a plush double, framed with two end tables and a giant gold sun headboard. There’s something about it that was so soothing, and comfortable. I guess it is a boutique hotel in the centre of Paris, but they really have thought of the modern traveller, right down to the USB plugs, that make charging a doddle and stress free.
The piece d’resistance was the Samsung Galaxy each visitor gets for the duration of their stay; which offers free 4G and calls for when you’re out and about.
It was preloaded with an entire guide to Paris, all sorted by the best and nearest to me; which meant when I wasn’t quite up to dinner at the hotel (at 3pm on an empty stomach), it showed me all of the restaurants nearby; allowing me to Citymapper directions straight to a neo Turkish restaurant, called Rococo, 3 doors down, that I wouldn’t have known was such a gem.
After being confronted with my huge (and delicious) meal, I decided to take the rest back to my hotel, before popping into the super market, to stock up on cookies and wine; you know the essentials.
I picked up some cutlery on my way up and then proceeded to eat takeout on my bed and watch bad neighbours 2; ready to meet my dear French friend and continue want turned out to be an amazing trip. Bliss.
Canal St Martin – a trendy, chilled area, with lots of great shops; great for a Saturday stroll.
Champeaux – LA CANOPÉE – Forum des Halles – Porte Rambuteau – 75001 Paris – https://www.restaurant-champeaux.com/en
Café Kitsuné – 51, Galerie de Montpensier, in the 1st Arrondissement.
Les Pinces – 29 rue du Bourg Tibourg – Paris 4e // 43 rue Mazarine- Paris 6e – http://www.lespinces.com/
Au Passage – http://www.restaurant-aupassage.fr/
La Favorite – 4, rue de rivoli – 75002 Paris – http://cafelafavoriteparis.com/
Daroco – 6 rue Vivienne http://www.daroco.fr/en/
Holy Belly Cafe -19 Rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010 Paris, France- http://holybel.ly/
Nüba – 34 Quai d’Austerlitz, 13th – http://lenuba.com/
Cartel Club Paris – 4 RUE ARSENE HOUSSAYE – 75008 PARIS –http://www.cartelclubparis.com/index.html
Silencio – 142 RUE MONTMARTRE – 75002 PARIS – http://www.silencio-club.com/en/13/location
Hotel Montana –28, rue Saint-Benoît 75006 Paris – http://www.hotel-lemontana.com/bar
Le Baron – 6 Avenue Marceau – Paris 8 – http://www.lebaronparis.fr/
Andy Wahoo – 69, rue des Gravilliers – 75003 Paris – http://andywahloo-bar.com/restaurant/paris/andy-wahloo/
Rosa Bonheur – Parc des Buttes Chaumont, 2 Allée de la Cascade, 19th – http://www.rosabonheur.fr/
Little Red Door – 60 rue Charlot – 75003 Paris– http://www.lrdparis.com/
Colette – 213 Rue Saint-Honoré, 1st
Marche aux Puces – Avenue Georges Lafenestre, 14th
Merci – 111 BOULEVARD BEAUMARCHAIS 75003 PARIS https://www.merci-merci.com/fr/le-111-beaumarchais
Sephora – 0-72 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris – http://www.sephora.fr/
Reciproque – Nicole Morel Paris – 89-101 Rue de LA Pompe Paris. 16 eme http://reciproque.fr/en/
The Broken Arm– 12, RUE PERRÉE 75003 PARIS http://the-broken-arm.com/en/
Louis Vuitton Foundation – http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/expositions/icones-de-l-art-moderne.html
Louvre – 1 rue de la Légion d’Honneur – 75007 Paris – http://www.louvre.fr/en
Musée d’Orsay – Saint-Germain-des-Prés – 7e Arrondissement http://www.musee-orsay.fr/
Peninsula – http://paris.peninsula.com/en/spa-wellness
La Biologique Recherche – http://www.biologique-recherche.com/page.php?pag_id=25&lang=fr-fr
Chanel at the Ritz – http://ritzparis.com/en-GB/skincare-beauty-chanel-au-ritz
Nolinski – http://nolinskiparis.com/