Saturday, 11 October 2014

Paris Mon Amour.

It's not exactly a hardship when you get sent to somewhere like Paris for work and this is the view from your hotel window.
let's use the zoom on my new camera (the one that I still haven't figured out how to use properly)
Well I've seen worse views that's for sure.

The journey there was quite an experience. It was the Arc De Triomphe horse race the same weekend and our Eurostar was packed with race goers, most of whom were Irish, all busy drinking and eating and consulting Racegoers Weekly.
 It was like one lively but very good natured mobile party.
My colleague Alex got given a glass of red wine and a sandwich by the guys she was sitting with and when I was offered some and said "thanks so much but I'm ok" and when pressed admitted I don't really like red wine, the people opposite me promptly gave me a glass of champagne instead!

It's the only way to start a work trip I'm telling you.

We finally got to our hotels around 6pm, unfortunately we had to stay in different ones but thankfully only a 5 minute walk apart. Checked in, freshened up and headed out for some sightseeing and dinner.

The weather was gorgeous, really warm in fact, so we sat and watched them light up the Eiffel Tower. Which would have been great if it wasn't for all the touts hassling you every 30 seconds.

We grabbed a quick snack and headed back to our hotels, getting a bit lost on the way, but in the centre of Paris that really doesn't matter somehow.

When you are on a work trip making the most of your spare few hours is vital so we were up before 7am, breakfasted and off to Les Marches Aux Puces, the famous big flea market in Paris.

I would also say pre-trip research is vital too.

Having found many many posts on the internet about the very aggressive touts and numerous pickpockets at the main entrance to the market.
As advised by the locals I took us via the metro to the far side of the market which avoided all of that. We did get to see the famous swap meet which frankly was like some vision from hell and to be avoided, before we found our way to the bits we wanted to see.

As the internet had warned the prices were stupidly 'foreign tourist trap' high but we had great fun window shopping and soaking up the amazing vibe of the place. I seriously can't believe there were ever that many big houses in France to account for all the massive chandeliers! there were hundreds!

Sadly a vast majority of the vendors had 'No Photography' signs up and got arsey if you did try to sneak a pic. I did get a few though.

We found the bit with the vintage clothes, it's great when you can travel with a colleague who likes the same things. I would have been more than happy to go alone but Alex was well up for a visit and we both bought a couple of bits.
Again prices were tourist high but it was fun to nose around.
Alex bought a very cute, very Parisian navy jacket from this shop. We both loved the deep blue evening dress on the dummy.

So what did I buy?
A silk scarf that I have already worn.
and this 1970's leather bag, I paid 30 euro for the pair. Again I think they both have quite a French feel to them.

Sadly time flew and we had to head back to our hotels to get changed and get to work, it was the reason for the trip after all!

These graffiti cats were all over Paris, personally I loved them.

After a long and briskly busy recruitment fair, we got freshened up and headed out to a tiny little bistro as recommended by a guy at Alex's hotel.
They only had 12 tables and didn't do sittings so you got to sit over a very leisurely and very, very delicious dinner.
Alex ordered a creme brulee, I was full. They brought it out but with no spoon so we asked for a spoon and got 2 spoons plus another 2 creme brulees.
As no one spoke English and our French is very poor it took us a little while to establish they were all that was left so we could have them for free.
The owner also wouldn't let us leave until we had finished them!

He kissed us warmly on both cheeks when we left. I have to say in all my years I don't think I have ever been kissed by the owner of a restaurant but there's a first time for everything.  

I dropped Alex at her hotel and headed back to mine. En route I saw a bidet with a baguette in it.Just sitting there, out on the street.

Only in France....


  1. This sounds like an amazing trip! Some of my favourite memories of Paris are of eating in small, local restaurants full of actual French people rather than tourists. I'm glad you were given a good tip to find one. I agree also about the research before you go: it's always more fun if you avoid the tourist traps and use your time to the max.

  2. Aaah it sounds wonderful...except the stupid prices at Les Marches aux Puces, at least you got some lovely souvenirs of your sejour à Paris. Fantastic picture of the illuminated Eiffel Tower. Look forward to hearing more about it next weekend.

  3. As work trips go, that sounds like a belter! It's been many years since I visited Paris, but I remember it as a fairly compact city which wasn't too tricky to navigate, and of course, lots of fabulous sights to see. Good to know you got to do some playing as well as working, your scarf and bag are lovely, and the food sounds divine! xxx

  4. Brilliant place for a work trip, and also for hunting out those bargains. The scarf and bag look very co-ordinated.

  5. Well this just makes me want to go back to Paris. Nice old finds, and I don't just mean at the flea market! I love Monsieur Le Chat, his cats are so happy :)

  6. Love your bag and scarf - hope you wear them at the weekend, i can get you drunk and nick them! Isn't the graffiti cat awesome? xxx

  7. I have to confess to being slightly jealous. I can almost smell Paris from your post! How fabulous to go on a work trip. Love the champagne story and your marche aux puces treasures! Xxxx

  8. Goodness, that would be right up there at the top of my list of dream destinations to be sent for work. I've never been to Paris, so it has all the more (dreamy) allure for me. I often wonder how it will compare, stack up, surpass and otherwise differ from my impressions of it once I actually step foot there sometime (perpetual optimist that I am, I like to believe it could happen - ditto for Rome and Italy in general, as that's Tony's homeland and I want to step foot on it with every fiber of my being).

    Big hugs & many thanks for your sweetly caring blog comment on my Victoria trip highlights post,
    ♥ Jessica

  9. Heh, those cats are aces. Much better than people just plastering their names everywhere.

    That's also handy info on the market - I can't abide it when there are touts everywhere; I neded up speaking Welsh at the Coliseum in Rome to get rid of them!