Is it possible to fall in love all over again?
Can a city bewitch with her charms over and over?
And can new joys be discovered after many years away?
Well, if we are talking Paris, then the answers are yes, yes and yes!
Sometimes we can be surprised by the little wonders that can be discovered, things that are right under our very noses yet we fail to see.
On our return to Paris for the final three nights of our trip, the city of light offered leisurely delights.
I feel very privileged to have visited France’s exciting capital on at least four previous occasions, and what that offers is a relaxed travel experience.
It is so lovely to know a city and feel confident in getting around.
It also means many of the major sights have been ticked off the “to do” list, freeing you to do more decadent things, such as a long lunch.
Eating the second time around was just as fabulous as the first and as we had decided to stay in the Marais district again we could add a few new names to the list.
On arriving from San Sebastian by train, we made our way to our last Airbnb accommodation for the final three nights.
Where to eat on this sultry Saturday night?
Well hubby had a few ideas which took us past the stunning Place des Vosges.
This beautiful fenced park is so charming it’s no wonder I had many friends tell me we had to visit.
I found out it was more that what it seemed at first glance… it used to be called the Place Royale…
The best thing about our walk was stumbling upon Le Petite Marche.
Located at 9, rue de Bearn, this bistro was “us” all over.
Luckily they had a free booking later that night, so we snapped it up.
The best thing to do whilst we were waiting was a gorgeous walk around this very pretty part of Paris.
Dinner was spectacularly good, service excellent and the company perfect!
Sharing a burrata salad to start, then fabulous lamb for me and an excellent steak for Ross.
It was a delicious meal.
We also engaged in a lovely conversation with a couple sitting next to us.
If any of you have been to a Parisian bistro you’ll agree that the tables are exceptionally close, so best be polite!
A short stroll home gave us time to decide on the next days events.
One of the things I was most excited to do in Paris was to take in the dreamy 125 years of Lanvin exhibition
This was happening at the Palais Galliera.
Then there was the Yves Saint Laurent 1971 La Collection Du Scandale at the Foundation Pierre Berge Yves Saint Laurent.
These two shows located a short walking distance between each other are a must see for the fashion devotee.
Stay tuned for separate insights to these fascinating designers and their exceptional clothes.
After a morning of walking, it is most definitely time for lunch.
Once again we happen upon the perfect spot, La Fontaine De Mars at 129, rue Saint-Dominique.
What many restaurants offer is a special of the day, and as luck may have it, roast chicken and mashed potato was on the menu.
We didn’t find much chicken on the menus in Spain, so my husband was craving roast chook.
I think he was close to the happiest man in Paris as a stunning quarter chicken with creamy mash and a side of green beans was placed in front of him!
Add bread and butter, as only the French know how, and a carafe of white wine, we were here for the duration.
Once again, service was impeccable, and as our beans were accidentally forgotten (but quickly rectified) we were offered an extra refill of our wine as an apology.
Skipping dessert was a smart idea, as just along the same street at 103, was a divine chocolate shop.
Jean Millet has heavenly handmade chocolates, beautiful biscuits and delicious macarons to choose from.
These macarons, in my humble opinion, beat Laduree in the taste stakes.
Pop in and treat yourself!
A visit to the Eiffel Tower is a must, and while we were here the French Open was on.
I loved the fabulous huge screens showing highlights of the tennis matches, with the iconic piece just in the background.
So Frenchy, so chic!
A stroll along the Champs Elysees up to the Arc de Triomphe was next.
Unfortunately, Paris’ well known boulevard has lost some of it’s gloss, but still worth a look as many designer flagship stores are still located here.
Dinner on our second night was in a gorgeous courtyard setting in the cheekily named “Derriere”.
A starter of heirloom carrot salad with fresh coriander, maple syrup and sesame oil was a fabulous beginning, really great flavours.
Next it was cod with purple asparagus for me with a light Indian spice and beef cheeks, slow cooked in red wine for Ross.
To be honest, I would have liked a little more oomph to my fish and the beef cheeks were supposed to come with baby potatoes, which seemed to be missing.
When I asked our waitress, she said “ they weren’t there because it’s spring and makes it a lighter dish”.
I honesty think they forgot and she was a quick thinker.
There was so much beautiful sauce that was crying out for potatoes it was just a shame.
Maybe it was an off night, but I say “bring me the potatoes”!
On our third and final day in this fair city we decided to visit Le Sacre Coure in Montmartre.
Being the highest point in Paris, it lends itself to stunning vistas of the city.
On our way up to the church from the metro station, who should we bump into but Manu Fidel from the Australian hit cooking show “My Kitchen Rules” on channel 7.
Grabbing the chance of a “selfie”, we said a quick bonjour and au revoir!
Lunch was a casual affair.
We chose to visit Le Bon Marche, a fabulous department store in St Germain.
The food hall on the ground floor is heaving with delicious treats to be eaten in or taken away.
We did the latter, and found a park close by, with many other Parisians enjoying a bite too.
It’s lovely to do the simple things while travelling and even better if you can feel like a local.
A divine walk around St Germain was the perfect finish to our afternoon, but not before stopping at Berthillon for amazing ice-cream and sorbet.
Make sure you stop at 29-31 Ile Saint-Louis for the best cold treats in Paris. It’s a must!
So how do we say au revoire to our rediscovered love?
Why, exactly how we said bonjour!
Ross and I booked a table at our favourite Willi’s Wine Bar to farewell this heavenly city.
Again we went for the three course menu of the day, and again it was excellent.
What you never can tell are the unexpected joys that come your way.
Ours was the happiness to share a marriage proposal from the next table.
Yes dear readers, he was down on one knee, ring in hand!
Romance is alive and well.
After all it is Paris!
Jo Bayley, Fashion Editor, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015