30 October 2012

A little jewel box ...

Apartments are certainly the way to go when visiting Paris these days ... 
It is such fun to shop at the different street markets and walk home with your basket full of delicious French treats, stopping at one of the fabulous florists for some seasonal blooms to decorate your temporary home.
You have room to spread out and can even prepare an occasional meal on the evenings your feet are telling you that is definitely it for the day !
It also adds to the adventure of living like a local, even if it is all a bit of make believe and fantasy - but then, that never hurt anyone, in my opinion.
But, if you are in Paris for a short stay and a charming hotel is the way to go, I can thoroughly recommend the dear little Hotel Daniel.


 As it was only me and for just a brief stay, my tiny room was cosy and comfortable and perfectly adequate, 
plus the marble and glass bathroom contained the best smelling soap I have ever used!

The lobby areas are a delight with their velvet and silk furnishings, delicate wallpaper and general chinoiserie.

                                               Don't you just love the mix of colours and patterns ?

                                 I enjoyed my breakfast here one morning - look at the tea service.
                               Details! It's always in the details ...

These golden fish greet you on the reception desk - a cute idea!

 Perfect for petit dejeuner, or an evening meal, the intimate and very pretty dining area is just the thing!

If you decide to order room service, be sure to try the Jambon Beurre ( ie a ham sandwich !) 
I am still thinking about how such a basic meal could taste so good! Perhaps it is the fact they use the very best baquette, France's finest butter and choicest leg ham ... and just like magic, ordinary becomes extraordinary ...

 Located at 8 rue Frederic Bastiat in the quiet and elegant 8th arrondissement, this bijoux hotel is in walking distance to the busy Champs Elysees, if you must ... but it is also surrounded by quiet streets with some superb restaurants and extra special shops.
 My evening stroll became a window shopper's dream.

 Apart from the extreme ambience and comfort factor, you will also receive a warm welcome and attentive service by the friendly and gracious staff at the Hotel Daniel.
I departed for the airport wishing my stay could have been longer.

24 October 2012

The Short and Sweet, or better make that The Tall and Skinny!

Looking through my recent Paris albums I came across these couple of photos I took of a model posing for a session at the beautiful Palais Royal.

I guess it is quite obvious that she does not spend too much time at Cafe Pouchkine, Pierre Herme, Gerard Mulot, Jacques Genin, Jean Paul Hevin, Laduree or la Patisserie des Reves ...   

In case you are wondering, they just happen to be a few of the best patisseries in Paris.
Places I have enjoyed perhaps a little too often. 
Oh well, life is short as they say and anyway, my mantra when in Paris is ... be sure to eat a pastry a day!

23 October 2012

From Russia with Love

Who would ever imagine a master pastry chef from Moscow could start an outpost of his famous Russian cafe in Paris, the very capital of all things sweet and wonderful.

Emmanuel Ryon has done just that with his little gem, Cafe Pouchkine, which is located on the ground floor of 
Au Printemps.  Sit up at the bar as we did and order a coffee, or a delicious hot chocolate and try and choose just one of the stunning selection ... now that should provide a challenge for you!

These perfectly presented pastries are little works of art with their symmetry and precision and fabulous flavours.

With an abundance of macarons on both sides of the Seine, you could be forgiven for thinking oh, not another one, but it would be a crying shame not to try one or two of these exquisite little numbers. They have just the right amount of crunch on the outside and lightness in the centre and the fillings are so original and interesting - you will want to try them all!

                                                                      A wedding cake with a difference for the bride ...

                                                                          ...  and there was even a  bridesmaid's version!

                                                                           Cafe Pouchkine
                                                                          Printemps Department Store
                                                                        62 Boulevarde Haussmann  8th

19 October 2012

Wishing you a Happy Weekend

                                                Hope it's sunny where ever you may be ...  x

15 October 2012

Le Metro

Following a conversation I shared a few days ago about the wonder of the Metro system in Paris, I started to reflect on the statistics and the aesthetics of this engineering marvel ...
Trust the French to have developed a mode of transport that is not only efficient, but looks interesting and at times is actually most artistic.

The famous French architect, Hector Guimard designed the look of the Metro and is remembered fondly for his ornate Art Nouveau features, such as this original canopied entrance at Abbesses.

                                 I like the white tiled walls with the station names each telling its own story ...  
Some stations are themed to match the stop - 
eg The Louvre-Rivoli; Bastille; Cluny - La Sorbonne; St Germain des Pres; Arts et Metiers, to name just a few.

It is intriguing to read there are many abandoned, or phantom, stations such as St Martin. which has been closed for over 60 years. I would now like to learn more about these ...

The maps that seem so confusing at first, make perfect sense after some scrutiny and are actually then quite easy to follow. Like everything, it's easy, once you know how !

Then there are the seats in those different colours and shapes - I am on a mission to photograph them all !

The colourful entrance for the Palais Royal - Musee de Louvre station is situated in the lovely Place Colette. 
It was created by Jean-Michel Othoniel for the centenary of the Metro system in the year 2000.  
Named Kiosque des Noctambules ( Kiosk of the Nightwalkers) it is made of aluminium and coloured glass balls. 
The two canopies symbolise day and night - and I love the whimsy of it all!

Some quick facts about Le Metropolitain or the Metro ...
* First mooted in 1845 and discussed and argued about for decades.
* The first line opened in July 1900. 
* Parisians embraced it immediately.
* 30,000 tickets sold on the first day.
* The clever engineer was Eugence Bienvenue.
* There are 16 lines and over 300 stations.
* It is the second busiest metro system in Europe (Moscow is the busiest) and the eighth in the world. Tokyo and Seoul are one and two.
* Used by over 4.5 million passengers a day and 1.5 billion per year.
* First Class cars were removed in 1991.
* Width of carriages is 2.4 metres across.
* Most trains have 5 cars.
* It is said every building in Paris is within 500 metres of a Metro station.
* Tragically there are over 100 suicides a year in various stations. Some now have screens to prevent this and accidents happening.
* There are many extensions already in progress with even more on the drawing board for the future.
* Free Wifi was introduced in June 2012.

And on my next visit I intend discovering even more about this vital part of daily French life!