Hiking in Morzine, France

Morzine is a traditional market-town nestled in the French Apls. The little village is strung with chalets that run through the center and then high up into the adjacent mountains. In the winter, Morzine is a skier’s paradise, and in the summer, it’s a desolate haven, filled with colorful flowers, restaurants that rarely fill up, and cool shady streets. The mountains are speckled with local kids playing football, and the far and few who do come to the area in the off-season to mountain bike, hike, or cave.While I have some pretty photos to share, I don’t have much to tell you about Morzine. Sometimes you go on a vacation and the destination is so foreign and exciting, you simply MUST sample all of the local cuisine, fully embrace the nightlife, shop to your heart’s content, and wander all of the major landmarks endlessly until you feel you’ve truly consumed the place. Well, going to Morzine was kind of the opposite. I tagged along with Kai and his friends, we stayed in a cute little Lincoln-Log-like condo at the base of the mountains, and just chilled. We had breakfast and lunch at home, we climbed the hills, we went swimming, we took adequate beer breaks, and we walked through the little town of Morzine.  Continue reading

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St. Tropez, Part 3

Hi blog friends! It’s been a while since my last check-in. I hopped across the pond last week to spend some time in Maine with the family, and of course came down with a pretty bad cold the second I was off the plane and under my mom’s watchful eye. So I’ve been alternating between trying to be on holiday and trying to sleep off this nasty cold, which took up a good chunk of time! Now, I’m finally back in action (wooo), and I have some fun USA posts to share – but before I do, let’s finish up St. Tropez!IMG_7513Our last day in St. Tropez was spent at the beach. After a quick breakfast on the terrace at the hotel . . .  Continue reading

St. Tropez, Part 2

My gosh it is hot out today. The weather in Amsterdam is quite smoldering, and although we have air conditioning and heaps of sunlight pouring into the office, I can’t help look out the window and lament sitting at my desk, because, damn the sun looks fantastic out there! This hot weather is reminiscent of St. Tropez, minus the pool, beach, and fancy-pants room service.IMG_7537 Day 1 in St. Tropez was filled with excitement and formal activities, but day two was completely unplanned and laid back. Continue reading

Sid Lee does St. Tropez, Part 1

While I love blogging, my day job is also pretty cool. I work at a global advertising agency called Sid Lee (some office photos here), where we make ads for clients like Facebook, Red Bull, and Absolut. Advertising is very much a work hard play hard industry, and the brands you work with often contribute to the overall culture of the agency. There are countless late nights and busy weekends, but on the flip side, at Sid Lee, there are also expensed dinners, cool colleagues, agency parties, and many, many Absolut cocktails. Recently, to say ‘thanks’ for a long year of hard work, the Sid Lee Amsterdam team was treated to a long weekend in paradise. IMG_7551I briefly mentioned our travel regime in my previous post – our airplane left Schiphol at 6am – which meant we had to meet in the airport lobby bright and early at 4.15am. Of course I pulled an all-nighter (I was THAT person at the airport) and stumbled through security and found my seat on the plane in a tipsy, blurry haze. After a few hours of dozing on the plane, and then on a bus, we arrived in St. Tropez.  Continue reading

A Weekend Trip to Paris

I’ve blogged about Paris before (here, here, here, and here). In fact, since living in Amsterdam, I’ve been to Paris four or five times. It’s super easy to get to, the train ride down is fairly inexpensive, and I’m consistently amazed at how drastically different the culture is, despite only being three short hours away from Amsterdam. I love France. What other culture can make snails taste so damn good, and cigarette smoking look so chic? I adore strolling through Amsterdam at night, along the yellow-lit canals. The beauty of historic Amsterdam always makes me grin. But Paris surely gives Amsterdam a run for its money, in beauty and in charm.

IMG_4404Last weekend, Radisson Blu invited me to stay at the Dokhan’s Hotel in Trocadéro. Amie was in town visiting, so I asked if she could join as well. This was met with an enthusiastic ‘yes’, so Amie and I planned to end our lady-holiday with a weekend in the City of Light. After a long weekend in Turkey, and four nights in Amsterdam, we ended our Dutch adventures with one last crazy night out, and then got on a train bright and early the next morning, headed south for the last leg of our trip in Paris.  Continue reading

Paris Part 3

I’m just going to go ahead now and apologize for the sheer amount of photographs in this post. I wish I could be a cool, curated blogger. You know, the kind of blogger who teases a glimpse into their charmed life, while still remaining aloof and mysterious. I suck at being this blogger for two reasons:

A) I feel guilty deleting photos. I’m bad at throwing things away – discarding memories or moments in time.

B) I’m not a superb photographer. Some people can take a photo that says 1,000 words. We’ll, my photos say about 30, and therefore I need quite a few to stitch together a cohesive blog post.

And on this occasion, I think the topic is also to blame for the volume of photographs. I mean, it’s Paris! Ah, Paris :) Can you forgive me?

As there are lots of photos to share, I wont waste any more time on words. I’ll pick up where I left off last time. . . .The day was beautiful. We’d spent the morning antique shopping and thrifting, and then explored Le Marais, where we had an epic falafel for lunch.

Following this massive middle eastern feast, we were both groaning and stuffed. So we decided the best plan of action was to keep moving. We headed for the Notre Dame Cathedral, intent on checking out the cathedral’s stunning facade.

IMG_1206I’ve seen some lovely cathedrals in the past year (Lisbon here, Cologne here) but what stood out to me about the Notre-Dame was the detail. It reminded me of a pristine white wedding cake, with immaculate attention to detail. It wasn’t the highest cathedral I’ve ever seen, and it wasn’t the most grand. But every brick, nook, and slightly curved stone looked incredibly intentional. And despite the size, the cathedral still looked fragile, like it was cut out of sugar cubes or fine grains of sand.

IMG_1218A hundred steps away from the Notre-Dame is the Pont de l’Archevêché (in English, the Archbishop’s Bridge). The Pont de l’Archevêchéis crosses over the Seine, and is the narrowest road bridge in Paris.

However, what makes the Pont de l’Archevêchéis truly special is love. Hundreds of thousands of locks are chained to the bridge. Some are engraved, some scribbled upon with a sharpie marker. Others are more ornate and feature a photograph, or a bright floral design. But they all have one thing in common – they were chained to the bridge in a declaration of sweet, sweet love.

IMG_1225IMG_1228Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world, and it makes my heart flutter fast to think that a small token of my love with B has been left behind, permanently chained to this whimsical city of love.
IMG_1222IMG_1233IMG_1239Our lock was small and discreet. We snapped it to the back side of the bridge, where it would be more visible to the boats floating by. We didn’t write anything on the lock, which felt more special, as if it were a secret between just B and I (and you of course!)

I’ve heard the bridge gets too heavy, and the locks have to be snipped off regularly so they don’t interfere with the walkway or weigh down the bridge. So as safe measure we threw our lock’s key into the Seine. Paris, you cannot get rid of us ;) IMG_1247I’ll be honest, B wasn’t really into the whole love-lock thing. He’s not one to declare his love, or do something because everyone else does it. He tolerates my blog (although in reality he’s a much more private person) and the idea of a romantic weekend in Paris was not his dream trip. BUT there was this one moment on the bridge, where B said something along the lines of ‘this is totally cool!’

OK, so maybe he wasn’t that enthusiastic. But he did admit that it wasn’t as corny as he thought, and looking back, I think he genuinely enjoyed himself on the trip as well. Win for team romance! Yar! :)
IMG_1265 IMG_1267Following our love lock adventure, we wandered through a sunny park, towards Shakespeare and Company.
IMG_1268Shakespeare and Company is a bookstore and reading library that opened in 1919. During the 1920s, it was a retreat for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford. Today you can browse the shop’s books, or climb upstairs and find a quiet reading nook to enjoy your favorite book, or perhaps even pen your own!
IMG_1276There are ‘no photograph’ signs throughout the shop, so I was respectful of the writers working in silence, and did not distract them with the loud snap of my DSLR. But we did wander through the hallways, which boasted of typewriters, sleeping tourists, and avid readers. I almost bought a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, but they only had a soft cover which I don’t think would fare to well in my kitchen. IMG_1274Around 4pm the day started to get hot. As in, we need to drink iced coffee and put on our shorts hot. This was the first really warm day of the year, and I think B and I were both a bit overwhelmed – it completely unexpected, and still the first weekend in March!! We walked along the Seine for a bit, and finally decided to hit up a museum for some shade.IMG_1286 IMG_1298 IMG_1288IMG_1307IMG_1310 IMG_1348We debated going to the Louvre . . . .
IMG_1337. . . . and hum’d and ha’d and twirled about outside. IMG_1331IMG_1342But in the end we decided on the Musee d’Orsay, which was only a short walk away.
IMG_1361IMG_1364While we waited in line to buy our tickets, a security guard came over and told us we could sneak in for free. The museum was only open for another hour, and the exhibit rooms would start to close in the next 45 minutes. Thankful and renewed by a bout of shade, we made a b-line for the popular top floor featuring work from Renoir, Monet, and my personal favorite, Degas. IMG_1367You’re not supposed to photograph the art, but I did take one cheeky iPhone snap of a Monet beauty. photoIn addition to the artwork, there were some stunning views of the city scape.
IMG_1368 IMG_1372The museum is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built in 1898. A lot of the original architecture, including the large roman numeral time clocks, has been preserved.IMG_1379IMG_1387IMG_1391We were soon kicked out of the museum, as it was closing for the day. Luckily the crepe cart outside was still open, so we were able to load up on sweet Parisian delights.
IMG_1393 IMG_1397I don’t think I’ve ever seen such big Nutella jars in my entire life!!IMG_1405B got a dreamy Nutella crepe. I was just going in for a large, molten chocolate bite, when I remembered that I had given up chocolate for lent :( So I watched B eat his delicious crepe, and bought an apple from a nearby corner store for myself. Boo.

Our last stop of the day was the Arc de Triomphe. I’d heard the views were stunning at sunset, so we decided to say goodbye to the sun from the top of the monument. We high-tailed it through the Tuileries Garden and up the Champs-Élysées, racing against mother nature. IMG_1408Although two sunny chairs called to us in the park, we kept up a speedy pace.IMG_1409IMG_1416IMG_1410We made it to the Arc de Triomphe with minutes to spare.IMG_1487We whirled up the long, twisting staircase . . . IMG_1471IMG_1420And made it to the top just in time.IMG_1447IMG_1428 IMG_1438IMG_1443IMG_1453Goodnight sun, see you tomorrow!IMG_1450IMG_1470 IMG_1462IMG_1457After the sun set, the air started to cool. To be honest, this was a relief, as the day had been long and hot.IMG_1502IMG_1504We did a quick scan for the nearest metro, and rode the train back to the flat in exhausted silence. I’m sure we walked at least 20 miles that day, and had we been in Amsterdam, it would have been a pizza and a movie night for sure. But it was our last evening in Paris, and we had a dinner reservation to attend. IMG_1507So after a quick shower and shoe change, we set out once more, headed towards Mollard. Mollard is an over-the-top French restaurant, dishing up all the Parisian classicsIMG_1525The decor is swanky and very not-timeless – at one point in time Mollard was considered one of the most beautiful establishments in Paris. Today it’s a blast from the past, with ornate tiled ceilings, tall pillars and long, floor-length table cloths. The waiters all wear tuxedos and bow ties, and scuttle around to ensure you barely have to lift a fork. IMG_1543IMG_1566We started with crab and asparagus salad, and foie gras. I’m a foodie, but this was my first time eating foie gras. To be honest, I wasn’t even 100% sure what it was, but I knew it was a coveted French delicacy, and when I saw it on the menu I just went for it. A google search after would churn my stomach, but in the interim, I really, really enjoyed this starter.IMG_1531 IMG_1532Our waiter didn’t speak a word of English, so our entire meal was a bit of a mystery. I went for the fish of the day, and was delightfully surprised by a light, white fish, a large pile of french lentils, some delicate greens, and a beautiful flower garnish.

IMG_1538B went for the duck, inspired by my meal from the night before.IMG_1541We ordered one bottle of wine, and then another. It was one of those sleepy-tipsy dinners, where the night feels dreamlike and surreal.

IMG_1547This dream-like state was proved true when desert arrived. I have never tasted a more delicious sweet, and am pretty sure this creme brulee was a fictitious product of my imagination!!

IMG_1550IMG_1556B ordered the puff pastry with vanilla ice cream and warm dark chocolate sauce. I hate him, and his delicious chocolate.IMG_1552By the end of our second bottle of wine, the restaurant had emptied and we were the only guests.IMG_1564We splurged on a cab home, and fell into bed, weighed down by our creme brulee bellies.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but we woke up the next day completely sunburnt!! I don’t think I could have asked for better weather, better food, or better company.

One more Paris post to come!

xo Ali

Paris Part 2

I could spend hours just gazing up at the Parisian architecture. The contrast of dark, curved window balustrades against light-washed stone is not only romantic, but mesmerizing. I can now say from experience that waking up on the other side of a beautiful Parisian facade is equally charming.IMG_1018 copyWe stayed in the 16th, and although our flat was small, it had some stunning views.
IMG_1034IMG_1020Waking up to warm blue skies was a delight, but paled in comparison to our crystal clear view of the Eiffel Tower. Good morning Paris!! When you have a view like this outside your window, you get dressed FAST. Watching the city is beautiful, but such a tease. B and I threw on clothes quick and hit the streets of Paris bright and early, eager to explore and discover a new city.IMG_1177The sunshine was on full force, and all of the trees were in bloom. Although our visit was in early March, the temperature was in the mid-60’s and we ended up carrying our jackets around most of the time. So much for the hats and scarves I packed!
IMG_1184IMG_1074IMG_1066IMG_1067Our first stop of the day was Les Puces de Saint-Ouen – the world’s biggest flea market. IMG_1059After an evening of cabs, we decided to brave the metro, which turned out to be quite underwhelming. It wasn’t packed, the trains ran regularly, and we quickly made a game of trying to guess the pronunciation of each stop before it was officially announced over the train’s speaker. We lost almost every time!

When we arrived at the market, we were greeted by miles of century-old knick-knacks. Stalls and long alleyways were lined with treasures and junk – old postcards, vintage linens, crystal decanters, fur coats, and broken cameras. Couches, dolls, doilies, and shawls. Les Puces de Saint-Ouen is a hoarder’s heaven. It’s like a massive French yard sale  – and it’s one of my new favorite places.
IMG_1049IMG_1058We were a bit intimidated at first, but once we got bartering, we found it hard to stop. Everything is for sale, and all of the prices are negotiable. Aim low, bargain hard, and you can leave with some lovely treasures.
IMG_1055IMG_1050B and I scooped up a vintage cake knife for our wedding, and a glass candy dish for our home. I also bought a wool kilt and a leather fanny pack. IMG_1096Soon our pocket cash ran out and it was time to head back into central Paris. IMG_1085IMG_1103IMG_1104 IMG_1116 IMG_1110 IMG_1108We strolled around until hunger hit, and we then went in search of falafel. A friend had recommended L’As Du Fallafel, where the crispy garlic chickpea fritters, creamy hummus, and fried eggplant have a deliciously awesome reputation. IMG_1133You can sit in or take away, but take away seemed to be the more popular option.Paris LinesDespite the long line leading up to the window, we only waited about fifteen minutes before being served. Before you hop in line, make sure to go into the store and pay first. You’ll be given a receipt, and then directed into the line outside. We saw a few people get turned away at the window, after waiting in line for some time, because they hadn’t yet paid inside. So remember to pay inside first!IMG_1148Which is dangerous, as the shelves are stacked with delicious looking treats.Paris TreatsIMG_1144We debated finding a park bench or grassy area to plop down on, but in the end we really couldn’t wait, and dug into our Middle Eastern bounty right there on the sidewalk.  Paris FalafelIt was delicious. The falafel were crisp and gently seasoned. The hummus was creamy and the harissa had just the right amount of spice. Underneath it all was a light and crunchy bed of slaw, rounding out the meal in a way that almost made you feel healthy. Almost.

After eating a falafel the size of my head, it was time for more walking. IMG_1070I think the neighborhood area of Le Marais was my favorite in Paris. There were beautiful buildings, but also a unique blend of art and culture. I would compare this neighborhood to Shoreditch in London, or maybe even de Pijp in Amsterdam. Most cities have one – a lovely-artsy neighborhood with hip shops, interesting street art, and interesting galleries. Just the kind of place you want to spend a weekend, or grab a coffee in the sun with girlfriends. IMG_1162 IMG_1163B took this next photo – I have to say, he somehow manages to always get the best one in the bunch!IMG_1169IMG_1186We curved in and out of shaded streets, and even debated an ice cream cone. At one point we even got lost-lost, which was actually kind of fun – not knowing where we were, or really caring, in Paris.IMG_1187We were disoriented for maybe ten minutes, before hitting La Seine. We watched boats pass by, and I swear to you, I waved at every single one. Paris has this funny effect on me. . . where I want to smoke a sexy cigarette or dance in the streets to the buskers. Paris makes me feel carefree. Or maybe it’s just the first warm, sunny day of spring ;)IMG_1193That’s enough Paris for one evening. I have two more Paris updates to share, but you’ll have to wait another day or two for the next installment ;) Until then!

xo ali

Paris Part 1

I had another Radisson Blu post to share. It was cheerful, boozy, and delicious. But I’m hot off the train from Paris, and I want to tell you all about our Parisian fun while it’s still fresh in my memory. My feet are so sore and I’m quite surprised we managed to fit so much into two short days. I told you all about my big long Paris to do list. I really did not think we would manage to tick through half the list, but the blisters on my poor feet will tell you otherwise!

We got into Paris late on Friday night. We took the Thalys train down from Amsterdam. If you’re traveling to Paris from Amsterdam, the Thalys is the way to go. You don’t have to fuss with security or passports, and the ride is smooth and relaxing. The Thalys train travels at about 200mph, so it’s just over three hours from Amsterdam to Paris. If you book in advance, you can usually get a round trip for less than €100. Taking the train is cheaper than flying, and you don’t have to worry about arriving at the airport two hours early to clear security, queue up, packing light, etc. To pass time on the train we drank beer and played on B’s iPad, and we arrived at Gare du Nord like clockwork three hours later.

After an uneventful cab ride we came to our flat. We stayed in the 16th which is a lovely neighborhood, adorned with beautiful 19th century buildings, large avenues, and some stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. The staircase in our apartment was my favorite (left) but we didn’t dwell in the building for too long. We literally dropped our bags, had a quick wardrobe change, and then popped downstairs to catch another cab.
Paris1Funny story – when we walked downstairs, we headed to the street and threw our hands in the air wildly, in attempt to hail a cab (you have to remember, we’re Amsterdam biking natives). After a minute or two of looking silly (and at least four available taxis passing us by), a cab driver finally pulled over –  only to point out that there was a taxi stand RIGHT next to us. Embarrassing! We had a blushing stroll to said taxi stand . . . .

IMG_0903From the back of our cab we had some gorgeous views of the Eiffel Tower. At this point I think my mouth was plastered into a big Paris smile – excited and ready for the adventure to begin, despite the late hour. Although this wasn’t B’s first choice for a weekend city trip (he’s lived in Paris so it’s a bit ‘eh’ for him) I think he had the big smile on at this point too :)IMG_0946Our selected dinner spot was Au Pied de Cochon – a round the clock French pig joint.IMG_0944Au Pied de Cochon are open 24 hours a day, so you can get a big plate of fries and a pig leg at 3am. Our reservation was a bit more modest and and fell at 10.30pm. Despite the somewhat unconventional dinner hour, the place was packed and we were glad we’d made a reservation.IMG_0941Everywhere you looked were little pigs, big pigs, pig cartoons, and pig statues. Paris3IMG_0936IMG_0908 IMG_0910We went super French and started with snails. I’m a big fan of snails, but I’m an even bigger fan of melted butter and french baguette. Luckily, all of the best snails are swimming with fresh herbs, garlic, and butter. So you start with a warm, garlic bite of snail, and then sop up the remaining butter with baguette. Bon Appétit!IMG_0915 IMG_0918Our mains were also very French-classic. I went for duck breast . . . IMG_0919. . . and B went for ‘St. Anthony’s Temptation’ . . .IMG_0920. . . a breaded pig’s tail, ear, snout, and trotter – the famous, (and some would say) delicious Au Pied de Cochon special. I really wanted to like this dish. Hell, I had snails for my first course! But every bite just tasted like farm wax. B on the other hand loved the pig and scarfed it down in seconds. Despite not loving the pork, it was served with the BEST béarnaise sauce I’ve ever tasted. I was literally dipping fry after fry into this sauce, and the waiter had to bring us a second basket of bread because I used the first as a dipping vehicle. (I just googled the ingredients and am shocked to find it’s all butter and egg yolk, and I’m pretty sure I ate at least half a cup!)

Anyways, I still had my big Paris smile on when I went to the bathroom, and just thought everything looked so lovely, from the faucet knobs. . . . IMG_0927 . . . to the door handles . . . which were little pig feet!Paris2After eating six snails, a duck breast, a pig ear, tail, snout, and leg (doesn’t that all sound so disgusting when lumped together?!) we hit the streets for a long walk home. IMG_0976It was 1am and all the roads were deserted. IMG_0980No one was at the Louvre. There were no tourists snapping photos at the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.IMG_0959Except me.IMG_0971If you’ve never explored Paris after midnight, you’re missing out. It might not be as fun as a Woody Allen movie, but it’s peaceful and romantic.IMG_0983And really, really pretty.output_GqcSCvOn that note, it’s been a few late ones so I’m going to hit the hay. More Paris adventures to come!

xo Ali

Paris in a Onesie

Let’s talk about something exciting . . . something like Paris.

ParisI’ve been to Paris for work a few times, but never for play. I’m now getting extremely stoked because in a few weeks I’ll be traveling Paris with B for a long, fun weekend! As I’m a super-nuts-o-planner, I’ve spent the evening mapping out the must-dos, researching restaurants, and pinning some lovely Parisian spots – all while wearing my onesie, as you do. Usually I share my travel recommendations following the trip, but this time around, I wanted to share my plans ahead of time, incase you wanted to chime in with any recommendations as well!Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 8.58.52 PMSo first things first – let’s talk location. We’ll be staying right by the Eiffel Tower. ^ ^ This is the view from our flat. The most important thing was to be in the center of it all . . . . to be able to look out the window and think ‘ah, this is Paris!’ I don’t plan on spending much time at the flat, but I’m excited to see the Eiffel Tower twinkle from my bed. I found this place on AirBnb. I’ll be traveling a lot in the next few months with Radisson Blu (as I mentioned here), so I thought it would be cool to switch it up a bit and stay in an apartment this time around. I love the luxuries of hotels – the deep tubs, fuzzy bathrobes, and well tucked sheets. But staying in a French dude’s flat for a weekend is also cool, because you get to pretend to be a local :)

Now on to the second most important thing, food.smukkekagerI’ve been snooping through Timeout, as when I was in Lisbon they gave the absolute best restaurant recommendations. Here are a few food stops I’m contemplating:

1) Pierre Hermé – This stop is non-negotiable. Last time I was in Paris, I stocked up at Ladurée, so this time around I’m going for Hermé. If you’re going to go to Paris, you need to eat macaroons. I’m not just making this up. It’s the law.

2) Angelina – This is another stop I will definitely be making. Rumor has it Angelina has the thickest, most divine hot chocolate in all of Paris. You know I’m a sweets woman, so you know I will be at Angelina!

3) Pizza Chic – This is on the maybe list for lunch. Usually I only need to eat twice a day, especially if one of the meals is hot chocolate and macaroons. But B is a three times a day guy, and I know he’ll be starving by 1pm. So I’ve picked out a few lunch places, and Pizza Chic was top-recommended on Timeout.

4) L’As Du Fallafel – This is another lunch spot I picked out with B in mind, but hell, based on the reviews I may have to try it as well! Supposedly L’As du Fallafel has the best falafel in all of Paris. Going to have to test this theory . . .

5) Le Dauphin – I stumbled across this restaurant a while ago via another blogger, and have been wanting to give it a try. Vibrant and sexy, Le Dauphin is sister restaurant to Le Chateaubriand, which is *supposedly* the one of the best restaurants in the world. Le Dauphin is much more pocket-friendly, and is €23 for Starter+Main or €27 for Starter+Main+Dessert. Downside? It’s quite a hike from our flat.

6) Restaurant Astier – Right next door to Le Dauphin – also a bit of a trek from our flat. BUT Timeout gives it rave reviews, and Astier’s special menu is €45 and comes with a starter, a main, an unlimited cheese platter (!!!!) and desert. I know it’s a ways out, but I just keep thinking, unlimited cheese, unlimited cheese! (photo below).

photo-3

7) Brasserie Mollard – Mollard is the third option for dinner on Saturday. They’re a bit closer to our accommodation and the interior is rockin’. They have all of the Parisian classics, and you can get the set menu – a first course, main course, and dessert for €33,70.

8) Au Pied de cochon – I’ve already told B we’re going to Au Pied de cochon for dinner on Friday night. They’re open 24/7, so even though our train doesn’t get in until 9.30pm, we can still have a late, stylish dinner. Hey, we’re only in Paris for two nights! You can get courses for €34.50. Au Pied de cochon are known for their delicious pork, but I’m more of a tartar lady myself. Decisions, decisions!

9) Moisan – One of the most popular bakeries in Paris. Always a line, the tarts are supposedly outstanding. Link here.

Next on the list are things to see – outdoor attractions, parks to walk by, monuments to photograph, bridges, etc.Louvre_at_night_centered1) Parks – On my list are Monceau Park, Tuileries Garden, Luxembourg Gardens, and Parc De Bagatelle. This is a hard one, because loving a park is so subjective. Some people like trees, some people like quiet, and some people like people watching! From what I can see Monceau Park seems to be the most beautiful, and a trip to Luxembourg Gardens is the thing to do. I’ve saved all my park-picks on a map, and I’ll probably make it to whichever just so happens to be nearby at the time.luxembourg-gardens-paris2) Monuments – This list is obvious, but yell at me if I’ve missed anything important! I’m going to make a point of visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Place des Vosges, and the Arc de Triomphe. mostly-paris-6103) Love Lock Bridge – You can’t go to Paris with your partner without locking your love on the bridge. I mean, if you’re in love, and you’re in Paris, this is just the ultimate cliche-cherry on the incredibly delicious cliche-sunday.

Second to last on the list is history. Paris has such a rich and romantic culture, from the Mona Lisa to the Renaissance architecture. On the list I have . . url-11) Orsay Museum – I did some research, as I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to go to both the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre. When asked, most people chose the Musée d’Orsay. I was still a bit torn, but then saw that the special exhibit at the Musée d’Orsay is Gustave Doré (1832–1883): Master of Imagination. Sold.

2) The Louvre – Ok, so in the end I couldn’t choose just one. I am going to have to apply my ‘when in Rome’ mentality, and get up at 8am on Sunday to go to the Louvre. I will be there at 9am when the doors open, I will make a B-line for the Mona Lisa. If it gets crowded and overwhelming, I will leave. But you can’t go to Paris without seeing the Mona Lisa. She’s almost as important culturally as Pierre Hermé.

3) Notre Dame Cathedral – The only other history-related attraction I feel like I HAVE to see in Paris is the Notre Dame Cathedral. If we have time, we’ll climb it, if not, I’m happy gazing from the ground :)

Last on my to-do in Paris list is shopping . . . url-2I have a few places picked out, but they’re not the high-street shops as you might expect. Sure, maybe some gals dream of Chanel and Louis Vitton when they envision a trip to Paris. But personally, I’m more excited for thrifting!! Thrifting and books.

1) Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen – This is the biggest flea market in Paris. Hell, it’s the biggest flea market in the world. I’ve heard people say they spent three days at the Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen and they STILL did not manage to see the whole thing. My goal is to come early on Saturday morning, even though it’s by far the furthest attraction from our flat. I’m going to buy junk. Lots and lots of junk. I’m a thrifting lady, and I’m not ashamed. Hence the next spot on the list . . .

2) Vintage stores – There are three or four vintage stores I want to check out in Paris, one of which is a pay by the kilo shop!! Kiloshop, Free’p’n Star, and Rag & Vertiges are all located in the same shopping district, conveniently close to the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Love Lock bridge. So I will be dragging B into a few thrifty stores, if only to momentarily satisfy my bargin-hunting-heart.

3) Shakespeare & Company – Also located nearby is Shakespeare & Company, the most famous bookstore in Paris – a book-worm’s dream. This is the kind of place you buy a book, just to say you bought a book. And then you treasure that book and pass it down to your kids and say, hey, this book is from Shakespeare & Company in Paris. Yes, I want to be able to say that!

If I’ve missed anything, please let me know!! I want to hear your Paris favorites and top recommendations :)

Now, maybe you’re wondering why the title of this post mentions Paris and a onesie . . .

I’m not feeling very well tonight, which is fine. I’m happy snuggled in bed drinking hot cocoa, surfing the web and mindlessly absorbing the internet. Any other night this might be considered boring, but not tonight. Tonight I have something special. Tonight, I’m wearing a brand new onesie.IMG_0274My dork level has risen about 10% thanks to this new wardrobe piece. I’d had my eye on the jumpsuits at OnePiece for a while, and was totally working up the courage to spend €2oo on a pair of pajamas. The running dialogue in my head went something like this . . . You’ll have this jumpsuit for the rest of your life. You can wear it all winter. You’ll never need to buy another pair of pajams ever again. You’re alway cold. It will be totally worth it. I was very close to turning my online shopping basket into a reality. But then, at lunch time on Friday, I was walking down the Albert Cuyp Market and I came across a onesie blowout sale! Off all the things . .output_8wmCZzThis soft grey onesie was on sale for only €10! I used to avoid buying clothes from the Albert Cuyp Market. All of the shops and stalls just feel a bit synthetic. But then, just before Christmas, I found some lovely, handmade Italian leather purses. They would have been beautiful Christmas gifts, but as they were only €15 I was worried they were a bit cheap or fake. I didn’t buy them. About a month later, I saw the exact same purses for sale on the nine-streets, going for €85!! So I’m learning to go with my gut when it comes to the Albret Cuyp Market, as many retailers shop with the same vendors and then just package and price items differently. The second my hand grazed the inside of this onesie, I knew I’d found something special. It was soft and felt-like, and incredibly plush. It also had a hood and pockets – score! So not only do I look stylin’, I was able to do so on the cheap, and I’m super comfy to boot!

Anyways, that’s enough about my onesie. It’s getting late and I’m off to bed. Paris dreaming time. . .

xo Ali

*FYI – Although I take most of the photos on Pressed Words, the lovely Paris photos in this post are not mine. I’ll report back soon enough with some of my own. In the meantime, hats off to these lovely Parisian photographers!

Une Petite Quantité de Paris

The past few times I’ve come to Paris it’s been for business. I have clients located in the city center, so when I’m in town I’m surrounded by culture but have a limited amount of time to explore my Parisian surroundings.

On the usual business trip we arrive at our hotel late, work on presentations or other meeting prep until the early hours, and then spend the next day from dawn to dusk in meetings. If you’re lucky there’s a late night stroll or a French meal out, or in my case, a moment to relax in the lounge at the airport!

I’m sad to leave this short adventure to Paris, because my trips here are always so limited in time, but I did snap a few photos along the way to share.  IMG_0971^ ^ All streets in Paris tend to blend together, with tall, neutral color buildings, elegant columns, and elaborate wrought iron cresting. Our street was particularly pretty, with a cheeky view of the Eiffel Tower. v v  IMG_0957 IMG_0961IMG_0992 IMG_1000 IMG_1014^ ^ 2am on the streets below. v v My hotel room had a spot-light above my bed, which pointed at these lips on the wall! IMG_1017v v Rocking my little black work dress and some heels. I even have a bit of a Cannes tan left!
Me Paris

While traveling for work is a tease, it does have its perks. I’m currently sitting in the Air France Lounge, sipping on my second glass of white wine and catching up on work e-mails. And Paris will soon be but a memory! x