|Seize the yarn, seize the day|
Last week I was in Paris on a wee holiday (sigh), although now I'm home I'm not convinced I didn't just dream it! Anyhow, it was a brilliant couple of days and I thought I'd share some of my favourite bits with you in case you've got plans to head that way. Or, you know, wanna gawp at some pretty Parisian gloriousness. Been there my friend. Still am there.
Other than spending a good lot of time with Mr P and eating an approximation of my own weight in French pastry, seeking out a lovely yarn shop was pretty high up on my list. When I came across L'OisiveThe at Unwind last year, I made a mental note to try and get there if we ever went to Paris. This yarn boutique and tearoom (pinch me) is in the Butte aux Cailles area in the 13th Arrondissement. Not exactly central, but easy enough to find. We had the most incredible eggy brunch there and were given directions to their new sister store around the corner, La Bien Aimee. Wanna see?
Wall-to-wall delicious yarn inside and painted the happiest shade of yellow on the outside. They have their own lovely hand-dyed yarn brand, too. To commemorate our special anniversary trip, Mr P treated me to some yarn (enabler alert). I had to go for the Bien Aimee Merino Singles. Parisian hand-dyed yarn? It would be rude not to. And it's just beautiful. The colour way is called Direwolf Graffiti. I'm aiming to have a shawl knitted up in this by our next anniversary.
Before we set off, I spent a whole lot of time reading travel blog posts about Paris. The best bit of advice I read was to set aside some time for aimless wandering. There is SOOO much see and do in Paris that it's tempting to fill up your days, but allowing a bit of flexibility pays off. One day we set off in search of a market and ending finding a fantastic botanical garden and zoo! There's something to be said about getting lost and Paris is the most beautiful city to stroll through.
The second best bit of advice was to always carry a brolly!
Knit Through the Queues
If famous landmarks and galleries are on your to-visit list, you're sure to encounter some form of waiting time. Being armed with your knitting or a paperback (or Kindle, if you're modern folks) is the stitches way to combat this and make the wait more enjoyable. And boy do I wish I'd prepared for this when we were waiting outside the Louvre for an hour.
Here I am merrily knitting in the queue for the Catacombs. I got heaps done in this wait and as Mr P had forgotten the Kindle that day, he came in handy as a yarn holder (and reluctant photography). To note - matching your socks to your top won't make you a better knitter, but it will make you stick out like a sore thumb among any combination of chic Parisians.
Mr P said he didn't have single bad cup of coffee in Paris, but as a tea drinker I was keen to sample some fancy tea and impossibly beautiful patisserie creations that I had no hope of pronouncing correctly. We went to Laduree on the Champs Elysees (when in Paris), where there's a restaurant and a little shop. It's stunning inside and out and Mr P had the world's best tarte tatin. The service seemed was a bit snooty, but then we were British, awkward and a bit scruffy, so fair enough. The sweet treats were really lovely so I would recommend it.
Live Like Royalty
Or at least, see how royalty lived. Visiting the Palace of Versailles was definitely one of the best things we did. It's about a 40 minute train ride from central Paris and well worth it if you have a day you can spend there. Sooooo much to see. Wear your comfiest shoes and prepare to be overwhelmed by chandeliers and all-round opulence. I'm pretty sure we could have easily spent a week just exploring the grounds (we're talking serious acreage here). There's also a bizarrely Disney-esque, excessively quaint hamlet that Marie-Antoinette had built that has to be seen to be believed.
Check their website for details of free entry options and special discounts.
Follow up your visit with a viewing of Sophia Coppola's Maria Antoinette film and you'll have firmly cemented your adoration for the place. And developed some pretty severe macaron pangs.
In short, Paris is always a good idea.