Yesterday I went to Le Grand Musée du Parfum, Paris’ recently opened perfume museum that should be on the to-do list of any perfume lover.
Located on the French capital’s rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in a townhouse that previously housed the headquarters of Christian Lacroix, the perfume museum takes visitors on a multi-sensory fragrance journey. Fragrance enthusiasts can learn about the history and the science of perfume, and all about the role of the perfumer.
You can smell different perfume notes and selected scents–a special mention goes to Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady composed by perfumer Dominique Ropion, which might actually be my new favourite fragrance.
Perfumes are available to smell and buy in the gift shop, as are various books on fragrance.
Le Grand Musée du Parfum
rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different to go for dinner or drinks, look no further than Polpo, a seafood brasserie.
This bar-restaurant is in fact a 600m2 barge on the banks of the Seine in the Parisian suburb of Levallois-Perret. You might have to walk along the side of a busy road to get to the place, but once inside, the relaxed vibe makes you feel as though you are on holiday.
Food options include oysters, lobster and mussels (I had the fish and chips, since I’m a Brit), although there are pasta and steak options available if seafood doesn’t float your boat. Dessert is delectable–I had a chocolate mousse to die for.
When it comes to drinks, I’d recommend going for Happy Hour, from 5-8pm, when a spritz is €5.
47 quai Charles Pasqua
92300 Levallois Perret
Metro Pont de Levallois (Line 3)
The Marais district of Paris is known for its cool and quirky shops, bars and eateries, and Alma the Chimney Cake Factory is a perfect example of the latter.
This cool cafe serves great coffee and sweet and savoury versions of Hungarian treat kurtos kalacs, aka chimney cake.
I had the soup and a mini herb chimney cake (because I’d been to a spinning class and had developed notions of becoming a fitness fanatic and starting a healthy eating regime), and my friend had a tomato, mozzarella and pesto chimney cone. We sat on the table you have to climb a ladder to reach, which is not for the fainthearted but affords a great view of the chimney cakes being prepared and a sense of superiority as you look down on people.
We’ll definitely be back to sample the sweet versions–options include cinnamon, almonds or praline.
And apparently you can make chimney cakes at home, so I might just have to give it a go.
Alma the Chimney Cake Factory
59 boulevard Beaumarchais
My short story, HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT, is available for FREE worldwide on Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iTunes, so go and grab yourselves a copy!
Bella Hunt thought the nanny quitting was the worst life got. Until she lost her job, that is. Going from a high-flying fashion PR consultant to a stay-at-home mother of three turns out to be a rather rude awakening, and Bella finds she’s coming up short in a few too many areas. But with a dash of ingenuity, a spoonful of friendship, and a sprinkling of love, Bella manages to not only have her cake, but eat it, too.
~ One of five finalists in a Chick Lit short story contest judged by Marian Keyes, Have Your Cake and Eat It is a novella about family, friendships, and making lemon cake out of lemons. A reader’s delight that will warm the heart and maybe even inspire some cake making. Or some eating, at the very least! ~
There’s no shortage of places to go for coffee and cake in Paris, but the Used Book Cafe at the Merci concept store is one of my favourites.
Located at 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, it’s the perfect place to refuel after a Saturday spent (window) shopping in the Marais.
I opted for a cappuccino and a slice of chocolate cake, but if you’re feeling flush there’s an organic salmon and cream cheese bagel on the menu for €18–for that price it can only be fabulous.
Merci was set up in 2009 by the founders of children’s clothing label Bonpoint, who spotted a gap in the market for a place that combines fashion, design, household goods and refreshments. Each year the company contributes to a foundation that funds educational projects and development in south-west Madagascar.
This weekend in Paris was the 33rd edition of Journées Européenes du patrimoine (European Heritage Days), where sites open to the public across the capital included ministries, embassies and Hôtel Matignon, the official residence of the French Prime Minister.
Being a bit of a fashionista, I opted to visit the new head offices of French group Kering, which owns brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci and Alexander McQueen.
Located at 40 rue de Sèvres in Paris’ 7th arrondissement, the new head offices of Kering and Balenciaga is the site of the former Hôpital Laennec and is classified as a ‘monument historique’.
In the chapel there was a contemporary art exhibition from the Pinault Collection, while in the Balenciaga showroom some iconic pieces from the fashion designer were on display.
We also got to peek at the office waiting area, which was as luxurious as you might expect.
All in all, a great visit that made me want to indulge in a bit of retail therapy-lucky then, that the Le Bon Marché department store is just up the road!
I may not have played with Barbie dolls for about twenty years, but I was as excited as a small child to hear of the Barbie exhibition at Paris’ Musée des arts décoratifs.
The exhibition traces the history of Barbie, the manufacturing process, and how the iconic doll reflects cultural and societal shifts.
A definite must-see if you’re a fan of Barbie and fashion – the exhibition features Barbie dressed by designers including Oscar de la Renta, and 7,000 of her tiny outfits displayed in a riot of rainbow colour.
Barbie is on from 10 March – 18 September 2016 at
Musée des Arts décoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli
Métro : Palais-Royal, Pyramides ou Tuileries