Tuesday, 11 March 2014

One day we're gonna live in Paris, I promise..

I'd like to apologise again for being the WORST blogger ever and not blogging once a week like I'd promised but I've been so busy with uni work since I got back from Paris. Originally I'd planned for this to be a blog about Parisian street style and Paris fashion week but I must confess, I got so wrapped up in the beautiful city that I didn't end up near ANY fashion hot spots. Okay I tell a lie I was outside the Nina Ricci show completely by accident but nowhere near anything remotely interesting that I could have taken a picture of, unless you could 150,000 paps with the biggest cameras I've ever seen.

Of course I'm still going to talk about my favourite looks at PFW but I think I'd actually like to talk about my time in Paris and give some tips to anyone who's going any time soon because that's what helped me figure out what I wanted to do there. So I guess I'll begin with where I stayed -

We found a beautiful apartment on a website called Airbnb which was recommended to me by a friend. Basically you go on and create a profile for yourself and then browse the city, area and price range that suits you best to find an apartment/house/spare room/shack in the desert, it quite literally has it all! If we had the money we might have chosen to stay in Jim Morrison's Paris apartment (yes it's on there) but we thought it might also be a bit creepy. Eventually we found the perfect apartment in the Pigalle area of Paris, Pigalle is the Soho of Paris, neon lights and sex shops galore but with an amazing atmosphere and night life AND the Moulin Rouge was a 2 minute walk from us. We stayed in a room in a a families apartment which was the most beautiful apartment we'd ever seen. The Hausmann buildings in Paris always make me feel so dreamy with their big wooden entrance doors and balconies, it's like taking a trip back in time when you get inside a lift with metal bars that you pull across the door, complete novelty.


Parisian sunrise out our window

Originally I had planned to style spot beautiful people around Paris but once I got on the metro the next morning I was so wrapped up in Paris and all its beauty that I don't think I even looked at another person. I spent most of my time looking up at the buildings around me in total amazement. I don't think I've ever been anywhere that looks so pretty, even in the pouring rain. Our first stop in the morning was the Louvre because my boyfriend and I felt like we needed a bit of culture in our lives. We got there early enough because we knew we'd probably be there all day and were pleasantly surprised to find that if you can show ID to prove you're under 25 you can get in for free, even if you aren't from France! Yay French socialist government! If you haven't been to the Louvre before then I urge you to go, even if you're not that much into your art some of the pieces there are actually mind blowing. I had the strangest vertigo the entire time I was there from looking up at the enormous paintings. I kept thinking they were all going to topple down on top of me because they were so huge.

Séan pondering a piece of art

Me getting really embarrassed as I'd posed like this for over 5 mins to get it right

After spending basically all day in the Louvre we emerged to Paris at dusk and decided this would be the perfect time to take a walk and explore the city a bit. We walked out the back of the Louvre into the Jardin Tuileries where I was told all the beautiful people would be, the Parisian Somerset House! The gardens are so peaceful and pretty and as we walked through them to the top of the Champs Elysée I could see crowds of people gathering outside a large tent which I knew would be something to do with fashion week. I had my camera on me but talk about tight security. I couldn't see a thing except hundreds of paparazzi  with the biggest cameras I've ever seen and rows and rows of black mercs lined up awaiting their famous passenger. To be honest I wasn't in Paris for fashion week, I just happened to be there at the time it was happening. I think if I'd had longer than 2 days there I would have stayed to snap some people but I just didn't have time to fit in everything I wanted to do. We continued our walk up to the Champs Elysées (because everyone just has to have a look in Sephora) and had some food there.*

*Now this is the time where someone needs to step in and tell me where to eat in Paris. I was literally clueless as to what to eat and where was cheap enough for my budget. I think next time I go back I'll need to do some food research as well as where to shop!

After our meal we decided to talk a "walk" up the Eiffel Tower. I say "walk" because it was more like two pensioners dragging their lifeless bodies up a million flights of stairs. The "walk" absolutely killed us but it was so worth it, you can of course get a lift up to the top but where's the fun in that?! It did cost us a bit to get up there, about 15 euro I think, but it was definitely worth it for the views at the top. We thought that since we saved that from not having paid into the Louvre we may as well spend it on something worthwhile. My camera decided to have a mental breakdown at this point so I didn't get many good pictures but I did get a few from the bottom of the tower itself which was sparkling for us (as it does every hour on the hour). This happened when we were at the bottom and at the top and it was magical! 

The next day we tried and failed to get up early to fit in everything we wanted to do, we did manage to leave early enough but our ambitious plans to leave at 11 am didn't happen, of course. We spent the afternoon wandering around Pigalle and Montmartre which is the most beautiful place on earth. I knew from being in Paris before that Montmarte is the area of Paris where all the "bohemians" hung out, think midnight in Paris, Picasso, Dali and Hemmingway - I was as giddy as Owen Wilson.  I swooned my way through the streets and clothes shops and cried because I didn't have more money to treat myself to vintage gems. I did however find one of the best jackets ever for only 15 euros in a lovely shop called  By Flowers ( Rue des Martyrs). Sadly I can't remember the name of all the shops but I do remember Le Caverne à Fripes (25, Rue Houdon) which was a tiny basement vintage shop with clothes hanging from the walls, floor and ceiling. My boyfriend found a fantastic leather jacket there for 45 euros, who ever gets a leather jacket for under £100? complete bargain. After a few vintage finds we then made our way up the many steps of Montmartre to the Sacre Coeur, here we got panoramic views of Paris and some of the best pictures I took on the whole trip. 

Just casually modelling my jacket in Urban Outfitters mirrors cos I don't have a good one at home..
Great jacket eh?

It was my boyfriends birthday while we were away and he's the biggest Jim Morrison fan ever so we thought it might be a good idea to head to the Pere Lachaise cemetery to visit the graves of Jim and my favourite Oscar Wilde. We didn't really have much time to make it but we knew the metro line from Montmartre passed Menilmontant and La Chapelle on the way to the cemetery, so if we missed it we'd have great areas to explore. I really love how much graffiti you see in Paris, it's literally everywhere you look and the further out of the city you go the better it gets. La Chapelle and Menilmontant are quite grimy and a cool contrast to how pristine most of Paris is. If you're looking for the best graffiti and quirky shops then jump on the metro line 2 (Porte Dauphine) and head out towards Menilmontant. It was only one stop away from Pere Lachaise but sadly by the time we got there it was closed (a bit of a heartbreaking moment) but Paris is huge and we knew we'd never cover it all in two days. Now we just have an excuse to go back and see more of it! We took a walk around Menilmontant anyway to do a bit of shopping, if you ever find yourself there go to Vintage 77 on Rue Menilmontant its fab.

We accepted defeat about the cemetery being closed after taking a walk up to the enormous and very closed gates and jumped back on the Metro to Pont Neuf. This stop brings you out just next to the famous "lovers bridge" in Paris, Pont Des Arts. Here thousands of people flock year after year to put their own personalised lock on the bridge and throw the key into the Seine below to symbolise their eternal love, how romantic! Séan and I thought we'd just have to do it so bought ourselves a little lock and went for the standard "S <3 K", simple and to the point. Even if you don't have boyfriend/girlfriend to add a lock with you have to visit it while in Paris. It's so lovely to read all the messages from over the years and I saw plenty of "BFF's" so go and put a lock on with your friends, they'll never break up with you. 

Before we headed home to get ready to go out we took a walk down the river towards Notre Dame and The Marais which I'd heard was amazing for shopping. Walking down the river at night was probably my favourite moment in Paris, I think I fell in love with the place about a thousand times over. We stopped at the Notre Dame for a few pictures and then headed towards the famous Hotel de Ville in the Marais for some late night shopping. I'd previously google'd the opening times of the shops in the area (thank you technology) so I knew if I'd make it or not. I was LIED TO by google, the shops did not close at 9 they closed at 8 and I made it there at 7.45 and stood outside the shops like a pup in the rain, close to tears that they were closed. I'd been very very excited to visit the famous kilo shops in Paris and another shop called The Hippy Market, both of which were closed. I decided to suck it up and tell myself I didn't have much money to spend anyway so I would have been torturing myself, but for anyone going shopping in Paris the Marais is the place to be. We decided to stay and wander around the vibrant streets of the Marais to take in our last night in Paris, known famously as the gay area of Paris it did not disappoint. Fabulous people everywhere.

We'd finally come to our last night in Paris and we knew we couldn't not celebrate Sean's birthday so we decided to head to Zig Zag Club (just off the Champs Elysée) to see one of my favourite DJs - Motor City Drum Ensemble. We didn't end up leaving our apartment until about 2 am because the clubs there stay open till 7 and we knew with our flight in the morning we may as well just stay up until we had to get it, bad idea. The set was amazing, the club was huge and the people were great. You could even smoke inside which was such a novelty for us, however ALL drinks were 10 euro and we almost died of heart failure upon learning so. If you're going out in Paris I suggest you buy yourself a cheap bottle of wine like we did and neck it before or you're in for a very very expensive trip. 

We didn't even begin to scratch the surface of Paris but what I saw was so good that I'm already planning my next trip there. There are so many places and areas that I didn't get to visit so hopefully I can document those when I embark upon my next adventure to the city of light. I hope you enjoyed this tiny snippet of my trip and it inspires you to visit some of these places, hopefully! 

Three things before I go -
1. Always watch your bag/pockets cos the place is hiving with pick pockets!
2. Always always always pre drink because the clubs are ridiculously expensive
3. Never ever ever go out the night before your flight home because the plane will be so bad you'll want to die mid flight and end up silently crying and heaving into your sick bag for an hour and a half.

Au Revoir,
Katie xxx

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