Four Indulgent Ways to Treat Yourself in Paris (Guest Post)

29 Sep

Paris is one of those cities with endless opportunity and a new discovery around each and every corner. There are things to do for people of all tastes, but don’t just take my word for it. Today I’ve decided to share a very special guest post that will offer you a glimpse at Paris from another perspective…and add to your list of things to see when you get there!

Your aching feet have queued for the Eiffel Tower. They’ve queued so you can crane at a postage stamp-sized Mona Lisa. They’ve pounded the Champs Elysees and through the throngs at Collette and up into the cupola of the Sacre Coeur.

It’s time to give them a rest. Step off the tourist trail and make some time to indulge yourself like a local. Here are four ways we know how… 

1. Macarons at Pierre Herme

Photo credit: Canon S3 IS in Paris, France

If Laudree’s the old-school macaron house, Pierre Herme’s the young upstart, turning the traditional macaron world on its head when it opened 1996 in with trend-settingly odd flavour combos like wasabi and grapefruit. Now, the more obscure your macaron ingredient mash-ups, the better – Pierre Herme started all that. Call in to one of the seven stores around Paris for a sweet pick-me-up – the newest shop’s a skip and a jump from the Opera Garnier.

39 avenue de l’Opéra

2. Cocktails at le Fumoir

Photo credit: daveyll

You’d expect a bar-brasserie next to the Louvre to be the worst combination of what’s on offer in tourist-heavy areas: overpriced, with unexceptional food and décor. This isn’t the case at le Fumoir. With an oak bar, Chesterfield sofas and a mean line in Martinis, the look’s distinctly clubby and old-Parisian, tempered by a young professional clientele. Watch the world go by from over the rim of your cocktail tumbler, then soak up the alcohol with bites from the appetiser menu – le Fumoir’s signature herring marinated in sherry goes down a treat. 

6 rue de l’Amiral de Coligny

3. A film at La Pagode

Photo credit: Dorenrof Claudius **PARIS**

Stuck out on the quieter side of the Left Bank ten minutes from les Invalides, La Pagode’s worth a visit just for its Eastern fairy tale-style architecture and Japanese garden. Built in 1896 by the owner of Bon Marche as a ballroom for his wife, this extraordinary building has been used as a cinema-house since the 1940s, avoiding demolition in the 70s after a campaign from locals. You can take tea in the garden in summer, then catch art-house and independent film offerings in antique auditorium inside. A visual treat, in every sense.

 57 rue de Babylone, 7e, Invalides

4. Pampering at Nuad Thaï Sabaï

This family-owned Thai spa has pampered many a French celeb, so follow in their footsteps and enter Nuad Thaï Sabaï’s temple of wellbeing – your cares will be massaged away. Sitting on the Left Bank between la Tour D’Argent and the Arab World Institute, the spa offers treatments in a network of stone chambers connected by tunnels – with generous use of swagged curtains, statues and lantern-light to complete the dreamy atmosphere. As well as a range of Thai massages, you can also get a full body scrub or take a reflexology session.

3 Quai de la Tournelle

Written by Isabel Clift of, the budget travel specialists. If you want to visit Paris yourself, check out AnyTrip’s selection of cheap hotels in Paris or like us on Facebook for a chance to win a trip to the City of Light (to 30th September 2011).

Paris Memories

8 Sep

Today I’m so happy to be featured on Any Trip’s blog sharing my tips on the Best Picnic Spots on Paris’ Left Bank. Though I’ve been in London for nearly two years already (WHERE does the time go? seriously?) I find myself on days like today reflecting happily on the years I spent living right in the middle of the action in Paris’ historic and beautiful 5e arrondissement.

A typical day included anything from eating a warm pain au chocolat freshly pulled from the boulangerie’s oven just for me as I came to become known as a neighborhood regular, to strolling amongst landmarks and scenery that I had daydreamed about for years as a young girl. From the way my breath still catches in my throat when I see the Eiffel tower to the fond memories I have of life in the City of Lights, I am looking forward to sharing with you some more of my best stories and secrets of Paris over the next few posts, as I get ready to celebrate my five year anniversary of the day I made the big move to follow my dreams to the City of Lights. I also still Tweet interesting Paris-related news via @EverythingParis even though I’m no longer in the heart of the action. Feel free to follow me for plenty of Paris nostalgia and tips.

Thanks to Any Trip for giving me the opportunity to share my picnic tips with their readers – I’m all about sharing the Paris love! If you want to feel the love for Paris first-hand click here to learn more about the competition that Any Trip is currently running and you just may find yourself lucky enough to be on a trip to Paris, making memories of your own to last a lifetime!

Virgin Atlantic – The Skies are Friendly Again! (Part 1)

24 Jun

I have a confession to make….

I’m a nervous flyer. I mean a REALLY nervous flyer. There’s something about takeoff and landing that makes me shudder just writing about it. So, I’m always a bit anxious at the airport and during the security check stage of my trip. That said, once the plane is at cruising altitude, I love everything about air travel and feel really fortunate to be able to criss cross the globe to visit friends and family back home in America as much as I do.

This April, my fiancé and I traveled back to Los Angeles to finalize preparations for our upcoming wedding. Flying from Heathrow on a sunny Saturday on Virgin America was the perfect way to get ready for our busy week – every time I’ve flown with Virgin, I’ve been so impressed with the  service that I was really thrilled to be flying with them again. We were so excited to be taking the trip that we decided to splurge on Premium Economy seats and I was really looking forward to testing them out.

Virgin Atlantic Plane

Virgin Atlantic plane

We arrived at our check-in desk right on time and were greeted warmly by the agent who began the typical process of weighing and tagging our bags and printing our boarding passes. It was only then that we began to realize that there was something a bit different and special about our trip that morning…

When our agent stood up and excused herself, saying that she needed to get us some Upper Class bag tags, we looked at each other in confusion. “Did you do this?” I whispered to my fiancé, wondering if he’d surprised me with an upgrade. “No, did you???” he whispered back right as the agent returned, Upper Class tags in hand. She quickly and efficiently explained that we would be sitting in Upper Class that day and began explaining to us how to access the private Upper Class security line.

We looked at each other in disbelief and also tried to hide how ecstatic we both were, thanked the agent and practically skipped over to the security area with glee…that NEVER happens at airports anymore, does it? What a fantastic surprise!

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Stay tuned for my next post about the amazing service and fantastic flight on Virgin Atlantic that rates right up there as one of my most favorite travel memories to date!

My Favorite Things to Do in Paris on a Sunny Day

7 Apr

Springtime finally seems to have arrived in London and from what my Twitter friends in Paris seem to be telling me, the weather in Paris is equally lovely. It seems like the gorgeous weather we’ve been waiting for all winter is finally here! Though I’m now in London full-time and am thrilled by all that there is to discover in this frenetic and bustling city, I also have to admit that there’s nothing quite like a crystal clear sunny day in Paris. Here are a few of my tips for the best things to experience on one of these gorgeous days in Paris.

As the most-visited city on the planet, Paris offers visitors so many things to do that a quick visit is never enough to see it all. Of course the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame deserve the honors they’ve earned as the top spots to visit, but there is so much more to Paris than those mounuments and so many  things to see and do that aren’t necessarily in your typical guidebook. I uncovered so many secrets of Paris in the three years I spent living there, and was especially thrilled to discover new and different ways to spend time outdoors in such a stunning city. The best part about these ideas is that there will generally be fewer tourists in these areas, which usually means a more authentic experience overall. Here are a few of my favorite things to do on a sunny day in Paris.

Photo credit: madcowk

1. Boulevard President Wilson outdoor market

Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, farmers, fish mongers and florists set up shop along the median of the Boulevard President Wilson in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. Shouts of the salespeople in each stall penetrate the air and the smells of blooming flowers, fresh fish and succulent fruits are ever present in the best outdoor market (marché) that I’ve visited in Paris. To experience the market as a local, stroll the length of the Boulevard and pick up some fresh fruit or stop at the butcher for some fresh cuts of meat. Buy some cheese, fruit and bread and enjoy an outdoor lunch near Trocadero, with unparalleled views of the Eiffel Tower.

Photo credit: hotzeplotz

2. Canal Saint Martin

An area that has steadily been gaining popularity in recent years, the Canal Saint Martin is a great place for a walk or dinner and drinks away from the fast pace of the more popular tourist areas. Grab a bottle of wine at one of the canal-side markets and order from Pink Flamingo Pizza (67 rue Bichat, 75010). They’ll deliver your uniquely flavored pie to you on the edge of the canal. Don’t miss this picturesque place for people-watching and mingling with the locals.

Photo credit: Carles Tomas Marti

3. Picnic by the Seine

While Paris is considered to be the culinary capital of Europe, sometimes the best meals in this gastronomic wonderland can be the simplest. With no shortage of tantalizing offerings in the windows of the boulangeries, one of my favorite things to do is head to the banks of the Seine for an impromptu picnic. For amazing bread and sweet treats, the bakery Maison Kayser (8 rue Monge, 75005) in the heart of the Latin Quarter is my go-to place. Any of the banks of the Seine are nice for a picnic, but I especially love the tips of both the Ile-Saint-Louis and Ile-de-la-Cité as my picnic spots.

Whatever you decide to do, Paris is lovely in the sunshine and there is no shortage of experiences to be enjoyed in such beautiful weather.

The Elusive “First Post”

20 Mar

Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading too many blogs for far too long or maybe it’s because I don’t know how to properly kick things off here, but I’ve been having a hard time with writing my first post. The first post is always something to go back to in the future to see how much things have changed around here…or to reflect upon when writing has hopefully improved for the better on a blog. It’s perhaps these thoughts plus an uncertainty about how best to categorize what I hope to do with this blog that leaves me sitting here with a wicked case of writer’s block.

So, I’ve decided that the best thing to do is to take a page out of my own life playbook and just take a deep breath and jump into things and see how it all works out in the end. After living abroad for nearly five years, I’ve learned that little leaps of faith are the ultimate key to adventure, exploration and new experiences – welcome to my next online leap of faith!

The inspiration for the naming of this blog comes from one of my most favorite quotes – “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” by Lao-Tzu. If I’ve learned anything in my life so far, it’s that these single steps can be not only terrifying and nervewracking, but they can also be the only thing between a safe and quiet existence and the adventures of a lifetime. I invite you to come along with me on this journey of life as I take my single steps daily. From the everyday to the extraordinary, I hope to share these snippets with you and show you that wonderful and delightful experiences can be had not only on exotic trips around the globe, but also right in your own neighborhood.

Thank you for reading!

New beginnings…

31 Dec

After blogging all across the internet, both for myself but also professionally, I felt it was time to consolidate my efforts and start fresh with a blog that’s all mine that will combine all my passions – travel, writing, travel writing, reading, restaurants and more!

Stay tuned for fresh content, or in the meantime feel free to check out some of my previous projects.

One Day in London

KEFinLondon on Qype

An American in Paris



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