Summer Holiday - European Style . . Part Two.

Bonjour !

Paris.  Finally.  I can't tell you how long I have wanted to visit.  It's ridiculous.  From our room in London at the St. Pancas, we just walked down the stairs to the train and 2 hours later we were coming out of the Gare du Nord.  Whirlwind that's for sure, but being so close and not running over would have been a shame.  So, I planned a little jaunt.

London's St. Pancras train station

From the station we took a quick 10 min cab ride  down narrow streets to another place high on my list to visit.  The Hotel du Petit Moulin

How "Paris" is this?!  Originally one of the oldest bakeries in Paris, it has now been transformed into a boutique hotel in Le Marais, the 3rd and 4th arrondissements.  I chose it for two reasons:  the neighborhood and the sheer quaintness of it.

front entrance


breakfast lounge

cocktails later

The front lobby, through the orchids, small shop and restaurant filled streets.

Wow, right?!   I learned of it a few years ago, designed top to bottom by one of my favorite designers Christian Lacroix.  In addition to his fashion brilliance his fabric and wall covering collections with Designers Guild have always been among of my favorites.   

The hotel is a history lover's dream with a facade dating back to 1900.  A complete renovation preserved much of the charm while transforming it into a hip boutique hotel of 17 rooms.  The front desk is actually the old bakery counter frequented by the likes of Victor Hugo (who lived in the neighborhood).   It's a playground of color and pattern.  Breakfast is served every morning with fresh croissants and baguettes. The rooms are small (but who cares) no two the same.  With the three of us, I booked one of the suites on the top floor to accommodate us all.  Surprisingly not that pricey.


The narrow stairwell to our room on the top floor.

Our room was really good.  Black and white, crazy ceilings and polka dot floors.  Platform king bed, black lacquer nooks with great side street views.  Two different black and white wall papers and pops of fuchsia here and there.  Lucy was on a pull out sofa.. very comfortable and all set up for her when we arrived.  Modern bathroom, loaded with perfumes and lotions.  I loved it.

Off the hook this place was.   We grabbed a snack and got ready to meet Julien.

So what I did right off the bat knowing we only has 36 hours - found a tour guide.
Meet Julien Desire.   Native.. he was great !  We emailed back and forth before we got there and talked about the type of tour I was looking for ... I wanted the "local" sights, mixed in with a few icons stops.

He met us at the hotel when we arrived and took us for a walk.  Apparently I picked the perfect neighborhood.  He knows his history and we immediately felt comfortable.  We walked from the hotel down to the Seine slowly soaking up tidbits of local color and knowledge along the way.  We crossed a few of its 37 bridges (I had no idea!) making our way to a river boat cruise to get an overall view of where things were . . . it was perfect, very relaxed and at a pace we wanted.  He catered to our love of art!

With a true local with us, we learned a lot about the architecture, local artists and quirky stories, even pointing out a famous rapper, and saw where Victor Hugo lived.  He showed us a few hidden gardens we never would have known about.  On the boat cruise we passed Notre Dame,  the Musee du Louvre (I had no idea it was so big) and the Eiffel Tower.  Perfect afternoon.  Saturday was our big day and he met us promptly at 10 for a combination walking / taxi jaunt.  A close up of the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Pont Alexandre III, Les Invalides ending with a walk down the Avenue Champs Elysees

We made it back to the hotel, gathered our things and headed back to the station to catch the last train back to London.

all photo pour moi... gotta love the iphone 6 (and photoshop)!

What an amazing 36 hours !

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