Paris Explorations

Paris is always a good idea. That was my thought when I suggested to my Mom that we take a trip to Europe and start with Paris. We’d already had a mother-daughter trip to France in 2009 and I felt we were long overdue for another visit. I booked us a quaint apartment on the top floor of a Haussmann building in Montmartre through Airbnb. I have a soft spot for Montmartre since I grew up in a village in Saskatchewan of the same name. We spent the past three days exploring the City of Light in search of all things fun and fancy.Live like a Parisian
The first thing I did was change out of my travel clothes into a passably French outfit. We then headed down the street to find the local butcher, cheese shop, baker, grocer and florist. Once we had everything we needed for a perfect Parisian picnic, including a bottle of rosé, we went back to the apartment and enjoyed our gourmet finds. Fancy coffee for our luxe stay in Paris!
In the morning, we were happy to have a Nespresso machine in our apartment and I had brought along the two new Limited Edition Nespresso coffees, Laos Bolaven Plateau and Kenya Peaberry, two very rare and exceptional coffees from the Explorations 1 collection. Our favourite was the Kenya Peaberry, with its rich, dark texture and fruity notes. It paired perfectly with the ripe Moroccan peaches we found at the market in Montmartre.Fine Dining in the Eiffel Tower
My Mom insisted that she wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower and I thought only of the long line-ups. She solved that by booking us a table at Le Jules Verne, the MICHELIN-starred restaurant on the 2nd floor of the tower. The restaurant has its own entrance and elevator so we avoided the line-ups. The unforgettable dining experience and VIP view is well worth the price. Once we had finished our three-hour lunch, we had direct access to the 2nd floor balcony and the incredible views of Paris. Checked that off our bucket list!Visit the original Ladurée
The only place we repeated from our 2009 trip was the famous French pastry shop, Ladurée. Nowadays, you can find Ladurée shops all over the world, but we went to the original shop at 16 rue Royale which was founded by Louis Ernest Ladurée in 1862 as a bakery. For breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea, its fancy decor and pastries are a very decadent treat.

Street Style
Perhaps the prettiest street in Paris, rue Crémieux is now Instagram-famous because of its pretty pastel houses. Painted in macaron-like colours, each house looks good enough to eat!Made in France
In Saint-Germain-des-Près, we stumbled on Gab & Jo, the cutest little boutique curating all the finest French objets. I found a beautiful taupe merino wool beret and a darling pair of fine socks with a whimsical woodsy print. The shop owner was equally charming.Lunch at Les Deux Magots
One of Paris’ iconic cafes, Les Deux Magots is where Hemingway was known to hang out. We ordered quiche Lorraine and a glass of rosé as we gossiped and watched the passersby.Make Like an Artist
My Parisian pal Patricia snuck us past the guard at the prestigious fine arts school, ENSBA (l’École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts). We walked past students smoking on the front steps and into the Palais des Etudes. Degas, Matisse and Monet are some of the many notable French artists who have studied here. Inside the Palais des Etudes you’ll find a grand glass-covered courtyard where some of the major fashion houses have held shows.
Main entrance, 14 rue Bonaparte, in the heart of St-Germain-des-PrèsMini macarons
We couldn’t resist the adorable mini macarons we saw in the window at Richart. The bite-size macarons were so flavourful and practically calorie-less.French Lingerie
We ducked into the freshly-opened Simone Pérèle flagship store at 61 rue de Rennes, where my Mom treated herself to a lovely lace ensemble. The French lingerie company is known for its stunning yet comfortable designs. I attended the fall media presentation in Montreal last week and saw on Instagram that the flagship had also just opened last week. You can find Simone Pérèle lingerie in Canada, but you can’t find a sexier souvenir from Paris!
Paris Love
Even if our stay was short, we had three perfect days in Paris! If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide to Paris, I’d suggest the recently published 300 raisons d’aimer Paris by fellow Montrealer, Judith Ritchie. You’ll need to brush up on your French though!

As all good things come to an end, we also finished both boxes of the Explorations 1 Limited Edition coffees, but they were just so good. The duo pack of Limited Editions (20 capsules is $40).

This article is sponsored by Nespresso. Opinions are my own and the trip to Paris was not sponsored.

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