Wednesday, 12 December 2012


I was in Paris over the weekend to celebrate my 28th (gosh!) Birthday as it was on the special 12.12.12 date everyone has been talking about. Flea markets, design hotels, cafes, restaurants, cemetries, piano bars, walks along the Seine and across the Pont des Arts, Montmartre and the metro... I loved it all! 

We stayed at the fantastically cool Mama Shelter, highly recommended for design aficionado's and very easy access to the Père Lachaise Cemetery (a whole post dedicated to the cemetery coming up). Former multi-story car park in the scruffy 20th A, given the full on Starck treatment - day glow pop-art kitsch, graffiti and chalkboard walls, cartoon character cameos and hotel-giftshop erotica.

We visited the Marche Vernaison (near Porte de Clignancourt), one of the wackiest flea markets I've been to... unfortunately (for me) and luckily (for my husband) most things were quite overpriced and so, all I walked away with are these photos and nightmarish memories of dislocated doll's bodies, bizarre taxidermy, French revolution-era military uniforms, medical dispensary paraphernalia, death masks, vintage B-movie horror posters and dwarf all-white Santas!

We ate at the Mama Shelter restaurantGermain and Coutume Café; and drank vin chaud (hot wine) at the Piano Bar near the Sacre Couer. 

Germain is a Wallpaper guide recommended cafe/restaurant and I am so glad we trekked to see the massive yellow sculpture by artist Xavier Veilhan, the lower half of which stands on the cafe's first floor whereas the top half breaks through the ceiling and into the top lounge floor. It is designed by Iranian born interior designer India Mahdavi and worth visiting, even if for just a coffee and an entree (which are excellent, but not cheap)

Coutume is a simple stripped back cafe- canteen chairs, ceramic tiles and cast iron beams; the style of which you'd expect more in London than in Paris. It was recommended as quite simply the best Sunday brunch south of the Seine and in our (not too) expert opinion, lived up to its billing. Too busy enjoying it in fact, we forgot to take any snaps.

Rounded it all off with a quintessentially Parisian experience, midnight vin chaud and crepes in a cozy piano bar perched atop Montmartre. Touristy as hell, but marvellous all the same.

We whiled away many hours browsing the shopping icons of Merci, Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marche... such lovely shops, oh! It was refreshing to see an alternative view of the design concept shop with a slightly different look and feel to that which we have become so accustomed to in London - industrial, vintage, etc...

The celebrations continued today with lots of 12.12.12 love sent my way...
All in all, a very fun and memorable Birthday!