The Legendary Shakespeare & Co, Paris

Shakespeare and Co Paris Seine

Sometimes, every now and then, you come across a place which touches you in some way. It can be anything, an interesting building or a curious little coffee shop… For me, one of these special places is Shakespeare & Co, the dusty second-hand bookshop along the banks of la Seine in Paris.

It’s small, and the books have seen better days, but it’s enchanting; you feel like Alice in Wonderland. The history of this little bookshop transports you and it’s hard not to be swept up in its stories…

Founded in August 1951 by the late George Whitman, the shop is set in the very heart of the French capital on the Left Bank opposite Notre-Dame (another location of magic and mystery). George had spent several years travelling in South America where he was moved by the hospitality of locals who would feed and accommodate him willingly. From this moment he decided he too would create a sanctuary for writers, artists and aspiring talent in the form of a bookshop. Inviting guests into his home, over 50,000 heads have slept on the pillows at Shakespeare and Company many sharing tea and pancakes with George such as Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell and Allen Ginsberg.

The best thing about this little bookshop full of tales and talent are the stories you can find directly on the bookshelves. It’s not impossible to be leafing through a James Baldwin only to discover the author has signed it to the bookshop! Today the bookshop is home to an array of events such as poetry readings, concerts, lectures and bilingual readings; you can find out more on their website but more importantly in the shop itself.

So the next time you’re passing through the City of Love, take a moment to unglue your eyes from the stunning Cathédrale Notre-Dame and look to the other side of the river, to a smaller sight with a less impressive façade but just as much mystery and delight to be found inside its walls…

Shakespeare & Co, 37 rue de la Bûcherie 75005 (Metro Saint-Michel)

Shakespeare and Co Paris Seine

Christmas at Disneyland Paris

Disney 6Disney 4Disney 3Disney 1Disney 19If there’s one place you can rely on for the full Christmas atmosphere, it’s Disneyland in Paris! Fake snow, toys, gifts, sugar highs and smiling faces everywhere you look, it really doesn’t get more Christmassy than this and it was the perfect Sunday destination for two big kids this weekend!

Giddy boyfriend in tow, I couldn’t wait to shut out the real world for 12 hours of pure fantasy and cartoon-character-filled-joy which began the very minute we stepped into the first park, Universal Studios, which I had never visited before. Here the Christmas theme was subtle but present in tree-shaped decorations and candy canes hanging in all the boutiques and stalls around the park. We began with a visit to the brand new Ratatouille attraction which is incredible! If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be shrunk down to the size of a mouse (ok, rat!) then trust me this is the closest you’ll ever get to finding out… 3D videos screens, giant-sized decors, drastic changes in temperature and a cosy rat-mobile will have you whizzing around Gustau’s restaurant, feeling like you’re pretty lucky to have made it out alive!

Inspired by the morning’s rat-adventures, I decided to brave my fear of rollercoasters and took a ride on Crush’s Coaster (terrifying!) followed by an even more daring venture onto the Rock’n’Roller Coaster with Aerosmith (absolutely flipping terrifying!)… I don’t know whether it was my love of Aerosmith music or the relief at still being alive after such an experience but I was in a mad laughing fit as the ride came to an end, though not in any way tempted to go through it a second time!

The rest of the day was spent in the main Disneyland park, wandering from the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse to Aladin’s cave stopping for a quick spin at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! The Christmas decorations were spectacular in the Main Street with foam snow falling from the beautifully lit boutiques and cafes, so tempting that we left with two bags of Christmas goodies (tree decorations, gifts and candy canes)!

Christmas runs until January 7th at Disneyland Paris so if you’re looking for a fun day trip or weekend getaway, check out the website and head back to your childhood!

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Ice Skating at Somerset House

Somerset House Ice SkatingSomerset House Ice SkatingSomerset House Ice SkatingWhen spending time in London during the lead up to Christmas, there are a few moments which everyone has to experience… and one of these is ice-skating and mulled wine at Somerset House. The windows at Selfridges and Harrods have to be seen, Christmas cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery are not to be missed but the beautiful ice-rink with the backdrop of Somerset House is one of my favourite winter moments!

Last week, I was lucky to have shared the experience with my beautiful mummy and Parisian boyfriend (he was absolutely loving all the British festivities!) and despite the fact that none of us actually made it out onto the ice, we had such a great time just taking in the merry atmosphere, drinking mulled wine and browsing all the tempting treats at the Christmas Arcade.

This year, the Somerset House Rink is hosted by Fortnum & Mason which means the après-skate shopping and entertainment are exceptionally good! There’s champagne and cream tea in the Fortnum’s Lodge, cocktails and fondues in the Skate Lounge and late-night shopping with a limited edition range of items available on-site only!

Book tickets online at Somerset House or find out more on the website. 

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Christmas at the Hummingbird Bakery in London

Humming bird bakery London Humming bird bakery London 3Humming bird bakery London 7This week in London was incredible! I know it’s only just November but the festive atmosphere in the city was so much fun and despite having felt slightly repulsed upon first hearing Jingle Bells playing in M&S so early on, I have to say I actually kind of miss it now I’m back in Paris.

I found myself immediately drawn to all things Christmas including pretty beauty gift sets in Selfridges, ridiculous reindeer jumpers at Old Spitalfield Market and mulled wine at Somerset House but no festive treat was quite so pleasing as the adorable cupcakes from my favourite Hummingbird Bakery on Portobello Road!

To start off the holiday season in style, the super popular American-style Hummingbird Bakery has created a selection of special edition cupcakes in three festive flavours, Candy Cane, Gingerbread and Christmas Spice… I’m still dreaming of the sweet, wintery taste, when are they going to open up in Paris?

You can find the delicious sweet treats in each of the 5 London branches and you can even order your own box of mini cupcakes or delicious Christmas cakes online now!

Visit the Hummingbird Bakery at Spitalfields, Soho, Richmond, South Kensington and Notting Hill or online.

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Lunch at Le Fumoir

Le FumoirLunch at Le Fumoir has been on my to-do list ever since I arrived in Paris. Two years ago. With a reputation whispered amongst those in the know, the hipster-style, vintage-themed restaurant has become the stylish place to hang out in Paris for light snacks, work socials and Sunday brunch.

Despite it’s location right opposite the Musée du Louvre near the Rue de Rivoli, Le Fumoir has managed to avoid the tourist tag and is a definite favourite amongst the Parisian locals!

Fun, jazzy and as-laid-back-as-Paris-gets, Le Fumoir has the perfect balance of being cool and elegant without the ridiculous prices and pretentious ambiance that usually goes hand in hand with this kind of establishment. Discussing a client meeting with a colleague, it was easy to chat amongst the light music and animated chatter in the background and we both opted for sandwiches from the light snacks menu. Obviously with fresh lobster sandwich on the menu it was impossible to see anything else but I was still tempted by my colleague’s tartine of goat’s cheese, aubergines and sun-dried tomatoes! Definitely a place to bring the boyfriend so you can share dishes.

Le Fumoir, 6 Rue de L’Amiral Coligny, 75001, Paris  (Metro: Louvre-Rivoli)

Le FumoirLe FumoirLe FumoirIl y’a déjà deux ans que je suis arrivée à Paris et même si depuis mon arrivée on me parle du fameux restaurant Le Fumoir à Louvre-Rivoli, je n’avais jamais encore eu l’opportunité de le tester.  C’est donc avec grand plaisir que j’ai accepté un rendez-vous avec ma collègue (il faut dire que jamais je n’ai été aussi enthousiaste pour une réunion de travail).

Alors, que pourrais-je vous dire de ce magnifique restaurant, dans un super cadre juste en face du Musée du Louvre ? Je l’adore ce restaurant. Menu gourmand, musique discrète et sophistiquée, même les boissons sans alcool sont un régale (vous voyez, le cliché de la petite anglaise bourrée n’est pas toujours juste) !

Malgré son emplacement au cœur du 1er arrondissement de Paris, Le Fumoir a quand même réussi à éviter l’étiquette du lieu touristique car s’il y’a une chose que j’ai appris ici a Paris c’est qu’un vrai Parisien évite a tout prix les endroits rempli de touristes.

Chic et décontracté, Le Fumoir a trouver l’équilibre parfait entre élégance et prix abordables sans l’ambiance prétentieuse que l’on trouve souvent dans des restaurants similaires. Et pour le menu ? Je peux vous dire que mes yeux ont tout de suite flashé sur le sandwich homard et je n’étais pas du tout déçu en voyant mon plat arrivé… même si la tartine fromage de chèvre, aubergine et tomates séchées de ma collègue me paraissait super appétissant.  Notez bien cette adresse pour un repas en amoureux, l’occasion idéale pour partager les plats.

Le Fumoir , 6 rue de l’ Amiral Coligny , 75001 , Paris ( Métro: Louvre – Rivoli )

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