I first went to Paris about ten years ago and go back whenever I can get away with it. Andrew proposed to me there. Whilst on our little engagement honeymoon we vowed to celebrate our engagement anniversary in Paris every year. So that's where we've been this week - c'était parfait!
We always stay right in the heart of Le Marais at the Hotel Bourg Tibourg.
It's on a narrow road (the Rue du Bourg Tibourg) lined with gorgeous shops, cafes, restaurants and apartments. Just at the bottom of the road (by the tree) is a pretty little square with a few good cafe bars and an amazing boulangerie.
It's a beaut of a hotel, sister to the fab (pricier) Hotel Costes in the swankier part of town. It's teensy tiny, dark and smells like heaven everywhere - Hotel Costes candles are burned all around the hotel and I am sure the fragrance is piped via the air conditioning. It's a heady, musky, sensual scent and totally adds to the ambience of the hotel.
There is no restaurant but you can have drinks in the lounge:
Or in the tiny courtyard garden (there is only one small wrought iron bench and table so you'd better be quick!..).
Breakfast is served here:
Or, more lazily, here:
Everything about this hotel makes me feel totally chilled and relaxed. I love the decor, the ironwork and the low lighting (gorgeous fringed lampshades):
Listen here to a track from one of the Hotel Costes albums - I have them all. Bar chill seems to suit all of my moods.)
And, of course, the location is fantastic. We mostly skipped the tourist attractions this time and stayed within a half hour walk of the hotel (although I did insist on walking past Notre Dame which always takes my breath away). Just strolling, eating, drinking and shopping.
|Loved up. And beardy (him) so I know he's taking real time out!|
I bought a few bits and bobs. I came back with too much stuff from L'Occitane (absolutely not cheaper there, nor exclusive to France but this shop is one of my all-time faves and I simply cannot resist). I picked up a lovely old milk bottle from the kitchen antiques shop (I am developing a bit of a thing for old-fashioned glass) and some wonderful tea from Mariage Frères.
I bought some Earl Grey French Blue loose leaf tea and a box of Earl Grey teabags (gorgeous little muslin bags with the most beautifully fragrant tea). LOVE. I've discovered I can buy it online too. LOVE MORE. It's quite a funny little shop, very old-fashioned, and the men behind the counters wear white coats. They all wore little trendy black framed specs too, although hopefully this is just coincidence and not part of the uniform. The tea is in rows and rows of big black urns behind the counters but you're not allowed to take photos indoors (boo). So here's a photo of the miniature tin that I came home with.
We ate at lunchtime, which is unusual for us, so in the evenings we just had a light snack and a bottle of wine in one of the pavement cafes. Le Marais, as you probably know, is kind of the gay capital of Paris. It was full of very cool gay men and very chic skinny girls. The nightlife was positively buzzing. We were there on just a Tuesday and Wednesday night but it was like a Friday or Saturday night in London! Cox, I believe, is the hottest gay spot in town. By 7pm at night it was ram a jam and it seems that people are perfectly happy to have their tipple on the street outside (you can see it's roped off). [edit: I have just been advised that this bar is probably the one in town which has 'men in showers' for the entertainment instead of the - obv passé - dancing boys/girls. That would explain the queues.]
I have to say that my favourite bar was the next one up the street. Not so popular, but drinks are served by a topless man in a blue sequin bow tie and there was an old fella in hot pants, vest and boxing boots having a little dancing party for one. Wish I'd got a photo.
We got back late on Thursday night and I'm back on the diet and getting ready for work on Monday morning. Completely blitzed the house today so we're sparkling clean, windows have been flung open and I'm hoping for a spot of hooky tomorrow (in the garden if the weather is good enough).
Sorry for the enormous post, but y'know, I'm still on a high after my trip.