My City - Paris (Guest Post by Bunnies and Stripes)
Hi! I’m Caroline from Bunnies & Stripes. I grew up in various parts of France and Germany but I’m 100% British and on the verge of relocating to sunny Yorkshire! I can’t wait to finally experience life in my own country!
I love design in general and upcycled furniture in particular, as well as finding lovely vintage treasures in flea markets and charity shops. I’m really excited to be on Little Birdie because let’s face it: Jen has got seriously good taste when it comes to vintage.
What is the area you live in like?
My personal suburb, Athis-Mons (the house on the hill in Gallic) is quite dreary so I mostly catch the train up to Paris (it only takes 15 minutes) to meet friends, etc. Or they come to my flat. It’s not in the prettiest of towns but it’s full of good vibes and it has a big terrace that looks out onto an actual patch of grass. So decadent!
What's your favourite place to get a cup of coffee?
I don’t drink coffee or tea except for a morning maté with lots of milk. Anything else would make me all jittery for the day! I did recently discover a new café/bistro called Boco that serves yummy Kombucha AND the best chocolate cookie I’ve ever tasted. I’m serious, I’ll be taking a detour on my way home just to go and buy a cookie for the next few weeks.
Boco is in a recently refurbished area called Bercy village, a long cobbled street packed with trendy restaurants and shops but it’s not particularly touristy, and it’s got a huge park nearby: great for summer brunches AND Christmas shopping!
Where's your place to have a chill out?
There’s a forest just 5 minutes drive from us called “forêt de Sénart”. It’s so big we always start off in a different place and it’s nice and quiet, particularly during the winter when all you can hear are the trees creaking in the breeze (I actually thought that noise was an abandoned kitten meowing its head off at first. It took a fair bit of listening and looking up at the trees to convince me. Mostly because rescuing a poor frozen kitten would be just my kind of adventure).
In the summer we go to the “Port aux cerises” (the cherry harbour) for picnics. It fills up really fast so we try to get there by 11 and enjoy a quiet hour in the sun before lunch!
What's your city like for family living?
I think like most cities, if you have a lot of money and space Paris is great. There’s so much to do and visit. The trouble is everyone else wants to do those things too, and you end up living in a constant crowd, queuing for museums, queuing for restaurants, queuing to buy cinema tickets in advance to make sure you get a seat and then queuing again before the film starts. I’m not ready for children yet but when the time comes I’d like to be able to bring them up in a nice little town with lots of nature nearby. With the occasional trip to Paris to visit the Eiffel tower of course!
What's your favourite view of Paris?
That’s a very good question. I think maybe the Île Saint-Louis, right in the middle of Paris. In the summer hundreds of people gather along the banks of the Seine to eat, drink and be merry. It’s lovely on a warm evening when you’re crossing the bridge over to a whole island surrounded by happy people. It’s also where “Berthillon”, the most famous (and pricey) French ice cream comes from.
Have you got somewhere that always makes you smile?
When I was a romantic teenager who thought Montmartre was the height of Bohemian chic, I used to love going to the “Mur des je t’aime” (packed full of ‘I love yous’ in 311 languages).
Now that I’m happily in love and no longer a tortured soul I prefer to look out for the cute and the quirky:
Have you a favourite museum/art gallery?
Definitely the Musée d’Orsay because the building itself is gorgeous and the layout is so nice and airy. It’s not intimidating and huge like the Louvre and there are plenty of benches where you can sit and admire the impressionists. It’s got a very peaceful feel about it and it houses some incredible art deco furniture.
Is there anywhere you have fond memories of?
The Eiffel tower because I loved going there as a child with my Mama and brother. We used to live in the Yvelines, a nice suburb but quite the train ride from Paris, and my Mum would take us on a day trip every couple of months. She would ask where we wanted to go, and I invariably said “the Eiffel toweeeer”. Once we even spotted a cat climbing the tower while we were riding up on the lift. It just seemed so exciting!
Where are your great places to shop in Paris?
Hmmm, this could take a while.
The food section of Le Bon Marche department store because they sell delicious things from all over the world including baking soda and it gives me a perfect excuse to go upstairs and sniff the Dyptique candles or try out the Vitra Eames chairs afterwards.
I love going to HEMA, a Dutch chain that recently opened its first shop in Paris. It’s kind of like a mini Ikea but with craft supplies thrown in.
For home decor, I wait for the hundreds of flea markets that happen every weekend in the spring and summer months. They vary in size and quality but are definitely worth a try. These are some of last year’s finds from all over Paris:
Thank you so much Caroline for showing us around your city.
I think I love Paris even more now.
I'm sure you will enjoy living in Yorkshire although it'll be a bit nippy on those moorlands of Bronte country!
Please do go check out Caroline's lovely blog, Bunnies and Stripes where she will be updating us on her move to the UK. She has written a beautiful post of her visit to West Yorkshire, taking in Saltaire, Hebden Bridge and Howarth where she has already found some vintage stores to peruse and no doubt stock up on more treasures.
I'm looking forward to catching up with her for a nice cuppa and a chat.
(Caroline took all these images herself a couple of months ago and that's why some of them have snow! I'm so very late in posting this and so a huge thanks to Caroline for taking the time to write this and then having to wait so patiently for me getting around to putting it on the blog. x)