I LOVE Paris. A LOT. The last time I went was with Miss Aimz in '08 - we were both single, it was new year, we kissed boys, we conceptualised Sassy Minx, we saw dancing girls, visited every lingerie shop Paris had to offer and Paris sprinkled us with it's delicious magic...3 years on, Miss Aimz is in love with and is now living with her shaggy-haired manboi with their beautiful baby boy. LOVE.
I have written a book for grown-up girls about finding that Parisian magic every single day - out in 2012 - wohhhooo! - have met and moved in with my hot Viking beau who I love and adore, and who is now taking me back to Paris in February - ohhhh la la!
I am doing star-jumps o' joy to actually be visiting the magickal city o' all things bohemian, writer-y and delicious with the man I love, I'm watching the last two episodes o' SATC, Midnight in Paris, Paris, J'taime and Amelie, reading Anais Nin and planning a walking tour round Montmatre ending in an evening at Lapin Agile, opened in 1860, where artists and writers such as Picasso, Utrillo, and Modigliani used to hang - SO excited!
So while I may not be able to fly above the rooftops of Paris ala this whimsically bee-you-tiful Sophia Coppola short film for Dior, I am, however, able to put in a call to the most awesome Paris tour-guide you'll ever wish to meet - Miss Marine Chotard, creatrix o' www.misssugarcane.com.
Not only does she create totally crushable-on items of adorability - check them out: www.misssugarcane.com, she's worked for the super swank Chanel and other fabu designers, she loves Marilyn Monroe and she's spilling her classified insider info on my city du jour, Paris - who WOULDN'T heart, Marine?!
The Insider's Guide to Paris - by Marine - MissSugarCane
Hey Sassy Minxes - I'm born in Paris, I've always lived here, but everyday I see Paris in exactly the same way a tourist does. I live 5 minutes walk from Pigalle and the Moulin Rouge, Paris is not a very big city, so don't be afraid to lose yourself in it!
Stohrer : 51 rue Montorgueil 75001. Metro: Etienne Marcel. In a nice district, typical of the old Paris centre, go to this famous bakery, open since 1730 and have a spinach and shrimps salad - a specialty of this pretty, pretty place.
Laduree: You can't miss this beautiful place. Feel like a queen and eat the same macaroons as the truly decadent Marie Antoinette! The history of Parisian tea salons is intimately tied to the history of the Laduree family.
It all began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Laduree, a miller from France's southwest, created a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris 75008. Metro Madeleine. These small, round cakes, crisp on the outside, smooth and soft in the middle, are made every morning in Laduree's 'laboratory'. With each new season, Laduree pays tribute to this, its most famous creation, by creating a new flavour.
My personal favourite is the Rose one - yummy!
Marche des enfants rouges: 39 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Metro Arts et metiers - Tuesday to Saturday. The oldest market of Paris, built in the 16s century. Eat a wonderful spicy Moroccan tagine outside, facing the sun and feel like you're on in Marrakech in the middle of Paris. Then, while your food goes down, take a stroll to the rue Vieille du Temple for some shopping, Vanessa Bruno, 4me, and most exciting of all, Abu dhabi bazar at number 125: an amazing selection of clothes and accessories for all budgets.
Hotel RaphaÃ«l Bar: 17, avenue KlÃ©ber, 75016 mÃ©tro Charles de Gaulle/ Etoile. Warm and cosy atmosphere with red velvet and amazingly magical views of the Eiffel Tower.
Work your best Audrey Hepburn look - black dress and big sunglasses - sip a Mojito, and if you're lucky, you'll meet a few stars incognito!
Le Cyrano: 3 rue Biot 75017, metro Place de Clichy. Man Ray, Max Ernst, Dali used to meet there to imagine a new vision of life in this typical Parisian cafe. You can feel the spirit of the 30's on the wall and enjoy the cool vibes of young parisian way of life.
Mamie: 73/69 rue de Rochechouart 75009 - Metro: Anvers. One of my best addresses in Paris. Fact. For girls who have always dreamed of being Betty Page or Brigitte Bardot. Vintage finds from the 40's through to the 60's. Set aside an entire afternoon for a visit!
Guerrisold: 33 avenue de Clichy 75017. Metro: Place de Clichy. Vintage again, but very low priced bags, shoes, clothes, scarfs. You can find real treasures for around 5 or 10 euros - hurrah!
MarchÃ© aux puces Vernaison. Metro: Porte de Clignancourt Open from Saturday thru to Monday - 9.30am to 18.30pm. You will fall in love with this market full of furniture, vintage Chanel bags, old lace clothes and generally funny and quirky stuff. Then, have a Jamaican break at the Red Gold and Green bar for a slice of delicious banana cake.
If you're a true fashionista, then you must visit the Musee Galliera, and see the wonderful exhibition about fashion history and designers. Metro: Iena / Alma-Marceau. open from 10am to 6pm. Closed on Monday.
MusÃ©e Gustave Moreau - 14 rue de la Rochefoucauld 75009. MÃ©tro: TrinitÃ© Closed on Tuesday. There is something very special about the Gustave-Moreau museum. The painter himself had it established and designed, so that his works could be gathered and displayed the way he wanted. The building was built at his expense, at the very spot where the artist lived and worked all his life. Gustave Moreau's masterpieces, 4.800 drawings and 450 watercolours.
The Gustave-Moreau museum is exceptional in the way it lets visitors share the intimate life of a painter and his work - and its ability to preserve the magical atmosphere despite the passing decades.
Hotel Amour - 8 rue de Navarin 75009 - Metro: Saint Georges. This is a very romantic and hip address. Nice hotel, two steps far from Montmartre and the famous Moulin Rouge, with a little garden and fancy rooms designed by contemporary artists. Go there for good food, but do go for a beautiful night o' love.
Five minutes walk from Hotel Amour, you'll find heaven in Paris - Le Musee de la vie romantique. 16 rue Chaptal. 75009 - Metro: Saint Georges ou Pigalle. Open from 11am to 6pm. Closed on Monday. You can visit the small 19th century art collection and also take tea in the rose garden. Tres romantique!
Go to the roof of the Galeries Lafayette - 40 boulevard Haussmann 75008. Metro: Chaussee de Antin. You can enjoy the beautiful view of the city for free - perfect spot for a summer afternoon break!
Spend a lazy oriental afternoon at the turkish bath, Hammam Pacha. Clean, exotic and not too expensive. 147 rue Gabriel Peri - 93200 Saint Denis Metro: Saint-Denis Basilique.
Parc Andre Citroen: A big and beautiful park built in 1992, on the banks of the river. A japanese garden, exotic greenhouses, waterfalls and prettiest of all, a balloon where you can see Paris from 150m high for free! 2, rue de la Montagne de la Fage ou 2, rue Cauchy, 75015. Metro: Javel - Andre Citroen/ Lourmel / Balard
Have a fun time at the Fete Foraine - the fun fair in the Tuileries gardens. Rue de Rivoli. Metro: Tuileries ou Concorde - open from June to August. Feel like you're 8 years old again, have a drink at the gypsy bar and jump on the big wheel!
We've got 3 days in the city o' love - if you have any Paris discoveries - shops, places to visit that you think we absolutely MUST see - please let me know!