My husband and I had always wanted to go to London, as we both have friends that live and work there, so when I found myself thinking of a 30th Birthday present for him this past August, I decided that a surprise trip to London would be the perfect gift. Paris is also a favourite city of ours, and seeing as it's only a 2 hour train ride away we decided to make a stop there as well. Read on for my guide to London & Paris!
Enjoy! xx, Nicole
Where to Stay
We stayed a this charming boutique hotel located in the heart of Mayfair right around the corner from Piccadilly. The rooms are an elegant blend of Victorian and contemporary styles and the staff are absolutely amazing. I would definitely stay there again.
The Ned - Although we didn't stay here, we went for lunch at their restaurant, Cecconi's, and I was so impressed! It is a newish hotel, but the building has been standing since the 1920's. It was previously a bank and exudes total luxury. It has an old world feel which I absolutely love...think Great Gatsby! It channels 1920's luxury right down to every last detail. So pretty!
Where to Eat
MNKY HSE - We went here for my husbands Birthday dinner and it was delicious. It was Latin American Cuisine all served tapas style so it was perfect for sharing. The vibe and ambiance were great. It turns into a club later on in the evenings so it's a great place to eat and grab some drinks.
Anokha - This was an Indian restaurant we went to which had a trendy vibe and tasty food. You can't go to London and not eat Indian.
Where To Shop
Harrods is a must! You can't visit London without making a stop at this iconic store. Even though everything is outrageously expensive, it's still fun to marvel at all the beautiful things. Selfridges is also amazing - I love their department stores because they are a one stop shop.
Where to go and sight see
Borough market is a must. If you are a foodie like myself you will LOVE it. It is a gourmet food market that consists of more than 100 different food/beverage vendors.
Notting Hill has got to be one of the prettiest neighborhoods I have ever seen. The pastel-hued townhouses are absolutely gorgeous (I would love to live in one) and Portebello Road market make it one of the most popular destinations.
One thing I might have done different....
I was VERY disappointed that I did not get to eat traditional pub food. On Sunday night we tried to get some fish and chips around 8:00pm and pretty much all the pub's kitchens were closed. I guess there is always next time...
Where to stay
I have been to Paris several times and I always stay at the same hotel, The Prince de Galles, and I have yet to be disappointed. Centrally located on Avenue George V steps away from the Champs-Elysees and right next to the ritzy Four Seasons George V, it's in a perfect location. The rooms have been recently redone and are all Art Deco inspired. The Parisian style breakfast is also delicious.
Where to eat
The food in Paris is absolutely divine, I could not stop eating baguettes, croissant and crepes. Thankfully we walked about 20 km per day. We more or less would stumble on little cafe's and eateries and to be honest, I don't remember the names. Here are a few places I would suggest visiting.
Laduree - Famous for their macarons and pastries you have to visit their flagship location off the Champs-Elysees, it is absolutely GORGEOUS. The macarons are beautifully packaged and make a wonderful gift for those back home. You can also grab some at the airport.
Four Seasons George V Le Bar - Okay this might be the nicest hotel I have ever seen. You have to pop in and grab a drink at Le Bar. I will forewarn you, they will run you at least 30 euros per drink but it's so worth it. Throughout the lobby and hotel for that matter, you will see stunning floral arrangements curated by Jeff Leatham.
Les Ombres - Located on top of a museum, this glass roofed restaurant has panoramic views including a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower which is all lit up at night. The cuisine is contemporary french fusion and the decor is modern and elegant.
Where to shop
Without a doubt Paris has the best shopping-even their H&M and Zara are incredible. I maintain if you cannot find it in Paris it literally does not exist. My favourite place to shop would be the Gallery Lafayette hands down (pictured below). This is shopping heaven! It is one of the most beautiful department stores I have ever been to. Even my husband loved it-they have a whole separate building devoted entirely to men. There is also a beautiful rooftop terrace that boasts a spectacular view of the entire city. Nothing like sipping a glass of bubbly and overlooking one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
What to see
When I go to Paris, I love visiting all the main tourist sites, for some reason they never get old to me. In terms of museums the Musee d'Orsay is my favorite, I love impressionist and post-impressionist art. I also love the Eiffel Tower, but I wouldn't recommend taking the trip up. It's beautiful from ground level. Instead, I would recommend sitting in the park with a baguette and bottle of wine and marvel at it's iconic structure.
Montmartre is also really cool and eclectic. This is where Sacre-Coeur and the Moulin Rouge are. It's up on a hill so you get great views of the city. If you are spending more than 3 days in Paris, I would also recommend visiting Versaille, the gardens are breathtakingly beautiful.