My birthday was this past weekend, and Mr Man had been telling me all month that he’d gotten me nothing for my birthday. Well, it turned out that he indeed got me nothing, in that he got me no things. Instead, he whisked us off to Paris to be installed at the George V for the weekend. Surprise!
On the Eurostar, we hurtled southwards past the snowy fields of Kent and northern France, arriving at Gare du Nord a couple of hours later, where a nice chauffeur with a clipboard was waiting. Within half an hour, I was standing in the very glossy marble lobby of the George V while Mr Man checked us in. He made me stand far away while he did it so I knew something was up…a birthday bouquet flowers in the room, maybe?
We had a quick drink in the bar (I had a “Twister”, amazing) while our room was being prepared, then we went upstairs to our room on the sixth floor. It turned out to be a suite with a huge wraparound terrace with amazing views over Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, like in the first photo. Totally amazing, but sadly the weather was so grim and cold it wasn’t like I was going to be sunning myself on my balcony any time that weekend. We had a sitting room, a bedroom, and a pretty big marble bathroom, all decorated in pale blue and cream. Really lovely.
As soon as we got settled, I dragged M out to the Champs Elysees, just so I could go and hit the Sephora flagship store there, and also pick up some classic French Pharmacy essentials. It was so so exciting just to go to Sephora, which I know sounds silly, but there aren’t any in London and I don’t know why. And it isn’t even like I bought much there, but oh what fun to look! As for my French pharmacie fixation, I’m not the only one who is obsessed: see here, here, and here for lists of great products to try.
The next day was my birthday, hurrah! We went for a long walk along the Seine in the bitter cold, stopping for chocolat chaud along the way. When we got cold, tired, and hungry, we made our way to Ladureé for lunch. I had a giant salad (probably the only healthy thing I ate all weekend) and then had a big macaron raspberry confection for my first birthday cake. It tasted as good as it looked.
Back at the hotel that afternoon, I found out what my birthday surprise was: M had only ONLY imported by best friend and her man from Belgium to stay the weekend with us in a room of their very own in the George V. I had no idea, and when the doorbell rang, I answered the door expecting housekeeping and instead my friends were standing there. It was unreal! I was super glad to see them, and they helped me dispose of the birthday cake and bottle of Veuve Clicquot that the hotel had left in my room as a birthday treat for me. Spoiled! Then we had a big fancy dinner at Le Cinq, the restaurant in the hotel, which was a big crazy food adventure.
The next day, we absolutely walked our feet off, first going down to the Left Bank, where I got a croissant for breakfast. We saw lots of cool galleries and antique shops, one of which specialised in space-related antiques like meteorites and big telescope mirrors, and it had a very old CCCP spacesuit for sale for a mere 50,000 euros. We talked about what one thing we’d each like to buy from that shop over our lunch at the legendary Café de Flor. I had a Croque Madame because that’s pretty much what I always get, not healthy but super tasty.
Later, we went to Mariage Freres for tea goodness. I finally got the Earl Grey Puerh I’d been waiting for. While we were there, M told me that he saw an interesting perfume shop down the street, which I just had to check out. It turned out to be a place called Galimard where you could blend your own custom perfume, so of course I had to do just that (and this warrants its own post, so more on this later). The others absonded to the geeky Bar at the End of the World where I joined them later and tried a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster (a la Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). It tasted almost but not quite entirely like Scope mouthwash, so I couldn’t even finish it, but it was still fun to try.
On the last day, we all had a well-earned lie-in and room service breakfasts, then met up in the afternoon for a final wander and café lunch together. The sun finally came out, and we spent the last hour gazing at it in shock on our terrace, since we’ve not seen it in weeks. Then, sadly, we had to check out and make our ways to our trains, theirs to Brussels and beyond, ours to London.
It was quite a fabulous trip!