La Boqueria, Barcelona

La Boqueria is one of Barcelona’s many fresh produce markets. Barcelona appears to have a deep rooted market culture, a culture we are slowly losing in London. You can find pretty much everything you’d need for your kitchen at La Boqueria, from vegetables to locally sourced fresh fish, dried fruits, nuts, oil and yeah, pretty much everything you’d ever need. As a vegan and supporter of fresh produce, this market was like a giant toy shop for me.

 

Fresh Fruit at La Boqueria

 

I recon these tomatoes would be perfect with a bit of salt and olive oil…

Ripe

 

Love

Love

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

All the Pretty Things

All the Pretty Things

Fresh fish, some of these babies were still moving and one of the crabs tried to escape 😦

Cod Lips

Cod Lips

Run Forest, Run.

Run Forest, Run.

Sweets for my Sweet

Sweets for my Sweet

Orangettes are my absolute favorite, and I’m sure these are soooooo much better than Leonidas ones… I didn’t, I resisted!

Orangettes

Orangettes

Okay you get the idea, you can eat like a king in Barcelona in the comfort of your own kitchen. One last thing, after looking at all of this fresh produce, don’t miss out on lunch at Bar Pinotxo. The bar is conveniently located at the entrance of the market and here you can eat comfortably for less. Don’t eat at a tourist trap ‘tapas’ restaurant on La Rambla, eat here!

Bar Pinotxio, La Boqueria

Bar Pinotxio, La Boqueria

For more info on La Boqueria Market see here.

For more info on Bar Pinotxo see here.

Oh and…

Smooooooooth

Smooooooooth

 

 

 

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Countdown to Barcelona!

Assignments handed in, seminars (almost) over and a dissertation to think about… It’s two week’s away but I’m already preparing for my research trip to Barcelona! Here are a few places that I’d like to visit when in Spain.

Barcelona

Bairro Gotico

Bairro Gotico

Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

Architectural geek-fest! I think it goes without saying that I shall be visiting Barcelona Cathedral (again).

Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar

And my study project: Santa Maria del Mar, a 14th Century Catalan church. I personally feel that it out does Barcelona Cathedral for its simplicity in its austere forms. I cannot wait to get all Gothic crazy on this baby.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. I’m not even sure if there is a technical term for those types of springing and vaulting.

Gerona

Gerona

If I haven’t completely overwhelmed myself by this point, I would like to visit Gerona, a small Catalan town north of Barcelona. Reason for visit: of course its beautiful architecture including the Gothic cathedral which boasts an aisle-less, single nave plan. I am yet to see exactly how that works.

 

Aljaferia

Aljaferia

Aljaferia

Aljaferia

No it’s not Aladdin’s palace, the Aljaferia was once a Moorish fort, prior to the re-conquest of Zaragosa by Christian kings. The exterior is typically Moorish, with its understated military-esque appearance, It reminds me of the beautiful Saladin citadel in Cairo, how I wish I could be back in that Oriental dreamland! I absolutely love the intersecting polylobed arches and the extravagant sebka motif, which is so typically Moorish. The whole complex looks like a giant fantasy palace. It’s close enough to Barcelona to pay a respectful day trip to Zaragosa.

 

Toledo

Toledo

I’ll probably be pushing it but if I can get myself down to Toledo… Though it was one of the first regions of Spain to be taken back from the Moors, there are still hints of Islamic architecture, hidden here and there, which for me makes Toledo one of the most beautiful cities in Spain.

 

Of course there is much more to Spain (and Barcelona in particular with this trip) than architecture so watch this space for my general ramblings, reflections and obsession with foreign food, all the way from sunny Spain!

Got British Gothic

Though I haven’t been posting as regularly as I have in the past I’ve spent a lot more of my time looking at art and architecture and specially British Gothic churches over the past couple of months, more than I ever have before.

My recent studies have really opened up my eyes to the art and architecture of the Middle Ages and how universal it was. Previously I had thought of Gothic architecture as something dark occurring at some point after the Glory of Rome and before the the rebirth of classical ideals during the Renaissance.

Little did I know of the architectural complexities and technological achievement of the so called ‘Dark Ages’ which appear to have not been so dark at all…

My favourite British Gothic:

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Temple Church, one of the earliest examples of Gothic in England, it’s origins are still a mystery to me, much more of a mystery than the Knights Templar for whom the church was commissioned. Henry III originally chose to be buried here.

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Salisbury Cathedral, I finally understand what is meant by architectural ‘plasticity’. One of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, the sun reflecting on the brilliance of the white stone is stunning.

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Westminster Abbey (not to be confused with the cathedral) is the final resting place of Edward the Confessor, Henry III and a long list of British monarchs including Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Though we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside I will never have my experience erased from my memory. The Gothic construction was commissioned by good old Henry III (I really like this guy) as a giant reliquary for Edward the Confessor, the saintly king of England. Some say it was a rip off of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, others say it is quintessentially British, I am yet to decide for myself…

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My Favorites: Vintage Shopping in Paris

Why is it that the French are painfully stylish? Every time I visit Paris (which is often) I learn something new about how to dress well and yet when I’m back in London I simply cannot replicate what I’d learnt in the city of light. The answer is simple, scattered around Paris are the most amazing vintage shops, vintage shops that are far and few in London. They’re not your typical second hand shops but true vintage boutiques. Quality items of clothing are sourced (and God knows from where because I am yet to figure out that little secret) and sold at affordable prices. By affordable I don’t mean £20 for a pair of vintage high-waist denim shorts (a la London Portobello Market) but five Euros for a pair of leather shorts or 15 Euro for a faux fur jacket. I once even scored myself a pair of cowboy boots for 5 Euro! This is why the French do fashion better.

I’ve even started doing most of my vintage shopping in Paris as it’s still much more affordable to look good on the other side of the river.

Here are my top Parisian vintage shops:

 

Free’P’Star

Everything you can possibly imagine, Free’P’Star have it. With two branches in Le Marais, you will be sorted for all of your vintage shopping needs. This is where I source out most of my vintage goods from leather satchels to faux fur coats and battered converse high tops. They also do summer discounts on winter clothes and vice versa so you can always stay ahead of fashion for half the price.

You can find Free’P’Star at these locations:

8 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie

61 rue de la Verrerie

20 rue de Rivoli

nearest metros: Hotel de Ville and Saint-Paul

check out their website:

http://www.freepstar.com/

Free'P'Star

Free’P’Star

 

Kilo Shop

Vintage Kawaii  as they call it at the Kilo Shop in Paris. Does exactly what it says on the box: choose, weight and wear. With an array of summer dresses, autumn jackets and winter boots, the Kilo Shop has various branches scattered around Paris from Le Marais to Saint-Germain and Beaubourg.

Check out their website and look book here:

http://kilo-shop.fr/fr

 

Vintage by Ramin

Another little vintage beaut in the heart of Le Marais. Check out their fantastic stock of accessories and be sure to visit the shop on a Thursday when shop ‘muse’ Yva of Paris offers her services as personal stylist to customers. If you are keen to be spoiled by your very own personal stylist for the day make sure you book in advance.

Vintage by Ramin can be found on at no. 17 rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie.

Check out their rather enticing website here:

http://www.vintagebyramin.fr/

 

Chine Machine

Slightly pricier but definitely worth a visit, Chine Machine at the butte of the Sacre Couer in Montmartre houses some fantastic vintage designer goods at a decent price. The staff are super friendly and sweet too 🙂

 

You can find them hidden away on rue de Martyrs, take rue la Vieuville and follow it up on the right side.

Nearest metro: Abbesses

Check out their blog here:

http://www.chinemachinevintage.com/

 

And there are plenty more to discover, especially in Le Marais. Enjoy!

 

 

Why I always choose AirBnB over hotel rooms

Airbnb

Most of us aren’t quite fortunate enough to stay in five star luxury hotels. The cheaper alternative surely then is booking with Airbnb…

Airbnb is a virtual space in which hosts can advertise their spare rooms/studios/entire apartments or houses to travellers across the globe. The company started off small but now have an international following of hosts and guests, a community of like minded people who would pick staying among the locals over a centrally located hotel any day.

So how does it all work? The host posts a space on the Airbnb website, with pictures. Guests select their preferences using the search engine by price, size, location and appearance, contact the host, arrange suitable dates and time, book and pay. Simple as 1,2,3.

I have been using Airbnb for the past couple of years and since I started I haven’t looked at another cheap hotel room. Here’s why:

 

1. I can select the exact location that I want to stay in

Whether I want to wake up at the foot of Montmartre, opposite the Colosseum or a brisk walk away from the Empire State Building I have that choice. Most hotels are based around the centre of town or near busy train stations which makes it noisy and expensive (which I will get to in my next point). I’d much rather be settled in a communal area where I can have my morning coffee in a local cafe or have a glass of wine in a bar locals head to after work.

 

2. Price

It is much cheaper to rent through Airbnb. This summer I rented an entire studio apartment a stone’s throw from the Sacre Coeur with a friend. The cost… something along the lines of £15 ($25) per night for an apartment in which we had our own space and privacy with a kitchen where we could cook our own dinner (which really helped to save on eating out).

 

3. Host

How nice it is to have flexible check in and out times, not having to wait or rush and to have a host who’s prepared an itinerary for you. In Copenhagen I was very kindly given guide books, a map and some really good advice on what to do and what to not bother wasting my time with. My host understood my passion for architecture and instead of suggesting Contemporary Art galleries or designer shops he pointed me towards vintage markets and churches, neat.

 

4. Honesty

No more false advertising only to find that my hotel room has cockroaches, no windows or a broken shower. Hotels can put you in any room they want to, not necessarily the one you looked at on their website. With Airbnb you get what you pick. Reviews by previous guests also helped in the selection process. If you don’t like the reviews, you don’t book.

 

5. Little treats

Hosts always provide little treats, it is sooooo nice to turn up to chocolates, cheese, nutella, champagne, good coffee etc. Of course I either bring small gifts from London or restock the fridge as a thank you in return. This is a little extra touch you don’t get at a cheap hotel.

 

6. Friendship

It’s nice to make friends with the locals – your host is the locals. I’ve made friends with the hosts of the places I’ve stayed in. When I visit Paris I make sure I pop round to Matthieu’s flat to say hello. He introduces me to new bars (though recently I’ve been introducing him to a few) and this just starts a chain reaction of meeting new people.

 

Of course, as with all things in life, you have to be wise when using Airbnb. The website offer plenty of advice on how to travel safely and how to pick the right place to stay as unfortunately there is always be one not so nice person who spoils all the fun. So some words of advice to those considering using Airbnb for their next trips:

 

1. Select wisely

Take your time to carefully look through your options. Look at the images carefully, make sure they are all of the same place. Do some background research on the neighborhood (Airbnb even help with this), don’t pick a cheap room in the middle of nowhere just to save on a couple of Euros.

 

2. Reviews

Read the reviews. If the person has a lot of negative reviews (broken toilet seats, not hospitable, no towels etc…) think twice. If the person do not have many reviews and you are traveling on your own then use your head. When traveling alone I make sure I stay at a place owned either by a woman or a couple, or somewhere that has plenty of reviews by women.

 

3. Contact

Do not just book in a rush. Contact your host first. I always throw a few messages back and forth asking my host questions about their life, job, hobbies etc. This builds up a bit of a relationship, especially if you are renting a room within a house and not the entire apartment on your own.

 

4. If you don’t feel right, don’t do it.

Use your instincts people.

 

And there you have it. I hope you consider using Airbnb after reading my review.

 

For more information on Airbnb visit here.

 

South of the River – the 6eme

I have never been a south of the river kind of girl. I grew up in north London, I have family in north-eastern Italy and I dream of planning a road trip around Scandinavia. For a girl who regularly visits Paris, I have hardly spent time further south than the Ile de la Cité. Last week I decided to give a little TLC to that which is south of the Seine. I always knew that the south of Paris, the 6eme and surrounding areas, were ‘a little bit posh’ and maybe this is why I prefer to spend my time in areas such as Montmartre, Le Marais and Oberkampf.

The beautiful thing about Paris for me is its subtlety in architecture, uniform white lines and blocks which seem to run for miles. Walls appear clean and light reflects givings the impression of sheer scale even on the most overcast of days.

Pretty Streets of Saint Germain des-Prés

Pretty Streets of Saint Germain des-Prés

So I began my south of the river adventure in at St. Michel, from the metro stop I followed east towards Saint Germain des-Prés where I encountered pretty backstreets with even prettier boutiques, including the regulars: Petit Bateau and Louis Vuitton and, some independents too. M. Poncini Arts et Bijoux’s beautiful display windows caught my eye. The boutique can be found at 147 Boulevard St. Germain

All the Pretty Things. M. Poncini Arts et Bijoux.

All the Pretty Things. M. Poncini Arts et Bijoux.

And I got a little church action when accidentally bumping into the absolutely beautiful Church of Saint Sulpice in the Luxembourg Quarter.

Saint-Sulpice

Saint-Sulpice

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And of course the beautiful Jardin Luxembourg which astonishes me whatever the weather. I shall definitely be crossing that river again soon…

Jardin Luxembourg

Jardin Luxembourg

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An Education in French Queens

Forgive me, for it’s been over a month since I last blogged. My mind has been engulfed by postgraduate studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art! Finally I have 5 minutes (more like half an hour) to myself, which means… well deserved precious blogging time. Autumn has to be my favorite time of the year for all it’s golden leafy glory (plus it’s birthday season for me) and so I present to you, an autumnal beauty, Jardin Luxembourg, Paris.

Jardin Luxembourg

Jardin Luxembourg

 

Marie de Medici

Marie de Medici

Florentine born Marie de Medici, queen of France, true to her Medici blood, she was a major patron of French Arts

Marguerite d'Angouleme

Marguerite d’Angouleme

 

Mathilde

Mathilde

Here’s where nations unite, Mathilde was the consort of William the Conqueror

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots

Yes even the Queen of Scots has her French affiliates

Jeanne d'Albret

Jeanne d’Albret

A saintly figure…

Saint Genevieve

Saint Genevieve

And Delacroix!

Delacroix

Delacroix

Oh and if you’re under 4ft tall you can ride on one of these babies

cute

cute

Merci.

An afternoon stroll down Boulevard Beaumarchais led to the discovery of Merci general store that literally, generally sells everything. We sat outside their  used books cafe (seeing as they sell everything)  and sipped on hot cocoa before browsing their shelves.

hot cocoa and green tea bites

hot cocoa and green tea bites

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books for days

books for days

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Merci is located at 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, nearest Metro stops Filles du Calvaire and Saint Sebastien Froissart. Close by is the Rue de Vieille du Temple and the region of Le Marais for shopping and dining.

Merci.

 

Visiting the Sun King at Versailles

Versailles, beautiful yet tragic. A spectacular achievement in French architecture that would only see three generations of the French royal family inhabiting its walls. The Chateau  de Versailles was begun by eccentric Louis XIV, who moved the court from Paris to Versailles in the seventeenth century. The site of the palace was originally a hunting lodge built by Louis XIII, over the next century Versailles would be expanded upon and transformed into an exquisite pleasure palace from which the descendants of Louis XIV would continue to act out the sacred royal rights initiated by the Sun King.

The Sun King

The Sun King

I have been reading about Louis XIV and his descendants over the past couple of years. From the Sun King and his mistresses, to the boy king Louis the Beloved and the unfortunate Louis Capet, I have slowly traced the lives of the family at their royal residence. My particular interest is in Marie Antoinette’s life at court and her constant battle to legitimize herself as a Bourbon queen (she was a direct descendant of Louis XIV’s brother Phillipe Duc d’Orleans).

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In visiting Versailles, I feel that I was able to retrace her steps by physically walking the grounds that she inhabited. From the tight routines and restrictions of the palace to the seclusion in her later days at the Petit Trianon and Queen’s Hamlet. Versailles is full of tourists all year round. Upon entering the main palace, along with hundreds of tourists, I felt what is probably a similar claustrophobia to Marie Antoinette’s whilst at court. Louis XIV had turned Versailles into an open air royal museum, members of the court would observe and participate in the French royal family’s daily routines including the waking up to the preparation of the evening coucher of the king and queen. There would have been little time for Marie Antoinette to spend on her own or with her close friends due to etiquette. My own walk through the palace was led by a populous group of tourists, mostly Asian with expensive cameras and heavy duty lenses. The blinding flash and constant sound of the camera shutters distorted the elaborate Baroque wallpaper and mouldings. Here I was taking part in an age old royal routine.

Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors

By the time we’d passed the King’s chambers and the hall of mirrors I felt completely exhausted and lacked inspiration to record my experience (plus the constant flash of cameras had given me a migraine by this point).

Portrait of the Artist (and friend)

Portrait of the Artist (and friend)

Eventually I was pushed along to the queen’s chambers, the last queen to have used the apartments being Marie Antoinette. It was as I had imagined. Across the walls I could see the stylistic evolution and contribution of the queens who had inhabited the space. Having been packed into the room with slightly aggressive tourists, I could imagine the suffocation Marie Antoinette felt when she gave birth to her first child Marie Therese, the queen had fainted soon after. Such an experience must have further encouraged her to step away from court life.

The Queen's Chambers

The Queen’s Chambers

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I wish I had been more patient to really explore the palace but I just didn’t feel like myself whilst I was there. As we slowly moved towards the exit I began to relax. And so a feeling of tranquility took over the anxiety as I walked through the gardens. The labyrinth of green muffled the sounds of visitors and kept them away from sight. Instead I was greeted with Classical Baroque music pumping out from speakers hidden in the bushes. This gave a rather grand effect to the feel of the space though I would much rather have experienced it as it was, without the aid of modern technology (the speakers).

The Gardens

The Gardens

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I can see why Marie Antoinette chose the Petit Trianon as her get away from court life. The little chateau is a 20 minute walk away from the main palace, it is hidden away in a green corner surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Louis VXI gave the chateau to Marie Antoinette on her 19th birthday. It had originally belonged to Louis XV mistress Madame Pompadour and after her death it was given to his final mistress Madame Du Barry. In this way Marie Antoinette appears to have taken the role not of Louis XVI’s consort but of his mistress, they were yet to produce an heir to the throne. The lack of a Dauphin and the decision to seclude herself from court would eventually lead to rumors and the negative perception of the queen of France by the public.

It appears that the Petit Trianon is somewhat unheard of or less popular with the tourists. I was delighted to find peace and tranquility at the chateau Marie Antoinette called her own.

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

My most memorable experience at Versailles would have to be discovering the Temple of Love. This to me was the epitome of Marie Antoinette’s shift to embracing nature through the creation of an English garden and the temple at Versailles. Louis XVI is known to have heavily invested in improving the gardens. The carefully planned out landscape appears to imitate nature. The temple was created by the queen’s architect Richard Mique. An exquisite example of the Neo-Classical style that was slowly replacing Baroque architecture at Versailles.

Temple of Love

Temple of Love

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 Next we made our way to the Hameau de la Reine, Marie Antoinette’s rustic hideaway, a place that she would increasingly spend more time in, especially with her children. Here the queen commissioned rustic buildings in the guise of Norman and Flemish country houses. She would take her friends and family to relax in the gardens, visit the dairy, the mill and even to a little farm with goats, pigs and chickens. This was at a time when Marie Antoinette became interested in the ‘back to nature’ philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, his is also the philosophy that would greatly influence the French revolution.

Hameau de la Reine

Hameau de la Reine

fresh vegetables - tomatoes being grown to this day

fresh vegetables – tomatoes being grown to this day

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Lastly we walked around the grounds of the Grand Trianon, the family’s retreat. Just as the Petit Trianon, this palace was a place in which the king and queen (or mistress) could relax away from court etiquette. Royal guests residing temporarily at the Grand Trianon included the Grand Dauphin, son of Louis XIV, the Duchess de Burgundy, Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, her son Philippe d’Orleans, Peter the Great of Russia and Napoleon.

The Grand Trianon

The Grand Trianon

stairs that lead to...

stairs that lead to…

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As I waved goodbye to Versailles, vowing to return again soon, I couldn’t help but feel sad knowing that at one point Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette also waved goodbye to the only home they had ever known. I reflected on the hectic claustrophobia I felt at the main palace and how this was washed away at the peaceful Trianons, as it would have been when the grounds were inhabited by the royal family. The  main palace is worth seeing the first time round though I shall definitely be avoiding it like the plague on my next visit. I would like to see the changing faces of Versailles from  Autumn through to Spring, Summer and Winter.

The palace is easily reached from Paris if you would care to take a visit. I took the Line C from St. Michel in the direction of Versailles-Chateau. You can also take the Line C from Musee d’Orsay, Invalides, Pont de l’Alma and Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel. I would suggest arriving at the palace early in the morning, half an hour prior to opening times as I can guarantee queues will already be forming. If you do arrive later, be prepared for a one hour to one hour and a half waiting time. Once you are in the ticketing building, speed up the ticket purchase time by buying your tickets from one of the machines instead of waiting to be served at the desk.  Free admission for under 25’s and History of Art and Architecture students. Enjoy!

 

My Favorite Paris – Montmartre

My preference for arrondissements has changed over the years. From historical centre 1st, to spreading out slightly to the 2nd, trendy 4th over to Latin Quarter 5th, back to 3rd, pass by 11th, touristic 7th to the canal in the 10th… but the 18th shall always hold a special place in my heart.

Montmartre lies perfectly at the tip of the 18th. Though a popular tourist attraction, the crowds of tourist with flashy cameras can easily be avoided if you know how…

The Sacre Coeur is one of my all time favorite displays of magnificent French architecture. I always pay homage to it on my visits to Paris. It sits peacefully and elegantly on top of the hill. One place I do avoid (at all costs) is the Place de Tetre behind the church, which is heavily populated by tourist and souvenir shops.

Sunny Day at Montmartre

Sunny Day at Montmartre

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Eating out in Montmartre can either be expensive or disappointing if you end up in a tourist trap. One lesson I’ve learnt is never to order a crepe from a place that has a pile of precooked crepes on the side waiting to be filled. The French are famous for their emmental filled crepes though it’s best to look for a place that makes them fresh from the batter on the spot, unfortunately I haven’t yet found a decent creperie in Montmartre. What I have found are fantastic bakers and cheese shops (yes shops that solely sell cheese).

I Heart French Cheese

I Heart French Cheese

Rue des Abbesses and the roads that follow down from it to Pigalle, such as Rue Lepic are my favorites for boulangeries, fromageries, fresh fruit and veg and fresh fish (oyster bar anyone?).

I’ve blogged about it before and I’ll blog about it again. Le Relais Gascon is my favorite restaurant in Paris. I like to convince myself that I’m eating healthy by ordering one of their huge salads. The food is a treat, the wine is decent (and decently priced) and the service is quick, most of all it’s not pretentious and doesn’t try to be “typically French”, it just is. I especially love sitting outside as the view down to Pigalle is great for people watching, even on a rainy day.

"salad" at Le Relais Gascon

“salad” at Le Relais Gascon

I’ve come to realize that the main reason people in Paris dress so well is the availability of inexpensive fashion a la vintage shops. Though not the centre of vintage (which I shall discuss in a later post), Montmartre has it’s fair share of decently priced vintage boutiques (5 Euro boyfriend coats for example…). My friend and I spent well over an hour inside one particular shop that not only sells vintage clothing but shoes, bags, furniture, books… you name it, they sell it.

The shop: Les Billes de la Gamine, the owner: Cecile. Cecile is a connoisseur in all things vintage. She just has to look at you to pick out the perfect item that you will instantly fall in love with. The star buy was my friend’s 30 Euro pair of Doc Martins boots in ivy green. Cecile’s little shop can be found at 66 Rue d’Orsel, at the very tip of Rue des Abbesses.

Vintage Cool at Les Bille de la Gamine

Vintage Cool at Les Bille de la Gamine

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Other great vintage shops that I shall definitely be visiting again include:

Chine Machine

100 Rue des Martyrs

75018, Paris

and Vintage Desir (for those 5 Euro boyfriend coats)

28 Rue Yvonne le Tac

75018, Paris

(sadly they don’t have a website or a Facebook page)

Sunday is flea market day in Montmartre, Rue de Clignancourt boasts stretches of market stalls selling all sorts. I felt absolutely chuffed to have discovered it by chance one day! Nearest Metro stop in Montmartre is Chateau Rouge though it’s a 5 minute walk from the Sacre Coeur. You can also stop at the very tip of the market at Metro stop Porte de Clignancourt where they have the bigger more serious stalls, I believe these are also open on Fridays and Saturdays.

early morning just as the flea market was opening

early morning just as the flea market was opening

Most of all I love Montmartre for it’s slopes and slides, green open spaces and quiet little back streets. The sky always appears bluer in Montmartre, I can only imagine the influence the landscape would have had on the great French Impressionists who populate this area.

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