I am on a bit of a travel roll at the moment having just returned from a fantastic weekend in Paris with two great friends.
Personally, I think the key to a brilliant girls weekend is organisation, but not too much - there are no adventures to be had if you stick to a rigid plan. I think the balance has to be the right amount of knowing roughly what you want to do, booking a couple of restaurants and a fabulous concierge to complete your trip. I was also lucky to have had some tips from another old friend of mine who used to live in Paris. RL and I had some great times together in our late teens and early twenties. From Saudi Arabia to Tuscany, we shared some wonderful and funny adventures - mostly thanks to her. So when she came up with her top tips for Paris, I knew they would be good ones. Sadly, with only two nights, we did not have time to try out all her suggestions. I have included some that we didn't do, along with a few other recommendations that we did. Please note, that being a girls weekend (and although we did have good cultural intentions) it is all about the mooching, shopping, eating and drinking!
So here it is, my small Girls Guide to a Paris Weekend:
Where to stay: For an unbeatable location Hotel Pavillon de la Reine on Place des Vosges looked fantastic.www.pavillon-de-la-reine.com. However we actually stayed at the very charming Hotel d'Aubusson in the heart of St Germain. www.hoteldaubusson.com
Day One - Montmartre. The cute Rue d'Abesses is where Amelie was filmed and has lots of lovely boutique shops and restaurants. A great area for walking, window shopping and just taking in the location. Hotel d'Amour is a very cool place on the way here near Pigalle, where you could stop for a drink before walking up to Abbesses and then on to Montmartre.
Day Two - Le Marais. A wonderful place that you could easily spend hours wondering around. We headed to Le Marche des Enfants Rouge on Rue de Bretagne. This historical market takes its name from the 16th-century orphanage that was originally here. The red of the children’s clothes indicated that they had been donated by Christian charities. Although the orphanage closed before the revolution, the imposing wooden edifice remained and it was opened as a deluxe market in 2000. We didn't actually eat here as we had just had lunch at the incredibly atmospheric Chez Omar, 33 Rue de Bretagne. This looks like a very old school Parisian bistro, but infact serves delicious Moroccan food. Be prepared to queue though as it is popular with a fashionable crowd. When in the area, the iconic Merci at 111 Boulevard de Beaumarchais is definitely worth a visit. We also spent far too much time in Antik Batik on 18 Rue de Turenne. If I was ever to open a retail version of www.honorbeach.com this would be the place to do it!
Day three - St Germain. A late start and then coffee at one of the two famous coffee bars: Cafe Le Flore or Les Deux Magots for a real Parisian flavour. Follow this with a walk down to Rue de Seine for lunch at La Palatte. For a lovely relaxed amble after lunch and before you leave beautiful Paris behind, a walk over Le Pont des Arts takes you to Le Louvre. Here you could carry on and head off to the very smart Rue Saint-Honoré and another legendary shop - Collette, 213 Rue Saint-Honoré. Then sadly, pick up your bags and home.
This is just a brief outline of things to do and places to go and I hope if you do visit Paris, this may offer some inspiration.