Travel is good for the soul, I genuinely believe that. You can workout every day of the week and eat your bodyweight in superfoods, but experiencing somewhere new and escaping the everyday can invigorate you in a way no spin class can. If I had it my way I’d live in a different AirBnb apartment every month and travel the world, but for now city breaks and weeks by the sea keep me happy and satisfy my every growing wanderlust…
So it feels only right that I share with you here some of my favourite places – the places that complement my quest for balance and do for my wellbeing what a barre class does for my calf muscles…
I really, really love Paris. Whenever I visit I come over all ‘Amélie’ and get carried away with the romance of it all – the red lipstick and breton stripes come out, I instantly wish I had a chic brown bob, and extra thought goes into my somewhat scruffy London uniform. Much the same occurred earlier this month when I took my boyfriend to the city for a birthday trip (Paris in Spring is beautiful – I can’t recommend it enough) and previously last summer when I travelled to the city with my mum and my sister for a long weekend.
Every time I’ve visited I’ve been lucky enough to stay in the Marais, the most lovely area in my opinion. Some visitor guides will tell you to avoid the Marais at certain times, warning how packed it can be on a Sunday when the rest of Paris is typically having a rest. Whilst this may be true, I absolutely love the business of the area – the buzz of the crooked medieval streets, the vintage shops, the galleries and the beautiful architecture. Living in East London, it felt almost like a home-from-home when I arrived (albeit a far chicer, prettier one) and I instantly wanted to explore.
We stayed in the most beautiful hotel whilst we were there, just off of the river and a ten minute walk from Notre Dame. The Hotel Saint-Louis Marais on Rue Charles V is perfectly placed between the buzz of the Marais cafe culture and the equally lovely Ile Saint Louis, another of my favourite spots. We spent a lot of time exploring the local area, trying out the coffee shops and wandering aimlessly through the pretty streets.
I’d recommend the hotel as a base to explore the city, and can vouch for the third floor bedrooms being worth the extra 20 euros! Throwing open the windows from the top floor and peering out across the rooftops certainly lived up to my ‘pretending to be Parisian’ fantasy… and yes, red lipstick was involved.
If you’re looking for things to do in the neighbourhood once you’ve finished your café glacé (I had a lot of these), the Place des Vosges is around a ten minute walk away from the hotel and is said to be one of the prettiest squares in the whole of Paris. It really is beautiful, and although busy in the late summer sunshine, it also felt incredibly peaceful.
Food-wise you’re spoilt for choice, but L’As du Falafel is a must-see on rue des Rosiers, and Miss Manon on rue St-Antoine was our favourite spot for breakfast.
You can read more about Hotel Saint-Louis Marais and the local area on the hotel’s website, which also has a great list of recommended restaurants and bars.