If you like Paris, you really must visit the following places:
Do you like porcelain? Well in Paris, you will discover one of the most original stores you can find specialising in everything tableware.
Exceptional pieces, each one a work of art; cake tins, bowls, mugs, every kind of table plate imaginable, trinkets and ornaments, there are even porcelain forks to decorate the wall with. The name of this mysterious boutique is Astier de Villatte (www.astierdevillatte.com), inconspicuously tucked in the ever changing, always glamorous Rue Saint Honoré, on the Right Bank, bien sûr!
Not far away is Ladurée, the most chic Tea Room in Paris and where the original macarons were invented. Proust was an assiduous client of this sophisticated pastry shop founded in 1862 on Rue Royale, in the Madeleine neighbourhood. You can savour other dishes there too, finger licking good!
Going a little deeper, we would recommend a visit to this establishment dedicated to truffles, Maison de la Truffe (http://maison-de-la-truffe.com), which opened in 1932. The truffles are worth their weight in gold, but there is a delightful selection of specialty products linked to truffles such as their amazing truffle oil.
At the Gare de Lyon railway station, where the TVG (high speed train) from Barcelona arrives, you must visit the ornately decorated brasserie Le Train Bleu (www.le-train-bleu.com) which represent the affluent, artistic and innovative France of the Belle Epoque! As you climb up the majestic white marble staircase remember that the most fantasized train of all, The Orient Express, used to set off from this very station. The restaurant was established to coincide with the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900, when the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais were also built. Lavish decorations inside Le Train Bleu restaurant include over 41 paintings, the walls adorned with a wealth of stucco, sculptures, portraits, trophies, floral decorations, volutes, foliage, mouldings, carvings, rich reds and blues and gilding, a lot of gilding! So much so, it’s like dining inside a museum. A la Carte specialties include “steak tartare” prepared at your table, Fois Gras cooked “à la Maison”, then “gigot” served on a Christofle shank holder (mmmm!) and to round all that off, a Rum baba for dessert. Bon appetit!
And finally, take a stroll around the Merci store (www.merci-merci.com). Similar to a french take on Vinçon (in Barcelona) with a touch of vintage. Situated at Boulevard Beaumarchais (111) you can find everything from clothes, to trinkets and stationery on the one hand and a restaurant and library on the other. Voilà!