This is the third post in my 2013 trip series to Paris and Budapest. For the remainder of the series, please see below.
Paris – Hotel Esprit Saint Germain
Paris – The Marais, Le Bon Marche, Le Comptoir du Relais
Paris – St. Germain, Hermes, L’Avant Comptoir
Budapest – Four Seasons Gresham Palace
Budapest – Andrassy Avenue, Onyx
Budapest – Taste Hungary
Budapest- Christmas Markets, Bock Bistro
Today, I want to share with you some of our favorite spots and sights around the St. Germain area (as well as a quick detour over to the right bank for some rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré!) in a day to evening format. This is my last post on this 2013 Paris trip, and I hope you enjoy!
Each morning after breakfast, we would leave our lovely hotel for a walk around the neighborhood. There were so many great stores, wonderful cafes and restaurants, and beautiful buildings to see.
Right around the corner from our hotel (literally a five minute walk) was (in my opinion) the king of macarons, Pierre Herme. We dropped by several times during our brief stay. A new positive development that I noticed? The shop usually had free samples out!
My #1 favorite flavor that I always have to get from Pierre Herme is the “Mogador” macaron – this is a year round classic, dark chocolate and passionfruit. Along with Mogador, I usually will choose a selection from the season. The most popular current season flavor seemed to be “Chocolate and Foie Gras” – almost everybody in line ordered a few while we were there. I got one too, just for fun, but for me it didn’t match up to some of my other favorite flavors.
Also very close to our hotel was a selection of great shops – Maje, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Taschen (to browse fun books), and more. My personal favorite was actually a shop called Liwan, maybe a one minute walk from our hotel.
Liwan had a great selection of items from all over the world, hand selected by the very charming owner. Since we had just been in Bali and South Africa earlier in the year, it was fun to recognize some of the local items from those destinations, in this store in Paris!
After some time poking around the neighborhood, we would then have some lunch. I mentioned earlier that I love crepes, and another great crepe place we visited that was in our local neighborhood was Little Breizh.
I would really recommend this restaurant if you are in the St. Germain area – especially for lunch! I think for something like 10 euro each, we each got to chose for ourselves one savory crepe, one sweet crepe, and a cup of either cider of apple juice. A yummy, filling meal and the cider was especially good.
Little Breizh is quite cozy inside, so I’d recommend coming earlier for lunch (before 12), and the same applies for dinner.
Now…onto a little bit more shopping. A short walk from Little Breizh was the newest Hermes shop in Paris, on rue de Sevres. It was wonderful, and I’d highly recommend a a visit! Not very crowded at all, very good service, and a great display of “Petit H” items.
And of course the shop itself was beautiful.
Since it was much closer to our hotel, the Sevres store was the one I visited most while were in Paris. However, we did make one stop by the “flagship” Hermes, on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. It’s always a very happy feeling…walking up to this building!
Mr. Feather was very thoughtful and planned a visit to the Hermes museum for us while we were in Paris. The Hermes museum is a private museum on a higher floor above the regular boutique, where a collection of items and history of the Hermes family is kept. I had been to this museum exactly once when I was a lot younger, and barely remembered anything (except that I saw a saddle that Napoleon had sat on, and thought it was very small, perfect for me!). So it was an amazing feeling to get to go back and visit, and see all the of the fantastic new additions. We had a private guide for our tour who I could have listened to all day, and who had just an incredible amount of knowledge about every one of the items.
Our guide did ask that photos not be published of the items inside the museum so I of course am honoring that request. I’ll just share a photo of me below inside with the look that was constantly on my face – of “WOW! Cool!”.
Between our stops at Hermes Sevres and at the flagship we picked up a few items. The first was a pair of crystal glasses by Saint Louis. Hermes purchased Saint Louis some time ago, and now all Hermes crystal is made by Saint Louis (and Hermes boutiques also stock the brand).
I never, ever thought I would be an appreciator of crystal, but our sales associate showed us these glasses, we were both drawn to them! I love that they can be flipped over, so you can use them for either wine, champagne, or just water. We took home two, so we could each have one and always remember our trip when using them.
I also brought home a few bags. You never know what you’ll get with Hermes inventory, so I felt lucky that there was a nice selection while we were there. Here are the two I ended up with for myself – the Sac Roulis and the Evelyne. The Roulis was a surprise – I had always thought I would get a Constance, but when I tried on each (over and over again….), the Roulis came home! I will be doing a separate review of each of these bags, separately, so you can see how they are worn.
By the way, I’ve said it before and I will say it again – when you’re in the French Hermes shops (I’m not sure if they do it in all the other European stores), have your shopping bags delivered to your hotel! So much easier and more convenient (not to mention safer), and I’ve never had an issue at any hotel, large and small.
After our visit to Hermes, we walked back home, with a small detour to admire the Place de la Concorde. It was starting to get dark.
For dinner, we returned to the St. Germain area. The evening earlier, we had gone to one of my favorite patisseries, Gerard Mulot (a very quick, five minute walk from our hotel), and returned with a selection of sweet and savories. Please visit if you are in Paris! You won’t regret it.
We were tempted to return again actually (I was thinking about the smoked salmon sandwich…), but instead, we decided to have dinner at almost the same place we had been two nights earlier – L’Avant Comptoir, right next to Le Comptoir.
L’Avant Comptoir is a standing room only tapas bar, first come, first serve – which was perfect for us because as I said earlier, we didn’t make any reservations while in Paris.
All of the regular choices were displayed on the ceiling, with a few special drawn on chalkboards. Some of our selections for dinner, starting with onion rings! I think the whole restaurant ordered these, and this picture is actually of the couple next to us, who were happily digging in.
A potato omelette.
A jamon croquette and wild mushroom soup.
A salmon croquette.
And of course, lots of wine! And a very friendly staff.
After our dinner at L’Avant Comptoir (and by the way, the prices were completely reasonable, especially for Paris), it was already dark outside. On our last evening in Paris, even though it was feeling quite cold, we decided to walk around and take in some final sights around the beautiful city.
Mr. Feather and I both travel for our jobs, and have each been “lucky” enough to find ourselves in this beautiful city at one time or another for work. However, I always find Paris a completely different city when you visit for pleasure…more beautiful, more charming, and time seems to go a little more slowly, while you enjoy every minute. I don’t think I will ever tire of this beautiful city!
Thank you so much for reading along on our Paris adventure…next time, I’ll be starting on Budapest! Happy early New Year and best wishes for a wonderful beginning to 2014!