So last weekend, we went to Paris. J’adore Paris. The husband and I needed a weekend away together. It’d been a long while and only our second ever night without our toddler, but we were exhausted and in need of some mama and dada time. So here’s our weekend in Paris in black and white…
Paris in Black and White
Why did we go?
I’ve been a parent for 18 months now and was pregnant for 9 months before that. So that’s over 2 years of preparing to be and being a mum. The same for my husband (but obviously replace ‘mum’ with ‘dad’…and he didn’t actually get the pregnant part, but you know what I mean!). So for over 2 years, our focus has been on the baby…all about the baby. We’ve been working out how to be a mum and dad and we’ve been partners in this epic and awesome journey.
BUT, the time where we’ve enjoyed eachother’s company, like we used to before we became parents, has been limited to say the least. My husband is my best friend and I like hanging out with him. I like chatting, eating, laughing and planning with him. But for the last 18 months, we’ve had a third-wheel to our conversations. The best third-wheel anyone could hope for, but a third-wheel nonetheless. So inevitably, our chats and moments together where we’re not working, are quickly diverted to parenthood, baby sleeping (or lack thereof) and our plans for our family.
I love these chats, I really do. But lately I have missed our moments where we used to enjoy each other and just each other.
That teamed with the fact that we’ve been seriously lacking in sleep for nearly 2 years, meant that we were well overdue a mini-break.
Where did we go?
Well the clue is in the title…we hopped, skipped and jumped our way over the Channel to gay Paris. It was a surprise Christmas present for me and I’d been looking forward to our 2 day, 1 night trip to Paris for exactly 61 days (not that I was counting).
It was only the 2nd night EVER that we’d be away from our daughter (and the 1st night where we’d be in a separate country!!) but I knew we were all ready and she’d be totally happy having a weekend with her grandparents. (I wasn’t wrong – she had a blast and only asked for us once, before being quickly distracted by breakfast and then only after she’d asked for Bobbi, our dog! Priorities!).
Where did we stay?
I was so happy to be staying in one of our favourite neighbourhoods in Paris – Saint-Germain-des-Pres and then became even more ecstatic when I saw that we would be staying at the 5* Hotel d’Aubusson. What a treat – boy did good!
Well the Hotel d’Aubusson did not disappoint. It was right in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, on a typically Parisian road (rue Dauphine) and surrounded by cool bars, restaurants and shops and just a few minutes’ walk from a market, the metro (metro stop: Odeon) and the river.
The river Seine and Notre-dame were the closest landmarks and both within a 5 minute walk and just across the river was Le Louvre – so a brilliant location to hit the hot-spots.
The Hotel d’Aubusson is chic and welcoming and just the right size for me (not too vast). It felt personal and warm and within moments of arriving, we were being given a personal tour and invited to relax in the lounge with a coffee and croissant. You could tell the hotel is 5* as they think of everything and nothing is too much trouble. We were given a free smartphone to use on our journey, with the trustworthy cab programmed in and the address of the hotel programmed so we could click to “take us home” anywhere in Paris…no chance of getting lost.
Our room wasn’t huge, but was perfectly allocated with a stylish marble bathroom (laden with Hermes toiletries), a lounging area by the window (which overlooked rue Dauphine), a Nespresso machine, TV, mini bar and smartphone docking station (and plenty of USB ports to charge our various tablets, phones and cameras).
We enjoyed a complimentary bottle of wine in our room, before heading down for cocktails and live Jazz Piano in the bar on Saturday evening. This was a lovely surprise and just what we were in the mood for. We also managed to enjoy the interior courtyard, which was perfectly covered and heated to enable us to sit outdoors in the cool evening temperatures.
Breakfast was great – packed full of croissants, pastries, fruit, cheeses and meats, as you’d expect in a Continental breakfast spread. But surprisingly there were also hot breakfast items (to suit us Brits), including bacon, sausages, mushrooms and eggs (just needed to add baked beans to make it absolute perfection!).
Where did we eat?
Saturday lunch – L’Atlas, rue de Buci (you can see if from the hotel).
We ate moules marinieres avec des frites (as they seemed to specialise in fresh seafood), drank Sancerre wine and enjoyed people watching in this buzzing neighbourhood.
Make sure you ask to see their dessert tray (which they’ll present to you so you can pick exactly what you want) and if you go in the colder months, ask for an outdoor seat under the heaters, as you can still make the most of being outside and enjoy facing-out to watch the world go by.
Saturday dinner – La Rose de France, Place Dauphine (on the little island between the two sides of the river, close to Notre-Dame).
We ate traditional dishes, served in a modern and refined way, including: french onion soup, fois gras (not me!), steak and chicken with morells. We washed it down with a caraffe of Sancerre and strolled back for more cocktails at the hotel.
This restaurant is in a great location, that you could easily miss and not realise exists. I think it’s busier during the day, with tourists and probably in high season, as it was strangely quiet when we went for dinner at 8.30pm (there were two other couples when we arrived and we were the last ones there when we left). For that reason, it lacked atmosphere and they would’ve benefitted from dimming the lights and adding some candles. BUT, the food was fantastic – couldn’t fault it and was very reasonably priced for dinner in central Paris.
Sunday lunch – Restaurant Royal Turenne, rue de Turenne (in Le Marais district)
We enjoyed a long leisurely lunch, sat outside, under their heaters, watching the trendy and rich parade past in Le Marais district of Paris. I ate rare steak with fries and bearnaise sauce. He ate steak tartare with fries and salad and we shared a banana and nutella crepe. All washed down with a Sancerre for me (there’s a theme here) and a Cote du Rhone for him.
This restaurant is in a great corner spot, just by the Place des Vosges and ideal for people watching between shopping. The service was fantastic and the waiters very friendly. It wasn’t the best steak I’ve ever had, but it was cooked well and the bearnaise was delicious.
How did we get there?
We arrived in Paris at 11.30am on Saturday and left at 6.30pm on Sunday, so managed to have the best part of 2 full days and 1 glorious night of undisturbed sleep in the city of romance. We did this by getting the Eurostar from St Pancras, which is approx a 2.5 hour train journey. The same as London to Manchester almost.
And what a weekend it was…
I had the best time, just hanging out with my best friend, laughing and drinking, without a care in the world. It was nice to not have a buggy, nappy bag and toddler in tow for a couple of days and being able to take our time eating and taking everything in. BUT we did end up speaking about her A LOT and had a Skype session and frequent messages, photos and video updates sent to us by the grandparents. So we weren’t really without her.
Time together as a couple…
It did remind us both though that time together as a couple, just us, is so important. Whether it’s dinner together at home, a romantic bath, or the odd evening out. It’s important to remember yourselves as yourselves and not just as parents.
So if you’re a parent and haven’t yet ventured off without your little one, then believe me, it’s ok! Make sure they’re with someone they know well and that you feel comfortable leaving them with and just don’t worry – it’ll be worth it. Remember each other, enjoy each other.
Paris in black and white was a dream. Have you been away without your child? Where did you go?