Friday, 27 December 2013

{Winter Warmers}

I hope everyone had a very happy & restful Christmas time - personally, I spent most of the holidays with this beauty... she had a lot of presents to deliver in her santa outfit! 

The Post-Christmas/Pre-New Year week is actually my Mum's favourite time of year - it's a time to take stock of everything, play with all your delightful presents, and prepare yourself for the new year ahead. It's also not quite time to get back on the sensible life plan, so all those treats can be eaten up in leisurely time. If I were still in Paris, I'd be skipping down to my new favourite café Le Voltigeur in Le Marais for a winter warmer with my cosiest pal..

Suze visited me in my last days in Paris & we covered many a mile (and restaurant). After our weekend, I would heartily recommend Chez George on Rue des Canettes for a hearty, authentically French experience - think eccentric old women with orange hair complimenting your outfit choice & young men buying roses for their many sweethearts. But our favourite restaurant was definitely La Vache et Le Cuisinier in Montmartre. Slightly more expensive than other joints on the Rue des Trois Frères, but totally worth it. The food is to die for (I recommend the steak followed by profiteroles) & beautifully presented, and the clientele are a mixed bunch of Parisians with plenty of stories to tell. Stay 'til closing time to hear the best ones.

Anyway, back to Le Voltigeur. We stopped in for a break from window-shopping & pulled up some chairs outside in the cold. No need to worry about freezing here - if the drinks won't warm you up then the cosy blankets sure will. Pull one around up you as you watch the world stroll past.

There didn't seem to be a menu, so Suze ordered the house speciality which was their Chocolat Chaud (complete with a little Carambar). It came in a little pot which you stir in with milk, to your desired strength/consistency. I was suitably jealous, but nevertheless my delicious Vin Chaud had the desired effect of warming up my chilled bones. I also had a new pal to play with - the café seems to have a live-in dog who wanders the seats looking for a cuddle. I was more than happy to oblige & felt right at home.

As we wandered back with warm hearts through the little streets of Le Marais, we chanced upon a swing band playing. They were actually very talented & fantastically French - notice the bass player enjoying his cigarette while he plays. 

The pièce de résistance was this beautiful lady who was clearly the band's dancer. She was so full of energy & concentration as she moved gracefully around her little stage, she really transported you back to another era. Half of Paris took a pause from their busy lives to watch her move, such was her beauty.

I'm now back in England with mixed feelings - I'll certainly miss all the delicious food & sights but it sure is nice to be home and surrounded by friends & family. Stay tuned for more London-based tips...

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