8 Hours in Paris

I had been dreaming of going to Paris for quite some time, for a glance at the Eiffel Tower, but mainly, to eat all the best cakes and desserts at their origin. I only allowed myself to go for the day, as I was going alone and a bit scared of staying the night.

I booked the Eurostar tickets around 2 months in advance, and left the rest of the planning until the evening before, when I managed to put together some sort of itinerary in panic.

And guess what. I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t like going along with a plan.

My trip started off bright and early, arriving in Paris at exactly 11:24. I only had one goal in mind: the Ispahan croissants from Pierre Herme.

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These sugary pastries are apparently one of the best in Paris, with a limited quantity everyday at 2 of their flagship boutiques: the one on Rue Bonapart and the one on Rue de Vaugirard.

After getting a Ticket Mobilis (one day pass on the Metro), I hopped on #4 straight to Saint-Germain-des-Pes, ran like a mad woman to their shop on Rue Bonapart and scored 2 of these treasures! (They were sold out by a mile when I got there, but I had asked a friend to reserve over the phone earlier that morning.)

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They were just smaller than my hand, super flaky, glazed, candied roses on the top, with a sweet-tangy raspberry pâte in the middle. Gorgeous.

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My original plan was heading up towards La Seine, crossing the Pont des Arts, past the Louvre and to Palais-Royal. That did not happen. What happened was I walked the direct opposite, all the way through Jardin du Luxembourg THEN realised I’ve gone the entirely wrong way.

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Battered by the 34 degree heat, I took a turn, hopped on the #10 from Mabillon to Ségur, landing at my next stop: Sadaharu Aoki, the master of matcha desserts. (There was actually one very close to Pierre Hermé.)

Japanese matcha desserts on a trip to Paris? Yes, and I do believe that the Japanese-French patisserie is even better than the original French style.

Walking into the clean, white boutique, I was greeted by a whole row of beautiful cakes, and 2 Japanese ladies behind the counter.

I sat down and went for a pot of Genmaicha, a Matcha Choux and a Matcha Azuki. Absolutely delicious! The matcha flavour is prominent yet very elegant.

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Next stop: the Eiffel Tower. Seeing the tip of the iconic tower already had my heart pumping while on the #6. I got off at Trocadéro for a view across the river (I suspect getting off at Passy would’ve gave a more scenic view right by the river).

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Next was completing all my initial plans near Palais Royale. First was Café Kitsuné, a small, hipster-ish café. Basically an Instagram spot. (And I did get to see the Les Deux Plateaux at the courtyard.)

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A few stops on #3 from Bourse is Republiqué , with a short walk away being Du Pain et des Idees, a traditional bakery serving that chocolate and pistachio escargot recommended by a few of my friends.

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On the opposite end of the area was Ob-La-Di, another hipster-ish café that was recommended to me for good brunch food. By the time I got there I was borderline melting and sunburnt, had no appetite for food and went straight for an iced latte.

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I’m a firm believer that the tiniest things make the best travel souvenirs: train tickets, scrunched-up maps, handwritten postcards… And local produce. I headed to the food hall at Galleries Lafayette, where its range of artisanal products stunned me when I was in Nice last year.

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I bagged a pot of tapenade and a (very fancy looking) bottle of olive oil for my mother, plus 2 bars of chocolate from Alain Ducasse.

The last hour in Paris was spent in the hell of the queue at the EuroStar checkin back at the Gare du Nord – the first passport control that beat Heathrow T3 in speed. Round of applause.

That’s it – one girl’s day trip in Paris.

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