Places to go:
Anyone that knows me well - knows that I like to stay out of the crowds. Paris taught me that the simple things in life really are the only things that you need. Compared to my hectic life in London, life has really taken itself down a few gears and I've learnt to appreciate what's out there on my doorstep.
I'm literally an old soul and I love nothing more than being at home with my cat Willow (you've probably seen her on Instagram about a million times....) and playing around with recipes in the kitchen, thinking about what I can do to make myself better, and what I can do for others to make them feel better. I'm someone who really believes in working on yourself and living in the present, I wasn't always like that. Now you'll find me dithering about around street markets and hiding in away cafés... oh and Starbucks too!
Here you can find some of my favourite people and places. If you're like me and the crowds get you stressin', or you'd like to have some you time, why not try some of these addresses?!
Food & Restaurants
Treize au Jardin:
Treize, I think I've been there more than thirteen times by now! Owned by my American friend, Laurel, this homely feeling restaurant serves up some of the best tasting food that I've ever had in my life. If you like a warm welcome, a warm atmosphere and amazing home-cooked styled food, then you can't go wrong at Treize. After becoming extremely popular in the expat community, it's a good idea to book a table!
Address: 5 Rue de Médicis, 75006 Paris
This hot new spot by the Eiffel Tower will have you tasting the delights of chef, Justin Kent. If you're craving something nice for breakfast or lunch... or hey, why not even brunch? Then Zia's tasty Dutch pancakes and breakfast burritos will set you up for a stroll on the Champs de Mars and around the Eiffel Tower. The ambience is modern yet rustic and you can speak English for a bit of home comfort... because those French waiters can be a bit tiring sometimes.
Address: 22 Avenue de Tourville, 75007, Paris
Tel: 01 44 18 90 71
Ohhhh Ellsworth, seriously worth every penny, or centime as we're in France. This French/American kind of tapas-style food is great for a date if you're hanging out in the Opera/Louvre area. It's a great idea to get a table booked ASAP, as this place has been written about on every known foodie blog flying around Paris. The ambience is homely and trendy with candles thrown in. I suggested going here when I first met my mother-in-law. if you can impress a French mother-in-law, it has to be good!
Address: 34 Rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris
Tel: 01 42 60 59 66
Not far from my humble abode, this couldn't get any Frencher than French restaurant (a difficult thought, I know...) is where chéri and I usually treat ourselves to a little date night, yes that still happens thankfully. It's pretty small, but if you can get a table up the spiral staircase then that will keep you out the draft of the door. With a selection of different meats, salads, and I think, fish! There's something for every level of hunger. But... you have to try the 'Pain Perdu' (lost bread) for dessert, it's nothing but sweet bread soaked in caramel goodness!
Address: 44 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004 Paris
Tel: 06 27 18 08 07
Les Fous de l'Île:
If you like foie gras, then there's a huge slab of it that's about to come your way! Based in the very heart of Paris, Les Fous de lÎle is situated on Île saint louis (not far from Notre Dame). The setting is decorated with a menagerie of chickens (paper and china ones, don't worry!) and the food is great for a non-expensive and truly French style of cuisine. What I love about this place is that the customer service is wonderful and also you get to see some interesting characters attached to the bar. This is literally the island of true blood Parisians, so look out for quirky characters splashing themselves with Chanel No.5 or laying out their medication across the bar.
Address: 33 Rue des Deux Ponts, 75004 Paris
Tel: 01 42 76 91 37
Au Petit Thai:
I wasn't a huge fan of Thai food - until I stumbled across this place... and now I crave it at breakfast time! This cosy and candlelit spot with explosions of rose petals over each table is ideal for a romantic and tastebud tantalising evening in the Marais. You can expect a camp and hospitable welcome from the friendly team who speak English and French, which will give you a break from those ruley French waiters in the bistros for an evening. Please, if you do anything, try the Thai spring rolls... they will change your life.
Address: 10 Rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004 Paris
Tel: 01 42 72 75 75
It's no secret, I just love food, there are days where I think about nothing else but eating! But although the 'nuriture' of France is amazingly rich and fullfilling with every bite, it's not always the lightest option. Thankfully you'll be walking your legs off as well as the food, getting around Paris!
Health & Wellbeing
A subject that's important to us all, if you're in Paris on an extended break to do some soul searching, or you have time to do things that you may not have time to try when you're back home, then this could be the opportunity to do something for you. For years I always looked for material things when I lived in London.
Money was the driving factor, new clothes, having seven million friends on Facebook, hanging out with people that didn't interest me, just to be popular and making life all about the 'what ifs' and comparing myself to others. Since I came to Paris I've had a real journey on working on myself, being happy with just being Charles Gillman, being happy with having a pointy nose and having a body that only suits clothes for elderly gentlemen. Here are some of my favourite places and people for a little 'bien être'!
Charlotte Debaugny, a voice you could listen to for hours. I really discovered the world of food, as well as what was going on with my unhappy tummy thanks to Charlotte. After a few hour consultations with her, I felt so much better within myself and I was soon cutting out some dietary mishaps that I was getting away with. I actually learned what the whole BMI thing was all about and the fact that mine was the same as a child's... That will explain the Zara trousers never fitting me.
Now, this is something that I only tried recently, but after an hour of laying there in the quiet with fine needles sticking out of me, I was so zen! I wasn't actually expecting to have a reaction to the treatment as I laid there for an hour focusing on my breathing, I felt pretty normal until I got up, then I had this very calm, light-headed feeling and I was surprised. I went to go and see Hayley at her studio, an American lady, who's probably the calmest person I've ever met in my life! You can go to her studio, or she can come to your location. Hayley firstly sends you a very detailed form to fill out, to see what you would like to have treated and she asks lots of questions about how your body is behaving at the moment. If you've never tried this before, I would seriously recommend doing so, you may want to take it up when you get back home!
Something I always think about and think 'urgh, do I have the energy?', but once I do it I feel a million times better! Generally, yoga classes are expensive in Paris, and if you would like to go once a week it can quickly add up! So 5€ a pop will do you nicely at 'Affordable Yoga', they have classes every day which are for all types of levels. They also take place in an array of locations too, from the studio to outdoors etc.
My favourite place to be in the world, if I could live there, I would! Spa 28 is part of a hotel tucked away in-between Odeon and Luxembourg gardens. Generally, the staff will book you in so that you mostly have the spa to yourself, there's a jacuzzi pool with exotic projections on the wall, a steam room and massage rooms too. You can book and hours treatment for a body massage, wrap, facial etc. and you have an hours usage of the spa included before your treatment... I think I might book a session now, all this writing about it has got my muscles crying for skilled hands!