When you visit a major city it’s great to see the major sites, I wouldn’t ever want to visit New York without setting eyes on the Statue of Liberty or come to Rome and not see the Colosseum. But what about when you’ve visited a city several times before and you want to see it from a new perspective? Plus see the secret things that you can’t find in the guide books. With that in mind I contacted VIP Tours Paris who promised to put together a bespoke tour for Mr S and I to see Paris in a different way whilst enjoying a romantic day together.
With it being a very cold, a walking tour sounded a bit torturous but fortunately VIP Tours Paris sent a plush Mercedes to our hotel with our tour guide, Cedric, and a driver to pick us up. Cedric arrived brandishing a huge bunch of flowers for me and I knew he was going to be my kind of tour guide…Our first stop was to drive up to Montmartre, but we weren’t seeing the very touristy part of it, Cedric took us down avenue Junot to see his favourite view of the Eiffel Tower looming above the roof tops.
He led us through the streets pointing out the diverse architecture of the houses and down into Villa Léandre, a English-inspired street that reminded me of the mews houses in Belgravia. Actually the street was built on a former mill in Montmartre and the properties are some of the most expensive in Paris.
Driving further up we arrived in Montmartre, a hilltop district in Paris, part of the Right Bank in the Northern side of the city. I loved the hustle and bustle of the square and I could imagine the lives of the famous artists that used to work around there. At the beginning of the twentieth century during the Belle Époque artists such a Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Monet, Toulouse Lautrec and Vincent Van Gogh all had studios there; it’s an area steeped in culture and history and I bet if the walls could talk there would be plenty of scandals to hear about…
I managed to tear my eyes away long enough from the hot wine and chocolate cart for Cedric to show us one of the oldest churches in Paris, Saint-Pierre de Montmartre. Sacre-Coeur Basilica is the most famous church in Montmartre, but we were here to see something a little different…
The church was built in the 12th Century, and once through the beautifully sculpted metal doors, we could see the beautiful contemporary stained glass windows and the Medieval columns.
Back to the car it was time to crack open a bottle of champagne and have a drink as we were chauffeured around the centre of Paris with Cedric pointing out sites of interest while we relaxed in the back seat.
We took a moment to admire this unique clock statue called L’Heure pour Tous or The Hour Of All, in front of the Saint-Lazare Train station.
Before Cedric led us into the Church of Saint Sulpice, the largest church in Paris after the Notre Dame.
Saint-Sulpice is actually home to the to the best organ in Paris and people visit every year just to hear the music from the Great Organ pictured above.
Back in the car, and we were presented with our next gift, the world-famous macarons from Ladurée.
Aren’t they just so pretty, and jewel-like? They taste amazing too!
A further drive along and Cedric showed us how to see Notre Dame from a different view-point; I loved being able to see the iconic sites of Paris above the roof tops from little secret passage ways and byways…
With our tour completed it was time to head for lunch and I’d chosen a restaurant called Les Ombres, and here’s why:
From our table we had a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower that we could enjoy whilst eating our lunch. Apparently it’s the restaurant with the best view of the famous landmark and huge glass windows allow for an almost unobstructed view…
The restaurant is located at the Musée du quai Branly, a museum dedicated to the indigenous art and culture of Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
But the restaurant doesn’t feel like a standard museum restaurant, it’s really stylish; a sort of mixture of Parisian chic and the cultures represented at the museum. Yes, it was a little quiet but we were far to busy gazing at our gorgeous view to worry about that.
The cuisine is French and for me it struck a balance between fine dining and brasserie food. The portions were small and elegant but with rich punchy flavours.
My starter was a light and beautifully presented veal and scampi tartar with wasabi cream, cucumber and stick potatoes. I really enjoyed this dish and I don’t think I’ve ever had a tartare of veal before.
Mr S’s dish was more hearty and filling for the cold day and he went for a risotto with razor clam and octopus in a shellfish emulsion.
My whiting filet with potato purée, parsnip chips and mushrooms was perfectly cooked with a beautiful crisp skin. The crunchy parsnip crisps were fantastic and I would have loved a whole bowl of them!
Mr Silver’s main course was just as good, a beautifully rare duck breast with a celery mousseline and perfectly sweet beetroot. We loved the food at Les Ombres and I can imagine it would be fantastic for a date night with the Eiffel Tower all lit up and sparkly. We decided to skip dessert and instead pay a visit to one of my other favourite hotels in Paris:
The Four Seasons George V, one of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels in the city.
We were greeted by an exhibition of huge glass penguins, not as cute as the real thing but definitely very cool!
The interior of the hotel is so sumptuous and elegant, with gilded chairs, decorative carpets, high ceilings and beautiful tapestries and paintings adorning the wall. Pure luxury in the traditional sense. Last time we were there we enjoyed a drink in the stunning courtyard, but it was closed for refurbishment so we headed to Le Bar.
Which felt so cosy and welcoming on a cold day!
Mr S went for a super strong melon martini and I chose a George Fizz, with strawberries, raspberries, orange juice and champagne.
The perfect end to a beautiful day in the City of Light…
27 Quai Branly
+33 1 47 53 68 00