London for 24 Hours

 

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Francophile or anglophile?  I’m not certain which but I love both Paris and London and jump at any chance to visit.  This month I met a dear friend in London on our way to a girls weekend in Ireland (more to come on Ireland in a later post).  While she was finishing up work, I had 24 hours to play in London.

Normally, I opt for the Sofitel.  It is near Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square making it perfect for a short walk to museums and galleries. This time it was Mayfair and the Beaumont. What a treat!  A small boutique hotel in fashionable Mayfair where they cater to your every need. It was perfect.

I was taken to my room immediately upon arrival after an overnight flight arriving at Heathrow. I’d had an unfortunate accident with a neighboring passenger’s glass of champagne which ended up all over me for the flight. Beware passengers attempting to get to their seats with more than two carryon items.  All I wanted was a shower and fresh clothes. The first thing I noticed was the decadent bath with the heated floor.  My jet lag was an immediate afterthought.

Refreshed with a shower and clean clothes, I was off to the V&A.  It is my favorite museum!  If you love the Tudors it is a must see stop for you.  In prior visits I’ve spent hours wondering the Tudor galleries.  This time I was headed for the Dior and Quant exhibitions  I’d seen the Dior exhibit in Paris but wanted to see the British modifications  I was not disappointed.  Princess Margaret’s gown is to die for as are the Dior London parts of the exhibit  Absolutely fascinating

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From there it was to the Mary Quant exhibition.  I’m not certain which was my favorite.  Would that the Met take their lead for their next fashion exhibition . . . .  The Mary Quant clothes looked so wearable and comfortable.  I loved the jersey dresses and the rain slickers.  I’d wear them today!

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From there I walked the two short blocks to Harrods and the food hall for a bite to tide me over.  The food hall is a sight not to be missed  anything you can think of to eat is there.

Back to Mayfair then to explore.  Hyde Park is there if the weather holds.  Mayfair is perfect for people and car watching with every conceivable car dealership there.  It’s also shoppers nirvana.

After exploring Mayfair, I was off to the Ritz.  Someday I’m going to book tea there as it always looks incredible.  As it was after 4, I opted for the Rivoli Bar and a French 75, or as they call it a Rivoli 75.  A wonderfully refreshing mix of champagne, gin, lemon, and simple syrup  it is a favorite of mine.  I opted for an early dinner with my second.  They have a lovely Caesar salad with grilled chicken – hold the anchovies.  From there, I walked back to the Beaumont enjoying more of Mayfair.

The time difference was beginning to catch up with me but I was still slightly hungry.   I opted for dessert at the bar in the hotel – doughnuts with a raspberry sauce.  They were delicious.

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I returned to my room and crashed  waking up the next morning for my flight to Dublin. The Beaumont once again rose to the occasion.  They have a wonderful breakfast set out with pain as chocolate, juice, tea, or for me coke complete with travel cups and boxes

 

 

Shopping in Paris

IMG_9440I’m not certain if I am an Anglophile or a Francophile but I am mesmerized by Paris and London.  There is nothing like the lights of Paris or exploring the City.  I can and have spent hours and lots of steps just walking and ducking in boutique after boutique at my leisure.  December and Christmas is a wonderful time to explore.  The red flocked Christmas trees, a glass of champagne at the Ritz, or sitting at a cafe for dinner it is a perfect way to spend a few days at this time of year.

There is something serendipitous about what you will find and where you find it.  On my most recent trip I stayed at this wonderful boutique hotel in the triangle d’or.  I arrived from Atlanta to Charles De Gaule at 6 in the morning and made my way to drop off my bags.  It was snowing which added something special to the morning.  I dropped off my bags and headed to the Museum of Decorative Arts for the Christian Dior exhibit.  The exhibit was mobbed but entirely worth it. After lusting over Dior collections I made my way to a lovely cafe for the quintessential lunch of onion soup and much needed caffeine and then returned to my hotel for a nap.  Once refreshed I headed out to explore the area around the hotel and an idea of dropping by the bar at the George the V.

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The area is full of wonderful boutiques in addition to the known designers.  On my previous trip I discovered Davidor, a wonderful jeweler originally from Florida and now in Paris and Hobbs, a store with the most beautiful cashmere and leather goods.  The sweater I’d purchased previously from Hobbs remains a favorite.  Snowing again, a wonderful shop with a display of scarves and sweaters caught my eye and in I went.

Crimson (8 Rue Marbeuf or https:// http://www.crimson-cashmere.com) is a wonderful store with the most beautiful items of cashmere and lambs wool made in Scotland. Scarves, gloves, ponchos and sweaters to die for available for both men and women.  After trying on and selecting a beautiful purple cashmere sweater with the perfect twist on the classic crewneck design, I encountered this wonderful voice that simply could not have been from Paris.  The owner, Linda, is a delightful lady originally from Texas exuding this amazing sense of style.  She is as fun as her designs which are amazing.  After a delightful interlude in the store, making new friends in Paris, purchasing the sweater and gloves, sharing a gold dustedchocolate covered marshmallow, and armed with her advice regarding pickpockets, I returned to my quest for a glass of champagne at George V.  Thwarted by a full house and no room at the bar by everyone else that had the same idea and wanted out of the snow, I retraced my steps to a lovely cafe I’d seen and enjoyed a dinner of steak frites in traditional Parisian cafe style.

My trips to Paris have included other such wonderful discoveries from Dehilleran, a cookware store on steroids, to Christmas markets, pharmacies, and paper stores. A treasured souvenir carted home from Paris is a sheet of hand made paper framed in glass that hangs on my wall.  The best part of Paris is simply finding something unexpected.

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