Travel

Published on November 7th, 2010 | by thevyne

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The Vyne’s Guide to London and Paris

Spending time in London and Paris was simply splendid this time of year. The leaves were turning, the fall fashion showed how effortlessly chic Europeans can be, and the food…oh the food! We want to share with you some of our favorite picks for your next trip across the pond.
London:  Food, Flutes and Fragrances

Who says London does not have good food? We have some restaurant recommendations that will keep your taste buds tantalized.

Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Kensington, SW3 1 (#1): The luxury specialty department store is always a “must do” in London. Some of the things to be sure to check out are the meat and cheese section, candies (make sure to get free samples of the homemade fudge), amazing shoe department, and the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar (we recommend the rosé champagne and the fresh strawberries and cream).

Fifth Floor Perrier-Jouet Champagne Bar, Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, 5th Floor, SW1X 7RJ (#2): Located on the 5th floor of Harvey Nichols department store, this champagne lounge is the place for the seen and be seen (they wouldn’t even allow us to take photos in order to protect their exclusive clientele). Try the Wildflower cocktail (vodka, fresh apples, pomme verte, and hibiscus) and St. Lucia’s Secrets (Elements 8 Platinum and St. Germain fused with watermelon and elderflower).

Bistro K, 117-119 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3RN (#3)- This is a chic French bistro located in South Kensington. We enjoyed the Spaghetti Sea Bass with Garlic and Tomato, the salmon, and a dessert of pistachio praline ice cream and pineapple sorbet.

Jo Malone Flagship Store, 150 Sloane Street, SW1X 9BX: Jo Malone’s luxury fragrances are just divine. And, since the brand originated in London, you must check out the flagship store on Sloan Street. Not only can you indulge in all of the fabulous scents, but you can also purchase fragrances that are exclusively sold in London.

Cinnamon Kitchen, 9 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YL (#4): This restaurant from Chef Vivek Singh is the epitome of modern Indian cuisine. Even if you’re timid about Indian food, this restaurant’s dishes will likely be pleasing to your palette. With perfectly spiced meats, delicious breads, and nicely balanced yet bold flavors, Cinnamon Kitchen did not disappoint.

Dover Street Restaurant & Jazz Bar, 8-10 Dover Street, Mayfair, WIS 4LQ: A legendary live music house in London, Dover Street is the place to go to listen to great jazz, R&B and pop cover songs and, if you’re like us, get some good dancing in too. If you have dinner there you can attend the live shows for free. If not, be prepared to pay a cover.

Goucho, 89 Sloane Avenue, SW3 3DX (several locations in London): This dimly-lit, swanky Argentinean steakhouse had great food and a sexy vibe. Our picks from the menu: the rib-eye with peppercorn dressing, corn and cheese empanada, scallop ceviche, and spinach. Considering the quality of food, you can get a good value for money here.

The Botanist, 7-12 Sloane Square, SW1W 8EE: We went on a Wednesday evening and surprisingly enough, it was pretty happening. Though it is a restaurant, we hung out at the bar and lounge area in the front. We enjoyed some champagne while taking in its upscale look with down-to-earth feel.

Paris: Chocolate, Cosmetics, Capes and Crepes

Oh Paris, how we love thee. We walked, ate an obscene amount of food, and laughed all the way through the rues and boulevards in the city. One listing that’s missing in our list is a creperie. That’s because there were so many to choose from (meaning we ate at many while we were there!) for us to pick just one. So just make sure you get your fair share of nutella crepes at any walk-up creperie during your visit (#5).

Angelina, 226 Rue de Rivoli (#6): Located not too far from the Louvre, Angelina is a tea room with what is considered by many to be the best hot chocolate in the world. Expect to wait in line when you get there, but believe us — it will be worth it. We went there for lunch and even though we enjoyed a rich and delicious croque monsieur, we couldn’t leave without ordering the legendary L’African hot chocolate. This hot chocolate is like melting the highest quality dark chocolate and adding in a dash of milk to create absolute heaven. Even better, you can purchase bottles to take with you to heat up and drink at home!

L’as du Fallafel, 34 Rue des Rosiers (#7): Wow. Now this is some good falafel. Located in the Marais, L’as du Fallafel is a great place to get an inexpensive lunch in between boutique shopping. What we found surprising and comical were the numerous photos of Lenny Kravitz around the restaurant (apparently he’s a big fan). Order the falafel pita which is ginormous and stuffed with tasty, perfectly seasoned falafel, eggplant, cabbage, tzatziki, cabbage, tomatoes, and more.

Les Envahisseurs, 19 Rue Rosiers, (#8): This relatively inexpensive boutique is located right across the street from L’as du Fallafel. Here you can find some cute, trendy pieces without breaking the bank. Kailei even found a cape that she liked so much she wore it out of the store.

Black|Up at Sephoras all over Paris (#9):  We were pleasantly surprised to find a brand new cosmetic line for women of color at Sephora. The photos were well done, the display was inviting, and the colors looked fabulous. We must admit, however, that we were a little put off by the name “Black Up” (what’s up with that?), but the lip glosses we purchased looked really good. Maybe they’ll bring it to the States and re-name it Noir Jusqu’à (that has a better ring to it, doesn’t it?).

Hair Star, 23 Boulevard de Sébastopol (#10): Who knew we’d find a black hair salon while strolling around Paris? With a wide selection of Mizani products displayed in the window, we felt like we were peeking into a salon in New York or Chicago when we walked by. So, if you happen to be in Paris and need an emergency hair appointment or some Mizani products (like we did), visit Hair Star and you will feel right at home.

Vintage Bar, 16 Rue de la Verrerie (#11): It’s a wonder how this tiny vintage shop can fit everything into it. Literally every square inch of this place is covered! With labels like Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Gucci and Dior, you will be sure to find some exclusive vintage and unique pieces in this shop.

Le Coupe Chou, (#12): Probably our favorite meal while in Paris, this quaint, cozy restaurant is nestled in a small street near Saint Germain. What made this place so fabulous wasn’t only the amazing food, exceptional presentation, or fantastic wine. It was the reasonable price! You could get a three course meal for 26,50 € (about $35). We tried an exquisite mixed green, black radish and fig salad, a delicious Boeuf bourguignon, and desserts including Bourbon vanilla Crème brûlée and a caramelized rice pudding with poached pears.

Louis Vuitton Flagship Store, 101 avenue des Champs-Elysees (#13): You can’t leave Paris without checking out the Louis Vuitton flagship store. This large and beautiful store exudes the essence of luxury and extravagance.

Amorino Gelato (several locations)(#14): We certainly didn’t expect to eat gelato in Paris, but let me tell you – this could rival gelaterias in Florence. Amorino not only had some scrumptious flavors but they also let you squeeze as many as you want into any size cup or cone!

Musee d’Orsay, 5 Quai Anatole France (#15): When most people think of art museums in Paris they think of the Louvre. Don’t get us wrong, the Louvre is an amazing art museum and we recommend you go to at least see the Mona Lisa. But the D’Orsay is a lovely museum as well with some wonderful collections and exhibits. We went at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon and were able to get in for a discounted price of only 5,50 €!

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