What is Paris if not an ever-ending fête of glamour, indulgence and provocation?
It may well seem like an impenetrable art fortress, but once encountered in all its naked beauty, Paris is a celebration of life. And it is this Parisian joie de vivre that must be embraced to truly grasp the pulse of the City of Light, much in the same way one falls asleep – slowly, then all at once.
When we return to Paris, Bloobloom’s hometown, we bring back a strange longing for ‘home’: a faint but persistent echo of the bustling London streets, the clinking of a thousand bar spoons in the distance and an unrelenting craving for a homely, scrumptious plate of food.
So we follow our yearnings across the City of Light in search of the unmissable spots to reminisce about the best of British in the heart of France – after all, what is Paris if not all things to all men?
Join us in discovering a Paris that you never knew existed.
An important part of our identity at Bloobloom is connected to the artistic form – the freedom to draw outside the margins, confront the status quo and reinvent the norm (Yeh, we’re rebels like that). And the Louvre is the sort of place where you can find a little bit of that… So next time you’re in this world-famous fine art museum, and about to scream in frustration if you see another medieval ceremony painting, head to the Louvre’s gallery of British art to witness the holy trinity of Constable, Gainsborough and Turner – and the kind of paysages that will bring out the feeling of home like few other things could.
Louvre Museum, Paris, France
But when it comes to tasting the real art scene in Paris, as most art connoisseurs will testify, there’s much more to this city than the iconic glass pyramid. To add another gem to our British Paris, we’re heading to the Lebenson gallery in the 3e arrondissement. Sitting proudly in the heart of Marais, Paris’s epicentre of hip, the gallery harbours a contemporary collection of the best emerging French and British artists as well as some of the most talented creatives from around the world. Not too long ago, Britain’s street art kings Banksy and Pure Evil were shown at the Lebenson Gallery alongside some of the most controversial up-and-coming French artists. If you’re into street art, trust us – ça déchire!
The last stop on our art tour is la Galerie Kreo in the 6e arrondissement. Fewer paintings, more design, this gallery blends the best of both the Parisian and London art scenes. Enveloping visitors in a unique take on past and present design trends, la Galerie Kreo will knock the socks off your Pinterest-obsessed, Instagram-addicted self. Dip in and out of the vintage and contemporary collections to soak in the inspiration that stems from blending Parisian and London styles. It’s truly the definition of la vie en rose.
There’s no hiding the fact that the French don’t fancy tea (or at least, not as much as Brits do). To experience a real Parisian breakfast, you’d go for a large milky coffee known simply as café au lait and dip your croissant in it. Now, that’s not to say the tea culture in Paris is completely lacking – it’s just a bit more bourgeois. But if you find yourself longing for a homely brew while in the arms of Paris, don’t despair – head to places like the Palais des Thés, Dammann Frères, Ladurée or Mariage Frères to seek out a good cup of tea. Just be warned – you won’t be served an atomic English Breakfast with a dash of milk. You see, the French are more into chic tea boutiques and elevated conversations about tea drinking, so be prepared to test your palate. But hey, with a few double-decker macarons or the classic mille feuille, you might just discover the sweet joy of experimentation.
Despite the sniggering and raised eyebrows, the newly opened British brasserie – L’Entente – is ze place to visit. Packed with curious Parisians tasting shepherd’s pie with homemade ketchup and sinking their forks into Welsh rarebit with Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, L’Entente is the British-inspired gastronomic attraction de jour.
L’Entente, British Brasserie, Paris
It’s been showered with praise by the French food critics and has already hosted many eminent Parisians, including the former president François Hollande and the fashion designers Marc Jacobs and the late Karl Lagerfeld. Whether your mind is on the British breakfast in Paris or a unique weekend brunch (where you are promised the best bacon in town), L’Entente invites everyone to get a taste for la cuisine anglaise that can be more than just fish and chips.
Talking of fish and chips, though… There’s a jolly good chippy in Paris – Johana's Fish & Chips – that you should check out if you’re into that sort of thing (you know – finger-licking good food). This family-run fish and chips – Mom, Dad, sister (Johana) and brothers – is spreading the word about quality fish and chips and getting the French hooked on the British classic. But keep in mind that you might need to queue, Parisians are growing super-fond of the excellent battered hake.
And finally, as a chin-chin to the beauty of life à la Parisian style, we’re on our way to taste some well-proportioned G&Ts at Tiger, a relaxed, cocktail-focused nook on a touristy street near Saint Sulpice. With more than six variations on the standard and plenty of other gin-based cocktails on the menu, Tiger is the go-to place for Britain’s favourite tipple. So as soon as you grow a little tired of le vin rouge, pull up the map and scuttle to the 6e arrondissement. And if you’re feeling extra quirky, pop into the neighbouring Prescription Cocktail Club to bask in a highly French ‘old-school’ vibe. C'est la vie parisienne!
It’s hard to talk about famous Brits in Paris without mentioning Princess Diana. Besides being the place where the favourite royal lost her life, Paris is also the city that she loved for its haute-couture, art, glamour and sophisticated nightlife. Known for her expensive and unique taste in fashion, Diana was no stranger to the luxe shopping territory in Paris known as the Golden Triangle. Bordered by the Champs-Élysées, Avenue George V and Avenue Montaigne, this area is lined with flagship stores and high-end boutiques and has everything to make any woman feel like a princess. Of all the French design houses, Diana is said to have favoured Chanel. So much so that she used to drop in at private viewing sessions unannounced… If you’re into fashion as much as the Princess was, then don’t skip the Golden Triangle because it is certainly le business.
Golden Triangle, Paris, France
If your love is reserved for the fruits of knowledge, you might find our next stop a titillating experience… Shakespeare & Company has been running for over 60 years, serving as a gathering spot and a source of inspiration for writers, travellers and fans of the bohemian lifestyle. Featured in numerous movies and books, the original bookshop is bursting with timeless beauty, intrigue and charm. It’s an unmissable stop for bibliophiles, no matter what language they speak.
It sounds as Frankenstein-esque as it actually is. While the French language watchdogs are sounding alarms about the number of anglicismes creeping into the French lexicon, Parisians are happily flexing their tongue and introducing new words into their vocabulary. From tech-related germs like email and open source, to new concepts like brainstorming, networking and burn-out, the anglicismes seem to be powering the modern French language. The good news, though? Even if your French is très bad, you’ll still be able to order your food or buy a train ticket without asking Siri for help.
It seems there’s never been a better time to be a Brit in Paris… So ‘cheers’ to that!Merci.