En route to O'Hare Airport in Chicago, I received a call from my boyfriend surprising me for my birthday and inviting me to a spontaneous trip... to see Kanye's surprise performance at Foundation Louis Vuitton for Paris Fashion Week!
Trust me, this is not a typical occurrence in my life-but it was certainly nice to escape the real world for a little bit!
So 9 hours later, I arrived to Heathrow, repacked my bags at home, and got onto the Eurostar to Paris. We dropped our bags off at the hotel and ate dinner in the taxi as we raced through the busy streets towards Bois de Boulogne.
The event started in a gallery room projecting Kanye's debut of his song "All Day," directed by Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave Director). We were then ushered to the concert hall, where Ms Kim K made a very grandiose entrance and Kanye jumped on stage. There were only 400 guests in the hall, so the atmosphere was really intense and Kanye was literally performing 2 meters in front of us!
The Foundation Louis Vuitton is a truly visionary building and it immediately blows you away. It has a dozens of variously angled and overlapping glass sails which are lit up and seem to emerge through the park. Frank Gehry is the man of awesome architecture.
In case you haven't been following Kanye in the fashion headlines (I wasn't so my boyfriend filled me in!), he has had a longstanding struggle to get recognized as a fashion designer. This year, he kicked off NY Fashion Week with his Yeezy Boost trainers in partnership with Adidas and during this concert he cheekily thanked LVMH saying it was "good to be back home in Paris," referencing to his boycott in 2013 where they had refused to meet and review his designs.
Completely star shocked, we walked back home to the Shangri-La Hotel.
Since we both have ticked all the touristy must-see activities in Paris before, we did a bit of wandering around the side streets of Le Marais. Apparently, this area has the most medieval pre-revolutionary buildings and streets than any other area in Paris! The wealthy residents abandoned these beautiful buildings during the revolution, after which poor bohemian types moved in.
As with most of Paris, Napoleon planned to dismantle this area and build large avenues and gigantic squares (have you see the Place Concorde?!) to mobilise the army and artillery from instead.
We wandered into Place des Vosges for a little snooze in the sun. This little square is where Victor Hugo lived in flat #6 and wrote Les Miserables in 1862.
Drooling over some pastel colored macaroons is must do when your in Paris right?! I love the vanilla macaroons at Laduree, but unfortunately the ones at Angelina did not live up to my expectations. I did notice everyone was ordering the Mont-Blanc however, so maybe that's the winner!
To grab some lunch in the open air in the Jardin des Tuileries, I would recommend going to Saut du Loup and for a drink in the Golden Rooms at Le Meurice. When we went there we sat by fashionistas who were popping in and out of the trade rooms next door.
I have always claimed to dislike Paris, as I usually end up going in winter, freezing my bum off and getting soaked in the rain. But strolling down the Champs Elysee, the Grand Palais and past the Pont Alexandre III Bridge this time in spring is a completely different feeling. Parisians are a little perkier, fashionistas are on every cafe corner and the grandiose embellished architecture is a remarkable sight in the sunlight.
For our final meal in Paris we wanted something really, undeniably French. We headed down to Le Scossa in Place Victor Hugo.
I've never had snails before and was a bit apprehensive at first... but if you love garlic like me you'll like it-trust me! The snails arrive in puddles of garlic butter and you'll be left mopping up any left over butter ;) Forget the fact that they are snails and just go for it! Main was a deliciously spicy steak tartar-sans the egg.
Us Londoners are pretty lucky to have Europe so close by, so we have to make the most of it! Bon voyage to everyone traveling this Easter!