I never normally go abroad so please indulge me sharing our recent trip to Paris! If you don't like seeing holiday photos then feel free to skip this one, though it could well inspire you.

It is a bit of a diary version, so I can look at this post whenever I want to remember what we did. Despite trying to keep it as brief as possible, it's still a long one so you might want to pour yourself a brew...

For my husband's birthday I booked a surprise long weekend in Paris (it wasn't the big 4-0, that is a couple of years off but I thought it's more surprising this way!). We haven't had a trip alone since having children and I called upon my sister and brother-in-law to mind the kiddos while we escaped. We are very grateful to them! I managed to keep the secret until his birthday (three days before we went) and he was pretty shocked.

Late on Thursday night after a fairly easy journey, we arrived and got a bit lost. We stayed in the Les Halles area and there is currently lots of work going on, particularly with the Forum shopping center - which proved very tricky to find our way out of!
On Friday morning we just wanted to wander the streets and take in the beautiful atmosphere of being in Paris.

We found a lovely quirky cafe, serving delicious, largely organic food. I recommend Twinkie Breakfasts if you find yourself in that area! Really nice staff and a great atmosphere too.

After a stroll around we went to The Centre Pompidou, an incredible building and wonderful museum. At this point I was bombarding my Instagram account and couldn't stop taking pictures!

Here are some of my favourites from the museum...

I was really taken with the work of Sonia Delaunay. Such beautiful colours and geometric shapes. Bottom left is detail of a painting by her husband Robert Delaunay.

top row: Henri Matisse
bottom row: Jose Falbers and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

There was so much colour and inspiration. I couldn't help but see quilts!

clockwise from top left: Andy Warhol; Gabriel Pomerand; Constantin Brancusi and Jean Prouvé

There was an exhibition of Gérard Fromanger - on until 16th May 2016. I loved the colours and shapes in this work:

This tree of books was outside:

The second picture is the view from the gardens around the Sacré-Coeur. We walked there, having visited before we really wanted to go back. I enjoy walking around cities I visit, you get to know them much better than if you hop from place to place using public transport or driving. A crepe was definitely in order after such a long walk!

On the walk home we also picked up these yummy treats:

Saturday morning we started with more walking around. There is a lot of street art in Paris, nearly all the corners of the buildings have some art on them - so if you go make sure you look up! I especially like Invader's retro game mosaics. There was also a lot of octopuses by GZUP, I liked this mickey one.

We met up for a brew with our friend Dave Haslam and he took us to the perfect cafe, since my husband is a Celtic football club supporter!

Then it was time for another epic walk, this time along the River Seine and what a picturesque walk it was! Past lots of bridges and the Eiffel Tower came into view. 

The 'love locks' on the Pont des Arts may have caused problems but I do like the romanticism! Despite some of the pictures looking grey it was a beautiful sunny day.

We walked to the Palais de Tokyo, which was full of wonderful exhibitions and well worth a visit.

top row and bottom left: Simon Evans
bottom centre: Florain and Michael Quistrebert
Shadow of me and my husband

This wooden sculpture was amazing and so hard to resist jumping on it:

left to right: Sara Favriau; Shana Moulten

I really enjoyed the diversity of the large solo show of Jean-Michel Alberola's work. It was humorous and unique. I managed to capture the silhouette of an elderly gentleman, wearing a wonderful crochet hat and carrying a cane, admiring one of the works near to this one:

Since the Eiffel Tower was just the other side of the river we had to go and take a look. The first time we went to Paris we didn't go and it's one of those things you have to do! We didn't bother going up it though - neither of us love heights.

We also had to head over to the 4th arrondissement to meet up with friends, so we jumped on a bus since we'd be walking back the way we came.

It turned into a really brilliant night, there was definitely some rum involved for me! On the left is a picture of the couple we know, their lovely friends and a couple of staff from the bar. It was that kind of place. In fact we drank so much that they gave us free shots at the end of the night! Funny how that works?! On the right are the random people we met at the pizza restaurant across the road (it was good! I would tell you the name if I had any clue!!). The Irish guy taking the picture was really friendly and bought us a bottle of wine and the lovely girl he was with made me laugh! Random and hilarious.

The next morning called for coffee and then an easy stroll to the gardens of Le Palais Royal, I wish we could have sat there all day! It was beautiful and, I imagine, even more so in the summer.

Too quickly it was time to return home and I managed to bring these delicious macarons (not to be confused with macaroons) back with us from Ladurée - if you fancy it you can have them delivered in the UK, I assume they use the same recipe in London. Thank you Catherine for the recommendation! I have never had a macaron before this so am probably spoilt but these really were delicious! I can recommend the pistachio and chocolate :)
I am keeping the adorable box designed by Higuchi Yuko.

I hope Paris is a place my husband and I can run away to again ♡