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From Paris with Love

Michael travelled to Paris recently to hopefully work backstage with some hair teams on fashion week shows at Paris Couture Fashion Week. He was put on hold for 3 shows, but while there ended up being released from those (this is a normal practice to be put on hold just in case extra pairs of hands are needed and once they have worked out what the hair look is and determined how many models etc decide if your needed or not.... sometimes you only know the day before) so you go with the mindset of “I’m on holiday with my hair brushes.... and if I get a show it’s a bonus and if not I’m in Paris, how hard can that be”

So he had a whole week to explore, shop and eat his way around the city... this is his week.

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DAY 1:
After arriving last night via a stop over in Korea, and having not a great sleep due to time zones, my partner and I decided to get up early and seize the day. As luck would have it the boulangerie right opposite our hotel in quaint St Germain won best croissant in Paris last year... so grabbing one of those and an espresso we went off exploring. Our hotel was literally one block away from Notre Dame Cathedral. It opened at half seven and we were the first ones in there. Standing in a building that’s over 700 years old, alone, surrounded by religious artefacts and gothic iconography was an amazing experience. Walking out the sunrise over the Siene with Notre Dame in the background was truly magical.

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Not far from there was the beautiful gothic church with the most amazing windows... Sainte-Chapelle. Walking into that room as the sun was coming thru the stained glass was a take your breath away moment. So so beautiful and definitely worth your time to visit.

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You can’t go to Paris and not go into the Lourve.... seeing icons such as the Mona Lisa, Venus de milo and iconic art by Delacroix amongst Egyptian artefacts and so much more is truly inspiring. Going in Europe’s winter and getting there early definitely helped with the crowd situation and I would suggest picking a few key things to see other wise you could spend days in there trying to see everything. Don’t forget the Tuileries gardens right in front walking upto The Champs-Elysées... even in winter it’s a truely magical sight with icons such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

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Jet lag was starting to kick in by this point so an early dinner in a little bistro around the corner from the hotel with a classic French menu was instore.... Duck Confit and Creme Caramel and then I slept like a baby.

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DAY 2:
Woke up and Paris was blanketed by snow.... so so beautiful!
It was cold but once you were wrapped up you were fine as there was no wind! It made for the perfect Instagram worthy pictures for sure.
Breakfast was our standard best croissant in Paris and espresso and then we walked up to the Palais Garnier.
I’ve been here before as Derek once told me if you couldn’t get out too Versailles go here as the rooms are to die for. This has to be visually my favourite place in Paris. The golden room is a take your breath away moment and worth the €12 entry fee.

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Right across the road is the famous department store Galleries Lafayette, taking up 3 blocks of food, fashion beauty and cosmetics. As luck would have it it was sale time. Some stuff was upto 60% off so the credit card came out and I went nuts... McQueen, Kenzo, Y3, Adidas and more ended up coming home with me.

Lunch was at another bistro right across the road... croque madam (the best ham and cheese toastie with an egg) and the obligatory French fries (pommes Frittes) helped nourish the belly.

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I love taxidermy and there is a famous store in Paris called Deroyelle ... so I had to go and check it out! So many amazing specimens and if I could of got some stuff home I would of.... there was a white horse head with a “unicorn” horn that was next level amazing but at €3500 (over $7000) let alone dealing with MAF bringing it back it stayed in the shop.

DAY 3:
Another morning of shopping, this time walking along the Champs-Elysées and popping into high street stores such as Zara, Uniqlo and others picking up some pieces. Also during this trip I ended up buying another suitcase to get my new wardrobe back home.

The afternoon was spent at the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, (which the week before hosted the Vetements Mens collection fashion show) showcasing examples of taxidermy and the way animals and nature have evolved through time. Some of the animals on display came from the zoo at Versailles.

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We decided to go see the Eiffel Tower but didn’t want to go up it as the crowds were pretty intense even in the one degree temperature. Got some obligatory shots for Instagram then went and met up with some friends for a dinner at a quaint bistro in Montmartre (forgot to get the name) and enjoyed Beef Bouginon and Creme Brûlée.

DAY 4:
The day I’ve been waiting for.... our trip out to Versailles! I’ve been to Paris twice before but never made it out there so we booked ourselves on a tour that included transport, fast track entry and audio guides thru the official Versailles website... I would highly recommend this as it saved us time and energy and ran very smoothly.
Pick up was just in front of the Eiffel tour and out we went. Travelling through the Paris countryside with snow everywhere looked picture postcard perfect and before we knew it we arrived.

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The scale of that place was something I wasn’t prepared for, rooms after rooms of beautiful art, decorations and opulence was an overload for the senses and the famous Hall of Mirrors were spectacular. King Louis, Marie Antoinette and Napoleon all liked to live surrounded by beauty but to be honest, the golden room in the Palais Garnier is still my favourite.

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Upon arriving back we had afternoon tea at the infamous cafe Angelinas.... where the hot chocolate is literally melted chocolate with fresh cream added and adding an eclair spun me into a sugar coma.... even my sweet tooth was saying enough but it was so worth it. We walked nearly 30,000 steps that day so I felt we deserved a treat .

DAY 5:
The morning was spent lounging as we finally got a decent nights sleep, while not waking up at three in the morning, and it was raining outside. So I ran across the road to the bakery got some takeout coffee and our croissants and came back and jumped back into bed for a while.

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We were meeting some friends in Saint-Michel for lunch at 1 so walked from our hotel to the area... 600 year old, narrow cobbled streets filled with boutiques, cafes and restaurants heaving with locals and tourists going about there business. We picked this great little Italian bistro and settled in for a few hours eating and drinking French Bordeaux.

The rain had cleared by then so my partner and I walked to the Arc de Triomphe and went up inside to the top. Even tho there was low cloud and grey the view from here over Paris is still amazing. Watching the traffic navigate around the worlds biggest roundabout with no lanes or traffic signals is crazy.... I was surprised there isn’t more crashes.

Dinner was a baguette from the bakery, some ham and French cheese from the store and another bottle of Bordeaux. Bliss.

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DAY 6:
We were museumed, art overloaded and shopped out so today we decided just to walk and get lost in the city.
We came across a local Saturday food market in Saint Germain... the variety and freshness of the produce was amazing, beautiful cheeses, fresh seafood, chickens being roasted with duck fat potatoes, and French pastries that made your mouth water.... a citron tart ended up in my mouth and it was devine.

While walking we ended up back in Saint-Michel and had lunch at Cafe de Paris... the food and service here was amazing and I would go back in a heart beat. If you wanted classic French cuisine like Escargot or frogs legs ...it was on the menu!

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When we walked out we saw a whole lot of police blocking the roads, with guns and massive army tank type of vehicles directing the general public in other directions.... and then we saw a massive march with people protesting and in their yellow coats. Seeing this type of March on the news before Xmas and knowing that it can escalate to quite a violent affair we made the easy decision to head quick smart in the other direction.

Paris is such an easy city to walk around, every corner has something to look at and every view makes you want to pull out your camera and take a picture. I love the fact that your walking down streets and seeing buildings that are hundreds of years old, long before NZ was even thought of by Europe.

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DAY 7:
Flying out this afternoon, so after arranging a late checkout we went to a great cafe this morning for breakfast, I just wanted scrambled eggs on toast.... I was maxed out on croissant’s by this point and came across this place called LouLou in Saint Germain on our walk yesterday. It had a line waiting to get in and this morning was no different.

We got a seat and it felt like a cafe back here or in Melbourne with your normal Avo smash on toast, barista made coffee, fresh squeezed juices and eggs etc. I jumped on their website and found out it’s owned by Australians from Melbourne so if your craving breakfast like we get here I would highly recommend this place. The service was amazing, eggs were creamy and the freshly squeezed beetroot and ginger juice gave my body some vitamins I felt like it was craving after all the rich food I had been eating this week.

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Another stroll for an hour along the river Seine exploring before heading back to the hotel, packing all my new shopping and heading out to the airport for the long journey back home.

Paris was an amazing experience to share with my partner, I came back rested, inspired by the art and culture and felt like I understood more about the world and grew as a human being.... Paris stole my heart once again and I know I will be back, sooner rather than later.

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To look at some of his Instagram pictures head to his Instagram page @michaelbeelhair