Sunday, August 1, 2010

The impossible pitting of Paris against London

Sometimes I go to London and think “ehh.” Other times I go and am absolutely smitten, like yesterday.

The day started with breakfast and a flat white from Lantana—more artful than even the French can manage.

And then it moved onto shopping. Well, window-shopping. Although both Vuitton and Smythson have bags that I’m coveting, it was Designers Guild that stole my heart. I wanted every single item in the store—too bad the price tags were a wee bit out of my reach.

So I splurged on books instead. While I adore Galignani, I think Daunt might be the best bookstore in the world.

We strolled around Fitzrovia and Maryleborne, ogling the homes, the architecture...

... and the Francis Bacon, (more) Lucien Freud and Giacometti art at Gagosian—which sent us across town to the King’s Cross location to see an incredible Picasso show.

Throughout the day, I was scoping out the new ping-pong scene. But the only new sport I saw was the city’s three-day-old version of our beloved Velib program.

The stations are scattered all over the city; now they just need to introduce some bike lanes.

The French connection (and comparison) continued when we came across macarons at an outdoor market.

While French-trained Loretta Lui’s specimens didn’t come close to Pierre Hermé’s perfection, we loved the lemongrass flavor and that she donates to Ace of Clubs, a charity for the homeless.

Macarons were followed by fromage, of course. And, well, eat your heart out, Frenchies. Behold, The Cheese Room at La Fromagerie.

Step inside and take a giant, heavenly whiff.

After more exploring and wandering and enjoying, we toasted a great day in London with a glass of cava at Camino

….and then I stuck my face in all the free magazines on the way home to Paris.


  1. I always enjoy your posts, but I'm full of questions today.
    What is the English equivalent of the Velib program called? And did you fly or take the Chunnel?

  2. Paris or London!? They are so different I love them both for their own special things they have to offer! London, is grey and stormy and has awesome accents and it seems so fun there. Paris is romantic, and lovely and has amazing food and the's hard.

  3. hope you had a better journey on Eurostar than me! Food dire (rissotto cannot be chilled, sliced and reheated and still be edible - in fact it bounced when dropped), papers and magazines even worse, toilets disgusting - they so need to update the trains.

    Still at least on the way out the steward asked if I would like another glass of champagne (silly question of the day!)


  4. Hi Will, the bike program is sponsored by Barclays; therefore has the very unglamorous name of "Barclays Cycle Hire". The bikes are nicely designed, though they don't have baskets as they do in Paris, but rather these little bungee cord-contraptions.

    I took the Eurostar over - for me, so quick and easy. Eli, sorry to hear about the disappointing experience! My meals were quite good (and, oui, the alcohol free flowing!), though the magazine selection was much better on the London-Paris leg.

    Anna, I agree: London is more fun than Paris. Good thing the food is keeping me tres contente à Paris!

  5. What a great time! You had me at "bookstore" up there. :)

    I need to find a way to get there soon.

    There's one of my most favorite magazines up there: The Week. I saw online recently that a British version is now available. I'd been reading/subscribing to The Week (US version) since about 2001 or 2002, but gave it up when I arrived here. I miss it!

  6. We enjoyed all of our Eurostar experiences .. we would stay in London and take the train to Paris for the weekend, fast and easy and really one of the big points for living in either city for me, when we play the Where Would You Like To Live game :)
    Being able to pop back and forth so easily ... I wish there were trains like that here ! or even a Metro/Tube ..
    Meanwhile, the mention of galleries and museums made me sad .. I miss all that.

  7. Looks like a lovely day yo had there. I happen to enjoy London when I visit, even if it is not nearly enough. The last time I flew into London & took the Eurostar to paris a few days later. It was so easy, I wonder how people living in either city can resist going back & forth more often! I know if I lived that close to either I certainly would! Uh, if I had enough money, that is!