Three Days in Charles De Gaulle #livingthedream!
A buying trip to Paris, you say? Oh, the glamour! A whistle-stop whizz around Maison & Objet, one of biggest trade shows in Europe brimming with deliciousness being offered up by a gorgeous stream of global brands. Champagne flowing under a moonlit sky. The Eiffel Tower sparkling away in the distance. As we at Roo’s Beach pride ourselves in always having the most inspiring edits, this trip was clearly a must, and I for one was very excited at the prospect!
As it was a super-quick visit, rather than a neat little boutique hotel tucked away in the rain-soaked streets of Montmartre, ever the practical I had sorted myself a room at the Ibis airport hotel as it was only one train stop from the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre. Incredibly, it’s actually called the Ibis ‘Styles’. Designed around a space age theme, each bedroom comes complete with a planet painted behind the bed – er, not really my definition of ‘style”!!
Still, space themes aside, I arrived on the Sunday evening buzzing and full of anticipation. No husband, no kids, no dogs, no meals to cook or last minute homework panics, and I was in Paris!
I settled into my room with a bag of Kettle Chips and a copy of Grazia enjoying the peace, feeling like quite the independent globetrotter! Dinner? Why not! I ventured down to the restaurant and asked for a table for one… It was to be the first time I’d EVER done that, but I had it all planned out. I would sit enigmatically sipping a glass of cold Chablis whilst pouring over a delicious entrecote, frites and green salad, looking terribly busy making notes for my important day tomorrow, or maybe not…
By the time I got there the restaurant was rammed, so they sandwiched me between three groups of loud French businessmen hovering up Champagne (only in Paris). Then the menu also disappointed with a series of totally inedible sounding options, so the only thing to do was retreat to my room with a ready prepared salad. Suddenly the promise of any glamour whatsoever was fading fast!
Day Two: Strong, independent business owner sets off to international buying show to forage for new brands... Outfit nailed - cool, understated with my perfect Bellerose Camel coat. Just the look for Paris. After a cup of amazing coffee (the French know how to do good coffee), I was positively oozing Parisian by the time I stepped out of the hotel!
Maison & Objet really is the most fabulous show! Totally inspiring, beautifully merchandised and brimming with fresh new ideas bubbling with excitement. It refers to itself as ‘a journey to discover the unexpected’, and it didn’t disappoint. I was like a kid in a sweetshop mooching amongst brands like Happy Plugs with their bright pops of colour to make even the grumpiest customer smile! Maison La Bougie - beautiful Candles and matches made in Paris, and Play purse - the original, re-invented, a true blast from the past!
Then it was lunchtime and, unlike the Brits who are generally happy with a nasty looking sarnie and a diet coke, the Parisians stop, drink wine and chat whilst nibbling on a baguette. So very civilised!
In truth, by then I was starting to tire a bit of my own company… I had no one to share my little moments of joy as my eyes fell on something else I had to have! Suddenly the thought of returning el solo to the ever-so-practical Ibis while I was in this stunning city was really quite depressing, but return I did to another salad in the room that had, by now, started to look more like a hospital!
So, what could I do to make sure I skipped out of Paris on a high? I know! I’ll wake up early, do my Monday workout, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by early check in and perhaps a little duty-free retail therapy... Perfect! Nope. I overslept, missed breakfast, went the wrong way on the transfer train and ended up circumnavigating the airport ending on an hour-long check-in queue!!
Lesson learnt. When visiting a beautiful city for business purposes, make a weekend of it! Don’t stay at the airport for starters, don’t go it alone and, above all, don’t ever give up on the glamour!