Friday, July 17, 2015

Tiny Tales from Paris #7: Chancing upon Hidden Gems

Sometimes I wonder whether I should keep up these Tiny Tales posts, as they are all so far apart, and my trip feels like it was so long ago now. But they are one of my favourite kinds of posts to write, and each time I reminisce about certain moments, I'm taken straight back to the streets of Paris. I feel that I have gained sustained enjoyment and appreciation of my trip by breaking up my experiences and reflections into small posts. It's an added bonus if readers happen to stumble upon my posts and discover something new about such an incredible city!

As I have probably mentioned in previous Tiny Tales posts, one of the greatest joys I found while in Paris was simply wandering the streets and seeing what I chanced upon. Being a big city, one is bound to discover more than just a few hidden gems if one is willing to do a little bit of exploration. I'd even say getting lost is one of the best things that can happen! You never know what will be around the next corner...

These were a few special spots that stand out in my mind: 
1. The tiny hole in the wall cafe named 'Boot Cafe'. It was a very cold afternoon when mum and I decided to pop in. With limited seating room, we arrived just in time, as a couple upped and left, allowing us to settle down in the warm cafe. I ordered a giant chocolate and walnut cookie along with a steaming cup of apple and cinnamon tea. We spent well over an hour inside, cradling our drinks and chatting with the delightful barista. And then the most magical thing happened: it began to snow! It was my second snow of the trip, but what made the moment so beautiful was that the cold from outside frosted up the windows of the cafe, creating the most intimate, cosy and 'safe' atmosphere. 

2. One of the most unassuming finds of the trips was a toy shop in the 11th found through an easy to miss cobblestone passageway on Rue de Charonne. The exterior alone is gorgeous, but inside a whole range of goodies lay waiting to be discovered. The best bit is that this isn't just any old toy shop: rather than the plastic and mass produced toys that line the shelves of, say, K-mart and Target, it is filled with whimsical children's books (think: Tin Tin and Angelina Ballerina) and carefully crafted trinkets. Thinking back in retrospect, I'd say this toy shop is the closest thing to what I imagine a nostalgia shop (aka the one proposed by Gil in Midnight in Paris) to be.

3. On one particular afternoon alone, I set outside with no plans on where I intended to go and ended up chancing upon Rue Chanoinesse, home to restaurant Au Vieux Paris d'Arcole and Bertie's Cupcakery. While it isn't evident in the picture below (I returned later to take the shot), the restaurant was decorated with festive trimmings that afternoon, which was a gorgeous sight to see. I also remember the smell of freshly baked cake and sweet buttercream icing filling the air, coming from the cupcake bakery next door. It was a nice little moment, one in which I remember being struck by the fact that I was in Paris, after so many years of dreaming. 
Despite not eating in the bakery nor the restaurant, I have really fond memories of this Rue. I'm sure you'll agree that it's quite a cute spot, probably even more so now that it's Summer.

P.S If you'd like to read another Paris post from me, check out my '24 hours in Paris' article I wrote for Pepper Passport recently.
Josie Spicer said...

The last photo is my absolute favourite. Your posts had already convinced me to visit Paris, but now I want to live there. Such amazing shop fronts!

Carina Maree said...

I was so taken by Rue Chanoinesse! It's right near Notre Dame too. If you go anytime soon and grab a cupcake, let me know how it tastes! :)

Carina Maree said...

Yes, the shop fronts are so gorgeous! You must visit Paris one day. The more I think about my trip, the idea of living there becomes more and more appealing.

Nancy Wilde said...

I love these photos and I agree with you on the getting lost part. This post made me wanna visit those hidden gems. xx

Carina Maree said...

Thank you! It's totally worth it if you can one day :)

Mikayla said...

These pictures are so stunning! Makes me have wanderlust just looking at 'em.. Great post :)

Mikayla |

Carina Maree said...

Thank you Mikayla :)

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