A weekend of culture in Paris

I am a big believer in carving out time for an ‘artist date’ which simply translates, as making time in your day to do something solo. Go and see an exhibition, gallery, be creative, paint, draw, throw a pot, marble paper or just step out into nature on your own with your thoughts.  Preferably once a week, but if that is too much, once a month. It is a way of recharging your mind. I have been doing this for many years subconsciously before reading Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way - which is about making time for your creative self. 

When I worked 9-5 at Vogue House in Hanover Square I would often walk down to the Royal Academy and sit in front of a painting during my lunch hour. Sometimes I would pop into Sothebys, which was closer, and have a peek at a painting from a private collection up for auction. It calmed a busy mind.

If you have a little more time you can plan a city break and go and recharge the batteries. I thought we might have lost the art of international travel, with the complexities during covid (passenger locator forms were not for the fainthearted), but now, thankfully, it's easier again and if you have the opportunity - go, it is really so worth it.

We went to Paris for the first time in years recently. I got over-excited and booked tickets to too many things:

First stop was the Museé Picasso, an art gallery located in the Hôtel Salé in rue de Thorigny, in the Marais. Dedicated to the work of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, there is a permanent exhibition and visiting exhibitions. The museum is spacious and airy and for those in the party with less stamina for art, there are good places to sit and admire the architecture.  

Pop to Au Petit Fer à Cheval (on 30 Rue Vieille-du-Temple, 75004 Paris) for a snack. It is a tiny bar so good luck sitting inside, they do have a few tables outside which are very good for people watching and serve a small but delicious menu. What more do you need than a goat's cheese salad and a glass of rosé?

Next stop Musee D’Orsay which frankly you could spend a whole weekend in, If you are on the hunt for Van Goghs there are plenty and a selection of beautiful Impressionist paintings.

We queued up for steak frites at Le Relais de L’Entrecôte in Saint Benoît which was delicious - two portions of steak frites and a salad, just the ticket. My lunch date had the raspberry sorbet which came with a small jug of cherry kirsch on the side. Not sure the teen quite appreciated how sophisticated that was! 

Replete we headed off to the Orangerie in the Tuileries to see the Monet waterlilies, absolutely stunning. Contemplate them in silence. They are very beautiful. 

Breakfast at Café de Flore which is steeped in literary history and there is often a queue for a table. The orange juice was delicious and the croissant very good. The coffee less so, but I suppose you are paying for the experience more than the coffee.

My only piece of advice would be not to plan in too much. Just being in Paris sparks joy. 

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Susannah Coe is a freelance fashion, media & events consultant who worked at British Vogue for over 20 years. Born in Milan, she lives in London and loves culture, media, travel and the visual arts. Get in touch here:

susannah.coe@gmail.com 
@susannahcoe