Springtime in Paris

Hopeless Francophile and Lola is Beauty blogger Claire Oldman on the sensory feast which is a Parisian spring

Paris in early springtime brings all the senses back to life after winter. Café terraces reopen, thronged with Parisians enthusiastically soaking up the first rays of sun. The markets fill with fresh seasonal produce and florists are awash with a dazzling array of spring flowers. One of the great joys of Paris is that doing something because it’s pleasurable is enough of a reason in itself: whether that’s going for a long walk on a sunny day, savouring the new season’s asparagus, or discovering your new signature perfume.

At Table, around the corner from the Marché d’Aligre food market, the emphasis is on high-quality seasonal meat, fish and vegetables, sourced from the best small artisan producers. As soon as the weather allows, the windows along one side of the restaurant are slid open onto the tree-lined street, making it perfect for a sunny spring day. Owner, food critic and chef Bruno Verjus treats each ingredient with reverence to bring out its best characteristics – this is where food industry folk come to eat on their days off.

Perfume is elevated to an art form in Paris, with options for finding a new scent ranging from multi-brand boutiques to bespoke. At Frederic Malle, the very best perfumers in the business have been given a carte blanche brief to create their own scents for the house. The collection of twenty Editions de Parfums each has the distinct personality and bears the name of its creator; En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti is a sublime spring scent, described as, ‘A simple note, white lilac, captured in an instant of time, a pause at the edge of a garden in springtime.’ Visit one of Malle’s three Parisian stores to find your own favourite.

Paris is one of the great walking cities at any time of year, but one of the most pleasurable promenades along the banks of the Seine in spring takes in the Marché aux Fleurs on the Ile de la Cité, which is open every day, with the bird market joining it on Sundays. After seeing all the spring bulbs out in force and listening to the sound of birdsong, you can then cross the river at the Pont au Change to the Quai de la Megisserie, which is lined with plant nurseries and florists spilling their wares out onto the quay and pet shops. Inhale the sights and smells, and feel that elusive joie de vivre return.

Photo by Georgianna Lane/Garden Photo World/Corbis

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