The Gum Tree Guide to London + Paris 2024

The Gum Tree Guide to London + Paris 2024

Recently I took my Mom on an adventure, a little bit of work and a little bit of play, to London and Paris.  We had a blast! 
I wanted to attend the famous Maison & Objet show in Paris again, I haven't been since before the pandemic, and I was really craving some new inspiration.  Maison & Objet is one of the largest wholesale trade fairs in Europe, and it's very directional, this time it was fabulous!  I'm so happy to say I came back refreshed and newly inspired, and all of that energy and color and pattern is already rolling into the shops this season! 
While I was sharing the trip in our Instagram stories, many of you mentioned you'd love a guide. So here you go, everywhere we stayed, ate, shopped and more in 8 days abroad.

London - Stay
We stayed in the Marylebone neighborhood at the Marylebone Hotel.  It was perfect!  Central to everything, great shopping and dining very close by, walking distance to so many things, and with a tube stop close as well.  The service was fantastic and the decor was beautiful, with a gorgeous lobby bar and restaurant.  Highly recommend.

London - Shopping

The Marylebone neighborhood is central to lots of great shopping.  We started our trip with a walk over to Selfridges Department store.  

Selfridges & Co.  is a giant beautiful department store.  The basement floor is a lot of fun, featuring perfume, candles, candy to take home as gifts, a  great book section, wine cellar, wine bar and tea.  The first floor beauty department is amazing and the upper floors are full of gorgeous clothing, you'll find all the big designer brands here and lots of European brands that are harder to find at home.  Selfridges & Co. also has a food court, oyster bar, and even a cupcake shop and coffee.  There's a bar/restaurant here as well, Brasserie of Light, more on that below.  We could have spent a whole day here.
Liberty London One of my favorite shops in the world, hands down.  It's another big department store, housed in the most beautiful tudor style building constructed in the 1920's from the timbers of two ancient three-decker battleships.  The selection of goods in Liberty, from goods for the home, to clothing, paper goods, beauty, and more is curated just perfectly.  There's a specific point of view and it's a breath of fresh air to find a brand who still sticks to their very specific style.   Why didn't I buy myself a pair of those famous liberty printed pajamas? 


Marylebone High Street
Right around the corner from our cute hotel you'll find this main street full of great shops.  All the fun forward European fashion brands are here. 
Some of my favorites this trip included... Sessun, Sezanne, Ba&sh, Max Mara Weekend, Rixo, and Gerard Darel.
I happened upon an amazing bookstore, Daunt Books.  And another old favorite for design and decor, The Conran Shop, was up at the end of the street.  VV Rouleaux was a jewel box of a shop filled with hats and head pieces, and thousands of rolls of ribbon and trim.  The facade of the shop outside is covered in champion ribbons, just beautiful.
Other reccomendations that we would have loved to explore with more time---
Spitafields market
Notting hill
Fortnum and Mason
(apparently the best biscuits)
Alex Eagle Studio

If we had been in London on the weekend I would have tried to hit the Flea market at Portebello Road.

London - Food + Drink

Borough Market  When I travel, especially in Europe, I always seek out an old open air market.  This one is filled with loads of stalls with food from all over the world.  We had fish and chips with gravy and a pulled pork sandwich on focaccia with fennel apple slaw and finely grated parmesan, the perfect winter lunch eaten outside on a big staircase with hundreds of other people.  We wandered through the rest of the market gazing at an amazing selection of cheese, fresh baked bread, fresh fruits, jams and more.  It would be great to come here to gather supplies for a picnic in the warmer months.
Ottolenghi (multiple locations)  We ate at the Marylebone location for lunch.  Yotam Ottolenghi is one of my favorite cookbook authors, and I was so excited to try one of his spots.  This was a casual lunch time spot, next time I'd love to hit one of his restaurants for dinner.  The food was fantastic.
Dishoom (multiple locations) We ate at the Carnaby location which was packed and gorgeous, so much charm and some seriously incredible Indian food.  Cocktails were great too.  Note, they do not take reservations, so go early and put your name in and be prepared to wait, it’s worth it.  Still dreaming of this meal, it was the best we had on our entire trip.

Clos Maggiore  For a special experience I booked the pre theater pre fix, but jet-lag took over, so we went to the theater first and then popped in for a late dinner after instead.  It's a beautiful space, filled with flowers, and serving incredible cocktails, try the negroni.  The food and service was fantastic, a very memorable evening.
Brasserie of Light  You'll find this gorgeous cocktail bar and restaurant inside Selfriges & Co.  The restaurant looked great too, but we only had time for a drink at the bar and it was fantastic.  Stunning décor, If you were following along on our Instagram stories, this was the place with the pink quartz bathroom.

Other recommendations from trusted friends---
Chiltern firehouse---gorgeous outdoor patio, beautiful inside.  Must book in advance, we walked in to peek and it looked incredible, next time!
Chutney Mary for fancy Indian
Drinks at the Connaught Hotel Bar
Duke's Bar for the best martini
Granger and Co for breakfast
The Ivy for pre Theater dinner
*Special thanks to Ellen Epstein for all the fabulous recommendations!
To Do
This is a very abreviated list, remember we only had a couple of days and it was very cold out.
Hop on Hop off bus - this worked great because, as mentioned above, it was freezing.  We got our bearings in the city, and got to see lots of sights with great guided info from the bus.
Westminster Abbey
Here we did hop off the bus, this cathedral is spectacular.  You'll recognize it as the site of Will and Kate's wedding, and King Charles' recent coronation.
Agatha Christie's The Mouse Trap
This is the longest running show of any kind in the world, it opened in 1952 at the Amabassador theater in London's West End, it moved to St. Martin's theatre in March of 1974 and still runs there today.  It was great fun, highly recommend, and it would work for all ages.
The Eurostar to Paris

We took the Eurostar train to Paris and it was so easy, just about 3 hours. Surprisingly you're only under water in the chunnel a very short time, we barely noticed, the bulk of the trip is a lovely ride through beautiful northern French countryside.  I booked the standard premier class and it came with a lovely lunch, with wine and coffee service too.  Very comfy.  Make sure to arrive 60-90 minutes early, it’s like getting on a flight and you do go through customs.  But leaving from St. Pancras Train Station in central London and arriving in Gare du Nord in central Paris makes this trip a piece of cake.
Paris - Stay

Hotel Louis II Saint Germain
This is a sweet little hotel in my favorite neighborhood.  Our room was tiny, but had everything we needed, including the best location, very friendly and helpful staff, and a fabulous French breakfast in their stylish dining room.
Paris - Shopping

Merci is a concept shop in the Marais neighborhood of Paris, filled with fashion, home goods, beauty, and more.  They have beautiful linens in every color, it's the ultimate lifestyle store and I never miss a visit here.

The Marais is a great neighborhood for great shopping, and here's a pro tip... it’s one of the only neighborhoods where shopping stays open on Sundays. 
Some of my favorites close by Merci:
Bon Ton for kids, Comptoire de Cottoniers, St. James, Isabel Marant.  
Le Bonne Marche, department stores in Europe are so special, nothing like ours in the US, and this one is one of the very best!  Full of fashion, food, home, and complete with an Épicerie downstairs, multiple restaurants, and an incredible wine selection.  We had a great lunch in the Itailan restaurant, fresh homemade pasta and a great aperol spritz.  You could spend an entire day in here, maybe two.
The Saint Germain neighborhood surrounding Rue St. Sulpice is a favorite of mine to browse.  A couple of my go to's here... Mes Demoiselles, Momoni, Vanessa Bruno, American vintage, Pierre Herme, Nilai, Muji.  There are so many beautiful shops, I could wander this neighborhood for hours.
Flea Market - Saturday and Sunday Only

My favorite flea market in Paris is the Marche a puces Porte De Vanves.  It's easy to get here on the metro, and it's a smaller market with less serious merchandise.  I always find special little treasures to bring home, and my favorite art dealer is here too.  I love to bring art home from this Flea, it can be successfully rolled up and framed once I get home. 
Paris - Food

Les Antiquaires---This classic French bistro is open all day and it's great for every meal, but dinner is special.  There's a lively atmosphere, gorgeous decor, great service, amazing beef bourguignon, and an oyster bar out front.  It's the perfect French bistro experience, if you want to try escargot or frog legs this is your spot, don't miss it!

Chez Julien—Great for an intimate dinner, amazing steak frites, great cocktails, really fun music, absolutely beautiful space. 
The Smiths for morning coffee and pastries.
Danton for all day or night, very traditional French, onion soup and a croque monsieur.
Gerard Mulot is a great bakery
Ravi for Indian
Le Grand Epicerie in Le Bonne Marche---lots of little tables to sit inside for special little restaurants, but best if you have an apartment or are going on a picnic to stock up on cheese, charcuterie, salads, bread, wine.
L'Avant Comptoir du Marche - tapas and charcuterie
Le Dome for seafood
La Rotunde
Lao Tseu for Chinese
Le Cherche Midi—Italian
Bonnie--Rooftop dining with incredible view in warmer months.
I hope you enjoyed this Gum Tree Guide to London and Paris! 

Just for Fun...
Here's a taste of the Maison Objet show, and some of the inspiration that you'll see coming soon to Gum Tree, get ready for all the Color and Pattern!

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