On top of Paris

There isn’t one angle Paris doesn’t look majestic from.

But it’s especially beautiful from the top.

So on our first day in the French capital, we took it upon ourselves to brave the masses of tourists at Galeries Lafayette and climb to the very top…

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Where we were rewarded with this view.

From the Eiffel Tower, to the golden dome of the Invalides and everything in between, the whole of Paris of Paris is at your feet.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

There is a brilliant view of the majestic Opera building too.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

And if you’ve done your research, there will be many a monument you’ll recognize…

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

As you’re about to head back downstairs, make sure you get a good look at¬†Montmartre’s stunning Sacr√© Coeur church.

An intricate architectural wonder dominating Paris’ highest mound, it’s well worth it if you ask me!

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + WhiskyOn top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

You might also want to take a moment to ‘Oooh’ and ‘Aaah’ at the Galeries Lafayette’s resident wonder…

Before going right across the street to one of Paris’ newest, yet most succesful stores.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

After having worked at Le Gavroche, then with the Roux family and French patisserie superstars Christophe Felder and Pierre Herm√©, Christophe Adam opened L’Eclair de G√©nie in 2012.

There, he focuses on his favourite patisserie classic, the traditional éclair, which gets re-invented in a variety of exclusive and creative flavours.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Taking the city by storm and leaving all Parisians (and myself) feeling like kids in a candy store.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

In the window, nothing but rows and rows of jewel-like éclairs.

Spinning head, beating heart and sweaty palms, far too uickly, it’s time to make a choice.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Will you go for the meringue & cookie adorned yuzu-lemon éclair? The classic strawberry & raspberry éclair? Or maybe the temptalising vanilla & pecan nut one?

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Maybe you’ll succumb to the exotic charms of the above passion & mango √©clair.

Or will the limited edition ‘Paris’ one catch your eye?

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Needless to say, choosing just one is a real challenge.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Once you do, you’ll want to take your precious haul outside and take advantage of one of the city’s quiet little parcs.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Settle on a bench in the sun and take your paper treasure chest out of its multicoloured bag.

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Take one last look at those éclair beauties (and maybe a few Insta-worthy pics), before digging in!

On top of Paris + L'Eclair de Génie | Cake + Whisky

Not only are L’Eclair de G√©nie the prettiest √©clairs around, but they’re also the best I’ve ever had (and trust me, I’ve had a few in my French days).

Vibrant, perfectly balanced and with cleverly picked topping that bring that little textural plus, they’re truly a work of art.

So good in fact they deserve a little déclairation of love!

So make sure you pick a box up next time you’re in Paris (find all the stores on L’Eclair de G√©nie’s website). In the meantime, I’ll have my fingers crossed that they’ll soon come to this side of the Channel…

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On top of Paris

Postcard from the Ile de R√©

Some places just feel like home. I can’t really explain how it works, but the second you set the foot there, you immediately feel calmer, happier and like everything’s just right. Ile de R√© is definitely one of those places for me.

St Martin de Ré, Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + Whisky

My love story with the small Atlantic island started when I was a kid (I spent each and every one of my summers there) and it never went away.

Postcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyArs-en-Ré church, Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + Whisky

It most probably has something to do with the pastel shades of the blinds and the bright, very pure light.

Salt marshes on the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyPostcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + Whisky

From the beautiful beaches to the lively markets, the salt marshes as far as one can see and the quirky bits here and there, there’s so much to love and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Postcard from the Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyIce cream from La Martinière, St Martin de Ré, Ile de Ré | Cake + WhiskyIce cream from La Martinière, St Martin de Ré, Ile de Ré | Cake + Whisky

Especially if the plan includes a picnic, followed by some ice cream at La Martinière.

If you’re ever around, do yourself a favour and order a scoop (or three) of their signature salted caramel ice cream. And if you ever need any more tips on visiting this little gem f an island, let me know!

Where’s your happy place? I’d love to visit each and every one of them!¬†

Postcard from the Ile de R√©

NYC Day 4 – A day by the water [Brooklyn + Financial District + Statue of Liberty]

We spend our last day in New York on the water.
NYC city guide | East River Ferry to Brooklyn | Cake + WhiskyWe found out about the East River Ferry just as we were about to head to the Subway. But, well, as it happens, a cruise to Brooklyn was a lot more appealing than getting down into a smelly, stuffy tube station…NYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskySo up on the boat we went, leaving Manhattan and the UN Headquarters behind.NYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyNot only was the boat a much more weather-appropriate mode of transportation, but you truly get a hell of a view for your buck!NYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | East River Ferry cruise| Cake + WhiskyBridge after bridge, the waves slowly led us¬†towards the financial district.¬†NYC City Guide | Brooklyn | Cake + WhiskySoon after, we landed in Brooklyn, where we walked along Brooklyn Bridge Park until we got hungry and¬†raced off to the legendary Grimaldi’s.¬†
NYC City Guide | Grimaldi's pizza Brooklyn | Cake + WhiskyThe queues testify of how famous this family-run restaurant is with locals and tourists alike. NYC City Guide | Grimaldi's pizza Brooklyn | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | Grimaldi's pizza Brooklyn | Cake + WhiskyBut considering they served us that beauty of a pizza, can you really blame them? NYC City Guide |Brooklyn Carousel | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | Brooklyn | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge | Cake + WhiskyFuelled up, we walked up and down the street, in and out of shops (including the more than adorable Dabney Lee stationary store!) while chattering happily.NYC City Guide | Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge | Cake + WhiskyAfter beating around the bush bridge for hours, we finally decided to cross it. NYC City Guide | Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge | Cake + WhiskyIt was on my ultimate New York bucket list (just like every other first time tourist to New York) and I must say it did not disappoint. NYC City Guide | The Financial District and World Trade Center Memorial | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | The Financial District and World Trade Center Memorial | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | The Financial District and World Trade Center Memorial | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | The Financial District and World Trade Center Memorial | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | The Financial District and World Trade Center Memorial | Cake + WhiskyFeeling as small as insects, we wandered around the financial district, marvelling at each of those giants of iron and glass.NYC City Guide | The Financial District and World Trade Center Memorial | Cake + WhiskyThe World Trade Center Memorial was probably the most emotional part of this whole trip. The contrast between the towering skyscrappers and the two massive hollow fountains marquing the locations of the two World Trade Center Towers is truly heartbreaking.
NYC City Guide | Staten Island Ferry & The Statue of Liberty | Cake + WhiskyWe topped the day with another cruise aboard the Staten Island Ferry.NYC City Guide | Staten Island Ferry & The Statue of Liberty | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | Staten Island Ferry & The Statue of Liberty | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | Staten Island Ferry & The Statue of Liberty | Cake + WhiskyNYC City Guide | Staten Island Ferry & The Statue of Liberty | Cake + WhiskyA¬†first trip to New York wouldn’t really have been complete without a look at the Statue of Liberty, would it?¬†

NYC Day 4 – A day by the water [Brooklyn + Financial District + Statue of Liberty]

NYC Day 3 – Central Park, The Upper East Side and Times Square

Early birds will be rewarded if they visit New York in the Summer. Because it tends to get so hot in the afternoon, you can’t really beat an early stroll around the city.
NYC UN Headquarters | Cake + WhiskyWe started off our day reviving some elementary school memories in the form of flag guessing at the UN Headquarters
NYC Chrystler building | Cake + WhiskyNYC Fifth Avenue Forever 21 | Cake + WhiskyWe then strolled through the streets and over to the Rockfeller Plaza for a bit of early morning shopping. 
NYC Rockfeller Center | Cake + WhiskyNYC The News Building, Rockfeller Center | Cake + WhiskyWe strolled through the streets, pointing at every single building and taking in as much as possible.
NYC Central Park | Cake + WhiskyAfter a quick pit stop at Ess-A-Bagel¬†(831 3rd Ave between 50th and 51st Street)¬†to pick up food¬†for an improvised lunch, we marched¬†straight up to Central Park¬†to find a quiet spot to tuck in.NYC Central Park | Cake + WhiskyFuelled up, we continued our exploration and quickly stumbled upon Conservatory Water, where kids and parents alike gather to sail miniature boats.¬†NYC Central Park | Cake + WhiskyNYC Central Park | Cake + WhiskyWe sat to rest our poor worn feet and observed the boats dancing and racing on the¬†pond…
NYC Central Park | Cake + WhiskyNYC Central Park| Alice in Wonderland statue | Cake + Whisky… before leaving Wonderland behind¬†to continue our journey.NYC Central Park | Cake + WhiskyNYC Central Park | Cake + WhiskyNYC New York Public Library | Cake + WhiskyWe headed North to the New York Public LibraryNYC New York Public Library | Cake + Whisky… where we met this reading-addicted gent!NYC Guggenheim Museum | Cake + WhiskyWe were taking a¬†quick look at the Guggenheim‘s quirky architecture when we heard our stomachs grumbling in unison.NYC Gray's Papaya's hot dogs | Cake + WhiskyWe raced back to Broadway for a taste of the city’s best hotdogs at Gray’s Papaya¬†(2090 Broadway), which is another of those New York cheap food gems you don’t want to miss out on. Certainly not the healthiest of meals, but that’s what holidays are for… right?NYC travel guide | Cake + WhiskyNYC travel guide | Cake + WhiskyNYC city guide | The Hearst Tower | Cake + WhiskyAfter lunch, we zigzagged through the street to burn off some of the calories and tick some more iconic buildings off our to-see list.¬†
NYC city guide | Times Square | Cake + Whisky As the sun set and fell behind the horizon, we reached Times Square.NYC city guide | Times Square | Cake + Whisky NYC city guide | Times Square | Cake + Whisky NYC city guide | Times Square | Cake + Whisky With our eyes wide open, we took as much in as possible until our head spinned, at which time we decided to beat a hasty retreat (or, as most people call it, dinner!)

NYC Day 3 – Central Park, The Upper East Side and Times Square

NYC Day 2 – Walking the Highline (+ Pride Parade 2015)

After having spent much of the morning going through airport security and sitting in planes and buses, we were keen to explore more of New York. As soon as we arrived, we ditched our bags and we were off again!NYC Pride Parade 2015 | Cake + WhiskyWe started our exploration with a taste of the day’s big event: the Pride Parade!NYC Pride Parade 2015 | Cake + WhiskyTaking place on the day following the countrywide legalisation of same-sex marriage, the atmosphere was cheerful¬†to say the least!¬†NYC Pride Parade 2015 | Cake + WhiskyFollowing¬†crowds of rainbow-dressed people, we slowly made our way south and to the Highline.Walking the Highline NYC | Cake + WhiskyA¬†popular destination for families and friends alike, the 1.45 mile-long linear park is build on a former railway of the New York Central Railroad.¬†Walking the Highline NYC | Cake + WhiskyWalking the Highline NYC | Cake + WhiskyWith trees and flowers all around, it’s the perfect place to take a much needed nature break!
Walking the Highline NYC | Cake + WhiskyWalking the Highline NYC | Cake + Whisky… But you can also choose to marvel at the views… New York skyline to the East…Views on the Hudson River from the Highline NYC | Cake + Whisky… and the Hudson river to the West!Walking the Highline NYC IAC Building | Cake + Whisky… Not to mention some of the coolest buildings in the whole of New York! (here the ICA building, which reminds me of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum)!
Walking the Highline NYC | Street Food Ice Cream sandwich | Cake + WhiskyAfter a little while, we came accross a small street food market, where we treated ourselves to the most delicious of ice cream sandwiches.Walking the Highline NYC | Street Food Ice Cream sandwich | Cake + WhiskyFuelled up, we continued our exploration…¬†Walking the Highline NYC | Cake + WhiskyAfter a bit more walking and a lot more chatting, we reached the end of the Highline.¬†Walking the Highline NYC | Meatpacking district | Cake + WhiskyAnd found ourselves at the very centre of the trendy Meatpacking District.
Price Parade 2015 NYC | Cake + WhiskyPrice Parade 2015 NYC | Cake + WhiskyPrice Parade 2015 NYC | Cake + Whisky… just like every¬†single person¬†who took part in the parade earlier! We left the tempting sweet treats and devilishly long queues behind and went for a walk through the small streets of the Village instead.¬†
NYC The Village red brick building | Cake + WhiskyWe zigzagged through the area for a long while but we failed to find the Friends buildings despite all of the efforts we put into this quest.

As the sky tuned pink, we decided to call it a day and were considering our dining options when we came accross Dos Caminos. Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant NYC | Cake + WhiskyWe managed to get a table on the sun-filled terrace and admired the light go from white to golden while perusing the menu. Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant NYC | Cake + WhiskyWe started things off on a high with the Bacon and jalapeno guacamole.Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant NYC | Cake + WhiskyDid I mention there was pork crackling onthere as well? #BorderlineGenius
Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant NYC | Cake + WhiskyFrom then on, it only when from good to best with the Chorizo Mac n’ Cheese (a personal favourite).¬†Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant NYC | Cake + WhiskyMore cheese than mac, just as it should be!¬†Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant NYC | Cake + WhiskyDos Caminos Mexican restaurant NYC | Cake + WhiskyWe also shared a plate of the goat taccos which were the juiciest taccos I’ve ever eaten in my whole life.¬†Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant NYC | Cake + WhiskyThe accompagnying rice & beans were delicious as well but made us achieve satiety a bit quicker than we had expected.

We skipped dessert and walked home with very full bellies and a big smile on our face, chatting happily about the great day we had just had and how excited we were for the next one… before falling in a food-induced coma the second we passed the doors!

NYC Day 2 – Walking the Highline (+ Pride Parade 2015)

Washington DC | Shake Shack epic burgers and the Smithonian museums

On our way back to New York, we made a small pit stop in Washington DC.

The plan was to walk up and down the National Mall, see all the important buildings and maybe pop into a museum or two on the way.

But the weather had decided otherwise and when we arrived downtown, it was raining cats and dogs.

So we did the only sensible thing there is to do in such situations and treated ourselves to one of those fast food feasts America is famous for.¬†Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackLuckily enough, we stumbbled on Shake Shack, which we had been told was a must-visit when in the US.¬†Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackWe ducked inside and got our hands on some of the most epic-looking¬†burgers I had seen in quite a while.Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackAfter reading about it for MONTH, I finally got my hands on Shake Shack’s Shroom burgerCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackWhile my Mr settled for the Smoke Stack and its layers of cheese and chopped chilies.Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Shake ShackWith cheese fries all round, obviously. Isn’t that what rainy days are for?

Fuelled up and with the storm seeming to have stopped, we came back to our initial exploration plans…Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space Museum…only to see them defeated a few minutes after by the return of the rain, so we took shelter in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumHolding the largest collection of aircraft and spacecraft in the world, it’s a must-visit for any plane aficionado.
Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space Museum…Which might explain why somebody was a very happy bunny!¬†Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumWe strolled through the museum, marvelling at weird flying machines and war planes’ perfect designs¬†alike.¬†Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumCake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumThe Wright Flyer (which is the ancestor of all planes) is also on display at the museum and well worth taking a look at. I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that this enormous assembly of wood and cloth can actually fly.¬†Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumThe same obviously goes for the Mongolfier first hot air balloon, but I might have been to busy admiring the delicate prints to think about it at the time…Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Smithsonian Air & Space MuseumHaving seen pretty much everything the Air & Space museum had to offer, we headed next door to the Natural History museum… where every single tourist in Washington seemed to have decided to meet that day.¬†Cake + Whisky | Washington DC | Albert Einstein… which is why we decided to shorten our visit to the diplodocus and jump in a cab to pay one to Albert instead.

Only afterwards did we realise that we could have used the Circulator and save money… ahem…

We raced in the rain to take a quick look at the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial before we decided to call it a day and head to dinner at one of the city’s institutions.

… but more on that tomorrow! Come hungry!¬†

Washington DC | Shake Shack epic burgers and the Smithonian museums

New Orleans Day 2 – Muffuletta, Voodoo and more pretty houses

The best days start with sandwiches. Which in New Orleans means a trip to Central Grocery, home of the original Muffuletta.¬†Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Central Grocery for MuffulettaCake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Central Grocery for MuffulettaItalian ciabatta, stuffed with layers upon layers of ham, salami, cheese and olive salad.Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Central Grocery for MuffulettaThere are a few seats at the back of the store, from where you can eat your Muffuletta while reading messages left by those before you who did the exact same thing.Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Central Grocery & Deli for MuffullettaIf you look closely enough, I garantee you’ll find something you can relate to!Cake + Whisky | New Orleans Travel Guide | Praline from the French MarketAfter this, we were stuffed, but this¬†did not stop us from trying the pralines at the French Market… I mean, we have a different stomach for fudge, don’t we?¬†Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New OrleansWandering back into the French Quarter, we spotted a few more pretty houses, and loads of tiny horses!Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Presbytere museumWe made a pit-stop at the Presbytere museum, which had a fascinating exibition on hurricanes and other natural disasters.¬†Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Presbytere museumCake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Presbytere museumAs well as an entire floor dedicated to the¬†Carnival¬†and associated traditions.Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans After hours roaming the museum, we were back on the (very pretty) street and starting to get hungry…Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | K Paul's restaurantLuckily, we made to K Paul’s right in time!Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | K Paul's restaurantIf dinner there can be a rather pricy affair, lunch is a lot more casual and affordable. And very filling indeed!

Having had more than our fair share of fried chicken, gumbo and bread pudding, we were in the mood for some more cultural discoveries so headed to the Voodoo museum.Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Voodoo museumCake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Voodoo museumCake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Voodoo museumCake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans | Voodoo museumBeing just a few rooms big, it’s a fairly small affair, but I discovered a completely new world, full of ghosts and spirits. Spooky!

We topped the day off with more wandering around in the lookout for yet more pretty houses/doors/streets…
Cake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New OrleansCake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New OrleansCake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New OrleansCake + Whisky | Travel Guide to New Orleans We might have considered getting some cake, but settled for cocktails in the most beautiful bar EVER instead… but more on this tomorrow!

New Orleans Day 2 – Muffuletta, Voodoo and more pretty houses