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London - Bonnes Adresses
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majorb
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:42 am      Reply with quote
I've had an idea, which may or may not be successful. Whilst living in France, I adored their way of keeping a list or book of "Bonnes Adresses" - a directory of shop and services discoveries that delighted and impressed.

So I wondered if it might be a good idea to start some of our own here on EDS. After all, people (including myself) are often looking out for great ideas for places to stay, eat, shop or visit in various cities around the world. As I recently visited London for the weekend, I thought I'd start off a topic on that wonderful city.

Here are some of my recent discoveries there. Please feel free to add any others of your own...

BUDGET HOTEL
London's an expensive place to stay, but here's a super little budget boutique hotel in a good central location. It's very comfortable. Rooms are small, but don't feel tiny. Lovely, black-tiled and marbled bathroom, plus breakfast left outside your door of fruit juice, piece of fruit and muesli-topped fruit yoghur from Pręt.

Hoxton Urban Lodge - http://www.hoxtonhotels.com/


PERFUME SHOP
One of the most famous in London, selling mainly French fragrances, with super service from very knowledgeable assistants.

Les Senteurs - http://www.lessenteurs.com/


CHOCOLATE SHOPS
Here are some of my favourites in London. I shall be adding more to this list as I did find some new chocolateries, but haven't yet sampled my purchases. If they're any good, I shall let you know about them.

La Maison du Chocolat (superb quality French chocolate - the finest in the world IMO) - http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.com/fr/

L'Artisan du Chocolat (my second favourite London choc shop - after La Maison du Chocolat, very fine quality and intriguing flavours and specialities; the best of British, I think) - http://www.artisanduchocolat.com

Pierre Marcolini (Belgian chocolatier who came to the same conclusion as me - that French chocolates are supreme, so he makes his own that way) - Pierre Marcolini, 6 Lancer Square, London

Rococco Chocolates (not quite as good, IMO, as the above chocolatiers, but still excellent and so very beautifully packaged) - http://www.rococochocolates.com



RESTAURANTS
I try to look for reasonable places to eat, as London can be horrendously expensive:

Abeno (A small Japanese restaurant, serving wonderful, fresh food, with okonomiyaki as their speciality. Make sure you book as there are few tables. Food is often cooked on the hotplate at your table. Fab desserts, in particular the green tea ice cream and adzuki beans) - http://www.abeno.co.uk

Canteen (Located in Spitalfields Market, this serves lovely, fresh food - often traditional English stuff. Their pies, mash and veg are delicious) - http://www.canteen.co.uk


SHOPPING
There are some fabulous markets and unusual little shopping areas in London, some of which are a destination/attraction in themselves! Here are a few we visited last weekend:

Spitalfields Market - Great place to visit if it rains as it's undercover. Variety of shops and stalls, mainly selling inexpensive, unusual clothing and accessories, some of it vintage, but also great interior decor stuff. There are also some wonderful natural, organic and just plain delicious food stalls. There's also a branch of Montezuma's Chocolates - which are very good, but not on the same level as the fine chocolatiers I've mentioned above.

Brick Lane/UpMarket - Brick Lane is an intriguing, multi-ethnic street and market. You can buy all kinds of weird and wonderful things there. There are also lots of great shops, including plenty of vintage sellers. UpMarket takes place on Sundays in the Old Truman Brewery. It's filled with craftspeople/new designers selling their ware, along with fab ethnic food stalls.

Camden Passage - Narrow street, filled with beautiful little shops, selling mainly clothes and interior decor items. There are also stalls here and there. I particularly loved the shop with incredible mirrors and lighting, along with the very helpful and friendly Japanese print shop - bought a wonderful reclining tiger print here. There's also a new chocolate shop here - Paul A Young Fine Chocolates. Have bought some of these and will let you know what I think. The girls in the shop were absolutely lovely, as was Paul himself.
Agent OO-CAT
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:15 am      Reply with quote
This is so cool, majorb! I will try and come up with something similar soon, as soon as I stop drooling reading about the chocolate and perfume places....
fifi
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:33 am      Reply with quote
Such a good idea - I lived in London for years and never really appreciated it. Now I go back only occasionally so it would be a real treat to visit some of these places again, especially the markets.
katee
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:01 am      Reply with quote
Laughing Laughing Laughing @ majorb..... Thank you! BUT it reads more like an International Guide to Chocolate!!!!
c4ward
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:30 pm      Reply with quote
MajorB, This is fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing. We're hoping to go to London next year!

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majorb
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:52 pm      Reply with quote
katee wrote:
Laughing Laughing Laughing @ majorb..... Thank you! BUT it reads more like an International Guide to Chocolate!!!!


Nowt wrong with that! Laughing

You sound just like one of my friends who, when she rang to ask how our visit to London had gone, exclaimed, "I can't believe it! You go to one of the most famous cities in the world, and the very first thing you told me was that you'd visited 4 chocolate shops! What about St Paul's Cathedral? Or the British Museum? Or the Monument in Pudding Lane?" Embarassed
lin23
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:18 pm      Reply with quote
Thanks Major, I'll be in May in London again and could use your chocolate-guide - since i've seen the St. Paul's & all the museums, etc. already (hm, the monument in the Pudding lane...). I hope Daisy will come to give som advice as well.
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:56 pm      Reply with quote
Majorb what a brilliant idea. This could be the start of a global directory! I too will put together some info for all to share. Very Happy
loopylori
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Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:13 pm      Reply with quote
What a great idea.

Reminds me of when we were going to Florida & one of my friends from work kept telling me all the places to visit & everyone of them was somewhere to eat. I did ask her if she did anything other than eat whilst she was there.

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majorb
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Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:26 am      Reply with quote
CHOCOLATE SHOPS
Another fablious chocolate shop, which I'd rate as number 3 in my top chocolatiers of the world is Melt, based in Notting Hill. Their chocolate liquid salted caramels are the best I've ever tasted. They have some fantastic flavour combinations which truly complement chocolate. Wonderful quality, and you can even watch them being made in the kitchen section. You also get to hand pick the chocolates into a little container yourself, using wooden tongs (with any luck, you're not such clumsy oafs as myself). How wonderful to see English chocolatiers creating some of the finest chocoltes in the world - for a change: http://www.meltchocolates.com

Demarquette is another new London chocolate shop. Owned by a Frenchman, their products are excellent quality, delicious and typically French in style (definitely a good thing): http://www.demarquette.com

Paul A Young is such a lovely, sweet man (even if he did he plot to kill me, an actor from a sci-fi series and our cat in one of my dreams recently) who has also opened a highly regarded chocolate shop in London. His cakes and pastries are amazing, including the second best chocolate brownies I've ever tasted. If you love strong flavours, then you'll adore his chocolates. Unfortunately, they didn't quite hit the spot for me as I prefer the chocolate to take centre stage. I found that the other flavours tended to throw me to the ground, pin me down and mug me. His truffles and liquid salted caramels are extremely recommended, though: http://www.payoung.net
majorb
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Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:36 am      Reply with quote
SHOPPING
Okay, it can be tacky and weird (which I actually quite like, from time to time), but Camden Lock and the market there is such an experience. Yes, there are stalls selling exactly the same kind of tat, but there are also real gems. I saw some super costume jewellery, vintage stuff, and both clubbers and Goths are very well catered for. One of the permanent little shops there is called Seven Wishes and sells beautiful quality clothing in luxurious fabrics, all created by a Polish designer. Such friendly staff too. There's a sale on at the moment, too: http://www.sevenwishes.net

One of the market stalls at Camden Lock is run by a sweet wee Japanese lass, who sells delicious, homemade cakes. I can highly recommend her green tea chiffon cake.
daisylondon
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Fri Mar 16, 2007 6:29 pm      Reply with quote
Wow...chocotastic Laughing
Aww, Lin, I was touched to see my name mentioned...so I feel I should add some stuff!

Clearly, I don't know that much about hotels in my home town, but from friends' experiences etc, I would recommend for the great combination of style and (relative) budget Myhotel in Chelsea (close to Brompton Cross, fab place to shop) and the Queensgate hotel which when I was looking for the link seems to have renamed http://www.fiftyfourboutiquehotel.co.uk

Off the top of my head:

RESTAURANTS
Itsu - Brompton Cross (you can walk to Harrods before/after) - Japanese food London style. Sit at the conveyor belt and take whatever you fancy low carb west London girl style. There is also a fantastic bar upstairs!

Saran Rom - best Thai food in London. A bit out of the way by the river on Chelsea/Fulham borders but the journey is worth it to feel you are at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. And they'll give you a tuk tuk ride back to the tube station afterwards if you don't have a car with you.

Club Gascon - Fantastic French food in Clerkenwell.

and check out http://www.toptable.co.uk for great restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, they also have lots of exclusive offers.

BEAUTY TREATMENTS
Bliss Spa, Brompton Cross (Chelsea/South Kensington/Knightsbridge borders)
Spa NK, Westbourne Grove
Harrods Urban Retreat
Elemis Spa, Mayfair (joint his and hers rasul treatments)
Newly opened Champagne Nail bar in the beauty section of Harvey Nichols (rebranded Nails Inc)

MUSEUMS
British Museum - this is my favourite place in London. Especially the Roman section.
V&A - always fresh exhibitions. Everything from fashion to mobile phones.

All museums in London are free for general admission, only chargs are for special exhibitions, but at the V&A if you go late on the day on a certain day (an hour before it closes)even the special exhibitions are free.

SHOPPING
Brompton Cross! Highlights incluse the main store for Joseph, a Chanel boutique, Paul and Joe...and Space NK...!
Westbourne Grove - the fantastic boutique Matches, Diane von Fustenberg, Brora (fab cashmere) and lots of others
Mayfair - HQHair for great beauty buys and all of Bond street for fashion needs
(though stay away from the Oxford Street end)
Sloane Square - Peter Jones for all your household needs
majorb
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Sat Mar 17, 2007 5:57 am      Reply with quote
Oooooh, didn't know Brora had a shop in London. Excellent! And completely forgot that HQHair are based in a London salon.

Visited the British Museum the other weekend - and stood in awe in front of the Rosetta Stone. Oh, and those sublime horses in the Elgin Marbles. My fave's always the Eqyptian section, though.

The V&A is my top museum. I could quite happily live there.
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Sat Mar 17, 2007 9:14 am      Reply with quote
Majorb, you've made me go all nostalgic now! Hubby and I would often go museum-ing (I'm sure that's not a proper word, but it should be!) on a Sunday when we lived in london, and my favourites were the British museum and the V&A! Now we're back in the UK from several years abroad and based in the sticks I do miss London shopping and stuff to do Sad . Not the tube journey to work though...
majorb
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Sat Mar 17, 2007 10:57 am      Reply with quote
fifi wrote:
Majorb, you've made me go all nostalgic now! Hubby and I would often go museum-ing (I'm sure that's not a proper word, but it should be!) on a Sunday when we lived in london, and my favourites were the British museum and the V&A! Now we're back in the UK from several years abroad and based in the sticks I do miss London shopping and stuff to do Sad . Not the tube journey to work though...


Museuming - I think we definitely should adopt it as a verb.

To museum:

I museum
You museum
He/she/it museums
We museum
They museum

museumed (past participle)
museuming (present participle)


There. It's official now.

The Royal Academy of Art is very special too. They have some fab exhibitions. Saw an Arts & Crafts one a while back. (It's also very near a La Maison du Chocolat and Fortnum & Mason's foodhall.)

Oh, and the Natural History Museum. That hall (is it the dinosaur hall?) with the wondrous carved decorations of all kinds of creatures. They have a stuffed Tasmanian tiger (one of my favourite animals - it made me cry to see it) in there too.
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Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:04 am      Reply with quote
majorb:

this is great stuff.. I will be heading off to london shortly and would be most appreciative if you can Pm me on the goodies you have put forth with Smile
majorb
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Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:55 am      Reply with quote
Shez - Please excuse my poor brain, but I'm not sure exactly what you want to know. Got a little confused by your post - don't worry, it doesn't take much to confuse me. Embarassed Have PM'd you, though, and will help as much as I can. Very Happy
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Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:04 am      Reply with quote
It's useful!!!!!!
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