Today I have the wonderful Nicola Doherty on my blog with a guest post. This is also part of the blog tour for her new book Lola Offline, a fantastic read that I think everyone is going to love.
Nicola Doherty grew up in Monkstown, Co. Dublin before moving to London after university. She worked in publishing for several years before writing her first book, The Out Of Office Girl, which was shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year 2013. Her second book, If I Could Turn Back Time, was published by Headline in 2014 and her e-series Girls on Tour was published in 2015. She’s previously written Love and Other Man-Made Disasters for teens, published by Orion in 2016. Nicola lives in Highbury, north London, with her husband.
Website - Twitter: @nicoladoherty_ Facebook: NicolaDohertyBooks
5 fun things to do in Paris:
1. Visit the Lady and the Unicorn
Paris has more museums than any other city in the world; it feels as if they have a museum for literally everything. One of my favourites is the Musee de Cluny which focuses on the medieval period. This is the home to the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry, made famous by Tracy Chevalier and housed here in an atmospheric darkened room. Go and try and figure out her symbolism for yourself – she’s just as intriguing as the Mona Lisa but less mobbed by tourists. Also check out the medieval-themed McDonalds opposite – it’s not quite like any other Maccy D’s you’ll ever see and if you’re longing for a taste of home it just might hit the spot.
2. Have a crepe on rue Mouffetard
You can’t leave Paris without having a crepe; they check at the airport or Eurostar terminal and if you haven’t had one, you have to go back*. You can go savoury with jambon fromage – ham and cheese – but the ultimate Parisian crepe is slathered in obscene amounts of Nutella. One of my favourite places for this is the rue Mouffetard, off the Place de la Contrescarpe, where Ernest Hemingway once lived and wrote ‘Paris is a Feast’. This is off the heartland of student Paris – a winding, hilly road that’s thronged with kebab stalls, pubs and creperies … Wander down slowly while people-watching and scoffing your crepe, and then finish with a vin rouge in one of the cafes in the pretty cobbled square. Or in summer try a Perrier Menthe – some people say it tastes like mouthwash but I have a soft spot for this bright green minty drink (and you’ll totally look like a local if you order it).
3. Sunbathe in a palace garden
The Jardin du Luxembourg has to be the prettiest park in Paris, which is saying something. Built by Marie de Medicis in the 1600s, it still has a regal air and you can imagine your skirts and crinoline sweeping over the blonde gravel and manicured lawns. (It also features in Les Miserables as the meeting-place of Marius and Cosette). Grab an ice cream, sit on one of the iconic green metal chairs and lounge in front of the fountains where beautifully dressed little Parisians sail their toy boats; or try and spot some of the twenty highly instagrammable statues of the former queens and great ladies of France.
4. Shop by the kilo in the Marais
Unshockingly, Paris is a great place for vintage clothes shopping. I would avoid the much-hyped but overpriced Merci department store (50 euros for an army surplus jacket? Non merci) and instead head to Kilo Shop in the Marais. As the name implies, you pay by weight, and you can check the weight of your goodies at any point in case you’re not sure what a kilo looks like. It’s also worth knowing that because the Marais is a traditionally Jewish area, things are open on a Sunday, unlike many places in Paris. The classic thing to have is a falafel from L’As du Falafel but the queues can be crazy – if they are, grab a baguette from a bakery and go and sit in the exquisite Places des Vosges, the oldest and arguably the prettiest square in Paris.
5. See a film in a pagoda
Paris is a cinema-lover’s dream and if it rains or you’re just tired of trekking around, you’re never further than five or ten minutes from un cine. There are about 300 cinemas all showing everything from the latest US thrillers to obscure classics. Prices are reasonable – around 10 euros normally – and most English language films are shown with subtitles rather than dubbed. Just check that they’re marked as V.O. (‘Version Originale’). One of the loveliest and strangest cinemas in Paris is Le Pagode, a Japanese-style Pagoda on rue de Babylone in the swanky 7th arrondissement. Yves Saint Laurent used to live at number 55 rue de Babylone (and so, during a brief stint as a terrible au pair, did I).
* not really. But they should.
Delilah Hoover has gone dark. She's quit social media, moved to Paris and changed her name to Lola Maxwell. Because she made a mistake - one she can't take back. It was all over Twitter, and it's still the first thing that comes up when you Google her.Paris is a fresh start, in a new school with new friends including smooth student politician Tariq. With awkward dates, tipsy afternoons and a perfect kiss, Lola's life as a normal teenager could be back on track ... But can she ever tell people who she really is? And what happens if they find out first?