I’ve been taking a lot of quick trips this winter: Lisbon, Barcelona, Glasgow and Paris, so far. Along the way, I’ve found a few gems.
Via a recommendation from a friend-of-a-friend, I spent a boozy afternoon at Le Baron Rouge, an awesome wine bar on Rue Théophile Roussel in the 12th. Wine is served straight from the cask and is remarkably reasonably priced (all about €4-5 a bottle). We also enjoyed a fantastic cheese board and were tempted by the plates of fresh oysters that several other tables were enjoying. Reviews suggest that the bar is often crowded but we found that rolling in mid-afternoon on a chilly Saturday awarded us both a table and quick(ish) service. The Hip Paris Blog has a nice write-up here.
I went to Barcelona in January for a friend’s hen do (bachelorette party, for the Americans). On our last day, we spent an afternoon at Aire de Barcelona, amazing Turkish baths in a renovated warehouse. The baths are a series of pools and steam baths in a gorgeous cave-like setting. Spa services (facials, massages, etc.) are also available. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical of the idea pre-visit but after two hours of baths and a very reasonably-priced massage, I was not only blissfully relaxed but also felt refreshingly detoxed after the booziness of the previous days.
Tasc’a Quinta is a tiny, cozy restaurant on Rua de São João da Praça in the Alfalma district of Lisbon. It’s only open on Thursdays and our visit was a mix delicious Portuguese food, performance art and crowd participation (we learned to spin plates on the cobblestone street outside). We lucked out and were able to get a table without a reservation, but I think that was out of the ordinary.
After attending a wedding at the beautiful Oran Mor, my boyfriend and I spent an afternoon exploring the West End of Glasgow. Along the way, we wandered into the quirkily charming Hillhead Bookclub. It was the ideal spot for a restorative pot of tea and I suspect that it’d be even more fun for evening cocktails.
Aaaaand, THIS is why I wish I lived in Europe sometimes…no such thing as quick little trips to Paris, Lisbon and Barcelona from Chicago. 😉 BTW, oooh, great tip about the Turkish baths in Barcelona! I lived there for 8 months and had no idea! There are so many hidden gems in any city in the world. It’s so fun discovering them and having that new experience, isn’t it.
Absolutely! It was my first time in Barcelona and I’ll definitely be hitting the baths each time I go back.