Travel inspiration and insider tips

7 years, 29 days ago


This one’s for every mum out there. A perfect Mothers’ Day with elastic hours, no expense spared and anything possible, because – at one time or another – our mums have pulled out all the stops for us!

Mother playOh to be flung again. By Philippe Put.

Breakfast in Paris

Somewhere in the great big mystical book of mum’s sayings (right next to, ‘wear a hat, you lose 50% of your body heat through your head’) is, ‘breakfast’s the most important meal of the day.’ Prove you were listening for once in your life over croissant and coffee in Le Marais, Paris.

The oldest and, arguably, most beautiful Parisian quartier, Le Marais dates back to the 13th century but it’s best known for its tall, spindly 18th century buildings, narrow streets, tiny specialist shops (crowded window displays are de rigueur and make Faubourg St. Honoré minimalism look a bit ‘try too hard’) and the grandest of all Paris’s grand squares Le Place des Vosges.

But we’re going to pretend we’re lucky enough to live in Le Marais this morning so get ready to queue. The city’s best croissants are buttery, flaky and warm at Gerard Mulot’s magasin de Marais. These aren’t the poor imitations you find in supermarkets, they’re masterful and one is never enough. Buy four at least and then you’ll have some room for M. Mulot’s famous macarons which are almost – but not quite – too pretty to eat. Once you’ve stocked up choose a little café, order a grand crème and, if you’ve remembered the advice about the hat, sit outside and enjoy a perfect Parisian breakfast – it’s totally acceptable to eat your croissant with your coffee if the café doesn’t serve breakfast.

ParisMarais, Paris. By scalleja.

Mid-morning in Murano

For every single, precious thing you ever broke. For all the times you left the red sock in with the white wash. For the perfume you spilled and the shoes you ruined and the pots you burned and the cars you pranged…..

You owe your mum big style.

The tiny Venetian island of Murano has been a byword for precious and breakable since the 13th century when the famous glassmakers proved too much of a fire hazard for Venice and were stowed out on the lagoon instead. Just a short sail from the city, Murano is enchanting (not a word we use lightly); brightly painted buildings, market boats, little waterways and tiny streets and of course the Murano Glass Factory and Museum.

‘Factory’ doesn’t really do justice to the artistry that makes Murano glass some of the costliest and most coveted in the world. To really appreciate the skill of the island’s artisans take a guided tour of the workshops (seeing glass blown never loses its appeal) and then wander slowly through the elegant, airy Palazzo Giustinian glass museum.

Unsurprisingly Venice is full of tourist shops selling hugely expensive Murano Glass. But take one of the little side streets and seek out the inimitable Murano Glass Beads, by far the sweetest piece of today to take home.

MuranoMurano canal. By ** Maurice **.

Snacks in San Sebastian

Along with the thing about breakfast and the headwear wisdom, mums have always had something to say about snacks. And our hips and thighs are grateful for the advice, but here’s one thing we learned ourselves; all snacks are not born equal.

Take your mum for a Pinxtos lunch in the beautiful Basque city of San Sebastian and change her mind about snacks forever. For the sake of simplicity we could compare Pinxtos to Tapas but the truth is they’re incomparable. Using the freshest ingredients, plenty of locally caught fish and the inimitable Basque flavours that account for San Sebastian’s inordinate number of Michelin Stars, Pinxtos are made to order as you stand at the bar, usually drinking a glass of Txakoli (the local sparkling white wine).

After lunch wander through San Sebastian old town, down to the waterfront and take a stroll along La Concha, the most beautiful city beach in Europe.

PinxtosPinxtos in San Sebastian. By Carnaval King 08.

Queen for the Afternoon

You can keep the castles and palaces when it comes to treating your mum like a Queen for the day there’s only one place fit for consideration, The Queen’s House, in the London borough of Greenwich.

Catch the boat at the London Eye and be a tourist on the Thames this afternoon. Whatever you think or feel about London there’s no doubt it has some of the world’s most spectacular, historic and just plain amazing buildings and the best way to see them is from the vantage point of the river as you sail towards Greenwich and 0° Longitude.

The 17th Century Queen’s House was designed by Inigo Jones. And everything from the mathematical precision of the Great Hall to the faultless spiral of the Tulip Staircase, the graceful, elegant proportions and the intelligent art collections, makes this our all-time favourite royal (sort of) residence. If it was for sale we’d definitely buy it for Mothers’ Day.

Queen's HouseRoyal Navy College and Queen’s House, Greenwich.

And the best sunset in the world

The perfect end to the perfect day would have to be on a beach somewhere warm watching the sun set while someone else makes dinner.

Captiva Island, South Florida has one of the longest shell beaches in the world (it’s just like sand unless you look closely) and overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. The water’s crystal clear, you sometimes spot shy manatee and the seafood is great and comes with a sunset – the best restaurant doesn’t take reservations so you just have to sit on the beach, enjoy the view and they’ll tell you when your table’s ready, what a hardship!

Here’s to our mum and your mum and all the mums who deserve more time and attention more often, Happy Mothers’ Day.

7280155378_6e3fefcf6e_bFlorida sunset. By PenguinMan13.

Featured image by JB Moment in Time Photography.

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