France things to do in Singapore
By now, you’ve likely heard about or watched one of the most discussed Netflix shows of 2020: Emily in Paris. Whether you fell for its hype or think it’s overrated, the fabulous outfits, scenic Parisian sights and nail-biting romantic encounters featured in the rom-com probably made you fantasise about your very own adventure in the City of Love.
While actually travelling to Paris is still a distant dream for now, here’s a très excitant 2D1N itinerary with 5 France things to do in Singapore for you to get away from the daily grind and step into an alternate French reality.
P.S. We partnered up with Gojek to zip around Singapore to seek out Paris-inspired sights and experiences – complete with selfies, berets and perfume that “smells like poetry”, just like the protagonist Emily herself.
Read till the end to find out how you can win yourself an all-expenses paid 2D1N itinerary for two, courtesy of Gojek!
– Day 1 –
1. Check in to Parisian-style The Vagabond Club for a staycay
Sorry, hot French neighbour not included.
Ditch the humble apartment featured in the show and go big with a stay at The Vagabond Club, a Parisian-chic boutique hotel housed in a gorgeous 1950s heritage Art Deco building. No plumbing issues to worry about or schlepping your luggage up the stairs like Emily in the first episode.
Designed by French designer Jacques Garcia, who’s also responsible for the famous Hotel Costes in Paris, The Vagabond Club presents an artsy atmosphere with intricate details that evoke regal Parisian vibes. From crimson-coloured furniture to gold accents in the lobby and original artworks on display, it will make you think you’ve been transported to the capital of France.
The Courtyard Executive Room has a spacious balcony, and you can also enjoy complimentary breakfast and Executive Club Lounge access.
Image credit: The Vagabond Club
Be treated like royalty in their well-appointed rooms and suites, where amenities include Nespresso coffee machines, complimentary tea, a stocked mini bar and luxe ETRO Milan bath sets. You’ll find a selection of free in-room movies and music to kick back to in your pockets of free time as well. But what captured our attention from the get-go were the framed artworks above the bed frame, which are by the artists on The Vagabond Club’s residency program.
You can even re-enact the selfie scene by the room’s window
After dark, head down to the Whiskey Library that’s open until 10.30PM daily to let loose with some booze. You’ll find a deluge of over 1,000 rare and unique whiskeys to choose from, where each bottle is displayed in glass cabinets. All-time favourites include the 21-year-old Royal Salute and 15-year-old Glenfiddich.
For a French-themed year-end retreat, Hotel Vagabond is now offering a Spoil Me With Love Staycation package (from $239++) from now till 30th June 2021. Simply enter the promo code <LUV> when booking online.
Apart from a room of your selection, included in this package are two cocktails at The Salon, a bottle of Prosecco with chocolate-covered strawberries and breakfast for two – which makes this a value-for-money yet romantic weekend getaway. Plus, you can use your SingapoRediscover vouchers to offset some of the cost.
Address: 39 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207630
Telephone: 6291 6677
The Vagabond Club’s website
Book the Spoil Me With Love Staycation package.
2. HTHT over brunch with galettes & crepes at French Fold
Saunter your way over to French Fold for a slice of France – a cosy crêperie tucked away along the streets of Telok Ayer. With its warm interior filled with lush botanicals, earthy tones and Scandinavian fixtures, this idyllic hideout is perfect to chill at and have some HTHT with your BFF.
On their menu is a selection of handcrafted crepes and galettes. For the uninitiated, crepes are sweet and softer as they are made of wheat flour, while galettes are savoury, crispier and usually served as mains. At French Fold, the ingredients used are all imported from France, such as flour from the Brittany region and fresh local produce like mushrooms and organic eggs.
We ordered No. 4 ($17), which had a delectable mix of sauteed mushrooms, flowy sunny side up, a chiffonade of ham and Comte cheese – and for a moment, felt like we were noshing at an authentic French farmer’s market. To wrap up the meal on a sweet note, we also had the No. 17 ($11), a crepe with raspberry jam, fresh berries and strawberry basil ice cream from local gelato boutique Birds of Paradise.
There are outdoor seatings available where you can dine al fresco too
Address: 204 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068640
Opening hours: 8AM-10.30PM, Daily
Telephone: 6970 7626
French Fold’s website
3. Unleash your inner Claude Monet on canvas
Channelling your feelings into creative output is one of the most therapeutic ways to take a breather from the hustle. And nestled in the heart of town at 313@Somerset is an artsy oasis, Cafe de Paris, for you to do just that. Their art jamming sessions start at an affordable $50 for two, or $28/pax.
You’ll get your own canvas, brushes, palette, and access to an arsenal of acrylic paint plus a free drink. Those who need inspiration on what to paint can scan a QR code to browse their gallery of pictures that are easy to recreate. They even have a hair dryer on hand for you to speed-dry your artwork to take home after.
All art jammers get to enjoy 10% off the menu to indulge in a treat after completing your very own masterpiece. The cafe is known for their Fruits BonBon (from $17.80), which is made to order with fresh fruits, and layered with whipped cream and a special house sorbet. For drinks, they have a creamy and refreshing Sweet Potato Latte, and a selection of coffees and teas.
Address: 313 Orchard Road, #B1-37, Singapore 238895
Opening hours: Sun – Thu 11AM-10PM | Fri – Sat 11AM-11PM
Telephone: 8120 0889
Cafe de Paris’ website
– Day 2 –
4. Take a stroll down Swan Lake & Sundial Garden at Botanic Gardens
Rise and shine early on the day of your hotel check-out for a casual stroll at the Botanic Gardens. It’s a great place to take in some fresh air and clock some steps.
While most of us have visited here before, the Sundial Garden is a lesser-known spot in this naturistic sanctuary that gives off a European charm. Moreover, the path from Swan Lake to Sundial Garden resembles the Jardin Du Palais Royal, where Emily and her best friend Mindy meet for the first time in the show.
Pick a bench along this stretch to lepak and people-watch. Or you could dabao breakfast for a picnic on the sprawl of green by the bench.
For the easiest access to the benches, be sure to enter from the Tanglin Gate, or you’ll find yourself walking across the entire garden.
5. Toast to $6 wine, cheese & authentic French fare at Ginett
They say that wine flows through Paris, and an itinerary without wine or a fancy dinner would not be complete. For that, head down to Ginett Restaurant and Wine Bar for affordable wines from $6 and a selection of classic French mains rustled up by Michelin-starred chef Sylvain Royer.
To start, their 1M cheese board ($56) is filled with a mix of five types of premium cheese, five cold cuts, pickled vegetables and a generous serving of Pâté (meat paste), making it an excellent match with wines like Pinot Noir. The serving is large enough for a group of three to five pax, but if you want a smaller serving, you can opt for the G board ($33).
From left to right: Beef Tartare ‘à la Montmartre, Le Confit de Canard, Le Coquelet De Ferme Rôti aux Herbes de Provence.
Before digging into mains, we recommend the Beef Tartare ‘à la Montmartre’ ($23) appetiser – it’s meant to be raw, so don’t try to send it back to the chef! The beef tenderloin is blended with herbs and onions, which gives it a refreshing citrusy taste without any gameyness.
For your main dish, pick from crowd favourites including the Le Confit de Canard ($28), a tender and crispy Duck Confit, and the Le Coquelet De Ferme Rôti aux Herbes de Provence ($34), a juicy rosemary chicken reminiscent of Gabriel’s coq dish in episode 8, when Emily and gang visited the wine region of Champagne.
Profiteroles (left) and Paris Brest (right)
For petite drool-worthy desserts to give your meal the sweet ending it deserves, the Paris Brest ($18) filled with Hazelnut praline and Profiteroles ($12), a choux pastry with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, will do the trick.
Address: 200 Middle Road, Singapore 188980
Opening hours: 11.30AM-10.30PM, Daily
Pro tip: have a smooth Paris-themed adventure with Gojek
Travel in comfort with Gojek, and look poised and composed like Emily did everywhere she went.
The last thing you’d want on your Paris-themed adventure is to have your makeup melting and your fancy clothes drenched in sweat from the humid weather. Hitch your rides with Gojek – a ride-hailing app that’ll give you a smooth and comfortable journey throughout.
Win an all-expenses paid 2D1N French-themed itinerary for you & a plus one
2020 has been a challenging year for many, and it’s only fitting to treat yourself to some TLC. Gojek knows that sentiment all too well, which is why they’ve collaborated with us to find new ways to bring a little more joy in this extraordinary year. With this itinerary, Gojek hopes that users will be inspired to explore the city, and just sit back and enjoy the flow.
The good news: Gojek wants to reward three winners each with an all expenses-paid experience of this exact 2D1N itinerary. To participate, simply head to Gojek’s Instagram page for all the details. Entries close 31st Dec 2020, so hurry get your entries in!
Emily in Paris might be filled with clichés and unrealistic events that would only happen in a TV show, but it did give us a little refreshing escape from reality. While it’s highly unlikely that we’ll visit The Louvre or Eiffel Tower IRL any time soon, a pseudo French adventure will suffice for now.
This post was brought to you by Gojek.
Photography by Pichan Cruz.