A few weeks ago The Balcony Gardener team boarded the early morning Eurostar and embarked on a whistle-stop, fact finding trip to Paris. Before we’d even finished the morning papers, we were out the other side of the tunnel and gazing at the rolling French countryside.

The first stop on our little tour was to the Maison D’Objet, the vast Home and Garden Trade Show, a wonderful opportunity to find inspiration and check trends for the upcoming months. As there are so many global designers exhibiting at the show, it’s useful to see what people are leaning towards and to get a broad view of international design talent. We loved the Garden and Outdoors Hall, and after poring over the different stands and products, it was time for lunch and headed into central Paris. As we were leaving the venue we spied their outdoor plant boxes and were impressed that they contained salad leaves and herbs – completely edible!

Paris is such a green city with lots of wonderful parks, open spaces and tree-lined boulevards. As we were walking through the streets surrounding the Louvre searching for a suitable brasserie for lunch, we were pleasantly surprised by the number of florists and garden shops stretching out into the pavements. We were also happy to look up into the skies and see so many flowering balconies bordering the Parisian apartment blocks.

One of the final stops on our day out was to the Merci store, in the office we had all read about this new interiors concept store in some of our favourite blogs and magazines and were determined to pay it a visit. The store is situated in a former factory, and shoppers browse from room to room as if you were exploring a real house. We particularly liked some of the inventive kitchenware, and the beautiful kitchen garden outside overlooked by the cafe full of blooming pots and planters.

We were also fans of the parked red Citroen in the front courtyard…..

After a busy day of browsing, exploring and researching the newest trends, we decided that we were in need of a worthy respite – cheese and wine! Well, when in Paris…..