More Info on Paris
Top Tips & Things To Do:
- April, May, June and September are the best months to visit. Many establishments close for the customary month-long holiday in August and most shops are shut on Sundays throughout the year.
- Manners matter and a polite “Bonjour” or “Bonsoir” (“Hello”) in the evening and “Merci, au revoir” (“Thanks, goodbye”) on leaving shops and restaurants always goes down well. Lunchtime’s the best time to find bargain plats du jour (set menus) and restaurants like to know you’re coming so it’s best to book in advance. To be treated like a local, dine later. Similarly, always book ahead to secure a room.
- Skip the queues with The Paris Museum Pass, allowing fast-track entrance to over 60 museums and monuments in the city and surrounding areas along with discounts. Available from the Paris Tourist Office: http://en.parisinfo.com
- Everyone wants to head up the Eiffel for the views, but the Arc de Triomphe, Trocadéro, Montparnasse Tower, Notre-Dame’s gargoyle’s eye vista, plus open-air terraces at the Pompidou Centre and several department stores all boast amazing panoramas…with the photogenic Eiffel in them!
- Avoid tourist traps with tailor-made tours. Themes include culture, fashion and shopping, encompassing Paris’ past and modern glamour in places usually closed to the public. Art limousine tours take in the best galleries and artists’ ateliers etc., while guided tours of historic glass-roofed shopping arcades filled with shops/tearooms/restaurants/art galleries like Passage Jouffroy offer old-world charm. Do the ‘Cracking The Da Vinci Code’ tour with your own private symbologist, tracking down clues from the bestselling thriller!
- Shopaholics should pick up the pocket-sized Paris Shopping Book from tourist information points for top shopping addresses and itineraries for the select, trendy, Bohemian-chic, creative and savvy shopper. Entrust your look to a personal shopper/coach for informed style advice, tips on shops to visit and brands to adopt. Pressed for time? Some will even shop for you! Try Paris Princesse (www.parisprincesse.com) for bespoke experiences.
- Little Ones love L’Aquarium de Paris-Cineaqua, one of Europe’s largest aquariums, and the world’s oldest zoo. Disney magic awaits at enchanted kingdom Disneyland Paris, just 30km away.
- No trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the magnificent Château de Versailles for a glimpse of opulent Louis XIV splendour. Don’t miss the dazzling Hall of Mirrors or a stroll through the impeccable gardens to Marie Antoinette’s fairytale country-style palace Petit Trianon. Château de Fontainebleau’s another grand royal estate.
- Play at being a Parisian with an array of archetypal experiences and chic’n’trendy courses for mastering the art de vivre (art of living)…Paris-style. Bed down in an artist’s studio-turned-contemporary loft with private balcony, go on gourmet walks, chocolate and market tours and learn the secrets of French cooking with express lessons from top chefs, visit vineyards on an oenology tour or create your own couture scent! For an unforgettable day that’s soooo Parisian, let Paris Pour Un Jour (www.parisforaday.com) be your guide.
- From open-air cinemas and museums to gastronomy and open days in artists’ studio, check out the tourist office’s list of free events and places to visit to savour the Parisian way of life without spending a penny! http://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/themed-guides/paris-for-free
Paris hosts hundreds of events all-year-round, from great classics and major sporting to the artistic and unusual. Many celebrations correspond to a public holiday. Experience Paris during the glitz’n’glamour of semi-annual fashion tradeshow Paris Fashion Week, the excitement of Bastille Day or the magic of Christmas!
Jan: Shopping aficionados capitalise on the capital’s winter sales before the highlight of the fashion calendar – Paris Fashion Week. Designers, models and fashion lovers of clothes descend on the capital to watch the who’s who of fashion world showcase their spring/summer and autumn/winter collections. (Held Jan-Mar for autumn and Sept-Nov for spring).
Feb: Red hearts and roses fill shop windows, while electronic information boards display love messages for Valentine’s Day in the city of romance.
Mar/Apr: Easter sees cake shops’ and chocolate makers’ window displays themed with eggs. April sees the Paris Marathon.
May: The French Open Tennis Championship takes place at Roland-Garros.
Jun: Get in the groove for Fête de la Musique music day, with free concerts throughout the city.
Jul: Military bands march along the Champs Elysées to mark Bastille Day on French National holiday 14th July, followed by cyclists in a blaze of Lycra for Le Tour de France.
Jul/Aug: Paris-Plages’ artificial beaches on the banks of the Seine create Summer’s city ‘seaside’, with open-air concerts, boules competitions, wall-climbing and a floating swimming pool.
Sep: Be inspired by Paris Design Week.The Fête de la Gastronomie commemorates French gastronomic expertise, tradition and innovation. Lovers of art, history and horticulturalists shouldn’t miss the Days of Heritage and Secret Gardens of Paris events, offering unique opportunities to discover hidden gems inaccessible throughout the rest of the year.
Oct: Montmartre celebrates La Fête des Vendanges wine harvest festival with parades, dancing, regional food and wine tasting followed by fireworks. Hardcore culture vulture? October’s dusk’til-dawn Nuit Blanche (Sleepless Night) sees museums, parks, pools and cinemas stay open all night, while the famous Salon du Chocolat puts chocolate and chocolate makers in the spotlight. Meanwhile, FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) contemporary art festival attracts international art lovers, collectors, dealers and artists from all over the world.
Nov: Le Beaujolais Nouveau tasting season celebrates the uncorking of the yearly vintage of the fresh’n’fruity red wine.
Dec: Come Christmas-time, the city’s bedecked with glittering lights, Christmas trees, festive markets and nativity scenes… you may even find some snow! Take to the ice on the rink outside 19th-century City Hall and don’t miss department stores’ decadently-decorated window displays. On New Year’s Eve, crowds congregate on the Champs-Elysées or at the Eiffel Tower with bottles of champagne for the twelve strokes of midnight and inevitable New Year kisses.
Get there with…
British Airways: www.britishairways.com
Paris is served by most of the world’s major airlines at its two international airports Roissy Charles de Gaulle and Orly (approx 25km North-East and 14km south of the city respectively). Aéroports de Paris (www.aeroportsdeparis.fr) offers a premium concierge service for an upscale clientele. Paris’ ‘third airport‘, Beauvais is situated 75km north of the city. Charter-a provide private air charterservices (www.privateaircharter.eu), while Jetbox offers both private jet and helicopter rentals (www.jetbox.fr).
The city’s also connected to Europe’s major capitals by evermore efficient and rapid TGV links. Six major train stations in the city centre, including Gare du Nord (from which Eurostar operates) and Gare de l’Est, each serve various regions of France and Europe.
Getting around the city is easy… whether on foot, by Métro, bus, funicular, bicycle or scooter. The Paris Métro has around 300 stations, their entrances marked by a big yellow ‘M’. It’s a good idea to avoid the rush hour and you can save money by buying a ‘Carnet of 10’, rather than individual tickets.
Taxi transfers, chauffeur service and car rental:
Taxis are available at airports or from Taxis G7: Tel: +33 (0)1 41 27 66 99 (in English). The central taxi number is +33 (0)1 45 30 30 30. American company Über (www.uber.com) offers a luxury taxi service. VIP transport in the form of classic and vintage cars, convertibles etc. is available for airport transfers and daily journeys, making getting around the capital a remarkably luxurious affair. Limos can be hired from Paris Major Limousines (www.1st-limousine-services.com)
A number of national and international car hire firms offer a range of vehicles, including Europcar (www.europcar.fr) and Avis (www.avis.fr). Autolib’ (www.autolib.eu) is self-service electric car rental service.
For comprehensive information about the city, check out the official website of the Paris Tourist Office: http://en.parisinfo.com
Hôtel Villa Fénelon 2*
23 rue Buffault
Tel: +33 (0)1 48 78 32 18
A peaceful haven with a pretty internal garden in the city centre.
Hôtel Beaubourg 3*
11 rue Simon Lefranc
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 74 34 24
A cosy stopover near the Pompidou Centre, in the heart of the dynamic Marais neighbourhood.
Hôtel Langlois 3*
63 rue Saint-Lazare
Tel: +33 (0)1 48 74 78 24
An old-fashioned setting for a bit of elegant belle époque Paris, with spacious rooms filled with antiques galore to satisfy art nouveau and art deco lovers.
La Maison Favart 4*
5 rue de Marivaux
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 97 59 83
Experience sophisticated refinement in a beautiful boutique hotel close to the magnificent Opera house.
Four Seasons Hôtel George V 5* with Palace distinction (symbolising excellence, perfection, luxury and timelessness in a 5-star hotel)
31 avenue George-V
Tel: +33 (0)1 49 52 70 00
Feel like a film star at decadent flower-filled George V, renowned for its distinguished two-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Cinq, just steps from the Champs-Élysées.
Le Meurice 5* with Palace distinction
228 rue de Rivoli
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 58 10 10
Member of the Dorchester Collection and property of the Sultan of Brunei, Le Meurice boasts three-Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse’s fine cuisine and Empire-style splendour with a touch of opulent glamour, adorned with gilding, marble, antiques and chandeliers. Spread over the entire seventh floor, the Belle Étoile Royal suite’s private terrace boasts 360° city views.
Le Bristol 5* with Palace distinction
112 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 43 43 00
Winner of numerous accolades and voted ‘best hotel in Europe’ by Condé Nast Traveller magazine, this historic palace’s past guests include Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Orson Welles. With its three-Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurant Epicure and upscale brasserie, it’s a firm favourite for fashion aficionados, flocking to its famous ‘Fashion Saturdays’ high teas, where major fashion houses including Yves Saint-Laurent, Givenchy, Chloé and Versace have presented collections.
Hôtel Parc Hyatt Paris-Vendôme 5* with Palace distinction
5 rue de la Paix
Tel: +33 (0)1 58 71 12 34
Steeped in history and situated in an exceptional location near the Louvre and River Seine, the royal suite enjoys its own spa and terrace overlooking prestigious Place Vendôme, ensuring guests are pampered beyond their dreams. Secure Michelin-starred Le Pur restaurant’s La Table du chef, for a private table experience with the chef in attendance.
Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière 5* with Palace distinction
46 avenue George-V
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 69 60 00
As a forerunner in sustainable development with an emphasis on technology, this lavish, eco-friendly palace is committed to ‘Dignified Luxury©’, offering hybrid limousines for getting around Paris. Comprising five buildings in a glitzy location in the heart of Paris’ Golden Triangle , the hotel offers the magnificent U spa, a ‘secret’ garden plus internationally-renowned brasserie Le Fouquet’s.
The Mandarin Oriental 5* with Palace distinction
251 rue Saint–Honoré
Tel: +33 (0)1 70 98 78 88
In a prestigious location mere steps from the Louvre, this sanctuary with its wonderful Hong Kong-meets-Paris tone has one of the city’s largest spas, while its dining options are another star feature, with refined cuisine by Thierry Marx at two-Michelin-starred Sur Mesure. The Royale Mandarin duplex offers 360° panoramic city views.
Shangri-La Hotel 5* with Palace distinction
10 avenue d’Iéna
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 67 19 98
Royal treatment is guaranteed at this stunning mansion built for Napoleon’s grandnephew Prince Roland Bonaparte in 1896. Oozing old-world elegance with marble hallways, chandeliers and a spectacular glass dome…it’s very grand indeed. The Hong Kong-based group’s first hotel in Europe boasts the continent’s first to offer Cantonese cuisine, or embark on a French culinary voyage at two-Michelin-starred L’Abeille.
Le Royal Monceau Raffles 5* with Palace distinction
37 avenue Hoche
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 99 88 00
All about art, the avant-garde Royal Monceau Raffles is decorated with hundreds of works of art, boasts art concierges, a cinema and a luxury artist’s studio room. Its chic’n’trendy Philippe Starck-makeover aims to appeal to a youthful clientele, in particular 35-50 year-old ‘millionaires in trainers’.
47 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis
Tel: +33 (0)1 47 70 30 89
A cheap and unpretentious, fashionably-traditional hangout for cool Parisians, close to the up-and-coming Canal Saint-Martin.
8 rue de Belleville
A traditional brasserie in lively Belleville that’s been a hit with Parisians since the 18th century! A true landmark with a packed terrace filled with ‘Bellevillers’ at all times of the day and night.
La Grande Dame at Hôtel Sezz
6 avenue Frémiet
Tel: +33 (0)1 56 75 26 26
Hip design-hotel Sezz (in the seize arrondissement!) has Paris’ first Veuve Clicquot bar, with a rose-petal-shaped alcove and range of Champagnes and products from the famous brand.
Bar de Lapérouse
51 quai des Grands Augustins
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 26 68 04
In the one-of-a-kind setting of the historic Lapérouse restaurant, this cool bar has been a trendy literati meeting-spot since 1766.
Le Dokhan’s at Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel
117 rue Lauriston
Tel: +33 (0)1 53 65 66 99
Looking for glamour in a romantic, small-scale-yet-ultra-chic setting? Then this is the place for you. Located between the Trocadéro and Champs Elysées, Paris’ first Champagne bar oozes charm in a hotel that’s as intimate as they get, with a concierge meeting your every need.
73 boulevard de Courcelles
Tel: +33 (0)1 46 22 20 20
Discover delicious gourmet sandwiches, pastries and more at this bakery/grocery store with seating, jointly owned by Alain Ducasse and master baker Éric Kayser.
Au Duc De Montmorency
46 rue de Montmorency
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 72 18 10
This humble market-style bistro’s renowned for its creative, freshly-prepared set menus and wines served up for next to nothing!
Two Michelin stars
20 rue d’Artois
Tel: +33 (0)1 43 80 19 66
Located in a magnificent townhouse, this wonderful restaurant’s impressive succession of fine rooms offer a chic mix of classic, rococo and modern styles, plus a superb wine list and garden terrace.
Three Michelin stars
9 place des Vosges
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 78 51 45
Set in a royal mansion in the beautiful Place des Vosges, this Parisian institution of French haute cuisine since 1986 elegantly combines classicism and modernity. A gourmet lover’s paradise.
Cristal Room Baccarat
11 place des Etats Unis
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 22 11 10
Enter a wonderful star-studded world of illusion in this Philippe Starck-revived luxury ‘crystal palace’, with artistic heritage and inventive cuisine by Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin plus a sumptuous crystal chandelier-bedecked ballroom for private hire.
La Vallée Village
3 cours de la Garonne
Serris – Marne-la-Vallée 77700
Tel: +33 (0)1 60 42 35 00
For heavily-discounted fashion brands from the likes of Diane Von Furstenberg, Jimmy Choo and Kenzo, hop on the Shopping Express shuttle service from Place des Pyramides to this chic shopping outlet, just 35 minutes outside the city.
20 rue André Del Sarte
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 62 10 88
Score half-price discounts on past A.P.C. collections.
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
40 boulevard Haussmann
Tel: +33 (0)1 42 82 34 56
This world-famous, upmarket department store’s a city pitstop for both women’s and men’s designer shopping. Don’t miss the stunning stained-glass art deco dome or rooftoop terrace views following a Champagne lunch in the wonderful gourmet food hall.
Frank & Fils
80 rue de Passy
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 14 38 00
The last word in glamour for chic Parisians, this magnet for discerning fashion lovers offers exclusive shopping from all the top names, from Armani and Burberry to Paul Smith. Don’t miss the Luxury Photo Booth Studio by legendary studio Harcourt, for fantastic passport-sized photos with the famous brand’s style usually reserved for film stars.
7 rue de Passy
Tel: +33 (0)1 55 74 04 60
Embodying the quintessential French approach to simple yet stylish dressing, Agnès B is the champion of minimalist chic and wardrobe basics.
29-31 rue Cambon
Tel +33 (0)1 42 86 26 00
The Parisian fashion house created by Coco Chanel in 1910 remains one of the emblems of French luxury and the epitome of class and elegance.