The Complete Guide to Paris – Beyond the Museums
By Angela Sara West
Home to haute couture, awe-inspiring architecture, exceptional heritage, mouthwatering Michelin-starred gastronomy and high-fashion hotels, this multifaceted, constantly-changing capital’s among the world’s most visited cities, choc-a-bloc with copious culture and chicer-than-chic charm for super-stylish stays with that je ne sais quoi…
Effortlessly elegant and dazzling with timelessness, the cosmopolitan City of Light’s the world’s fashion capital with 2,000 years of culture and romance thrown in. With iconic landmarks, including internationally-famous pièce de résistance the Eiffel Tower and impressive 19th-century neo-classical façades, Paris has a timeless familiarity but nevertheless impresses with its modernity. A contemporary city of creativity at the heart of numerous design movements, world-class Paris is all about new concepts, transforming and reinventing itself every day. Fashion divas need look no further… with some of Europe’s coolest shops, restaurants and hotels it’s a second home for catwalk queen Kate Moss and front-row-Fashion Weeker Victoria Beckham. Full of finesse, whether you’re there when it ‘sizzles’ or it ‘drizzles’, Paris is seriously à la mode!
Compact Paris is perfect for serendipitous wandering, with wide tree-lined Napoleonic-era boulevards and sinuous cobblestoned backstreets, artists on every corner, wonderful vistas at every turn. Shop stylish streets drowning in designers, admire celebrated sights and alluring art nouveau treasures like ornate Métro entrances, gallery-hop exploring some of Europe’s finest art before consuming its superlative cuisine.
Your Own Private Paris Par Excellence
Plush Parisian pied-à-terres…atypical apartments…designer digs…innovative conceptual stopovers…classic historic hotels oozing French panache… Some establishments are dedicated to artistic discovery while others scream luxury with sensational private-spa suites, starred chefs and celebrated barmen, ultra-personalised select services, including private butler/concierge ensuring premium bespoke stays. Luxury and discretion are watchwords here.
Affordable and mid-range retreats include pretty Villa Fénelon, wonderfully-positioned panoramic Timhotel Montmartre, charming Hôtel Beaubourg and atmospheric antique-filled Hôtel Langlois. Enjoy über-trendy Streets Hotel by Murano and its celebrity-filled lounge bar without blowing the budget, or splash out on its private-pool suites. Internationally-renowned interior/concept designers including Christian Lacroix and ubiquitious Philippe Starck have left their signature on cutting-edge design hotels like Mama Shelter, swish French-Oriental Buddha-Bar and fabulous fantasyworld Hôtel Original. Whimsical Seven’s levitating beds, ‘ceiling sunsets’ and cool 007 suites guarantee supercool sleeps, while design-driven boutique hotel Pershing Hall has a glam bar and vertical fairy-lit garden. Steeped in history, classically-Parisian boutique jewel La Maison Favart displays wonderful 18th-century décor. Establishments meeting the ultra-discerning ‘Palace’ distinction include multi-award-winning Le Bristol with its ‘Fashion High Teas’, history-steeped George V, reputed for its distinguished Le Cinq restaurant and hip Bound bar, ‘hotel for kings’ and Salvador Dalí Le Meurice, A-list fave Parc Hyatt with chef’s-private-table-restaurant Pur and Plaza Athénée (which starred in Sex & The City) with megastar chef Alain Ducasse’s three-Michelin-starred eaterie, très trendy bar and super-exclusive Dior spa. Those in the running include eco-friendly design-hotel Fouquet’s Barrière with its magnificent U spa and ‘secret’ garden, Hôtel de Crillon (currently closed) and forthcoming Peninsula. Showstopping Asian-fusion deluxe hotels include haunt for royalty, musicians’n’movie stars (including Madonna and Jude Law) Royal Monceau-Raffles with its private cinema, the Imperial-style Shangri-La, renowned for its Abeille restaurant and unobstructed Eiffel views from Chaillot hill, and Hong Kong-meets-Paris-style Mandarin Oriental with Lalique crystal-set Bar 8, Paris’ largest spa and Sur Mesure’s Michelin-starred alchemy.
From hair spas to traditional Thai massages and exotic Oriental hammams, a comprehensive array of refined expert treatments range from ancestral traditions to hi-tech and male pampering’s massive. Sublime spas and upscale salons aplenty flaunt major beauty brands like La Prairie, Clarins and Guerlain. Indulge in top-of-the-range hotel spas After the Rain, Six Senses, U-Spa and 28 or in designer locations, like zen sanctuary Aquamoon, in magnificent Haussmannian buildings.
Myriad Monuments’n’Museums & Art Galleries: Sightseeing Heaven!
The classy French capital’s divided into 20 arrondissements (districts), each containing four characterful quartiers (neighbourhoods). The River Seine runs through its historic heart, splitting it into the distinctively-different, traditionally-wealthy and business-oriented Right Bank with must-be-seen-in le Marais, and artistic/cultural/intellectual Left Bank with its legendary Latin Quarter. Home to thousands of historic monuments and internationally-renowned landmarks, the majority of must-see sights lie near Paris’ birthplace Ile de la Cité, with focal point being the magnificent Gothic cathedral Notre-Dame. Reflecting the art of Parisian living, a constantly-revolving outdoor gallery of exhibitions, myriad museums and art galleries include Musée d’Orsay, impressing with Impressionism. Strut your stuff at the Fashion Museum, smile at the Mona Lisa in the world’s grandest art gallery, the Louvre, with its contrasting contemporary glass pyramid. Grand and Petit Palais and inside-out Pompidou are also cultural havens. The guillotine long gone, Revolution Square’s now Place de la Concorde, the city’s largest square. Stroll along former royal carriageway the grand Champs-Élysées, crowned with the commemorative Arc de Triomphe and people-watch, soaking up the city’s atmospheric pavement café culture.
Welcome to the World Mecca of Fashion & Design
With flair in its genes, this fashion-focused city’s been setting trends for centuries. The place for prestigious labels and emerging brands, Paris offers the very best in haute couture (born here) and luxury ready-to-wear, with high-density shopping, endless exciting openings and experimental pop-up shops from the likes of Prada. It’s flagship HQ for la crème de la crème of designers, drawn to the ‘Golden Triangle’ (between flashy Champs-Élysées and avenues Montaigne and George-V), Faubourg Saint-Honoré, cool Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Palais-Royal’s elegant arcades. Leading fashion houses and sparkling designers’ stores showcase catwalk collections while fashion-forward couturiers create future trends. Whether it’s Sèvres-Babylone and rue de Rennes’ chic boutiques, Forum des Halles designers’ corner or Porte Maillot mall, get set for some serious shopping!
Die-hard fashionistas give credit cards a workout at Givenchy and Agnès B, emblematic of French excellence. Colette was Paris’s first concept store; now numerous outlets like Le 66 are devoted not only to fashion but books, hairstyling, music, films and food. For the latest must-have collections, the commercial heart Haussmann-Saint-Lazare-Opéra houses upscale department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, epitomising quintessential Parisian chic. Browse Bon Marché, BHV Marais and well-kept-secret go-to store Franck & Fils. Style-conscious ‘Bobos’ (bourgeoisie bohemians) frequent area-on-the-up So-Pi’s (south of Pigalle) vintage boutiques.
Boucheron…Bulgari…Cartier…Tiffany…it’s all about the bling in rue de la Paix and Place Vendôme, Paris’ most glamorous square, a catwalk strut away. Fouquet’s a true art nouveau gem and take the time to browse watchmakers Bucherer, Montblanc and Rolex. The perfume industry’s an art form here, synonymous with personalised exclusivity and luxury. Sniff out cult parfumier Frederic Malle’s emporium and rue Scribe’s Fragonard perfume museum/shop. Gigantic Franck Gehry-designed ‘glass cloud’ Fondation Vuitton houses contemporary fashion and art, while avant-garde design hotspot NoMa’s (burgeoning-be-seen-in North/Haut-Marais) 16-17th-century mansions accommodate fashion boutiques, bars and de rigeur design/décor showrooms.
Score cut-price designer goods at Moda, A.P.C and Vallée Village. Paris’ animated market streets are delightful places, full of life and bursting with riots of colour and delicious aromas. Flea markets are veritable treasure troves… Saint-Ouen is the biggest antique market in the world. Stumble upon food’n’flowers, curios and cutting-edge-design markets. Check out cool Marché Serpette for vintage and couture costume jewellery including Chanel and the city’s oldest Marché Vernaison for sparkling Yves Saint Laurent creations. Rue Cler’s Café du Marché makes for a chic market pitstop or take a break at Starck’s fleamarket canteen Ma Cocotte. From Alpine cheeses and colourful fruit’n’veg to mountain hams and Picardy apples, offering a real feel for French culture, fashionably atmospheric rue Montorgueil’s renowned for its exceptional cheesemakers, while historic rue Mouffetard’s daily market and traditional French restaurants line one of the city’s oldest streets. The select market in Place Monge is a must for food specialist stalls.
Star-Studded Culinary Capital of Fine Flavours
“Former Picasso, Chagall and Hemingway haunts nowadays favoured by Hollywood and French fashion stars, Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots and Café de la Paix exude old-school elegance with a taste of Parisian of yesteryear, preserving bygone savoir-faire. Concept stores and upscale brands are also going gourmet; Emporio Armani Caffè and Lauren’s eponymous restaurant Ralph’s are premium people-watching pitstops for a glassa rouge, watching the Parisian world go by…”
Traditional bistros, smart Michelin-starred and über-trendy eateries dish up old-fashioned classics with modern twists and imaginative decadent treats. As one of the world’s most dynamic trendsetting gastronomic cities, top chefs all have restaurants here. Its reputation maintained by legions of star-spangled chefs and phenomenally-high standards catering for the most discerning bon viveur, French gastronomy received UNESCO humanity heritage status in 2010…and Paris is the best place to enjoy it! The city’s home to some of France’s top restaurants, around 80 of which are Michelin-rated.
Inspired by Le Fooding (‘food’/‘feeling’movement), innovative chefs introduce inventive establishments with evermore creative cuisine, bringing renewed energy to the city’s culinary scene. World cooking contributes to a colourful melting pot of Japanese…African…Tibetan…Indian…Afghan specialities to name but a few. The trend-of-the-moment’s street food, with gourmet food trucks serving high-brow burgers and haute hotdogs’n’cocktails. Unique ‘set’ menus, funky ‘bistronomy’ (a savvy mix of traditional bistro spirit and gastronomic fare), food bars/cellars and monomaniac-single-food specialists (be it caviar…oysters…truffles) are a hit, as are unusual dinners with unusual atmospheres in talk-of-the-town concept establishments including mini two-tabled eateries, historic monuments clothed in contemporary art or themed affairs (think jungle…island…racecourse…) Multidisciplinary restaurants-cum-bars-cum-clubs-cum-art galleries-cum-shops, tables in grocer’s or butcher’s, plus the craze for open kitchens like Michelin-starred-hotspot Dame de Pic for watching masterchefs at work and ‘show cooking’ grills/fireplaces for ‘show’ cooking meat are all the rage.
Sweet tooth? Paris is your paradise, where presentation is everything. Scrumptious displays grace pâtisseries and fine food store windows. Munch on Ladurée’s melt-in-the-mouth macaroons, indulge at Jean-Paul Hévin’s gourmet chocolate bar and don’t miss a scoop of Berthillon or Martine Lambert icecream or Breizh Café’s Breton crêpes. Haute pâtisserie’s a gastronomic cornerstone, with elegant tearooms like Angelina (where hot choc’n’Mont Blancs are musts!) and Hermès’ Le Plongeoir, housed in an former art deco swimming pool, heaving with the well-heeled.
Quality, authenticity and originality are the hallmarks of Parisian delicatessens; Potel et Chabot and department store delis/foodhalls make for great gourmet mid-shopping bites. Reflecting a rich cultural, literary and artistic past, bustling brasseries boast inimitable charm and sumptuous belle époque/art nouveau décor. Veritable institutions Pierre Cardin-owned Maxim’s, Mollard and Zimmer are perpetual purveyors of classic French dishes served by passionate, traditionally-attired waiters, 120-year-old landmark Lipp’s a fave for politicians and Sharon Stone, Sartre sat at La Coupole’s table no.149, while Bardot adores Gare de Lyon’s theatrically-gilt-decorated Le Train Bleu and the locals love Aux Folies,
Secure elite tables at three-Michelin-starred L’Ambroisie, L’Arpège or Epicure or savour Sofitel’s Les Collections. Presidents and prime ministers feast on inventive cuisine at glorious gastronomic restaurant/art gallery/tearoom Cristal Room Baccarat, while trendies taste tapas at the Hôtel W Opéra and flock to big-name-chef addresses like Le Terroir Parisien and retro-modern rotunda La Grande Cascade. Secret steakhouse-bar-club Le Beef Club, (Joe) Allen’s Market and underground Truffière all come recommended while panoramic eateries include Starck-styled Kong, Les Ombres, La Vue du Concorde and the Eiffel’s fêted Ducasse-run Jules Verne.
Budget diner with haute cuisine taste? Bakery/grocery Be Boulangépicier’s part Ducasse-owned, while Bistros Duc De Montmorency, La Boulangerie and Le Mesture serve up great, low-cost traditional cuisine.
Glittering Nightspots with Parisian Pizzazz & French Joie de Vivre
Amidst brilliantly-floodlit-and-moonlit monuments’n’buildings, playful Paris’ vibrant nightlife presents first-class ballet/theatre/opera productions, top-notch nightclubs, spectacular dinner shows and cabarets like risqué Cancan home Moulin Rouge. The Right Bank’s Oberkampf, Ourcq and Saint-Martin (in the recently-regenerated 10th arrondissement ) attract a cool crowd, whilst arty types hang out on the Left Bank and jetsetters head to flashy Champs-Elysées, sparkling with exclusive nightspots like legendary Lido’s. Are YOU prêt à party?!!
Apéritif o’clock? Paris is full of ‘in’ bars, whether simple bar-tobacconists’ like Chez Jeanette, loft-style watering holes such as La Raffinerie, or trendy Costes venues Café Marly and Georges with their priceless views. Sip bubbly in très trendy Flûte Bar, Radisson Blu’s ultra-chic Dokhan’s, knockout Hôtel Sezz’s Veuve Clicquot bar, on l’Apicius’ superb garden terrace or from Louboutin shoes in Hôtel Konfidentiel’s converted cave. Serve yourselves the finest vintages at futuristic Wine by One. Fash-pack fave, opulent rococo-gem Le Carmen’s where Bizet wrote his famous opera, while exclusive Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels has made a splash with Grands-Cru tastings. Feel Paris’ sophisticated pulse in glam cocktail bars, including literati haunt Lapérouse, snazzy Le Magnifique, hipsters’ hangout Prescription Cocktail Club and Hôtel Westminster’s piano bar, or drink in incredible views at Le 7th. Dominating by day, the Eiffel tower twinkles with shimmering lights by night, sparkling on the hour. Drink in astounding Champagne-bar-views at the top.
Dance to DJ sets at Le Zorba’s, Mix or afloat at Batofar. Premium clubs VIP Room, Le Montana and Cab draw the beautiful people. Nostalgia’s big, with vintage venues inspired by the past popping up all over town. Ballroom dancing, burlesque evenings, dancing to a live orchestra at funky Cabaret Sauvage, even tiny American 1920s-style bars roar back to eras past. Step back in time with rock’n’roll and swing at1950s retro-cool zinc-bar bistro Le Béguin, boogie to 80s tunes at Globo discothèque or take afternoon tea dances at Rétro Dancing.
Synonymous with romance, this dreamy destination boasts archetypal backdrops built for amour. Love was certainly in the Parisian air when Rod Stewart proposed to Penny Lancaster atop the Eiffel, while Hollywood’s hottest duo Angelina and Brad recently locked lips at David Lynch-designed Silencio Club after dining at famed Il Vino. Set sail on Bateaux Parisiens or Bateaux-Mouches river cruises, sneaking kisses under bridges, smooch at ‘Je t’aime’ wall or Rodin’s The Kiss and re-stage THAT ‘French Kiss’ outside City Hall. Canal Saint–Martin, the Seine-side floating gardens and Luxembourg and Chaumont parks beckon hand-in-hand promenades, while romance tours follow legendary lovers’ footsteps. Hire a traditional Citroën 2CV or fly high in a helicopter or the world’s biggest air-balloon. Bel Canto’s opera-singing waiters make for magical moments and imperial-chic château Saint-James’ ravishing three-storey Love Pavillion seduces. Oscar Wilde’s final home, L’Hôtel’s hosted Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor; its exclusive vaulted-cellar pool’s candlelit on request.
Amélie fan? Alive with La Belle Époque’s decadent bohemian spirit, mesmerising Montmartre’s where Paris paints its pictures, pens its prose and parties. Its gleaming white basilica Sacré-Coeur’s esplanade’s perfect for popping the question…Paris at your feet. Wed aboard VIP Paris Yacht Hotel and wow your guests at Europe’s highest panoramic bar/restaurant Montparnasse Tower’s Le Ciel de Paris. With Paris’ picture-perfect views your work is done!
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.
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
Where to Stay
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’.
Where to eat and drink
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.