Where can you find the best pastries in Paris? What’s the coolest new boutique hotel in the city? Where do Paris’ art crowd hang out? If you’re looking Paris travel tips, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve found the hottest hotels, the must-see exhibitions and the best restaurants to grab a bite in with our guide to Paris for 2018…
‘Paris is always a good idea,’ or at least that was the form prior to the challenges brought to the city in 2015. Tourism is only beginning to bounce back (after a painful lull) with a host of design-led hotel openings and renovations, a cosmopolitan gastronomic facelift and museums harnessing the capital’s fashion legacy with headline shows.
Never mind the modern likes of Maje, Sandro or Claudie Pierlot, the museums promise a trip to the ‘glory days’, when Paris was the glittering epicentre of the fashion world. It’s the stuff of sartorial reverie, a retrospective of codemakers, fierce talent and the noise of showbiz, politics and culture surrounding these fashion power houses.
What to Eat
Pastries at Le Meurice
French pastry chef Cédric Grolet of the Dorchester Collection’s Le Meurice has just been awarded “The World’s Best Pastry Chef” at The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Ceremony 2018. Pay a visit to his pastry boutique at the exclusive hotel and check out one of the unique desserts, such as his signature trompe-l’œil sculpted fruits. Oui, s’il vous plaît.
Dinner at Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Choose between the luxury of Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, a Michelin starred restaurant serving contemporary French Haute Cuisine or enjoy a more relaxed affair at the excellent Le Relais Plaza, a cosy grill-room inspired by the roaring thirties. In the latter expect live music, perfectly wine-matched modern French dining and a bustling, lively atmosphere. Try the pan-seared scallops to start and save room for dessert – the ‘all about vanilla’ can be devoured in five glorious seconds.
Lunch at L’Étoile du Nord
If you’re travelling by Eurostar, arrive for your lunchtime train a little early and grab a bite at L’Étoile du Nord, a new brasserie by two Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx. Expect modern French buffet classics like chicken supreme, egg mayonnaise salad and even British bites like fish and chips with a tasty twist. www.letoiledunord.fr
And we know you wouldn’t consider it, but forgetting to visit Pierre Herme for a macaron or two would just be rude, wouldn’t it? www.pierreherme.com
Dinner at Shang Palace
Shang Palace is one of three restaurants that the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris has to offer, two of which are Michelin-starred. In contrast to Chef Christophe Moret’s two Michelin-starred restaurant L’Abeille, a gourmet French restaurant, Shang Palace sets the best of Asian and French worlds under one roof. From Sunday 9 September Shang Palace will open seven days a week for lunch and dinner; where Chef Samuel Lee transports guests on a gastronomic exploration to the Middle Kingdom in France’s only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant. As an alternative to wine Maître Tseng’s tea, served according to the traditions of Gong Fu Cha, pairings will be served thought out to the meal making the guests’ dining experience truly unique. And what is France without wine? Ask the sommelier who will suggest a noble and ancient liqueur or cases, vintages that bring a touch of sophistication to the mouth-watering banquet.
Where to Stay
Classic romance in the heart of Paris: Le Meurice
With a history stretching back to 1771 and a list of guests from across the years including Salvador Dali (who spent about a month of each year in the Royal Suite), Rudyard Kipling, Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minnelli, Le Meurice is instantly recognisable in the heart of Paris. With views all across Paris (request a park view for sights over the Louvre and Eiffel Tower), it’s centrally located and perfectly positioned for exploring the city.
With distinctive luxe Arabesscato marble bathrooms (some with views over the Tuileries Garden), playful interiors details by Philippe Starck and two Michelin starred restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse on site, it would be understandable if you wanted to spend your entire 24 hours in Paris within the walls of this hotel. But try and leave at some point. If only for a stroll around the Tuileries Garden and to pop your head inside the world’s largest art gallery, right on your doorstep, (for an hour or 10). We would visit this hotel again and again (and again).
The hip crowd are going east: Boutet Hotel Bastille
With 2017’s art deco revival in full swing, the first five-star hotel to pop up in the east of Paris is worth checking into. This former wood factory mixes gold mosaic tiling and attractive green metalwork. The swimming pool is pretty, too.
New Luxury in the heart of Paris: Hotel de Berri
Just moments from the Champs-Elysees and the Triangle d’Or Fashion District, the newly-opened Hotel de Berri is the perfect choice for when you want bold Parisian luxury right in the heart of the action. Styled by designer and artistic director Philippe Renaud, each of the 75 guestrooms, including 35 suites, has a unique and bold design, from muted modern elegance to romantic 19th century Parisian extravagance.
The façade has been maintained from the 1970s-era office building, while the more-is-more interiors are inspired by the luminaries who once resided at the Triangle d’Or address on the historic rue de Berri, from aristocrats and royals to prominent cultural visionaries.
The hotel also features an incredibly rare private garden spanning three quarters of an acre for guests to enjoy. Onsite restaurant Le Schiap serves up excellent Italian cuisine masterminded by Tuscan chef Michele Dalla Valle (and formerly of Plaza-Athénée and Le Meurice). The walls of the restaurant are adorned with a colourful fresco painted by French artist-illustrator Hippolyte Romain. In a city overflowing with luxury hotels, the Hotel de Berri still manages to set itself apart from the crowd and create a case for trying some new… marriott.co.uk
Petit Luxe: Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal
Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal from the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. Right by the Louvre but hidden from the crowds in an idyllic courtyard, this fresh, design-led hotel lives up to the city’s culinary expectations, their subterranean spa is an ideal post-shopping indulgence. Doubles from £325.
New Opening: Brach
Contemporary romance descends on Paris’ 16th arrondissement with the opening of Brach Paris. With a signature nonchalance and mission to both redefine and cater to Paris’ new groove, Evok Group has stirred the sleepy 16th arrondissement (not least to mention the city) with their latest marvel, Brach – hot on the heels of Avenue de l’Opera’s Nolinski. Read the full C&TH review here!
For a ‘nose’ workout and education on centuries of Parisian fragrance, visit the Musée du Parfum. Book a class with ‘un nez’ for an expert rundown of scent pairing and have a go at creating your own.
Where to Work
Travelling for business? If you need to be in the heart of the action, check into Meliá Paris La Défense which is 15 minutes on the Metro to the city centre. Have a drink at the Skyline Paris Lounge & Bar, which has panoramic views of the city including the Eiffel Tower and enjoy the soaring architecture and attractive interior design by Jean-Phillipe Nuel, the brainchild behind the revamp of Paris’ iconic Molitor Swimming Pool. www.melia.com
What to Read
Looking for some reading for the journey? Try A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. ‘If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast’. It’s worth popping a copy of DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Paris 2017 into your case, too, no matter how well you know the city.
Want to brush up on your French before you travel? Check out Babbel, where you can sign up for an online course that will make learning fun and easy. babbel.com
For more information, visit The Paris Tourist Office.
READ MORE: The Most Romantic Hotels in Paris
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