Paris

Overview

It’s been a trying moment for Paris, but if the tragedies that have befallen the French capital recently have shown anything it’s the resilience of Parisians who refuse to be ruled by fear. While tourism may have slumped slightly, the cafes are still bustling, the department stores still team with shoppers, and the restaurant and hotel landscape continues to change and improve at a breakneck pace. The year 2016 saw the much anticipated reopening of the Ritz Paris and over the last few years virtually all of the city's grand dames, from the Plaza Athénée to Le Bristol, have undergone major renovations and upgrades in order to achieve Palace distinction, the above five-star status developed by the French Tourism Agency that is only awarded to the country’s most exceptional hotels. Francophiles are still making their way to Paris for fashion, fine food, and an unparalleled arts and culture scene. Here we share where to go, what to see, and how to get behind some rarefied walls in the world’s most beautiful city.

Best Time to Go

Paris is beautiful in every season but there is something about springtime that makes the city feel extra special. In June temperatures are typically balmy, it stays light until nearly 10 p.m., and the Paulownia trees are blooming. Events like the Fête de la Musique, when free live music performances take place throughout the city on the summer solstice, bring a special energy to the city.

Airport Info

The world’s ninth busiest airport, Charles de Gaulle is a hub for Air France and the European hub for Delta Air Lines. It’s about 16 miles northeast of Paris, but depending on traffic, getting to and from the airport can take up to an hour. 

Getting Around

Cleanliness aside, the Paris Metro is widely considered one of the most efficient and user-friendly underground systems in the world. To use the ticket machines in each station, make sure your credit card has a chip. You can buy metro cards in packs of ten. All single rides in central Paris are the same price and it’s possible to purchase a Navigo Week pass, valid in central Paris and Zones 1-5. 

Can’t Leave Without

1. Visiting an outdoor market like the Marché Biologique Raspail in the 6th arrondissement, a true hallmark of life in Paris. (Sundays 9-2, Bld. Raspail)

2. Taking a leisurely stroll across the Ile de la Cité and the Ile Saint Louis at night when Notre Dame is lit up.

3. Indulging in the city’s best croissant at Blé Sucré in the 12th. (7 Rue Antoine Vollon; 33-1/43-40-77-73)

Deserves the Hype

After the French Revolution and the Seige of Paris, it’s remarkable that the fragile Saint-Chapelle chapel, built by King Louis IX to house Christ’s Crown of Thorns, still stands. The way the light floods through the 13th-century stained glass windows coupled with the vaulted blue and gold ceiling makes visitors feel like they’re standing inside a jewelry box. (8 Bld. du Palais; 33/1-53-40-60-80; sainte-chapelle.fr)

Local Dish to Try

Steak frites is a must in Paris. Le Bistro Paul Bert’s perfectly marbled bone-in côte de boeuf comes served with a heaping pile of golden frites may be the best possible version—plus, it can easily serve two or more. (18 Rue Paul Bert; 33-1/43-72-24-01)

Local Drink to Sip

Natural wine is all the rage in Paris. Septime la Cave carries all the country’s best producers like L’Anglore, Domaine Mosse, and Julien Guilot. While wine is offered by the glass, if a bottle sparks your interest don’t hesitate to snag it: You can take it with you when you leave, and even bring it to dinner at the Michelin one-star restaurant Septime across the street—if you’re lucky enough to have a reservation. (2 Rue Basfroi; 33/1-43-67-14-87)

Seasonal Highlights

WINTER: When the weather can be sour, shop the covered arcades in the 2nd and First arrondissement, like Galerie Vivienne (4 Rue des Petits Champs; galerie-vivienne.com) and Galerie Véro-Dodat (8 Galerie Véro-Dodat; 33/1-53-00-20-59; us.christianlouboutin.com), home to Christian Louboutin’s first beauty boutique.

SPRING: Sip rosé and picnic in Place des Vosges or the Luxembourg Gardens.

SUMMER: Venture outside the city to Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicompte. Every Saturday evening during the summer months the chateau is illuminated by 2,000 candles and flutes of Champagne and macarons are sold. (33/1-64-14-41-90; vaux-le-vicomte.com)

FALL: Spend the afternoon strolling the winding streets of Montmartre when the ivy on the buildings and the vines in Clos Montmartre, the last remaining working vineyard in Paris, start to turn. Try to schedule your visit during Fête des Vendanges, the wine harvest festival that takes place on the butte each October.

Quick Tips

Car Service to Know

Première Loge
33-6/19-81-32-75

Extended Stay

Paris Perfect
888-520-2087

Extended Stay

La Reserve Luxury Apartments
33-1/53-70-53-70

Tailor to Know

Monsieur Kemal Gunyar at L’Art de L’Aguille
33/1-45-44-08-58

Personal Shopper

Jodie Hutchins, Your Paris Experience
33-6/19-24-59-53

Children’s Boutique

Centre Commercial Kids
33-1/42-02-26-08

Best Spa

Mandarin Oriental, Paris
33-1/70-98-73-35

Best Hotel Gym

Ritz Paris
33-1/43-16-30-30

Best Souvenir

Vintage Poster from, Librairie Elbé
33-1/45-48-77-97

Fixer to Know

Rachel Kaplan, Events and Company
33-6/64-35-87-63
Hotels

La Reserve Paris Hotel and Spa

This luxury boutique hotel, open since 2015, offers a discreet stay near the Elysée gardens.
8th Arrondissement
FH&R

Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Nearly half of this majestic hotel's rooms and suites have dramatic views of the Eiffel Tower.
16th Arrondissement
FH&R

Hôtel Le Meurice

The Philippe Starck–designed public areas have added a contemporary twist to the hotel, even though the rooms are still hallmarks of opulent Louis XVI style.
First Arrondissement
FH&R

Hôtel Plaza Athénée

A major renovation and expansion in 2014 has given this grand dame a new lease on life.
8th Arrondissement
FH&R

Le Bristol Paris

One of the only remaining family-owned luxury hotels in Paris, Le Bristol offers a more personal vibe.
8th Arrondissement
FH&R

Ritz Paris

Sorely missed during a nearly four-year closure and renovation, the reopened Ritz Paris is better than ever before.
2nd Arrondissement
FH&R

Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris

This Philippe Starck–designed property near the Arc de Triomphe offers a bit more whimsy than the city’s collection of “Palace” distinction hotels.
8th Arrondissement
FH&R

The Peninsula Paris

This ambitious hotel opened to much fanfare in 2015 and delivers on all its promises.
16th Arrondissement
FH&R

Park Hyatt Paris–Vendôme

This hotel is housed in a Haussmannian building, but the Ed Tuttle–designed interiors are thoroughly modern.
2nd Arrondissement
FH&R

Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Located on one of Paris’s most famous shopping streets, this sleek property is a wonderful choice for those in search of a little retail therapy.
First Arrondissement
FH&R
Restaurants

Le Bistrot Paul Bert

Local and foreign gourmands alike crowd around the white-clothed bistro tables here for taste one of the city’s best steak frites.
11th Arrondissement
Classic French

Septime

Septime, currently ranked among the 50 best restaurants in the world, remains one of the hardest reservations to snag in Paris.
11th Arrondissement
Modern French

Yam’Tcha

Chef Adeline Grattard’s flawless technique is on display at this Michelin one-star Franco-Chinois restaurant.
First Arrondissement
Franco-Chinois

Le Cinq

The restaurant at the Hotel George V earned its third Michelin star in 2016, thanks to its masterful balance of traditional French flavors and modern cooking.
8th Arrondissement
French Gastronomy

Allard

Alain Ducasse’s Bourgone gem delivers an authentic gourmet bistro experience that is increasingly difficult to find in Paris.
6th Arrondissement
Classic French

L’Arpege

Alain Passard’s vegetable-centric haute gastronomy restaurant continues to be the top-ranked table in Paris.
7th Arrondissement
French Gastronomy

Au Passage

This somewhat edgy restaurant serves up some of the best shared plates in the city.
11th Arrondissement
French Tapas

Guy Savoy

This Michelin three-star restaurant creates some of the most theatrical and innovative cuisine in the city.
6th Arrondissement
French Gastronomy

Clover

Acclaimed chef Jean-François Piege’s love of travel can be spotted throughout the dynamic tasting menu here.
7th Arrondissement
Modern French

Daroco

Italian food is experiencing a moment in Paris and this restaurant is generating the most excitement.
2nd Arrondissement
Italian
Bars + Lounges

Septime La Cave

Located in a former shoe cobbler, this charming wine bar specializes in organic wines and bottles with cult-status.
11th Arrondissement
Wine Bar

Legrand Filles et Fils

This vinothèque doubles as an epicerie selling sweet and savory regional delicacies.
2nd Arrondissement
Wine Bar

Bar Hemingway

Longtime bartender Colin Field makes drinking at this famous establishment located in the Ritz Paris a treat.
First Arrondissement
Classic Cocktail Bar

Vivant Cave

This bright gem has a beautiful marble bar, a fabulous young chef, and an impressive selection of natural wines.
10th Arrondissement
Wine Bar

Library-Bar at Saint James

The former Thiers Foundation study still contains 12,000 volumes, but visitors come for the herb-based cocktails by barman Judicaël Noel.
16th Arrondissement
Classic Cocktail Bar

Candelaria

Tucked behind Paris’s best Mexican taqueria is a world-class bar serving meticulous tequila- and mezcal-based cocktails.
3rd Arrondissement
Speakeasy

Prescription Cocktail Club

Prescription Cocktail Club still ranks as one of the city’s more elegant speakeasy-style bars.
6th Arrondissement
Cocktail Bar

L’Oiseau Blanc

This aviation-themed spot offers views of almost every Parisian landmark and spectacular, ever-changing cocktails.
16th Arrondissement
Rooftop Bar

Bar 8

Every surface—from the walls inlaid with Lalique crystal to the marble bar top—shimmers in this bar at the Mandarin Oriental.
First Arrondissement
Cocktail Bar

La Fine Mousse

Craft beer is becoming more popular in Paris, and La Fine Mousse has the best on-tap selection.
11th Arrondissement
Beer Bar

Les Bains

The space with a black-and-white checkered floor has once again become the “It” spot in Paris.
3rd Arrondissement
Club
Shopping

Spree

Owned by fashion designer Roberta Oprandi and visual artist Bruno Hadjadj, this stark space feels more like an art gallery than the typical boutique.
18th Arrondissement
Women’s Clothing

L’Eclaireur

This fashion, design, and lifestyle brand stocks avant-garde designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Haider Ackermann.
3rd Arrondissement
Men’s + Women’s Clothing

Didier Ludot Couture and Accessories

The world’s foremost reseller of vintage haute couture is the place to shop on the Palais Royal.
First Arrondissement
Vintage Couture

Éclectic

This minimalist  shop in the Haut Marais breaks with a traditional menswear boutique.
3rd Arrondissement
Men’s Clothing

Le Bon Marché

Founded in 1852, Le Bon Marché is more than the world’s first modern department store—it's also Paris's most diverse, and fun.
7th Arrondissement
Department Store

Charvet

Here, the kings of bespoke shirtmaking present what is said to be the largest range of fabrics under one roof.
First Arrondissement
Tailor

Maison Francis Kurkdjian

The dynamic young nose will travel, but his serene boutique is the ideal place to dream up a custom scent.
First Arrondissement
Perfumer

Deyrolle

A visit to taxidermist and science publisher Deyrolle is like a tour inside an exceedingly chic cabinet of curiosities.
7th Arrondissement
Taxidermy

Galerie Kreo

This design “laboratory” in a 17th-century hôtel particulier exhibits limited-edition pieces and vintage decor.
6th Arrondissement
Furniture + Design

Colette

Open since 1997, the two-story boutique and concept store is a leading force of innovation in the retail realm.
First Arrondissement
Concept Shop
Things To Do

Emmanuel Perrotin

The ambitious Perrotin now oversees a roster of 40 artists ranging from Takashi Murakami to Pharrell Williams.
3rd Arrondissement
Art Gallery

Palais Garnier

Go behind the scenes at the famed 19th-century Paris Opera House for a unique visiting experience.
9th Arrondissement
Private Tour

École Ritz Escoffier

The Ritz Escoffier cooking school, named for the hotel’s first executive chef, offers classes for professionals and avid home cooks alike.
First Arrondissement
Cooking Classes

L’École Van Cleef & Arpels

Legendary jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels offers a wide range of courses in its two-story school, located in an 18th-century mansion.
First Arrondissement
Jewelry Making Classes

Fondation Louis Vuitton Insider’s Experience

Get private access to the Frank Gehry–designed modern art museum in the Bois de Boulogne for a viewing sans the crowds.
16th Arrondissement
Private Museum Tour

Centre Georges Pompidou

The Pompidou is as famous for its postmodern architecture as for the impressive collection of 20th and 21st-century art inside.
4th Arrondissement
Private Museum Tour

Bijoux Society

Paris is the capital of fine jewelry, but it can be an exclusive and secretive world. The private tour company Bijoux Society offers a chance to peek inside.
Varios Locations
Personal Shopping + Private Tours

The Grand Palais

From Chanel fashion shows to an Hermès sponsored horse-jumping competition, the Grand Palais is one Paris’s most spectacular venues.
8th Arrondissement
Museum

After-Hours at the Louvre

A trip to the sprawling Louvre complex can be daunting, but Events and Company offers two very special ways to experience the museum.
First Arrondissement
Museum Tour

Kamel Mennour

The affable Mennour is one of the foremost gallerists of modern and contemporary art in Paris.
6th Arrondissement
Art Gallery