SD › Paris › Best Hotels
Updated: April 16, 2023
By Santorini Dave
Our Favorite Paris Hotels
• 5-Star Hotel: Four Seasons
• 4-Star Hotel: Westin
• 3-Star Hotel: Cler
• Cheap Hotel: Welcome Paris
• For Couples: Relais Christine
• For Families: Fraser Suites
• Near Eiffel Tower: Pullman
• Louvre: Hotel du Louvre
• Notre Dame: Saint Severin
• Montmartre: Hotel Des Arts
• Gare du Nord/Gare de l’Est: Hotel Hor
• Best New Hotel: Maison Villeroy
• Hotel Pool: Molitor
• With Kitchen: Fraser Suites
Paris Hotels – Tips & Advice
- My favorite neighborhoods in Paris are St Germain des Pres (center of the action, filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants), Marais (trendy, local vibe), and the 7th arrondissement (quieter, but still an easy walk to the Eiffel tower and St Germain).
- Best Hotels in Central Paris: All of the best hotels listed below are located in central Paris and are convenient for the top sights.
- Best Luxury Hotels in Paris: Four Seasons George V (five-star luxury) • Shangri-La (old world Paris charm)
- Best Boutique Hotels in Paris: Relais Christine (small romantic boutique) • Saint James Paris (gorgeous chateau in a quiet neighborhood)
- Best Paris Hotels for Families: Fraser Suites • Four Seasons
- Paris Hotels with Balcony: Mandarin Oriental • Pullman Tour Eiffel • Le 12 Hôtel • Hotel Residence Foch • Hotel Dame Des Arts • Hotel Ekta Champs Elysées • The Peninsula (the garden suite is incredible)
- Paris Hotels with Kitchen: Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées • La Clef Tour Eiffel • Residence Henri IV • Citadines Les Halles
- Best Midrange Hotels in Paris: Hotel Chopin (historic hotel in a charming covered gallery) • Hotel du College de France (classic hotel in the Latin Quarter)
- Paris Hotels with Views of Eiffel Tower: Hotel Plaza Athenee • Pullman Tour Eiffel • Le Parisis • Hôtel Brighton • Shangri-La • Westin Vendôme
- Paris Hotels with Pool: Le Bristol • Mandarin Oriental • Le Burgundy • Saint James Albany • Shangri-La • The Peninsula • Four Seasons George V
The 24 Best Hotels in Paris
1. Four Seasons George V – 8th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 49 52 70 00
Classic five-star elegance in the glamorous Golden Triangle near the Champs Elysées. Beautifully appointed guest rooms feature Louis XVI-style furnishings, and the marble courtyard is decorated with stunning floral arrangements. Three Michelin-starred restaurants, luxurious pool and spa, private terraces, Eiffel Tower views.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Four Seasons George V
2. Shangri-La – 16th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 53 67 19 98
Stunning aristocratic home turned five-star hotel near the Eiffel Tower. Excellent Michelin-starred restaurants, elegant and sophisticated bar, beautiful pool with outdoor balcony, and spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower and Seine – especially from terrace suites.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Shangri-La
3. Relais Christine – 6th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 40 51 60 80
Charming Left Bank luxury boutique hotel set inside a former abbey. Quiet side street location, beautiful ivy-covered courtyard, and Guerlain spa. Garden suites have private terraces that open directly onto the hotel garden. Convenient St. Germain location near Notre Dame, the Latin Quarter, and the Seine.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Relais Christine
4. Mandarin Oriental – 1st Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 70 98 78 88
Family-friendly luxury in the heart of the city. Contemporary decor, terrace bar, elegant indoor pool and spa. There are special amenities and activities for kids, and the Penthouse Suite has three bedrooms, two terraces, and a gym. Great central location that’s walking distance from Place Vendome, The Louvre Museum, and Tuileries Gardens.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Mandarin Oriental
5. Le Bristol – 8th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 53 43 43 00
Old world luxury with lots of homey touches – like hotel cats and antique furniture. Beautiful courtyard garden, two Michelin-starred restaurants, top-notch concierge team. The whimsical rooftop indoor pool is fashioned to look like a yacht. Set among the chic shops on Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, steps from the Grand Palais.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Le Bristol
6. The Peninsula – 16th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 58 12 28 88
High-tech luxury in a peaceful 16th Arrondissement location. Amazing views of the Eiffel Tower from the rooftop Michelin-starred restaurant. The Katara Suite features a private rooftop garden with a panoramic city view. Located a short stroll from the Champs Elysee and Arc de Triomphe.
• Hotel website • Check prices for The Peninsula
7. Le Royal Monceau Raffles – 8th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 42 99 88 00
Five-star luxury hotel with an emphasis on contemporary art and three great restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Il Carpaccio. Indoor pool, cinema, and award-winning spa. Family-friendly, with hosted activities and workshops for kids. Steps from the Parc Monceau, with easy access shopping, the Arc de Triomphe, and Champs Elysees.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Le Royal Monceau Raffles
8. Saint James – 16th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 44 05 81 81
19th-century neoclassical chateau-hotel in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Striking decor, magnificent garden, spa, library bar, excellent terraced restaurant. In addition to rooms and suites, the Saint James also offers two private 3-story villas. Its quiet residential location is away from the action, but very near the Port Dauphine metro for easy access to the city sights.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Saint James
9. Grand Powers – 8th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 47 23 91 05
Stylish, boutique hotel with an all-day café/cocktail bar and a nourishing spa. The refreshed 1928 hotel offers family and pet-friendly rooms with marble bathrooms and elegant furnishings, most with Eiffel Tower views. Wonderful location just a block from Champs-Elysées, surrounded by high-end shopping, and only a 10-minute walk to the Arc de Triomphe.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Grand Powers
10. Hôtel Plaza Athénée – 8th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 53 67 65 36
Iconic 5-star Parisian luxury on genteel Avenue Montaigne, amid high-end shopping and haute couture. French Regency and Art Deco-style rooms, Dior spa, 5 restaurants overseen by award-winning chef Alain Ducasse, Eye-popping Eiffel Tower views. In the winter, there’s an ice skating rink in the hotel’s private garden. A 5-minute walk from Avenue Champs Elysées.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Hôtel Plaza Athénée
11. Maison Souquet – 9th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 48 78 55 55
Opulent Parisian townhouse next door to the Moulin Rouge. Luxurious Belle Époque decor, personalized butler service, Hermes toiletries, gorgeous grotto pool and spa. Intimate salons (formerly bardello rooms) are sumptuously done up in red velvet and feature a speakeasy-like cocktail bar. Located in up-and-coming South Pigalle, near Montmartre and the Blanche metro station.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Maison Souquet
12. Le Pavillon de la Reine – 3rd Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 40 29 19 19
Quiet luxury gem, located inside the historic Place des Vosges. Plush old-world furnishings and decor, peaceful garden courtyard, spa, cozy library, and fireplace lounge. Idyllic Marais location, close to sights, but removed from noise – a short walk to the Picasso Museum, Pompidou Centre, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Le Pavillon de la Reine
13. Le Meurice – 1st Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 40 29 19 19
Luxury palace hotel near Paris’ most popular tourist sites. Louis XVI-style decor with whimsical touches, award-winning restaurants, nightly live jazz in the hotel bar. The Belle Etoile Suite offers breathtaking 360-degree views from the rooftop terrace. Centrally located across from the Tuileries Garden, an easy walk from the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Le Meurice
14. Park Hyatt Vendôme – 2nd Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 58 71 12 34
Modern, five-star luxury in a privileged 2nd arrondissement location. Stylish, contemporary furnishings and art, and private terraces with Place Vendome views. Spa suites have their own steam room, whirlpool Jacuzzi, and dedicated massage table for in-room treatments. Prime location, close to high-end shopping, Place Vendome, the Opera, Tuileries, and Louvre.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Park Hyatt Vendôme
15. L’Hôtel – 6th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 44 41 99 00
Oscar Wilde’s last residence and Paris’ coziest 5-star hotel, located the heart of historic St. Germain-des-Prés. 20 opulent Baroque-style guestrooms feature ornate fabrics and wood panelling. The restaurant is Michelin-starred, the penthouse apartment has rooftop views of the city, and the amazing candlelit cave pool in the basement is reservable by the hour. Great location amid the galleries, cafes, and restaurants of the Left Bank.
• Hotel website • Check prices for L’Hôtel
16. Le Cinq Codet – 7th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 53 85 15 60
Luxury boutique hotel offering sleek, modern elegance in the chic 7th, near the Eiffel Tower and Rue Cler Market. Rooms feature ultra-modern décor, high ceilings, and wrap around bay windows. Fabulous restaurant, interior courtyard and patio, and 3rd-floor spa with hammam and outdoor jacuzzi. Great central location.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Le Cinq Codet
17. Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal – 1st Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 42 96 15 35
Sophisticated boutique hotel just off the Palais Royale, near the Louvre and Tuilleries Gardens. The hotel boasts breezy rooms with plenty of sunlight, many with balconies; suites on the 5th, 6th, and 7th (top) floors offer amazing views of Paris’ iconic landmarks, including Sacré-Coeur, the Louvre, or the Eiffel Tower. A charming restaurant and bar and spa with a hammam round out the experience.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal
18. Hôtel des Grands Boulevards – 2nd Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 85 73 33 33
Romantic, boutique hotel with a rooftop terrace bar, a courtyard patio bar, and a glassed-in restaurant, resembling a chichi greenhouse; the food and drinks are excellent. Rooms feature a playful blend of aristocratic style and rustic accents, all soundproofed, many with balconies. Situated near shopping, theaters, and within walking distance of Paris’ best-loved sights, including the Passage des Panoramas, Palais Garnier, and the Louvre.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Hôtel des Grands Boulevards
19. Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées – 8th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 44 13 33 33
Family-friendly, luxury apartments offering spacious 1 and 2-bedroom suites for up to 6 guests, all with full kitchen. Many add balconies, washing machines, and sweeping views over the Champs-Elysées and Eiffel Tower. Enviable location on the Champs-Elysées just a 2-minute walk to the George V metro station and a 10-minute walk to the Arc de Triomphe.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Fraser Suites
20. La Réserve Hotel & Spa – 8th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 58 36 60 60
Extravagant boutique hotel set in a Belle Époque mansion formerly owned by the Duke de Morny (Napoleon III’s stepbrother) and later by fashion designer Pierre Cardin. The hotel features a 2 Michelin Star restaurant, holistic spa with an indoor swimming pool and hammam, butler service, and a cozy library of historic books. All 15 rooms and 25 suites are all spacious, beginning at 40 sqm, with Carrera marble bathrooms. Ideally situated just steps from the Jardin des Champs-Elysées, Grand Palais, and luxury shopping.
• Hotel website • Check prices for La Réserve Hotel & Spa
21. Hôtel Chopin – 9th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 47 70 58 10
An affordable, boutique hotel in continuous operation since 1846, Hotel Chopin is located in the Passage Jouffroy, one of Paris’ oldest covered galleries. Rooms feature tasteful, traditional and antique décor, all with private bathrooms, desk, and fans, though without air conditioning. Its location inside the passage means it’s quiet at night, while being conveniently located just a 10-minute walk to the Royal Palace and Gardens and about a 15-minute walk to the Louvre.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Hôtel Chopin
22. Westin – Vendôme – 1st Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 44 77 11 11
Family-friendly, luxury hotel with wonderful restaurants, a cozy spa, and a 24-hour gym. Rooms and suites are all spacious, some with Eiffel Tower views. All suites comfortably sleep up to 3 guests, while the Presidential Suite sleeps 5. Set directly across the street from the Tuileries Garden, just 10 minutes on foot to the Louvre and Palais Garnier.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Westin – Vendôme
23. OFF Paris Seine – 13th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 44 06 62 65
Chic, floating hotel built in a barge docked on the Seine with a plunge pool, trendy restaurant, and hip bar. Rooms and suites feature contemporary décor with Dock Views (toward the Left Bank and Austerlitz station, a unique water view but with less of the river visible) or Seine Views (over the river toward the Right Bank). The restaurant serves homemade breakfast and brunch; the bar has live music weekly, with bands on Fridays and DJs on Saturdays. A short walk to the National Museum of Natural History and the Jardin des Plantes and its small zoo.
• Hotel website • Check prices for OFF Paris Seine
24. Pullman Tour Eiffel – 15th Arrondissement
Hotel phone: +33 1 45 78 50 00
Fantastic, upper-midrange hotel offering Eiffel Tower views from many room balconies and the rooftop bar. The one-bedroom suites and apartments can sleep a family of 4. Great location on the border of the 15th and 7th Arrondissements, just steps from the Eiffel Tower, Seine River, and Bir-Hakeim metro station.
• Hotel website • Check prices for Pullman Tour Eiffel
One of the trendiest neighborhoods in Paris, the Marais has a decidedly different feel than its notable neighbors on the Right Bank. The Marais’s identity is not defined by classic Parisian landmarks but by its reputation as the epicenter of Parisian cool. Fashionistas and foodies flock to the neighborhood’s tangle of alley-like streets which are constantly abuzz. Weekend afternoons are thronged with shoppers, darting in and out of fashionable boutiques or gallery goers taking in the latest exhibition. On a lazy Sunday, you’ll find the “BoBos” (bourgeois bohemians) brunching or enjoying the last rays of sunlight at an outdoor café. After dark, the neighborhood comes alive with chic Parisians filling the bars for an after-work apéro or dining at one of the area’s uber-cool eateries. For visitors who’ve checked off their sightseeing list, the Marais is the perfect place to understand Paris outside of the guidebooks. Though the tone of the neighborhood is slanted towards hip Parisians, the Marais’ diversity offers something for everyone. Along Rue des Rosier, you’ll see part of the city’s Jewish quarter and find traditional delis mixed with trendy boutiques – as well as the street’s most famous denizen, L’as du Fallafel, known for the best falafel in the world. In the area known as the Upper Marais, a broad swath located in the 3rd arrondissement, you’ll find the Marché des Enfants Rouges, a 17th-century market off the Rue de Bretagne. The marché is one of the most unique in Paris and is something of a cross between a farmer’s market and a food court with an array of cuisines to choose from including Moroccan couscous, Japanese bentos, and traditional French fare. For a brief respite, head to the historic Place des Vosges for a picnic on the grass or a stroll under the vaulted arches.
The Best Hotels in the Marais
- Pavillon de la Reine • Hotel phone: +33 1 4029 1919
- Hôtel Bourg Tibourg • Hotel phone: +33 1 42 78 47 39
- Hotel du Petit Moulin • Hotel phone: +33 1 42 74 10 10
- Hotel Jules & Jim • Hotel phone: +33 1 44 54 13 13
- Hotel Les Bains • Hotel phone: 33 1 42 77 07 07
The Best Restaurants in the Marais
- Breizh Café (Paris’ best crepes, casual ambiance, be prepared to queue)
- Marché Des Enfants Rouge (Food stalls with many options, outdoor seating, great for lunch)
- Le Mary Celeste (Hip and buzzy restaurant/oyster bar, small plates with Asian fusion accents)
- L’As du Fallafel (Affordable, fast-food falafel with a variety of vegetables and toppings)
- Les Enfants Rouges (Modern French, lively atmosphere, charming bistro with sophisticated dishes)
Saint Germain is one of the most popular areas of the city and with good reason. It epitomizes classic Paris and retains the timeless charm of the Left Bank while buzzing with a lively collection of galleries, restaurants, and jazz clubs. From the upscale shops that dot the bustling Boulevard Saint Germain to the aristocratic calm of the Jardin du Luxembourg, this quarter is popular with locals and tourists alike. Though the café culture that was popular with the artists, intellectuals, and writers of yesteryear still exists, the neighborhood is better known these days as one of the poshest parts of Paris. This distinction not only attracts a well-heeled crowd but also many of the biggest names in food and fashion. You’ll see nattily dressed shoppers at the smart boutiques near the crossroads at the Place Michel-Debré such as Tod’s and Christian Louboutin or heading down Rue Cherche Midi towards Le Bon Marché. Saint Germain also contains some of the city’s most reputable artisans and has arguably the highest concentration of Meilleur Ouvrier de France in Paris, an award only given to the best craftsmen, comparable to an Olympic gold medal and more coveted than a Michelin star. Saint Germain is chock a block and includes MOF chocolate makers, pastry chefs, florists, and chefs du cuisine. The denizens of this neighborhood are demanding and you’ll only find the best of the best. Though at times the area may feel overrun with tourists, the biggest advantage is that you’ll find many shops and restaurants open while other areas of the city lay quiet. An often-overlooked gem is the Marché Couvert Saint Germain, a covered market frequented by locals that houses some of the most distinguished vendors in the country including one of the best butchers in France. Sunday evenings are always a challenge for dinner, even in a cosmopolitan city like Paris. Head down the Rue de Seine and Rue de Buci where you’ll have plenty of options for a small nosh, dinner, or a nightcap.
The Best Hotels in Saint Germain
- Relais Christine • Hotel phone: +33 1 40 51 60 80
- L’Hotel • Hotel phone: +33 1 44 41 99 00
- Hotel Baume • Hotel phone: +33 1 53 10 28 50
- Hotel Bel-Ami • Hotel phone: +33 1 42 61 53 53
- La Villa Madame • Hotel phone: +33 1 45 48 02 81
The Best Restaurants in Saint Germain
- Semilla (Modern French, ingredient driven menu, easy going ambiance)
- Le Relais de L’Entrecôte (Family friendly, lively atmosphere, classic steak frites)
- Ze Kitchen Galerie (Classic French with Asian ingredients, modern décor with a friendly vibe)
- Le Comptoir du Relais (Unpretentious modern bistro, book months in advance for dinner or queue at lunch)
- Freddy’s (Modern French tapas, mixed crowd and relaxed ambiance)
The Latin Quarter
Though mostly known as the hub of student life in Paris, the Latin Quarter has much more to offer than lively bars and cheap restaurants. For frequent visitors, the quartier is the perfect place for those who seek classic Parisian charm and winding cobblestone streets while discovering a few new surprises along the way. Find a quiet corner away from the student hangouts and you’ll have access to some of the best food and architecture in the city. Base yourself near the Place Monge, a leafy square that hosts an open-air market three times a week and you’ll get some of the best fruits and vegetables in Paris. Nearby Rue Mouffetard provides plenty of local color and is bustling with specialty food shops, cafes, and restaurants. Further north, near the Place Maubert, you’ll be steps from the Notre Dame and the original shops of Laurent Dubois (cheese) and Eric Kayser (baguettes). You will also find some of the most diverse architecture in the city here. As Paris’s oldest district with streets dating back to the 16th century, the Latin Quarter has treasures from almost every era. From Roman ruins to the fortress-like Medieval museum, from the neoclassical Pantheon with its luminous dome to the architecturally innovative Institut du Monde Arabe, you’ll be set to discover a new side of the city.
The Best Hotels in the Latin Quarter
- Parc Saint Severin • Hotel phone: +33 1 43 54 32 17
- Les Dames du Pantheon • Hotel phone: +33 1 43 54 32 95
- Maison Colbert • Hotel phone: +33 800 91 91 30
- Hotel Le Petit • Hotel phone: +33 1 53 10 29 29
- Hotel La Lanterne • Hotel phone: +33 1 53 19 88 39
The Best Restaurants in the Latin Quarter
- Café de la Nouvelle Mairie (Small plates, classic French, fun and lively, open all day)
- Les Papilles (Wine shop & restaurant, classic French, good value, family style dining)
- Sola (French Japanese fusion, cozy setting, friendly service)
- La Tour D’argent (Haute cuisine, legendary reputation, great view of the Seine, very formal)
For first time visitors to Paris, the 7th is a perfect base for exploration. This arrondissement has everything you think about when you think of the City of Lights – the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, notable museums, beautiful architecture, charming markets, high-end shopping, and world-class restaurants. Situate yourself between the Champs des Mars and Invalides and you’ll be ideally positioned to enjoy some of the city’s most notable landmarks and neighborhood highlights. One, in particular, is the Rue Cler, a lively market street with numerous vendors selling cheese, fresh produce, wine, baguettes, and anything else you might need to eat a la Francaise. If the weather is nice, head to the banks of the Seine with the locals for an after-work apéro or picnic. The Berges de Seines, the area roughly between the Musee D’Orsay and Pont D’alma hosts a variety of options. A great spot is the Pont Alexander III bridge, one of the most beautiful Beaux-Arts bridges in Paris, where you’ll also have a view of the Grand Palais just across the river. During the day, the area is family friendly with multiple play spots for children such as a climbing wall and converted shipping containers turned into mini-exhibitions. The 7th is a fun, active area. If you’re clueless about where to stay then this is a great starting point. The Pullman is the best hotel near the Eiffel Tower (though technically just across the border in the 15th arrondissement).
The Best Hotels in the 7th
- Le Cinq Codet • Hotel phone: +33 1 53 85 15 60
- Cler Hotel • Hotel phone: +33 1 45 00 18 06
- Hotel Le Bellechasse Saint-Germain • Hotel phone: +33 1 45 50 22 31
- Hotel Montalembert • Hotel phone: +33 1 45 49 68 68
- Hotel Thoumieux • Hotel phone: +33 1 47 05 79 00
- Hotel Pont Royal • Hotel phone: +33 1 42 84 70 00
- Pullman Tour Eiffel • Hotel phone: +33 1 44 38 56 00
The Best Restaurants in the 7th
- David Toutain (Innovative French cooking, elegant yet casual ambiance)
- Café Constant (Classic French, good value, reservations not required)
- L’Ami Jean (Hearty Basque fare, casual and fun atmosphere)
- Arpège (3 star Michelin haute cuisine, unique emphasis on vegetables, jacket required)
- L’Atelier du Joël Rubochon (Relaxed fine dining, modern French cooking)
For the tourist who wants to live more like a local head to South Pigalle, the city’s most up-and-coming destination. Having shaken off the vestiges of its notorious red-light district, South Pigalle (or SoPi as it has recently been christened) has transitioned into one of Paris’s most desirable neighborhoods. The area literally south of Pigalle (or Boulevard Clichy) is particularly charming and out of the tourist throng. You’ll still be walking distance to the hills of Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur, but instead of wide Haussmann boulevards, you’ll find quiet tree-lined streets dotted with fashionable boutiques, cafes, and a thriving restaurant and bar scene. On weekend afternoons you’ll see families pushing baby strollers along the leafy Avenue Trudaine or heading to the park to watch their children play. Sacre Coeur looms in the distance, creating picture postcard scenes out of even the most everyday moments. That same square transforms every Friday evening into a lively farmers market with vendors who travel in from as far as the Loire Valley to sell some of the best farm-made cheeses, meats, and produce available. Rue des Martyrs, the main artery, is a foodie paradise with numerous award-winning shops dotting the drag including Sebastian Gaudard and Arnaud Delmontel. Shoppers will have their choice among the numerous boutiques that have been popping up, from the fashion-forward Maison Kitsune to one of a kind housewares at Le Rocketship. At night, denizens have a bevy of options for dining and bar hopping. Along the quaint Rue Henry Monnier, the NY based Buvette Gastrotheque has an outpost, or finish with a nightcap at the Grand Pigalle Hotel. And for the after-hours crowd, head to bars such as Le Carmen where you can dance in baroque salons until 6 am.
The Best Hotels in South Pigalle
- Maison Souquet • Hotel phone: +33 1 48 78 55 55
- Hotel Saint-Louis Pigalle • Hotel phone: +33 1 40 16 08 66
- Grand Pigalle • Hotel phone: +33 1 85 73 12 00
- Le Grey • Hotel phone: +33 1 55 31 93 93
The Best Restaurants in South Pigalle
- La Pantruchoise (Good value, classic French, friendly neighborhood feel)
- Buvette (Small plates, modern French, buzzy vibe and hip interior)
- Hotel Amour (Late night brasserie, trendy crowd, beautiful back garden)
- Les Affranchis (Neighborhood bistro, classic French with a modern twist)
- Le Bon George (Traditional French cooking with well sourced ingredients, popular with the locals)
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Top Travel Sites for Paris – My Recommendations
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Kayak is the easiest to use. Skyscanner finds the cheapest rates. Momondo is the best for first and business class tickets.
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My favorite for booking tours and private tour guides.
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Heading to Paris in mid-May with my 18 yr old daughter for graduation. Never been and excited to see everything! Is it best to stay in the 7th and be central? Or the 1st? Also looked at Marais. So much information I’m getting overwhelmed.
Those are all great areas. Stay in the Marais if you want a more local, non-touristy scene with lots of great places to eat. The 1st to be in the center of it all. And the 7th for a quieter (though still central) location.
Hi Dave. I was wondering if you can recommend the best non-touristy restaurants in Paris. Looking for something truly authentic and away from large crowds.
Thank you in advance.
As a general rule, you’re better off looking for restaurants away from some of the more touristy neighborhoods like the Marais and Saint Germain. So try the 7th (but away from the Eiffel Tower) or the Latin Quarter (away from Rue Mouffetard and Rue de la Huchette). Further out you have the 9th and 11th (with the 11th being known as a culinary destination in a vibrant part of Paris.) However, in terms of authentic, the way Parisians eat now is mostly small plates accompanied by natural wine and that’s a lot of what you’ll find in these up-and-coming areas. If you’re searching for more traditional fare or bistro food with a twist, try Le Bon Georges or Le Richer in the 9th. In between the two is a street called Rue des Martyrs which is known for food while being an upscale neighborhood with few tourists. Astier in the 11th is also very traditional or try Amarante in the 12th near Bastille. On the other side of the river, you’ve got L’Assiette in the 14th, another non-touristy arrondissement known for being relatively low-key and non-hipster.
My partner and I are travelling to Paris for the first time in May this year. We are both in our early 20s, but have no interest in partying, just enjoying nice food and a drink at dinner/nice bar for atmosphere. I have had a recommendation from a friend who lived in Paris to stay in the Marais area. We are going to spend 3 nights in Paris (is this enough to see the city – main tourist attractions?), and wanted to stay somewhere cheaper so we can splurge at other places over our 4 week trip. Sounds fussy but we usually stay in 4-5 star hotels, so don’t want somewhere that will feel gross or unsafe. I have been reading your posts and saw that you recommend Hotel Emile and Gardette Park Hotel in the Marais area for mid-budget (looking at spending no more than 300AUD per night), would you recommend these hotels for my situation/what one would you recommend me to choose? I am worried about general safety in Paris, is this area okay/these hotels safe?
Both are very nice hotels with some great restaurants within a short walk. This is a perfectly safe area.
I will be visiting Paris with my wife and kids – ages: 13, 9 and 7 – for five nights. I booked a Hotel in the 11th Arrondissement – Gardette Park. Based on this location and my kids ages, can you kindly share with us any suggestions and/or tips to make the most out our trip particularly for them. I am concerned that I might have picked wrong location.
It’s a great area with a handful of metro stations within a short walk of the hotel. There’s a nice park and playground right across the street and several good local (non-touristy) restaurants within an easy walk. It’s not right in the middle of all the tourist attractions – but you’ll have a more relaxed stay.
With the history of the Ritz, I’m surprised that the hotel didn’t make your top hotels list in Paris. As someone who will be in Paris in July, do you advise against staying there? It will be my first time in Paris.
There are many great hotels in Paris so just because it’s not on the list doesn’t mean it’s not wonderful. The Ritz was closed for four years of renovations recently which allowed it to drop off the radar a little. Between 2012-2016, the property spent $620 million to upgrade its facilities. Guests can now enjoy a huge new terrace, the luxury Chanel spa, and larger hotel rooms among other amenities. The legendary Bar Hemingway is still there, as is the afternoon tea service. It’s an excellent hotel in a prime location in the 1st arrondissement, close to the Palais Royale, the Louvre, and a short walk across the Seine to Saint Germain.
We are traveling to Paris in June and would like a recommendation for a private tour guide. This will be our first time to Paris and it will be 6 people.
I have heard good things about these private Paris tour guides – but have not used them myself.
Hello, your site is overflowing with information, unfortunately making my head swirl. We are headed to Paris December 30 to January 4 with two kids 12 & 14. We have so many points and miles that we are using them for the bulk of our trip. Is there a chain hotel (higher end) that you can recommend that would be good for a family of 4? We would like to be near the attractions and good food. We have tried the Hyatt but aren’t having any luck with points. Thanks in advance!!!
Both the Paris Marriott Champs Elysees Hotel and the Westin are centrally located and very family friendly.
Thank you for all your recommendations – they have made our trips to Europe so great utilizing all your recommendations. My husband and I are in our early 30s and are celebrating our anniversary the first 3 weeks of August in London, Santorini, Mykonos, and Paris. We are staying at Cavo Tagoo in Mykonos (4 days) & The Grace in Santorini (5 days) ending our trip in Paris for 3 nights. We are really unsure where to stay in Paris as it’s our first time. We are looking for a hotel that is superb – we would like to go to great restaurants, do some sightseeing, romantic walks, and possibly some nightlife. I am going back and forth from your recommendations between St Germain Des Pres and First (ie. Relais Christine or Ritz or Mandarin – no budget). Any help on recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
That’s a tough call as they are all great choices. Since it’s an anniversary trip and I’d think romantic setting is important, I’d choose the Relais Christine over the Ritz and the Mandarin. The Mandarin is fantastic, but more on the modern side and maybe not what I’d recommend for someone’s first trip to Paris. The Ritz is outstanding, and worth having a drink at the Hemmingway Bar, but it’s location on the Place Vendome, though beautiful, doesn’t have the same charm as the narrow cobblestone streets and tucked away gem feeling that the Relais Christine has. That said, there is a wonderful boutique hotel called the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal. Its hidden away off a small side street near the Palais Royal yet minutes away from the Louvre and other sights. Those would be the best choices for hotels since you are deciding between Saint Germain and the 1st. As far as the neighborhoods go, they are both equally matched. The 1st is great for restaurants (Spring, Verjus, Juveniles are all excellent) and it’s proximity to the cools bars in the Marais. However, Saint Germain, though it can get a bit touristy in some parts, has all the classic architecture and charm that people think of when they think of Paris. There are also excellent restaurants and wine bars there (Freddy’s, Semilla, L’Avant Comptoir) as well as the great jazz clubs. Since it’s your first time, Saint Germain might have a slight edge but you really can’t go wrong in either neighborhood.
I want to thank you for your amazing website and guidance! We spent our honeymoon in Greece (in Naxos, Santorini and Athens) and used your site for a lot of the planning. This year we’re headed to France for our one year anniversary and I wanted to know which hotel you prefer, Relais Christine or Hotel Bel-Ami? We were able to book a Superior room at Relais Christine, but I read the rooms are pretty small and it is pretty expensive for the dates we are going (mid-July), but we are willing to spend the money if it will be a memorable Paris experience. It will be my first time in Paris and France, so I am looking for a very “french/Parisian” trip!
I prefer the Relais Christine, however, it’s mainly because they have a beautiful garden in central Paris. My favorite rooms there are the garden suites which actually give you direct access, while other rooms have a balcony or terrace view of them. They also have some really charming touches like a cat that lounges around the hotel and other things that to try to make it more homey. However, if price is a driving factor for you, the Hotel Bel Ami is also a great hotel in a great location. If you are getting a better deal there, that might outweigh those other details. Size wise, you mentioned you booked a superior room at the Relais Christine which is approximately 22 sq. meters. (236 sq. ft). I hate to break it to you, but this is actually on the roomy side for Paris hotels which typically start at 15 sq. meters (160 sq. ft). So keep in mind the rooms will be much smaller than you are used to, especially in central Paris. At the Hotel Bel Ami, a superior room ranges between 19-23 sq. meters just to give you some perspective. I don’t know what the rates are for both the dates you want to stay but Relais Christine is definitely the more romantic and more “Parisian” of the two.
Great site. Used a lot of your info for my trip last year to Greece. We have 1.5 days in Paris and want to do a lot of sightseeing. Looking for a hotel room in a convenient location with balcony views of Eiffel Tower for less than $1,000 USD. Any recommendations?
You have a few options for hotels with a balcony and view of the Eiffel Tower, especially if you’re willing pay for it. If your budget is 1,000usd, and depending on the time of year, go with the Plaza Athénée. It’s an incredible luxury hotel and has a great location on Avenue Montaigne. (Along with the Champs Élysées and Avenue George V, this makes up Paris’s “Golden Triangle” of high end boutiques and luxury accommodation.) Should this end up exceeding your budget, the Shangri-La in the 16th is another excellent choice. In a former residence of Napoleon’s grandnephew, this property is like stepping back in time. It is near lots of great museums, the Seine and easy to get around with the metro but slightly further out than you might want to be. Your other options are in the 7th, which is a central and fairly low key district. A good area for first timers to Paris as you’re close to all the major sites as well as some outstanding restaurants. Hotel le Walt and Hotel Duquesne in the 7th are solid hotels and more budget friendly options than the other two. And lastly, you could try the Pullman. It’s the closest to the Eiffel Tower, so you’d have the best view. However, the location isn’t ideal. It’s a bit of a walk to the metro (if that’s how you’re planning to get around) and they are lines that don’t connect you to the center very well.
Thank you so much for all your information. WOW! Going to Paris next week with two 20 year olds. Amex recommended staying at Molitor Paris By MGALLERY Sofitel. Your thoughts. I do not mind spending money for a better hotel, looking for hip cool and really nice hotel for three people. Any suggestions for a trendy steak place would be helpful too.
Yes, the Molitor is very trendy but I have doubts about the area for two 20 year olds. Unless you plan to spend most of your time at the hotel itself, the 16th is fairly residential and a bit of a distance from many of the cooler parts of Paris. Better would be either the Marais, though a bit touristy, or South Pigalle which has really come into its own over the past few years. South Pigalle also borders the former red light district, so though it’s quite safe some people may be hesitant. In both of those areas you’ll have lots of hip boutiques, bars and restaurants to choose from. For hotels, a few favorites are the Pavillon de la Rein in the Marais, or the Grand Pigalle Hotel and Hotel Maison Souquet in South Pigalle. For a trendy steak place, probably the hippest one is Beef Club in the 1st. Great food and cool decor. Another option is L’Etable Saint-Germain, the restaurant of the famous French butcher Hugo Desnoyer. Not as hip as Beef Club but the quality of meat is exceptional and the vibe is still relaxed and friendly.
We are going to be in Paris for our anniversary in January from 3rd to 11th and planning to stay in 5th area at Hotel Monge on Rue Monge. Can you give some suggestions for this visit in Paris in January. We are going for the first time. Any suggestions for transportation from CDG to the hotel. Comments on the area we are planning to stay. Some suggestions for restaurants, mainly French cuisine. Sight seeing and museum suggestions in January in Paris. Thanks.
The quickest and cheapest way to get from CDG to central Paris is to take the RER train. These are the trains that serve the suburbs vs. the metro. It takes you to Gare du Nord in less than an hour and costs 10 euros per person each way. Otherwise it’s a 50 euro flat rate by taxi. The are you have chosen is great combination of classic French neighborhoods, interesting architecture, charming cobble stone streets and a mix of lively walking areas. Some are a bit touristy, as the Latin Quarter has a reputation for cheap student hangouts, but the nicest one is Rue Mouffetard. There you’ll find lots of cafes, restaurants, and specialty shops. There is also a small farmers market on that street and make sure you stop at Androuet, one of the best cheese shops in the city. Closer to you is a twice a week market at the place Maubert Mutualite. For restaurants in the 5th, I suggest Les Papilles, Sola, or Cafe de la Nouvelle Marie. For sightseeing, you’ll be within walking distance of the Cluny Museum, the Middle Ages museum built over Roman baths and worth a visit or the Pantheon which is a tomb honoring France’s most famous citizens. You’ll also be walking distance to all the literary treasures of Paris like Shakespeare and Co. book shop or the old haunts of Ernest Hemmingway.
First time to Paris in February. Will be there for 2 nights, what affordable hotel do you recommend ($125-$250 range)? Thanks,
The Gardette Park is one of my favorite affordable hotels in Paris. Nice location walking distance to the Marais. Good restaurants nearby with local vibe and few tourists. Highly recommended.
We will be making our third trip to Paris the last week in September. I noticed a big spike in hotel prices between Aug when the whole country is on vacation and September. Should I wait and try to book a better last minute deal or book now in mid August?
September is wonderful in Paris but insanely busy – book as soon as possible.
We have 2 different visits to Paris (3 days outbound to Rome, 1 full day on our way back home). For the first visit we are sightseeing. For the second visit we are shopping. What area of Paris would you recommend for shopping? We are two girls from New York in early 30s. We are mid-range shoppers, nothing too high end, but I guess don’t mind looking with a few splurges.
For shopping, your best area is the Marais. There is a mix of high end, mid-range, and local designers all within that neighborhood. Rue des Francs Bourgeois and Rue des Rosiers are standouts but you’ll have lots of options. It’s also worth checking out the department store BHV, which is where more French do their shopping vs. Galeries Lafayette. Galeries Lafayette and the area around it is also another worthwhile destination for the price point you’re talking about, but it is much more touristy. At BHV, to encourage international visitors, they’ll give you an automatic 10% discount if you show your foreign passport.
Your site is just amazing, I tend to research a lot when i travel but you have cut my research time drastically. Thank you for this.
My Husband and I will be visiting Paris for the first time for two days only. We fly into London for a few days then from London to Paris very early for just two days before we head out to Hamburg. We want to do high end shopping, eat fantastic french breakfast and pastries, and browse through the Louvre and other top museums.
For our specific needs which area would you recommend and what hotels that aren’t too pricey but still fantastic?
For the things you’ve described I would suggest somewhere in the 1st arrondisement. The most popular choices are the Marais and Saint Germain but they are also the most pricey. In the 1st you are walking distance to great shopping, the Louvre, and sights like Notre Dame but also in an area with good bar and restaurant options. While I’d recommend Rue Saint-Honore for high end shopping, the hotels on that street are going to be pretty pricey (Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Costes, etc.) One favorite is the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal because it’s tucked away yet right next to the pretty and not overly touristy Palais Royal. There you’ll have several charming cafes and pastry shops to choose from for your morning coffee. (Just note, the French don’t typically do elaborate breakfasts and it’s usually coffee with a croissant or pain au chocolat.) If you’re really on a budget, you can always try the Hotel Chopin in the 2nd. It’s another tucked away place inside one of Paris’ old covered galleries with rooms starting at 87 euros. You’re still walking distance to most things and you’ll also have great metro connections. You’ll be close to Galeries Lafayette, and a short metro ride to the high end shopping on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, Avenue Matignon, and the department store Le Bon Marche.
Hi Dave – my wife and I are traveling to Paris this summer and looking for a 5 star hotel that’s lively with good bar and reception area for relaxing. Food and dinner options aren’t that important as we plan to eat out for our meals. What would you recommend from your top list. I’m think the Mandarin is the best option. Would you agree? Any thoughts on the Ritz post remodel?
There are a number of 5 stars with lively bars and reception areas. Some favorites are the George V with its fabulous outdoor terrace and the Peninsula with its rooftop perch and views of the Eiffel Tower. Le Bristol is another good one for its lovely garden, one of the largest in Paris. The Bar 8 at the Mandarin Oriental does have a nice outdoor space too, plus a great location in the 1st. It’s more modern than other options in the same category. I lean towards the Ritz for liveliness, central location, classic Parisian appeal, and the excellent Bar Hemingway. Headed by Colin Field, many consider him to be the best bartender in the world.
Hi! We (hubby, 19 year old daughter & myself) will be visiting Paris from May 6-14 and will be staying at a hotel in the 9th arrondissement.
Just a few questions:
1. You’ve recommended getting the carnet (good for 10 rides) instead of buying single tickets. Is there such a thing as “one week unlimited” or using same ticket for “transfers” like they have in New York City?
2. Is Uber readily available in Paris? In some cities around the world, they operate in limited capacity.
3. I understand that there will always be a crowd when visiting Versailles. But, is it really worth to see the water fountain/light show available on Tuesdays for us to brave the crowd? Or should we just visit on Wednesday when there’s less crowd?
4. As we happen to be in Paris on the 1st Sunday of the month, we could avail of free entries to certain museums. I’ve narrowed it down to four: the Pompidou, the Cluny, Musee d’Orsay and the Musee de quai Branly. Too much for one day? How would you do this, where do we start/end? Preferably end near the Eiffel Tower as we plan to get on the Vedettes de Paris Siene river cruise because my husband can go on board for free as it’s his birthday.
1. For transfering on the metro, they don’t allow you to exit and re-use the same ticket. You will need to go to specific stations where various lines connect. For example if you look at the Paris metro map, stations with connecting lines are indicated. There is a pass good for one week called “Navigo.” It costs €22.15 for unlimited rides throughout central Paris, plus €5 to purchase the card itself. You can get them at most ticket windows in the metro stations and you will need a photo that is slightly smaller than passport size (3cm x 2.5cm) that gets fixed to the card. The main thing to know is that the Navigo pass is good only from Mondays to Sundays. Meaning that if you bought yours on the Saturday you arrive, it will literally expire the next day at midnight. So you’ll have to wait until Monday May 8 to buy it and be able to use it for the full week.
2. Uber is readily available in Paris and works just like it does in the US. They also have a flat rate to CDG airport of €45, which is slightly cheaper than the €50 flat rate taxis charge.
3. The water fountain/light show is worth seeing, and the upside is you’ll be there in May when it’s not as crowded as it is in the height of summer.
4. Four museums in one day is pretty ambitious and I would narrow it down. It really depends on what you’re interested in seeing, but I’d say the two you should definitely visit are the Centre Pompidou and the Musee D’Orsay. Personally, I’d start at the Centre Pompidou but choose only one or two exhibits. Then I’d head over to the Musee D’Orsay where you can easily see the entire museum in about 2 hours. And then I’d squeeze in the Musee Quai Branly which is next to the Eiffel Tower.
Dave, We are trying to decide between Hotel Castille and Westin Vendome for our 1st trip to Paris. Do you have an opinion on these two properties. We understand they are both in a good location. However in reading posted reviews we are unable to see a clear winner.
James & Mary
It’s a tough call but go with the Hotel Castille. Though both are in the same neighborhood, the Hotel Castille is in a quieter part of the 1st while the Westin is located off Rue de Rivoli which sees a lot of car and foot traffic. The area around the Westin, though it has the advantage of being closer to the Tuileries, feels more commercial and touristy than Rue Cambon. Since they are both roughly in the same area, you’ll still have the same access to great restaurants and shops with high end shopping along the Rue Saint Honore and the Galeries Lafayette just a 15 minute walk to the north.
Hey Dave, I have two reservations on booking.com! Hotel Regina and Relais Christine. Relais is a bit more expensive with smaller rooms apparently but I notice you list it on your top 15. Again, first timers coming for our anniversary in April. Which one do you think would be best? I need to cancel the other once I see your reply. Thanks so much!
Both locations are excellent, so it’s a tough call. If price and room size are important factors, than the Hotel Regina does offer better value. Relais Christine’s rooms, though newly renovated, are typical for Paris and small by American standards. If you think you need more space and can’t opt for a superior room (or the luxurious garden suites) than the Hotel Regina is a terrific choice. In general, I think the area around Hotel Regina and the rue de Rivoli is slightly busy with lots of traffic and pedestrians. I wouldn’t call it romantic, but it’s an unbeatable area if sightseeing is your priority because you’re so close to the Louvre, across the street from the Tuileries, etc. Try to get one of their rooms with a view. Since this is for an anniversary, the more romantic choice is Relais Christine. You’re still walking distance to lots of sights like Notre Dame, but the immediate area feels more isolated and charming, with winding cobble stone streets and the hotel itself is set off a courtyard. Both areas have great nightlife and restaurants close by with the Hotel Regina having better transportation links.
What hotel has the coolest bar in Paris – looking for character, history, great drinks.
Bar Hemingway at the Ritz is pretty damn cool.
Hey Dave. Thanks for all the great information. Le Clef Louvre or Hotel Regina? Anniversary trip for Paris first timers! They are about the same cost so just let me know what you think. Thanks! Chris
It’s a tough call. Since they are only a few blocks away from each other, there isn’t a significant difference location wise. One thing to consider is that the Hotel Regina is on Rue Rivoli, a bustling street that constantly has traffic and pedestrians. Not the most romantic area unless you are able to score one of their rooms with a view. That would probably be the biggest advantage to staying there. La Clef Louvre as you know are serviced “suites” and even the smallest one (27sq m), though closer to a typical American sized hotel room, is nearly twice the size of most hotel rooms in Paris. So if you feel like you’ll want more space and be in a slightly quieter location, then go for La Clef. You’ll also be right by the garden of the Palais Royal, which is enjoyed by both tourists and Parisians. There are lots of quaint cafes there but the best coffee is at Cafe Kitsune. And just up the street from you on Rue Richelieu are three fabulous restaurants, Juveniles which is hearty French style home cooking, Ellsworth which is more refined, and Verjus if you want something more fancy. All are pretty reasonably priced.
Dave, Thanks for you last response to my email. Man, shopping for hotels in Paris is 10 times harder than NYC! There seem to be so MANY beautiful hotels to choose from and I still have not booked anything for our upcoming anniversary trip in April. With that said, I need to make a move so one last question: For best hotel accommodations, service, LOCATION, and relaxed atmosphere I have selected: Grand Hotel Palais Royal, Relais Christine, Splendide Royal, or St. James??? My friend just came back and said the best location is near Rue de Rivoli? Your expertise will help me make my final decision so really appreciate everything and I am sure we will be happy with what decide. Thanks Dave!
Your friend probably said Rue de Rivoli because of its location, but it really depends on your trip. For example if your primary goal was sight seeing, I would agree with them. The 1st can’t be beat if you want to walk to the Louvre, the Palais Royal, Tuilleries Gardens, Place Vendome, etc. There are also lots of excellent restaurants in that area. However, I wouldn’t pick that area for a romantic anniversary trip. Most of the 1st is defined by those big, vast spaces I mentioned and it doesn’t have the same quaint, cobblestone street, neighborhood feel that other areas have. It’s very commercial by comparison and Rue de Rivoli is a bustling street with lots of traffic. The Grand Hotel Palais Royal is one of the few exceptions and is tucked away in a pedestrianized area. The immediate area of the hotel is very charming and it’s great to be close to the Palais Royal. I would say it’s between this and the Relais Christine, with a slight lean towards the Relais Christine if this is for your anniversary. The hotel itself is tucked away through a courtyard and already in a quaint area with lots of winding cobblestone streets. If you can spring for one of the garden rooms, even better, because you’ll have your own private outdoor space. (And as a side note, they keep their own bees and use the honey at breakfast!) The location is also excellent since it’s the best of both worlds: it feels a little off the beaten path but you are 5 minutes walk from Notre Dame, great restaurants, the more lively parts of Saint Michel, etc.
Dave, Great website my friend and has made me feel much more at ease in planning a 4 day trip to Paris in Early April. This will be the first time into Paris and my wife’s dream vacation! We are in our late 30’s and looking to get 4 full days of sights, history, shopping, etc. I have 3 questions and thanks in advance for your advice/suggestions for us virgin Paris tourists:
1) Which hotel is the most French authentic, extravagant, best location for touristy stuff, must stay at hotel? We are into more classical, traditional versus trendy, and modern. (Relais Christine, L’Hotel, Hotel D’ Aubusson, Grand Hotel Du Palais Royal.)
2) We plan on hitting up the Loire Valley as well as the Champagne region. Is this possible to tackle most of Paris, Loire Valley, and Champagne region in 4 days (Wednesday-Sunday).
3) Do you know much about Charms and Secrets motorized bike tour? Looks great and is what we planned on doing the first minute we land in Paris.
Thanks so much and hope to hear from you!
1. Of the hotels you mention, I lean towards the Grand Hotel because of its fantastic location off the Palais Royal. It’s off a quiet, pedestrian street and you have the beautiful garden and quaint cafes of the Palais Royal close by. You’re walking distance to many big tourist sites and some fantastic restaurants are in that part of the city. You’ll also have great metro connections for traveling around. Of course, if you really wanted to be extravagant and budget is not an issue, I’d suggest any of the “palace” hotels. This is a category that distinguishes the top tier 5 star hotels and there are several in Paris. They include Le Bristol, the George V, Le Meurice, Plaza Athenee, and the Shangri-La. The Shangri-La used to be the residence of Napoleon’s grand nephew and many rooms have Eiffel Tower views. Otherwise Le Bristol is another good option for very classical French decor, central location, and it even has a small pool.
2. In reality, you have closer to 3 days as many things are closed on Sundays in France. Paris and the more touristy areas have gotten much better about this in recent years, but be sure to plan accordingly. Champagne is an easy day trip and about a 45 minute train ride. It’s possible to do one or two cellar visits and tastings without renting a car. The Loire Valley is a little more tricky and really depends on what you want to do. If you want to see the chateaux, you’ll need a car and at least a day. Or if you just wanted to explore a charming town, I’d suggest Amboise. It’s about a 2 hour train ride from Paris and is known for its Sunday morning market, the Chateau d’Amboise and Leonardo Da Vinci’s final home.
3. There are many bike tours in Paris to take and though I’ve heard good things about Charms and Secrets, I would just ask how comfortable you are riding an electric bike in traffic. It’s different than riding a normal bike because they are much heavier and on some models the motorized part effects your ability to start and stop. Most people get the hang of it quickly though.
My wife and I will be in Paris from September 16-23 this year. Where would be a good area to stay? We are both 58 and healthy and love great food and history. I’m into craft beer and don’t know what it is like in Paris. Going to Jimmy Buffett at La Cigale on 21st. My wife loves Monet, so spending a day and will visit Giverny. Thanks, JoLynn and Jeff
There are lots of choices for areas to stay but the most popular tend to be Saint Germain or the Marais. The Marais is known for being very hip, with lots of cool restaurants and trendy boutiques and galleries. Other visitors love Saint Germain because it combines beautiful architecture with a mix of culture and nightlife. These also tend to be the more expensive areas of Paris, but rooms generally start around 150 euros/night so they are still within your budget. The area around La Cigale is up and coming, and it leans towards a much younger crowd with mostly bars and clubs. Since it sounds like you want a mix of culture and food you might also consider the 1st where you’ll be walking distance to the Louvre, the Tuilleries Gardens as well as top restaurants like Verjus and Spring. And if you love history, you’re in luck because the “Journees du Patrimoine” (Heritage Days) will be happening the weekend of Sept. 16-17. This is the weekend when numerous sites that are normally off limits do a city-wide open house to allow people a behind the scenes look at many of the historical and cultural institutions around town. Some events you can just stand in line for while others require advance booking. The official government website hasn’t put any info up yet, but you can get an idea here.
We are visiting Paris for the first time in February for 7 days. What area/hotel would you recommend that are in the $200-$300 per night price range? Also, what would you recommend for us to see and experience as first timers in Paris? Besides the Eiffel Tower, Louvre etc. Me and my wife are both in our mid thirties. Can you please recommend any restaurants that serve authentic French cuisine and are not tourist “traps”.
Thank you so much in advance, absolutely love you site! Your site definitely tops all others on Paris recommendations.
As first timers in your mid-thirties, I think you would appreciate the Marais. It’s very central, walkable to many notable landmarks and museums like Notre Dame and Centre Pompidou, but has lots of options for nightlife and dining. It’s an area known for being very hip, so if you want to take a break from the crowds at the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, you can pop into some fantastic art galleries or shop at boutiques filled with local designers. Hotel-wise, you’ll have a lot to choose from in the price range you mentioned and one standout is Le Pavillon de la Reine. It’s tucked away through an almost secret entrance off the famous Place des Vosges yet just a two minutes away from bars, restaurants, and shopping. As for what to see, museums like the Musee D’Orsay and Centre Pompidou are excellent and less crowded than the Louvre. You might also consider taking a river cruise along the Seine. There are numerous companies to choose from but a good one is the Vedettes du Pont Neuf and tickets start at only 14 euros. If you do stay in the Marais, be sure to check out the Marche des Enfants Rouges, a great collection of small eateries and vendors popular with Parisians. As for restaurants serving authentic French cuisine, there are a few I’d suggest where a lot of tourists go but I wouldn’t classify them as tourist traps. Bistrot Paul Bert is a classic and has fantastic food but you’ll see both Parisians and tourists. Same with Cafe Constant in the 7th. They don’t take reservations so you’ll have to wait on line. If you really want to eat where the locals go, the most happening area is the 11th (just next to the Marais). Restaurants like Aux Deux Amis, Clown Bar, and Au Passage are where chefs go to eat on their night off. Septime and Le Chateaubriand are also extremely popular. Just be warned that these sorts of restaurants focus on serving small plates meant to share and/or a set menu.
Hi, we are traveling in early November to Paris and are thinking about staying near the Louvre. We are trying to decide between hotels and Grand Hotel du Palais Royal seems like a candidate but I couldn’t find a lot of information on this hotel other than from hotel booking sites. Any opinions about this hotel or other suitable alternatives around that area?
The Grand Hotel du Palais Royal is a fantastic hotel and one of the few I’d recommend in that area. You are literally steps away from the Palais Royal and the Rue de Valois almost feels like an extension of it. The small surrounding streets are quiet and almost see no traffic. In fact you might see Parisian children playing near by on their way to the gardens or while their parents are having a coffee at the cafe just across from the hotel. Inside the grounds of the Palais Royal are several spots to have a drink or enjoy some of the best coffee in Paris at Cafe Kitsune. The only other hotels in that area that are in the same category (Mandarin Oriental, Le Meurice, etc.) are also wonderful but Rue Saint Honore and especially Rue Rivoli see a lot of foot and car traffic. The Grand Hotel du Palais Royal is kind of a hidden gem and also has the benefit of being about a ten minute walk from some excellent restaurant options like Verjus, Ellsworth, or Juveniles.
I’m planing a visit to Paris at the beginning of October. I’ll be arriving to Orly Sud airport and probably staying at the Hotel L’Antoine On Rue de Charonne near Bastille (11th). First time in Paris. Can you help me with some tips:
1. What is the best way to get from Orly to my hotel? Don’t mind using public transport as long as it is comfortable for hauling a couple of suitcases.
2. What do you think about Hotel L’Antoine? How about the area?
3. Do museums get really crowded on the first Sunday of the month?
4. Any good restaurants for a nice dinner that is not too expensive?
5. What would be the top three tips for first time Paris visitor (or things to do, not usually get covered on the guides)?
Thanks for your help, it is really appreciated.
1. The cheapest and most direct way by public transport is to take the RER B to the stop “Antony” and connect to the dedicated Orlyval shuttle train. It will cost you about 12 euros and the RER trains run about every 10 minutes, with the Orlyval shuttle running about every 7 minutes. Once you’re on the Orlyval, travel time between Antony and Orlyval Sud is approximately 8 minutes. From there you’ll have to transfer at the Chatelet metro stop to the line 1 to get off at Bastille. The easiest way it, of course, to take a taxi from just outside the arrivals hall.
2. I have not stayed at the Hotel L’Antoine personally, but the area is great. You’ll have lots of options nearby and be in a lively area of Paris not frequented by tourists. I would suggest exploring the area around the Ledru-Rollin metro rather than Bastille. Be sure to have one of the best croissants at Ble Sucre, and visit the Marche D’Aligre and the Promenade Plantee (the inspiration for New York City’s Highline.) The Marche in particular has lots of great local spots near it like the Baron Rouge wine shop. On Thursdays and Sundays check out the big Bastille farmer’s market which is also walking distance from your hotel. It will be slightly more expensive and touristy than the one at Marche D’Aligre, but it will have more variety.
3. Museum attendance really depends on the season rather than the specific day. October is definitely a less touristy time than the summer months and if you’re worried about crowds just plan your visit for the mornings or early evenings.
4. The 11th has tons of great restaurants and many are close to your hotel. The best is Septime and for 30 euros you can eat a michelin star lunch. You need to book early though. If you can’t get in, just next door they have a seafood restaurant called Clamato. They don’t take reservations and focus more on small plates you share (like tapas). Each plate is roughly between 7-14 euros and plan to get at least two or three. The food is also excellent at Restaurant Will. The 3 course lunch menu is a steal at 19 euros and the dinner menu is a reasonable 45 euros. You can also order a la carte. The food there is more modern French so if you want something more traditional head to Bistrot Paul Bert. You will need to book at least a few days in advance but dinner should be roughly around 40 euros – 50 euros per person.
5. One of the little known things you can do in Paris is to take a hot air balloon ride. It operates out of the Andre Citroen park in the 15th and for 12 euros you beat the crowds (unlike the Eiffel Tower) and take in some magnificent views of the city. The whole thing lasts about 15 minutes but it’s really worth it. Other tips would be to always check opening times of shops and restaurants. Unlike most countries, restaurant kitchens generally close between 3-7pm (unless you are in a touristy area), many shops (including department stores) are closed on Sundays, or if they are open on a Sunday they may take their day off on a Monday or Tuesday. It’s also common for smaller shops to close during the day for lunch or a siesta (even in Paris). And if a shop says it closes at say 8pm, arrive at least 20 minutes beforehand because it’s possible they might close the doors at 7:45pm in order for workers to leave at 8pm. One last tip is to always greet the shopkeeper with a “bonjour” or a “merci, au revoir” when you enter and leave a store. It’s not a commonly known fact, but the French consider shops personal space much they way they do their own home so not saying hello to the shopkeeper is considered highly rude. In most countries we are so used to anonymous shopping but the French, especially the smaller shops, require a little more civility. Don’t worry that you are engaging them for help or someone will start trying to sell you something, it’s just a formality. Also understand that in France there is more emphasis on being served rather than self-serve, so saying hello first will ensure a friendlier experience.
I really want to thank you for your help, it really means a lot!
All the best
Hello. We are coming to Paris for the first time during the last week of August for 4 nights. We’re looking for a great hotel (good decor, nice, comfortable rooms, a hip vibe) that is reasonable. Do you have any specific recommendations? Would Marais be a good area to stay in for the first time in Paris, or do you recommend St. Germain? I’m open to any specific hotels you recommend. There are so many great options, I’m not sure where to stay. Thanks!
There are many options but if hipness is important to you, stay in the Marais. You’ll be in one of the coolest neighborhoods in Paris with lots of activity even at the end of August (when most stores are shut down for the yearly month long vacation.) Because of its popularity and central location, it can get a little pricey. One good option is the Hotel Emile, a boutique hotel on rue Mahler in the heart of the Marais. You’re near the Saint Paul Metro, the Place des Vosges, and great restaurants and shopping. Rooms start around 120 euros/night which is reasonable for the area and breakfast is included. If you wanted something even more upscale, check out the 4 star Hotel du Petit Moulin Paris. It’s very charming and rooms start at 160 euros. They are in the Upper Marais and you’ll be close to the fantastic Marche des Enfants Rouges, a casual farmer’s market with a mix of different food stalls, as well as lots of bars like Candelaria. If you’re on a limited budget, other hips areas to check out which will be cheaper are the Canal Saint Martin area or South Pigalle. Saint Germain will be the most pricey since its known as a posh neighborhood.
I am looking for a September/October visit to Paris and I am overdosing on all the travel sites, trying to find the most appropriate location and hotel. Thankfully I stumbled on to your site! I admit I know nothing about Paris, but my better half dreams of a romantic trip to Paris. So, while there are innumerable nice hotels, I do not wish to grab one just because it is nice or fancy, I can find one of those anywhere in the world. Mid-range and up is fine. I wish it to have a Parisian flair so she can truly embrace the moment and I can see her eyes light up..
Just to provide a cultural background, I have lived in the U.S. my whole life, she has lived in Argentina and Mexico, and unfortunately neither of us speak French. But we enjoy museums, the theater, music, history, food and wine and wish to soak up the local culture. We walk everywhere, so do not necessarily need to be near subways. Ideas on the appropriate area or hotels? Remember – accent on romantic! I imagine this will be the first of many trips, so relaxing and getting a feel for the city is what is on the list.
If you’re planning a visit to Paris around that time, try to avoid Paris Fashion Week (Sept. 27 – Oct. 5). It’s possibly the busiest time of the year with hotels sold out, restaurants packed, and more crowds than usual. Since the emphasis of your trip is romance, I’d suggest a few areas. Saint-Germain-des-Prés would probably be your best bet because you’ll have access to lots of local culture, history and nightlife but can choose a hotel that’s tucked away and off the beaten path. One such place is the Hotel Christine. It’s on the border of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter. It’s on a quiet side street and the immediate area is quite charming. You’ll have the best of both worlds – small intimate alleyways but only a 5 minute walk to the Seine, Notre Dame Cathedral and the bars, restaurants, and jazz clubs that the neighborhood is known for. You’re also walking distance to the Louvre and the Musee D’Orsay. Another possibility, though not as central, is the 16th. There are a few hotels in Paris that are truly special like the Shangri-La, the former residence of Napoleon’s grandnephew and the Saint James, the only chateau hotel in the city. Both are incredibly romantic and the Shangri-La provides views of the Eiffel Tower. They both offer a unique luxury experience and are also close to the Seine, museums like the Palais Tokyo and Foundation Louis Vuitton, and the Champs Elysees.
Thank you. Your site is informational and precise, without all the fluff found elsewhere. It is a life-saver. Enjoy your summer.
Hello, your site has given me so many tips for our upcoming trip to Paris with our two sons (9&7). I just tried to pre-book tickets to go to the summit of the Eiffel Tower and there is no availability! We are in Paris 25th-29th June. Any suggestions for getting tickets? Thanks in advance.
Tickets for the summit go quickly. One tip you can try is to buy tickets for the second floor. Those usually have a few available and once you get to the second level you can opt to buy tickets to the summit. There will be another line, but it will be much shorter than the one on the ground.
What hotel has the best view of the Eiffel Tower? We’re flexible with specific location and could be anything 3 star or above as long as it’s nice.
If you want something really special, than the Shangri-La would be my top pick. The rooms are spacious with several rooms having direct views of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. Some rooms even have wrap around balconies. It’s a 5 star hotel in the former residence of Napoleon’s grandnephew and the whole property has a very royal feel. If you’re looking for something in a different budget there are a few others to consider. Both the Pullman Hotel and the Mercure Centre are right by the Eiffel Tower with stunning views. The Pullman is a little nicer and prices reflect that ($250/night) vs the Mercure which starts around $190/night. The best value for money hotels will be the Hotel Duquesne and the Hotel Jardins d’Eiffel. You’ll be slightly further away but still have a few rooms offering nice views. Room prices are more reasonable and start around $130/night.
Are there any hotels that are inexpensive but still quite nice? Or, if you want cheap do you just have to take a basic budget no-frills hotel? I’m looking for a room under $100/night and would love something with some character.
If you’re looking for a good hotel that’s reasonably priced you can definitely find one. Hotels have been hurting since November and many have discounted their rack rate, sometimes even by half. So there’s plenty of deals now even at the 4 star and 5 star level. If you’re really focused on good deals it would be wise to avoid peak times like Paris Fashion Week going on from September 27 to October 5, when rooms will be in high demand. As for specific hotels, I’ll give you a few suggestions. One of the newest and coolest hotels in Paris is called Generator. Technically it’s a hostel, but don’t let that put you off. They do offer shared rooms, like a hostel, but their private rooms start at around 88 euros and one of them even has a private terrace. The views from the rooftop are fantastic and the rooms are spacious, hip, and well designed. If you’re looking for something more “Parisian,” you can try the Hotel Chopin. The Hotel Chopin is a 2 star and has tons of charm. First, it’s inside one of the oldest covered galleries in Paris, tucked away inside the Passage Jouffroy. It’s a little hidden gem and rooms start at 87 euros. Depending on when you’re traveling, there can be summer deals from July 11 to the end of August. There are a few passages in that area and all are worth exploring. Just across the street is the Passage des Panoramas which is especially known for it’s restaurants and cafes like Coinstot Vino, and Cafe Stern. In fact, you’ll have better luck with hotel prices in this area vs. the more touristy destinations like Saint Germain. One great moderately priced hotel in Saint Germain is the 3 star Hôtel Europe Saint Séverin. Rooms start at 120usd, but they have deals all the time through booking.com and hotelscombined.com. The best part is the location, as you’ll be an easy walk to Notre Dame, the Luxembourg Gardens, and the shops and cafes of Saint Germain.
Love your website! Filled with tons of info. Thank you so much. Still have a question for you.
I am traveling with my 10 yr old daughter in the middle of July. We will be doing the Beyonce concert at Stade de France in Saint-Denis. Since I barely saw France over 10 years ago, I consider myself a first timer, so as suggested, I’d like to stay in the 7th Arrondissement. I’d like to do the Fat Tire Bike Tour of the city, and Paris by Mouth tour (thinking the Marais/Saint Germaine). Is the 7th central enough for these activities that we won’t spend most of our time commuting? I am comfortable riding the trains. Will we be able to take the train after the concert or would it be best to travel by cab at night? The latter part of our trip we will be spending at Disneyland.
The 7th is a wonderful arrondissement to stay in and very central to all the activities you asked about. You’ll have no problem getting around and any commuting would be minimal. For the Fat Tire Bike Tours, it depends on which tour you take but the Eiffel Tower tour meets at their office in the 7th and the Paris Day Bike tour meets near by at the Dupleix Métro station. For Paris by Mouth, both areas and tours are great but since you are categorizing yourself as a first timer I’d lean towards the Saint Germain route. You’ll walk through one of the more classical Parisian neighborhoods (vs. the Marais which is more trendy) and though they both follow a similar format (bread, cheese, wine, chocolate, etc.) the vendors in Saint Germain have more historical significance and pedigree. The bonus is that the meeting point for that tour is walking distance from most parts of the 7th. It’s good that you’re comfortable riding the trains as they are a quick and easy way to get around Paris and neighboring places like Disneyland and the Stade de France. The Stade de France in particular is well served by train and you can access it by either the RER B (roughly a 10 min walk to the stadium), the RER D (about a 15 min walk) and the metro line 13 (between 5-10 min). If you can, take the line 13 as metro trains run more frequently than RER trains which serve the suburbs and operate on a fixed schedule. Both the metro and RER run past midnight and should be fine to take back after the concert. The only thing is that it will be crowded after the concert lets out and if you don’t feel like dealing with throngs of people trying to cram into a train you might be better off taking a taxi or Uber, which works the same in Paris as it does in the US. For Disneyland, your best bet is to take the RER A and if you’re coming from the 7th, your best place to catch it would be the Auber station in the 8th (just across the river). Other convenient spots would be at Charles de Gaulle Etoile (near the Arc de Triomphe) or Chatelet in the 1st.
We (24 &27 years old couple) are going to Paris in May for about 3-4 days then heading to Barcelona for a few days and then we come back Friday and our flight is Saturday. We are already visiting the Palace of Versailles earlier that week. We land early morning on Friday and want to know what are good day trips outside of Paris? Everything like Bordeaux seem too far of a train ride. I would rather skip Disneyland and find something else to do.
Thank you. Amrit
There are plenty of options for day trips around Paris, all within about an hour outside of the city. Versailles is one of the most popular, so prepare for it to be crowded. It will be packed in May and especially between 10am-1pm, so try to plan your visit either on the early side or later in the afternoon. If you’re interested in chateaux, a few others in the Paris region are Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau, and Chantilly. Compared to Versailles, they are all going to be significantly less crowded and each is very unique. Vaux-le-Vicomte is stunning with beautiful gardens, Fontainebleau is set in a charming town with a large forest, and Chantilly has a great selection of artwork. Since you’ll be there in May, Monet’s Garden in Giverny will be in full bloom and also a terrific day trip. The house contains numerous pieces of Monet’s paintings while the garden is full of water lilies and colorful flowers. It’s in a picturesque part of Normandy and the neighboring village of Vernon has lots of charming architecture, half-timbered houses, and a fun farmers market. The Champagne region, where you can take tours of many of the most famous Champagne houses like Taittinger and Veuve Clicqout, is also only 45 minutes from Paris with direct trains leaving from Gare de L’est to Reims several times a day.
We’ve heard good things about the Best Westerns in Paris and are trying to decide between the Best Western Paris Gare Saint Lazare, the Best Western Paris Louvre Opera, and the Best Western Hotel Montmartre Sacré-Coeur. Any recommendations and which one has the best location for general sightseeing?
Hands down, you should stay at the Best Western Paris Louvre Opera. It’s a beautiful and convenient neighborhood and you’ll be withing walking distance to numerous sites, restaurants, cafes, and bars. Of course you’ll be near the obvious draws like the Louvre, Place Vendome, and Tuileries Garden, but if you have some time to explore a few things off the beaten path, the Galerie Vivienne is nearby. It’s one of the most beautiful covered shopping arcades in the city and has lots of little gems. The wine shop there, Le Grand Filles et Fils, is one of them and also serves wines by the glass. The Palais Royal is also close by and you can have an excellent coffee at Cafe Kitsune while sitting at a table on the garden. For restaurants, a great and reasonable place is Juveniles for home style French food. With wine, you could easily dine for less than 40 euros/person. If you wanted something a little nicer, the tasting menus of Spring and Verjus are also excellent and will cost you 84 euros and 68 euros/person respectively. The Best Western at Saint Lazare is near a major train station with lots of activity to service commuters, but very few notable things to see or do in the area. The 8th, where it’s located, is a mix of office headquarters, which means it can be a bit dead on nights and weekends and the rest is residential. There are a few exceptional restaurants in the area, including Eric Frochon’s Restaurant Lazare inside the train station, but there are better areas to stay in. The Montmartre Sacre-Coeur Best Western, though walking distance to Montmarte and the Sacre-Coeur, is in a somewhat rough area that is still gentrifying. Though the immediate area around the metro Marcadet-Poissonniers is fine, the areas around the metro Chateau Rouge and Goutte D’or are known for some unsavory elements. Of the three hotels, the Louvre location is definitely your best bet.
We are staying at the Peninsula Hotel. In general is taxi or metro easier and quicker to get around the city? What should we plan on using?
The Peninsula Hotel is a great choice. It’s one of the newest and nicest 5 star hotels in Paris. You should definitely check out L’Oiseau Blanc and the adjoining terrace for an amazing view of the city and they also have some of the best dim sum in town at LiLi. The whole property is pretty special but you’re about a 10-15 minute walk to the Charles de Gaulle Étoile metro station. (Technically, there is a much closer metro to the hotel but it’s off the line 6 and not particularly useful to getting to the center or any interesting tourist spots.) Whether a taxi or the metro is easier, they’re pretty comparable. Taxis are certainly easy to find and the hotel will call one for you. But like any big city, I would avoid rush hour and Friday nights. The metro is definitely cheaper and you should always buy a carnet (book of ten metro tickets) since you’ll pay 14.10 vs. 1.80 for an individual one. It’s also highly reliable, runs frequently, and even has a timer to tell you when the next train is coming. If you’re going short distances, given the location of the Peninsula, it’s probably easier to take a cab. For longer trips to cross town use the metro.
This is a very hepful website! Thank you.
2nd honeymoon in Paris (and onwards to Amsterdam). Trying to decide between Le Bristol and Le Meurice. Our criteria would be interesting neighborhood, classical before modern decor, nearby restaurants, and access to metro. I know Le Bristol has a pool and don’t believe Le Meurice does. We would be interested in a jacuzzi but pool is not a big draw. What would you recommend?
They are both excellent hotels but I would lean towards Le Meurice based on your criteria. Though the Le Bristol still offers you access to a metro, restaurants, etc. the biggest draws of the neighborhood are the high-end luxury boutiques on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and being walking distance to the Champs-Élysées and Grand Palais. The 8th, where Le Bristol is located, is known for numerous Michelin-starred restaurants including the hotel’s own 3 star Epicure, but beyond that the restaurants are fairly average. The pool is charming and does have wonderful views, but I would recommend other hotel pools like the Shangri-La if you’re a serious swimmer. Le Bristol’s pool is on the small side and more of a place to unwind. Both hotels have similar decor and fantastic onsite spas, but neither has a jacuzzi. As for Le Meurice, the area around it is a little more lively and has a more interesting mix of restaurants, shops, and sites. You’ll be situated across from the Tuileries Garden, close to a metro, and walking distance to lots of restaurants that are noteworthy as well as Michelin starred. A few standouts are Verjus, Spring, Juveniles, the 1 star La Dame de Pic and the 3 star Le Meurice by Alain Ducasse.
Planning our trip to Paris with 2 teens (two girls ages 15 and 17). I wonder if there is anything you can recommend for them? They don’t have any particular interests that would point to one thing (e.g. a love of Paris history) but at the same time they’re usually engaged by many different things. Thoughts?
Paris is a great place for teens and the Marais would be my first suggestion. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s known as one of the hippest areas in the city yet has a lot of interesting architecture and culture to give you plenty of options. For example there is the Place des Vosges which is one of the most beautiful squares in Paris. Under its pretty arches there are lots of small galleries and shops but you are also close to some of the best shopping in Paris. The Marais is known for shopping and the streets just off the Place des Vosges such as Rue des Francs Bourgeois and nearby Rue des Rosiers have a mix of French brands, designer boutiques, and international labels like Uniqlo and Michael Kors. Rue des Rosiers is also home to the famous L’as du Fallafel, the best falafel in the city. In the same neighborhood you’ll also find the Marche des Enfant Rouges which is one of the oldest covered markets in Paris and is a cross between a farmer’s market and mix of a dozen or so food stalls. It’s a fun place to go on weekends and dishes are around 10-15 euros. Another thing they might enjoy on Rue Pavee is L’ecair de Genie, a shop that only makes eclairs but the colors, presentation, and choices of flavors are incredible. For Bastille Day, he’ll imprint figures from French history in the icing and or use Iranian pistachios and orange flower water in another. A few other things they might be interested in are the Centre Pompidou if you wanted to take in some modern art and the big farmer’s market at Bastille, the largest one in Paris, which runs on Thursdays and Sundays, and has a fun festive atmosphere.
We’re considering the Saint James Hotel as it was highly recommended by a friend but looking at the map it looks a little outside of the central attractions. We don’t mind a moderate walk (and we do want to walk a lot in Paris) but is the location of the Saint James good for people who want to be within walking distance of the most popular sights in Paris? Also, there appears to be a green/garden/park area to the west of Saint James, is this a practical area for walking and enjoying a park-like setting?
Your friend is absolutely right to recommend it. The Saint James is a fabulous hotel. It’s the only official “chateau” hotel in Paris and the surrounding grounds are beautiful. The backyard in particular has three pergola shaped like hot air balloons and the feel of the place is more whimsical rather than stuffy. It’s also one of the few hotels where many of the guests are French (either from other parts of France or a few long term residents) so it’s not at all touristy. As for the location, it’s not as isolated as it appears on the map. It’s about a ten minute walk to the Victor Hugo metro and there are tons of boutiques and restaurants around there. The 16th is known for being quite affluent and you’ll find a lot of upscale shops on Avenue Victor Hugo. The green area you’re referring to is the Bois de Boulogne, one of the nicest and largest parks in Paris. It’s also home to the new Louis Vuitton Foundation and definitely worth checking out. In terms of being walking distance to things, you will near to the Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, and the Eiffel Tower, but it’s true that you won’t be central. If location is really important to you, the Saint James has a sister hotel in Saint Germain called the Relais Christine. It’s also a terrific hotel. Though they are technically related, they have very different feels, interior decor, and amenities but both will provide excellent service and a 5 star experience.
We are traveling to Paris with our 2 children aged 7 & 9, could you recommend a good family friendly hotel. We’re not looking for luxury as we are only staying 1 night in Paris & then travelling on to Disneyland. We feel we won’t be spending a huge amount of time in the hotel as we want to see as many sights as we can in our short time frame.
Thank you in advance.
There are a few things to keep in mind that will be helpful when booking for a family. In your case, look for “chambres familiales,” “quadruples” or hotels that offer “chambres communicantes” (usually 2 rooms joined through a door with a queen/king size bed in one and two twin beds in the other). Most of the major hotel chains offer these. Another thing to note is that hotels in Paris typically tack on a charge for the breakfast buffet, if they offer breakfast at all. It generally starts at 10 euros/person and for families this adds up. If you’re on a budget, there are a few properties that offer good value. One in the 16th is the Hameau de Passy. It’s walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and in a safe location near a metro. It’s tucked away through a courtyard so although the street it’s on has lots of shops you won’t get the noise. Quadruples start at 130 euros/night, connecting rooms start around 200 euros and breakfast is included if you book with them directly. Another good value option is the Cosy’s Residence in the 9th. These are actually “apparthotels” (apartment like rooms with the benefits of a hotel.) They offer two sizes – a studio of 35 sq. meters and apartments of 60 sq. meters. Both are more than adequate for a family and even the studios are already roughly twice the size your typical room in Paris. Studios start at 120 euros/night and the apartments are only slightly more expensive starting at 150 euros. They do offer breakfast at 12 euros/person, but the street it’s on and immediate area has tons of options for bakeries, coffee, and restaurants. The hotel is central, with easy access to most tourist sites, several metro lines and even a small park. If you wanted something a little nicer, you could opt for either Le Relais du Louvre or the Hotel Left Bank. Both are in excellent areas. Le Relais du Louvre is within a short walk of the Louvre, the Seine, and many other sites and offers beautifully done family suites starting at 265 euros/night and connecting rooms starting around 300 euros. Similarly, the Hotel Left Bank in the very popular Saint Germain area offers quadruple rooms and suites starting at 245 euros.
In June my fiance and I will be honeymooning in London and Paris. Just a week for both so want to find the fastest easiest way from London to Paris. Should we fly or take the train to Paris?
Train from London to Paris is definitely easier and more convenient (assuming you’re staying in central London and central Paris which I’m sure you are). The airports of both cities are far outside the center and require a 30+ minute taxi or train ride. The train stations for both cities are very central and easy to get to by a short metro ride from most locations. Security, lineups, and hassles are far less when traveling by train. The fastest train to Paris takes about 2 hours, 15 minutes. The plane takes just over an hour but you need to be at the airport far in advance of flights. As for costs, they are fairly similar when comparing the cheapest train tickets and the cheapest plane tickets (and factoring in transportation costs to and from both airports). But train tickets booked on short notice will be far more than plane tickets booked on short notice. So last minute trips can be cheaper by plane (but this shouldn’t apply to you).
So many choices! If you had to select 2 or 3 hotels that were right smack in the center of the action, which would they be? Looking for something walking distance to restaurants, casual nightlife, shops, and busy streets. Thanks!
Yes, there are many choices! A great little gem is the Relais Christine. It’s a boutique hotel on a quiet street but just around the corner from the Place Saint Michel, a short walk to Notre Dame Cathedral, and just a few blocks from the Boulevard Saint Germain which is bustling with shops and restaurants. You get the best of both worlds: the immediate area is charming and tranquil but you’re less than a 5 minute walk from lots of action. The only downside is that as a small boutique hotel the rooms are on the small side too, but this is not unusual for Paris. If you can, opt for one of the garden suites which gives you a bigger room plus access to a semi-private garden. On the other side of the river, there is the Mandarin Oriental and Le Meurice. Both are outstanding hotels with easy access to great restaurants, shopping, and popular destinations like the Louvre, Tuileries Garden and Palais Royal. The Mandarin Oriental is on Rue Saint Honore, a well known luxury shopping street with lots of foot traffic. The rooms are modern and beautifully outfitted and service is top notch. Le Meurice is on the Rue Rivoli, a busy and popular street that runs next to the Louvre and Tuileries Garden. They have larger rooms (by Paris standards) and a great history as it was the preferred hotel of Picasso, Dali, and various royalty. One thing to note is that many of the luxury hotels in Paris are in the 8th (Le Bristol, George V) and though you do have a lot of action around the Champs-Élysées, your options tend to either fall in the categories of extremely touristy or Michelin star sort of places. If you stick to any hotel in either the 1st arrondisement or around Saint Germain you’ll have a larger range of options.
We’ll have 2 kids, aged: 7 and 11, and we’re staying 4 nights near the Louvre. One day we are making the trek out to Disneyland. This is the highlight for our kids and really want it to come off without a hitch. A few questions:
1) Is there a way to buy Disneyland tickets to get a discount?
2) Should we buy tickets online?
3) What is the best way to get to Paris Disneyland? (Don’t mind taking a taxi if that makes it a lot easier.)
4) Some parks get quiet in the late afternoon/early evening. Is that the case with Paris Disney?
5) How is the food at Paris Disney? I know there’s not much we can do about this but just wanted to steel myself should it be necessary. Any tips?
Discounted tickets are offered if you visit between November and March. If you buy your tickets online, you’ll see that there are a variety of packages and options and the lower priced tickets are valid until March 16. It’s roughly about 25% less than visiting during peak season. The website does also occasionally offer promotions, so it’s best to buy tickets online in case they are offering a deal.
The best way to get to Disneyland is the RER A. It’s a roughly 45 minute train ride from central Paris and you can pick it up at several points in the city (Chatelet is the closest to the Louvre, or you could also catch it near the Arc de Triomphe and Gare de Lyon). The stop is Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy and will drop you off right at the park. It’s at the end of the line and is the furthest eastern point the RER train travels. Just make sure your train is going in the direction of Marne-la-Vallée- Chessy (vs. Boissy Saint-Léger) because the line forks near the end. The ticket will cost you 7.60 euros each way and 3.80 euros for children under 10. Alternately, there is the Disneyland Express which combines bus transport and the entrance fee. Adults are roughly 90 euros and children 11 and under are 81 euros. There are pick up spots all over the city with Chatelet again being one of them. If you are trying to beat the crowds, late afternoon/early evening is a good time to go and even better after dinner. The worst times to go would be a weekend, Wednesdays, any public holiday, and the months of July and August.
Food at Disneyland runs the gamut from pizza to Tex-Mex to formal French dining. This page lists all the dining options at Paris Disney and includes menus and prices which should accommodate most tastes and budgets. One of the more popular restaurants is Inventions, not just for the food, but because Disney characters visit with the diners.
We have 3 nights in Paris in early February. Our 2 days will be full of work but we’ll have from 4pm onwards to explore the city. I had the following questions?
1) Can you recommend 2 or 3 good restaurants near the Paris Westin, preferably French food? I know this is a touristy area so hoping there will be something special. Budget not an issue but don’t mind inexpensive places if that’s what is recommended.
2) What is the Louvre like in the evening? We’re hoping that it’s not chaotic. (Our 3 nights are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday).
3) What else would you recommend for evening sightseeing? Open to anything – even nightlife.
Kay from Boston
There are several great restaurants by the Westin. A very popular one is in a converted wine shop turned restaurant called Juveniles. Their menu changes often, but it’s always elevated French home cooking with generous portions and a friendly ambiance. A typical meal there should run you roughly 35 euros. For something a little more formal, there are two places that are also nearby, both with tasting menus. Spring offers a 4 course meal and they have one of the best sommeliers in Paris. Their menu is priced at 84 euros (not including wine) and though it’s slightly more formal, the welcoming staff make it more warm than stuffy. The other restaurant is Verjus, which in addition to having a formal restaurant with a tasting menu (68 euros) they also have a casual wine bar downstairs. Both are excellent. Those three would be your best bets as they don’t require months in advance reservations, though with Spring you should book at least a few weeks out. If budget really isn’t an issue you could try the Alain Ducasse helmed restaurant Le Meurice, which has 3 Michelin stars. The Louvre is open late on Wednesdays and Fridays, closing at 9:45pm with guards starting to clear people out about 30 minutes before that. It is definitely less crowded in the evening hours however not all wings are open late. There are loads of options for evening sightseeing with one of the most popular being a dinner cruise on the Seine. If you’re only there for three days it’s an efficient way to take in a lot. The Eiffel Tower is also open late (until at least 11pm) or you might also consider cabarets like the Moulin Rouge. If those things seem too touristy, Paris has lots of neighborhoods that have great nightlife. Saint Germain is known for jazz clubs and the Marais, one of Paris’ hippest neighborhoods, has some of the coolest bars in the city.
Hello. We are traveling to Paris during Fashion Week (March 5 to March 8). Do you have an opinion on staying at Le Meurice or Grand Hotel du Palais Royal. We are having a tough time deciding between the two. Any other opinions on hotels are welcome! Many thanks!
Both are excellent hotels and roughly in the same neighborhood. Technically, Le Meurice is a “palace” hotel which means it has the impressive distinction of being one of only 16 properties in France that has this status. It’s a distinction awarded only to the very best 5 star hotels and Le Meurice was the first to get it. Plus it has a fun history (Salvador Dali was a regular) and larger rooms (standard rooms start at 30 sqm 320 sq. ft.). This is large by Paris standards. However the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal has a more intimate feel. It’s a smaller boutique hotel – 68 rooms vs. 160 at Le Meurice – and has a lot of charm. The entrance is tucked away off the Palais Royal so it seems almost hidden. Yet you’ll have easy access to the terrific shops that line the Palais Royal gardens including great coffee at Cafe Kitsune. If you can get over the smaller room size – 19 sq. meters (205 sq. ft.) – then I might lean towards the Grand Hotel du Palais Royal.
Could you please describe the different arrondissements and what each one is like?
I’ll start with a few generalities. Paris is divided into 20 different arrondissements that swirl out in a spiral with the River Seine being the dividing line between the Left Bank and the Right Bank. You often have a lot of smaller neighborhoods or sections within the same arrondissement that feel completely different from a neighborhood even just a few streets away. The arrondissements that make up the Left Bank are the 5th, 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, and 15th. The Right Bank, which is vastly larger, makes up the rest. Most people know the Left Bank (particularly the 5th, 6th, and 7th) as “classic Paris,” the Paris you see in movies with charming cobblestone streets and many of the major monuments. The Right Bank, which has some of those elements, defies a lot of stereotypes since it’s so big. In general though, because of neighborhoods such as the Marais, people associate it with being more modern.
The 1st arrondissement (Right Bank) is dominated by the Louvre, the Tuileries Garden, the Place Vendome, and the Palais Royal. Because of this it’s pretty touristy with a lot of high end hotels (the Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental) and upscale shopping. Major streets like the Rue Saint Honoré are devoted to luxury boutiques which serve tourists and locals alike.
The 2nd arrondissement, just north, was known in its heyday as the site of the former stock exchange (now known as the Palais Brongniart) and its beautiful glass roofed “passages” or shopping arcades. The most stunning are the Galerie Vivienne and the Passage des Panoramas which are both historical landmarks. They are both worth exploring if you want to get a feeling for Old World Paris. It’s worth noting that the 2nd is bordered to the south by an informal “Little Tokyo” with a cluster of excellent Japanese grocery stores and restaurants, and to the north by the Grands Boulevards. While the rest of the 2nd is somewhat low-key, this section of the Grands Boulevards is extremely touristy and is where you will find chains like Chipotle and the Hard Rock Café.
The 3rd is an area in transition, but most know it as the Upper Marais. Though there are none of the touristy landmarks, you’ll find many art galleries, hip restaurants, bars and shopping in this area. Some standouts of this arrondissement are the Picasso Museum, the Marche des Enfant Rouges which is a collection of small stalls and food vendors, and the great shopping at Merci.
The 4th, or Lower Marais, is a continuation of all things cool but here you’ll also find the city’s Jewish Quarter as well as the Centre Pompidou. Though the Marais (both Upper and Lower) is known as one of the trendiest parts of Paris, the 4th also has some outstanding architecture like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Hotel de Ville, Place des Vosges and is bordered by Bastille. The 5th arrondissement is most typically associated with the Latin Quarter, the Place Saint Michel and the Sorbonne, also making it the center of student life in Paris.
The 5th can range from extremely touristy (the areas around Place Saint Michel) to narrow, cobblestone streets to residential, but on the whole has lots of charm that most visitors to Paris look for. Standouts in this area are the Pantheon and the Musee de Cluny.
The 6th is mostly defined by Saint-Germain-des-Prés and is a very chic district. There are a lot of high end boutiques and well-dressed Parisians who live in this arrondissement. However, it’s also one of Paris’s most popular tourist draws as it combines typical Haussmann architecture, a few Hemmingway haunts, and a lively scene for restaurants, wine bars, and jazz clubs.
The 7th is slightly more tranquil than the 6th and 5th though still pretty upscale. It has many of the same draws as its left bank neighbors, but is a mix of landmarks, high end shopping, and residential areas. Aside from the obvious tourist draws such as the Eiffel Tower and Invalides, museums such as Musee D’Orsay and Musee Rodin, and luxury shopping at Le Bon Marche, the district is dotted with lots of neighborhood cafés and bistrots.
The 8th is generally a well to do district. For example it’s probably best known for the Champs-Élysées, and most of the Michelin star restaurants and 5 star hotels are in this area. The Champs-Élysées is bordered by the the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe as well as the Grand Palais so expect this part to be very touristy. It’s also home to luxury shopping streets such as Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Beyond this you have large portions of the 8th where many businesses are based, so these parts are typically dead in the evenings and weekends. The only exception is the Gare Saint Lazare which is a major transportation hub so there will be lots of shops and restaurants serving travelers as well as the nearby Printemps and Galeries Lafayette department stores which is just over the border in the 9th.
Though the 9th is home to the “Grand Magasins” (Printemps and Galeries Lafayette) and the Opera Garnier, these only occupy a small corner and the rest of the arrondissement has a very different feel. Once you get away from the Grands Boulevards and the moderately priced hotels, the 9th is considered very “BoBo” (bourgeois bohemian), a somewhat upscale yet hip residential area with a thriving restaurant scene and most notably the emergence of South Pigalle, Paris’s newest destination for cool bars, dining, and nightlife.
The 10th is really a mixed bag, though most people will tell you it’s one of the coolest districts in Paris. This is mostly because of the Canal Saint Martin and the numerous boutiques, restaurants, and coffee shops around there that all have a very hip and edgy feel. Part of Belleville, a neighborhood known for artists, also falls in the 10th, adding to the district’s cool while other parts are gentrifying. The area around Gare du Nord, one of the big train stations in Paris, is home to a large Indian community, the area around Chateau d’Eau is predominantly African, and the area just on the northern border of the 10th near Barbes is primarily Arabic.
The 11th is one of the largest arrondissements and in general, it’s seen as a relatively affordable neighborhood popular with young, hip Parisians. In past years this district has become the epicenter for some of the city’s best restaurants such as Septime and Le Chateaubriand as chefs sought cheaper places in the city to open up shop. Several parts of the 11th, such as near Bastille and Rue Oberkampf are known for bars and nightlife while other areas have a noteworthy Arabic, Chinese, and Vietnamese presence.
The 12th is a mostly pleasant, ethnically mixed, middle class residential district with a few noteworthy things to see. The Promenade Plantée was actually the inspiration for NYC’s Highline and one section below it is called the Viaduct des Arts. It’s a lovely conversion of the space with the arches beneath transformed into art galleries and boutiques. Another highlight is the Marche D’Aligre, a cheaper and less touristed open air market option to the very popular one at Bastille.
The 13th is home to the city’s largest Chinatown (a smaller version exists in Belleville) and this is where you’ll find the best Asian food and grocery stores. Architecturally this arrondissement is more modern than the rest of Paris and has many high rise apartment buildings as well as the enormous library complex, Bibliothèque nationale de France.
The 14th is another largely middle class residential area with a few notable tourist destinations. Many visitors travel here to visit the Catacombes, but modern art lovers come for the Cartier Foundation’s contemporary art gallery. Although many families live in this district, it still feels relatively bustling with easy access to restaurants, bars, cinemas, and shops. The 15th again really depends on which part you’re in. Since it shares a border with the 7th and the Eiffel Tower, there will be parts that feel quite touristy. The rest is a fairly residential, mostly middle class to upper middle class neighborhood and a noteworthy Korean community based here. It’s main tourist draw is the Montparnasse Tower which offers incredible views of the city.
The 16th is one of the wealthiest districts in Paris and typically where Parisians who want more space tend to live (as opposed to Saint Germain des Pres which is more densely populated with large apartments). The parts that border the 8th (near Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe) are more affluent than the southern part of the 16th which feels more like an upper middle class suburb.
The remaining arrondissements are predominantly residential, with the 18th being home to Montmartre and Sacre Couer.
Several questions about the Latin Quarter. Thanks in advance.
1) I hear it’s touristy (and that’s OK) but what kind of touristy? I don’t want drunk Brits wandering the streets.
2) Are most of the restaurants touristy and unappealing? Are there good ones in the area?
3) The Latin Quarter appears central on the map which is partly why we’re leaning that way. We would like to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Couer, Champs-Elysees, the Louvre, d’Orsay, and do a river cruise on the Seine. Does the Latin Quarter make sense for us?
4) Would you take the train or a taxi from the CDG airport to the Latin Quarter? (We arrive at 3:15pm.)
1) Yes, the Latin Quarter does have a reputation for being touristy. You won’t find so much drunken behavior, just parts of the neighborhood that will be very crowded, filled with non-French and not resemble typical everyday life in Paris. A few streets to stay away from are Rue de la Huchette and Rue Pot de Fer. Though they are bustling with activity, you’ll more likely find the odd street performer hustling tourists and a lot of uninspired restaurants churning out mediocre French fare.
2) That said, there are some fantastic restaurants in the Latin Quarter. One in particular is the Cafe de la Nouvelle Marie. Both are great for lunch or dinner and reasonably priced for the quality. If you are looking for something nicer, Sola is excellent and will offer inventive French cooking. The Latin Quarter is also home to the legendary La Tour D’argent if you are celebrating something special. Also don’t miss Laurent Dubois, probably the best cheese shop in the city and the Rue Mouffetard which is the main drag of the Latin Quarter and hosts an excellent wine shop called La Fontaine Aux Vins.
3) The Latin Quarter is central and you’ll have no problem accessing the major tourist spots. It depends on which part of the Latin Quarter you are staying in, but there are certainly good metro connections and/or short taxi rides to all the places you mentioned.
4) The train and taxi are both solid options but there are a few things to consider: due to your arrival time (and the time to pick up your bags and clear customs) you risk hitting rush hour traffic. There’s no hard and fast rule, but generally after 4pm or 4:30pm is when traffic starts to pick up. I might actually lean towards taking a taxi though, if only because the train from CDG drops you off at Gare du Nord and there are multiple line changes you’d have to make on the metro to get to the Latin Quarter which could be annoying with bags and after a long flight.
I am coming to Paris to take a cooking course for 6 weeks at a private home in the suburbs. I am staying at an AirBnb in central Paris. It looks like I need to take the metro (subway) for 6 stops and then transfer to a bus. I plan on buying the carnet tickets to save money. Do I use the same ticket on the bus and metro? And if so, how does that work? Do I retain the old ticket as I leave the metro or do I need a transfer as is done in American cities? Do I scan the old ticket as I enter the bus? So many questions, I know, but I’m nervous and don’t have any experience with the Paris subway and buses.
If you have the carnet, the same tickets work for both the metro and bus. However, you cannot use a ticket on the metro and then use the same one to transfer to the bus. Your bus trip will require you to use a new ticket. On the bus, there are usually two machines (one near the front door next to the driver, one next to the door at the rear of the bus) where you will insert your new ticket to be stamped. Riding the bus is done more on the honor system, but it’s worth stamping your ticket in case there is a random inspection. If you don’t have a validated ticket you will be fined 33 euros. When using the metro there is a turnstile, so stamping your ticket is a necessity in order to pass through. There will be a small slot on the right where you insert the ticket and it will pop up at the top with a date and time stamp. Take the ticket and then you can pass through the turnstile. Be sure to keep this ticket until you exit the metro in case there is an inspection.
What is the best way to get a taxi in Paris? We were recently there (on our way to Istanbul, we are coming back next week) and had the hardest time getting taxis. Our hotel had given a number to call but there was difficulty with languages. Is there a taxi company you can recommend for English speakers? Is hailing a taxi the best way to get them?
Generally every few hundred meters or so there will be a taxi stand with a blue TAXI sign. This is where the cabs line up to pick up customers and it’s better to go there than hail one from the street. Many will still stop when hailed, but it’s not guaranteed. Along big avenues like the Boulevard Saint Germaine, for example, you’ll see these signs more frequently. Another way is to book directly online or over the phone with Taxis G7. The website has an English option and the phone number for an English speaking operator is +33 (0)1 41 27 66 99. Just know that the drivers may not speak English. Also Uber works in Paris and if you already have the app it will function the way it does in other countries.
My husband and I are in Paris for our 10 year anniversary in March and I’m trying to decide between the Shangri La and the Four Seasons. We have done most of the “sights” on a previous trip so this will be 3 days of eating, strolling, and pampering. Which would you recommend for a special weekend? Or any other suggestions if you like.
Between the two hotels, it’s a tough call. The Shangri-La would be my pick for pampering and luxury. The whole feel of the hotel is very exclusive and private and was once the residence of Napoleon’s grand nephew. However the hotel is in the 16th, which some people find too residential. Though there are lots of shops around the Avenue Victor Hugo, great museums nearby, and a good open air market on Avenue Woodrow Wilson, the location of the Four Seasons might be more convenient for you if your plan is to enjoy high-end restaurants and shopping. The Avenue George V, which the Four Seasons is situated on, makes up what is referred to as the Golden Triangle (along with Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Élysées) and boasts the best luxury shopping in the city. You’ll be in walking distance to many of the city’s michelin starred restaurants and all the big name fashion houses. One other suggestion might be the Peninsula which gives you a bit of both. It combines high end pampering, is slightly out of the tourist throng (which is the downside of the Four Seasons) and is walking distance to the Champs-Élysées.
Curious what you thought was the best breakfast and best sushi restaurant in Paris? We’re staying in the 6th but don’t mind traveling to find something special.
The best breakfast in Paris is at Holybelly near the Canal Saint Martin. Run by a French couple who lived in Australia, they adopted the hearty breakfasts and american-style coffee you don’t commonly see in France. Their best dish is pancakes with bourbon butter topped with bacon and eggs but they also offer a daily special. Due to its popularity, be prepared to wait in line for at least 30 minutes if not more. They offer their coffee in to go cups, so you can grab some for while you wait on line. Rachel’s in the Marais won’t have the same crazy line as Holybelly but is still very popular and you definitely will have some sort of a wait. Both places, however, do not let you linger as you are typically allowed to in French restaurants, so don’t be surprised if they hint that you should settle your tab shortly after you finish your meal. (In typical French restaurants they don’t serve you the bill until you ask for it.) If you don’t feel up for queuing, make a reservation several days before at Ellsworth. The new sister restaurant of the popular Verjus, Ellsworth offers Sunday brunch with gourmet twists on American comfort food.
For Japanese food, it’s worth noting there is an unofficial Little Tokyo around Rue Sainte-Anne near the Opera. It’s a fun area to explore, though people mostly go to the ramen and gyoza places around there. One stand out in that neighborhood for sushi is Michi. You need to book in advance since the place is tiny. If you feel like staying in the 6th, the best one near you is Tsukizi. You’ll find some of the freshest fish in the city and a good selection beyond the typical choices you get in Paris. And if you’re willing to travel, Comme des Poisson in the 16th is the most authentic sushi bar in Paris and similar to what you’d find in Japan.
We are considering staying in the 7th arrondissement as it seems to be smack in the middle of things we want to do in Paris. Now reading about it more we are worried about it being too quiet. Can you advise on whether two 50-somethings who like restaurants, cafes, and museums (not so much shopping or nightlife) will be happy in the 7th. And any hotels (3 or 4 star) that you would recommend in the area. Thank you.
It depends on which part of the 7th you stay in. It’s true, it is more residential than say, Saint Germain or the Marais, but there are plenty of great restaurants and sights to make it interesting. In fact, there are more cafes and restaurants than there are bars or clubs, so you have the advantage of being in a great location without the noise and nightlife. Stay near Rue Cler, it’s a charming market street that has lots of restaurants, cafes, and local flavor. It also intersects with Rue Dominique that is known for several good and reasonable restaurants, Cafe Constant being a favorite with both locals and tourists. One of the city’s newest five star hotels is Le Cinq Codet and is close to those streets, the metro, and Les Invalides (a church, Napoleon’s tomb, and the Army Museum). It’s worth paying a little more if you can get a room with a view of the beautiful dome of Invalides. If your budget doesn’t allow it, then there is 3 star Hotel Muguet close by or the 4 star Hotel 7 Eiffel.
I know August is not the best month to visit Paris (shops closed and locals away) but what is July like? Is there lots open? And good weather I assume.
July is much better than August in terms of shops and restaurants being open and better still if you come at the beginning of the month. To be on the safe side, you should avoid the last week of July as some restaurants and many of the smaller mom and pop stores start to shut down for their annual vacation, taking their holiday a bit early and then re-opening the last week of August. Some, but very few, will even start closing down in mid-July. Weather in Paris is warm and sunny, with July being one of the hotter months of the year. It can get well into the 80s and this past year there were several days that went even into the upper 90s (97 in mid-July). Also note that air conditioning is not the norm in Paris (except at hotels and department stores) which is another reason why Parisians escape the heat at this time of year.
My husband and I (early 30s) will be in Paris as part of our honeymoon (Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Santorini too). We very much like going out dancing to pop/rock/80s music, but I have been to Paris before and don’t remember seeing any dancing even though I went out to bars on several occasions. A few Q’s on nightlife in Paris:
1. I guess to start, are there bars/clubs that have dancing? Are they like what we have in Toronto/Chicago (our hometowns) or will they feel very different?
2. Can you recommend any suitable for someone our age? Is there a neighborhood or street that has multiple dance clubs that we could visit?
3. Do most clubs have a dress code?
4. Do dance clubs in Paris have a cover/door charge? Lineups?
5. Are there clubs for locals and clubs for tourists? (I know in Madrid there really are clubs that are for tourists and clubs for residents – and they’re very different.)
There are a variety of options for clubs and dancing in Paris. They’re typically not in touristy areas and are much more discreet. The feel of them will depend entirely on neighborhood and type of venue. For example a well known and extremely exclusive club called Silencio, owned by the filmmaker David Lynch, is notorious for being a member’s only club though non members can get in after midnight. People are well dressed but there is no official dress code or cover charge. The same team behind Silencio has several other popular clubs. One is nearby called Social Club and another is part of a larger restaurant/club/dance complex called Wanderlust in the 13th. If you’re looking for something more low key, close to Wanderlust are several music venues/bars that are on “peniche” (small boats stationed along the Seine). A few to check out are Le Batofar and La Dame de Canton. Music changes daily and cover charges, if any, are minimal. A few neighborhoods with good nightlife are the 9th in the area now called South Pigalle and the area around Oberkampf in the 11th. Both have a good variety of bars that have dancing. In South Pigalle a cool local bar called Glass has a different DJ every night and people start dancing around 11pm. At Carmen you can dance in a baroque salon and they stay open until 6am. In that same area of South Pigalle there is also Le Bus Palladium and La Machine du Moulin Rouge. Though these are more formal music venues, they offer almost nightly concerts with reasonably priced tickets. In the 11th (specifically the area near the intersection of Rue Oberkampf and Rue Saint Maur) there are a lot of options. A few bars to check out with dancing are Nouveau Casino and Cafe Charbon. Favela Chic is another fun place close by. Both of these neighborhoods will have fun options that are low key, no dress code or cover charge and are off the tourist track. Most clubs in Paris are for both tourists and locals, so there’s not the same distinction as you can have in other cities.
This will be our first time visiting Paris and we have lots of questions. Our current plan is to spend 2 days in London, 1 week in Paris, 2 days in Rome, 2 days in Florence, then back to London and fly home. I have long dreamed of visiting Paris so that is why we have a long stretch there.
Here are my questions:
1. How should we get from London to Paris – fly or train?
2. Is one week in Paris too long?
3. How should we get from Paris to Rome – fly or train?
4. We are booked at Novotel Paris Gare de Lyon – is this a good location for a first visit to Paris?
5. We’d like to visit a small museum in Paris (as well as the Louvre and d’Orsay), any suggestions? Something quirky, off the beaten track, unusual?
6. Any particular tips for a first timer to Paris?
7. Is there a week or multi-day pass that visitors to Paris can buy for the metro?
Thank you so much,
1. I prefer train. It departs from central London (no long ride to the airport), has less security and lineups, is fast (2 hours, 15 minutes), and is just generally less stressful than flying for such a short distance.
2. One week is easy to fill in Paris. If you have a particular interest in Paris, which it sounds like you do, then 1 week is perfect.
3. Paris–Rome is much longer by train than London–Paris and usually requires switching trains in Milan or even Germany. The fastest train from Paris to Rome takes 11 hours, 15 minutes. I’d fly.
4. This location has pros and cons. The pros are that you are relatively central, have easy access to a metro. The cons are that you are near the Gare de Lyon railway station, one of the major train stations in Paris. This means that you’ll have lots of activity in the area – unremarkable bars and restaurants for people on their way in, out, or through Paris – but you’ll have to travel a bit to get to the more interesting neighborhoods. Close to the hotel you should definitely check out the Marche Aligre and the bars and restaurants around there. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from your hotel. There’s a great covered market, a nice bar called Le Baron Rouge, Will is fantastic for lunch or dinner, and Ble Sucre has wonderful croissants. Further away is the Bastille area, which hosts the largest open air market on Thursdays and Sundays and plenty of options for nightlife.
5. Paris has a museum for almost everything – from perfume to hunting to an anthropological museum devoted to the evolution of man. So there are lots of options for quirky! A few smaller ones with interesting collections are the Espace Dali devoted to work of the Salvador Dali, the Fondation Cartier for contemporary art, and a space in the 19th called 104. The French call ii Le Centquatre (which is 104 in French) and it’s a unique space for cinema, music, dance, digital and urban art.
6. Do a tour – or several. They’re a great introduction to the city. There are food, bike, and history tours – all are wonderful in their own way. Guides are consistently high quality. Do the tour towards the start of your stay, as guides often have loads of suggestions for places to eat, drink, explore and then you’ll still have time to visit some of their recommendations.
7. Your best option is to buy a booklet of 10 tickets called a carnet. At 14.40 euros, this allows you 10 individual rides on the metro. If you speak French, you could ask about the Navigo weekly pass which gives you unlimited rides for 1 week for 21.25 euros plus a 5 euro fee for the plastic card. This is a really good deal if you plan to use the metro a lot. However, the Navigo is only valid from Monday to Monday meaning that no matter if you arrived into Paris on a Thursday and purchased your Navigo card that same day, half of the week is lost because your card will expire on Monday.
Any recommendations for New Years events in Paris? Are there large public events/performances or is it more private celebrations?
New Year’s is a great time to be in Paris and you have a few options. The most public event happens at the Champs Elysées where hundreds of thousands of people go to celebrate. Generally, people start gathering around 9pm. It’s the most popular destination, especially the part near the Arc de Triomphe where they project a light show. The other place to go for a public celebration is the Sacre Coeur. It won’t be as crowded as the Champs Elysées but you’ll still have a festive atmosphere plus a beautiful view since the Sacre Coeur is set on a hill. As for private events, there are many clubs, cabarets, and restaurants that have something planned. The big cabaret shows like the Lido and Moulin Rouge start at 680 euros/person and a similar show at the Crazy Horse is 250 euros. Restaurants in Paris will have a set menu that night (here’s what was available last year). Prices range from moderately expensive to upwards of 1500 euros/person. Another unique idea is to take a river cruise. There are a few companies that offer dinner and dancing with prices starting at 299 euros/person. Also on New Year’s Day there is a large parade down the Champs Elysées, similar to the Rose Parade, with floats and musicians that starts in the afternoon.
It will be my son’s 12th birthday while we are in Paris. At home we usually go out for a big obnoxious American breakfast with pancakes, bacon, sausages, eggs, and hash browns. Can you recommend or do you know of a restaurant that serves american-style breakfasts? I’m thinking French pancakes are thin crepe style at most restaurants. That ain’t gonna work for a birthday breakfast.
Thanks a ton,
Typical American style breakfasts are hard to come by in Paris. While some restaurants offer a few breakfast staples, it’s rare that they will offer the same selection you are used to. You’re best bet is the family-friendly restaurant called, funnily enough, Breakfast in America. The menu has all the traditional breakfast foods you typically find in the States. Very family friendly but they don’t take reservations so be prepared for a line at popular times.
Other ideas: the best pancakes in Paris are at Dersou in the 12th, but they won’t have the egg dishes, hashbrowns, etc that you are looking for. Same with Lockwood in the 2nd which offers a few American breakfast options but do better for lunch or brunch. Rachel’s in the Marais is run by an American, named Rachel, who does offer nice brunches, but the problem is that the restaurant is not very family friendly. It’s more upscale compared to the typical American diner and they often get so crowded that they are more focused on turning tables than making sure you have a nice experience. Similarly, there’s a place called Holybelly that has excellent breakfast options and though they’d have no problem welcoming a 12 year old, I wouldn’t describe the place as family friendly. Also depending on what day you go, there is usually a long line to get in (upwards of 30 minutes) and they have similar service issues like Rachel’s – very warm and friendly people but their goal is to get you out the door. There has been a trend in Paris offering more brunch spots, but the French take is to offer a complete 3-5 course menu. Many of these places charge about 20+ euros/menu, and I know some people don’t feel it’s worth it to pay that much for eggs and bacon. Twinkie Breakfasts is such a place, and they offer breakfast all day with different themes – an American breakfast, a Mediterranean breakfast, etc.
For family of 4 how much will it cost for a taxi from Paris airport CDG to the Eiffel Tower? Also, how long will it take?
Taxi will cost between 55€ and 70€ (there’s an extra charge of 3€ for the 4th person) and take about an hour in “normal” traffic. If it’s rush hour (very roughly, 8am to 10am, 4pm to 7pm) it can take longer and cost even more.
We were recommended the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel by our travel agent but now I have my concerns. Is this a good location to see the Paris sights? We will visit the Eiffel Tower but only once, like most I imagine. Are there restaurants near to the hotel? After 5 days in Paris we go next to London by train – will this be a good location for the Eurostar train to London? We are in our late 20s, very active, and on our honeymoon in Paris. We want a great visit. Thoughts?
That part of the city is more residential, so if you are looking for more activity I would go elsewhere. There are restaurants in that area, but the more noteworthy ones are in the 7th on the other side of the Champ de Mars and would be at least a 15 min walk from the Pullman. Specifically Cafe Constant, Restaurant David Toutain, and Chez L’Ami Jean are all great and would be relatively easy for you to get to if you decide to stay there. However, from what you’ve described, I would suggest you stay in the Marais. It’s also centrally located, easy access to the major sights and Gare du Nord (where you can catch the Eurostar train to London) and has lots of cool bars, galleries, and restaurants. For bars in the Marais, you should check out Candelaria which is a “secret” bar and taqueria. The entrance to the bar is through an unmarked white door next to the kitchen and it hides a hip cocktail lounge. The same owners also have a place called Le Mary Celeste which has great food, cocktails and oysters. The Marais also has great shopping and you should check out Rue des Rosier for cool boutiques or a bigger store called Merci that has housewares and clothing. It’s a beautiful space which also has a cafe.
Trying to decide between Best Western Louvre Opera and the Holiday Inn Saint Germain for a weekend in Paris. The rooms and reviews seem similar. As far as seeing the sights and eating good french food which location is better?
Thanks for the time.
If it’s strictly between the two hotels, you are better off at the Best Western Louvre Opera. Though Saint Germain is a fantastic neighborhood and the Holiday Inn puts you within a short walk of the Luxembourg Garden, the area around the Best Western has more sights and restaurants that I’d highly recommend. In addition to the Louvre, you’re also close to the Palais Royale, Tuilleries Garden and Place Vendome. Also, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, there is a small open air market at the Marche Saint Honore. Even when the market is not operating, it’s a nice plaza with several cafes and restaurants to enjoy a drink. For food, there are several restaurants I’d recommend that can accommodate a variety of budgets. If you want something more upscale, Verjus (68 euros) or Pirouette (62 euros). Both are excellent, have friendly service, and are not stuffy. Verjus also has a great wine bar downstairs where you can order small plates (ranging from 6-12 euros – expect to order at least two or three). A popular neighborhood place is La Régalade Saint-Honoré – great value: a 3 course tasting menu is only 37 euros/person. An even better deal can be found at Juveniles, a great wine shop/restaurant which offers French homestyle cooking. Depending on what you order you’ll spend about 30 euros/person. There’s also two great coffee places nearby, Telescope and Cafe Kitsune. Cafe Kitsune is on the garden of the Palais Royale so you’ll have a very pretty view. Just north of the Palais Royale is the Gallerie Vivienne, one of the beautiful covered passages in the city that is also an historical landmark. Don’t miss the wine shop inside which also serves by the glass.
We (my husband and I) are staying at the Agora Saint Germain in May. We have been to Paris once before and stayed in the Marais district. We stayed at the most wonderful little hotel there that gave us a list of recommended restaurants and shops (a bakery, a cheese shop, a book store) that really made for a wonderful visit. It sounds silly but it really was the highlight of our trip – our own little guide. I’ve emailed Agora Saint Germain and they don’t seem to have any such list. Would you be so helpful as to suggest a half-dozen or so special places to visit within walking distance of our hotel.
Your hotel is in a great area with lots of local gems. One of the best cheese shops in Paris is called Laurent Dubois and a 5 minute walk from where you are staying. It’s right next to the Maubert-Mutualite metro and you absolutely need to get his brie with walnuts. In fact, as you enter the shop, you’ll notice a glass case on your left-hand side. Inside are Dubois’ own creations (including the aforementioned brie) which you won’t find anywhere else in Paris. That same plaza in front of the cheese shop hosts a small but charming open air market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until 2pm. You’ll find great producers for fresh fruits and vegetables, olives, honeys, and an award winning purveyor of charcuterie. Right around the corner on Rue Monge is Eric Kayser, the best place for baguettes. About a ten minute walk and across from the Musee Cluny is some of the best coffee in Paris. It’s called Coutume and is inside the Finnish Institute. A few minutes further and you’ll hit Patrick Roger, an excellent place for chocolate. A fantastic bookstore is Shakespeare & Co., also walking distance from your hotel. They specialize in English language books and it has a great, old world ambiance. A bit further over, but worth the walk, is a quaint cobblestone street called Cours du Commerce Saint-André. Two shops there are worth checking out: Un Dimanche a Paris which specializes in pastry and Première Pression Provence which sells French olive oils and is a good store for unique gifts. For restaurants, there are several I’d recommend. Sola is excellent and offers French Japanese fusion with friendly service. Café de la Nouvelle Marie serves small plates and has a fun and lively atmosphere. L’avant Comptoir is a fun wine bar that serves outstanding small plates and easier to get into than its sister restaurant, Le Comptoir. Semilla is classic French food, carefully sourced ingredients and a solid wine list.
I am booked at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile for the week between Christmas and New Years?
– Is this a well located hotel for being within walking distance of Paris sights? I was under the impression it was but looking at the map it looks to be not very central and located near a major artery?
– Is it easy to access the metro from the Hyatt?
– Are there good restaurants within walking distance and if so can you recommend 2 or 3?
The Hyatt is at the edge of Paris proper and a bit out of the way from most tourist destinations. I won’t lie – it’s not an ideal location but it’s not awful either and with the help of the metro your just a few minutes from many popular sights. The major artery you mention is the Boulevard Peripherique, the highway that encircles Paris and the dividing line between what most people will consider the “real Paris” (the 20 arrondisements that lie within this circle) and the suburbs that begin once you cross the “peripherique”. Porte Maillot, which is also near your hotel, is a regular hub for buses traveling within France so the immediate area around your hotel will have lots of wide boulevards to accommodate the regular traffic and mostly modern architecture. The hotels in that area are ideally situated for visitors to the Palais Congres, a large convention center right next door which also boasts a shopping mall. Your closest landmarks would be the Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Arc de Triomphe, both about a 20-25 minute walk. Once you’re at the Arc de Triomphe you’ll have access to all the shopping of Champs-Élysées. Your closest metro is Porte Maillot which is an easy 10 minute walk from your hotel. There are a few restaurants I would recommend near your hotel such as Le Relais de Venise, especially if you want a casual meal and a good steak frites, or Chez George for a slightly more upscale French meal. Slightly further away, maybe a 15 min walk, there is a good place called A La Coupole. It’s good value for traditional French fare.
Very helpful website. Nicely done. My wife and I have the opportunity to visit Paris in December (also considering Greece and Italy and I know it’s winter there too). What is Paris like in December? Weather? Things to do? Is it dead or lively with Christmas events, like say New York? Does Paris get snow in December? Are restaurants hard or easy to find tables at?
Thanks for your time,
Paris is a great destination in December. If you come at Christmas time, there are a number of great Christmas markets, events, and citywide decorations that make it one of the most special times to be in Paris. One of the highlights at this time of year are the animatronic window displays at the Galleries Lafayette. It draws huge crowds, both tourists and French alike, and it’s fun to see the creative themes that the store comes up with. As for markets, my favorites are near Concorde and Saint Germain Des Pres. The weather is cold but it’s rare that Paris gets snow. You should expect to bring a good coat as it typically averages around 4 degrees C at that time of year. Notable restaurants do often close around the holidays, but it’s not impossible to find a table. To give you an idea, this was a list compiled last year of restaurants open during Christmas in Paris.
We have 8 nights in Paris on our honeymoon (also visiting Rome and Santorini). We might do 1 or 2 day trips from Paris but primarily planning to spend time enjoying Paris. Museums, shopping, and definitely want to experience some great Paris food that we’ve heard so much about. I know it’s hard to answer a very general question like this but how much should we budget for food per day. Breakfast is included in our hotel so it’s just lunch and dinner. Probably a glass of wine each at dinner (we’re not drinkers, really). We’re not on a tight budget but know we have a 3 week trip and need to not blow the bank in Paris. I would describe as foodies but I’d be surprised if we dined at any terribly formal restaurants.
It’s tough to give any hard numbers on this as there are so many variables. In general, I would say that there is a trend in Paris dining these days that offers more value for great food. Haute cuisine, though still a huge draw for foodies such as yourself, is not the only way to eat well in Paris. Since you have 8 days, I would be strategic about it and try to have a wide variety of dining experiences. My first tip is to book a few nice lunches at some of the city’s top restaurants. You’ll have the same great food but get a much better deal than at dinner. Paris by Mouth is a good website for recommendations. Les Marche des Enfant Rouge is a good cheap lunch option. It’s one of the oldest markets in Paris and has a number of food stalls including Moroccan, French, crepes, Japanese, etc. For dinner, there are lots of options where you can get a tasting menu for 50 euros/person or less. Some of the best are Le Chateaubriand, Le Galopin, Pierre Sang, and La Regalade Saint Honore. There’s also a number of more casual wine bar-restaurants such as Juveniles where you can spend closer to 30 euros/person including wine. And of course, don’t forget the wonderful open air markets such as the one at Bastille which has great local vendors selling cheeses, bread, rotisserie chicken, and charcuterie. You’ll be able to find enough provisions for a casual dinner or a picnic.
We have stayed at the Four Seasons Paris before and loved it. Unfortunately they are sold out for our dates at Christmas. Can you recommend a hotel that is similar to the Four Seasons: luxurious, warm, and friendly while not pretentious and particular. It will be myself, my husband, and our 9 year old daughter. A pool would be nice but not a necessity. Good location with restaurants within in a walkable distance would be appreciated. Thanks so much. Darlene.
If you wanted to stay in roughly the same neighborhood, the Plaza Athenee is an excellent choice. It’s on the Avenue Montaigne, less than a 10 minute walk from the Four Seasons. If you are a fan of that neighborhood already, it’s probably your best option. However, since you are traveling with your 9 year old daughter, a more child friendly hotel of the same caliber would be Le Bristol. They have lots of activities for young children such as treasure hunts within the hotel and also provide each child with a special toy when you check in. A bonus is that the hotel has two cats in residence, Fa-Raon and Kléopatre, which adds to the hominess of the place. Service is excellent at both and there are great dining options nearby. Le Bristol actually has a 3 michelin starred restaurant for more formal dining and a 1 star brasserie which is great for lunch.
We are staying at Hotel Victoria in central Paris – can you recommend some good restaurants near the hotel. French food, nothing too fancy, under 200€ for 2. Thanks.
In that area there are some excellent restaurants that are also good value. The first one is called Le Richer. It is modern French food and has a casual ambiance. They don’t accept reservations so be prepared to wait or arrive early, like 7pm (when their kitchen re-opens for dinner service). Another great place is called La Régalade Conservatoire and it is inside the 5 star Hotel Nell. Great service, classic French food (don’t miss the terrine!) and a slightly more upscale feel but still warm and friendly. Their nightly dinner special is 37 euros for a starter, main and dessert which makes it a fantastic value for the quality. I would suggest booking a day or two in advance. If you wanted something really special, Porte 12 recently opened in that neighborhood and it is overseen by the Michelin starred chef Andre Chiang. Dinner will cost you less than 200 euros for 2 with wine and there are better deals at lunch. Booking is done directly on their website.
Nice information here. We’ll be staying at the Bristol in early April and have plans to visit the Louvre, Notre Dame, and d’Orsay museum for sure. Might also do a bus tour and the Eiffel Tower if time permits. My question is about getting around Paris when you have trouble with stairs. We are OK walking on flat and can do one, maybe two sets of stairs but much more than that and we’re in trouble. Is the metro/subway going to be a problem for us? Perhaps buses that don’t require stairs but do they go where we would need them to go?
Thanks for your time,
Getting around Paris can be tricky if you have mobility issues. Buses are certainly easier to access than the below-ground metros and they are reliable and run all over the city. The downside is they don’t run quite as often as the metro and you also risk getting stuck in traffic (depending on the time of day). If you are okay with one to two flights of stairs, the metro should be fine. Most metro stations will be a mix of stairs and escalators, with elevators usually available at locations with multiple sets of stairs. The RATP (the transit authority of Paris) has a Plan Your Trip page – if you click “Accessible itineraries only” at the bottom left you’ll see routes based around handicapped accessible stations.
I am coming with my husband to Paris in March. I’ve been to Paris twice before and feel I know it well … and yet I know nothing about the department stores. I’ve always heard great things about luxury Paris department stores but now that I think about it, not sure if I’ve even noticed one before, let alone gone into one. Anyways, my husband and I have chosen one day where we are going to do our own thing (he is off to the military museum) and I’m going shopping (how cliche, right?). So, where would you recommend that I go? I’m looking to splurge on clothes, shoes, and the like, but won’t be spending $10,000 on a hand bag or anything like that. Also, as for timing, would weekends be busier than weekdays? We are staying at the Paris Westin (I think close to the Louvre) but don’t mind hopping on the metro so doubt that makes much of a difference.
There are several luxury department stores in Paris. Le Bon Marche, Galleries Lafayette, and BHV are the most popular. Le Bon Marche is great for high end shopping and will have all the luxury brands, but also the highest prices. BHV is closer to where you’re staying, has a great selection of women’s clothes and accessories (everything from upscale French brands to Anthropologie to Marc Jacobs), and also gives a 10% discount to tourists. You just need to show them your passport or a foreign ID and they’ll give you the discount on the spot. As for timing, weekends are definitely busier than weekdays with Saturdays being the busiest since stores are closed on Sundays.
Hello. We have 1 week in London and area, 1 week in Paris (staying at the Novotel Eiffel Tower), and 1 week where we’d like to get out of Paris and see the countryside. We are thinking perhaps 2 towns or cities that would be within 2 or 3 hours by train of Paris. We are really open to anything and hoping there is something with a Tuscany-like feel with enchanting towns and villages. Could you recommend a few places that we might consider? Also, when would we need to book train tickets for these destinations? Is that something we’d be best to do in advance or after arriving in Paris. Thanks.
Your best bets are either the Loire Valley or Burgundy, with a slight lean towards Burgundy. In Burgundy there are tons of quaint villages and towns set among some of the most beautiful countryside in France. A few in particular are just outside of or near Chablis. In Chablis itself you’ll find great wine, of course, and be surrounded by vineyards. If you’d like a little more culture, a bit further south is a town called Vézelay which is set on a hillside. Not only does it have a quaint medieval town center it is also very popular because of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another town close by and also very charming is Noyers Sur Sereine. Known as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in France,” the village looks like something out of a fairytale with medieval architecture and lush countryside. If you did opt for the Loire Valley instead, a great little town is Montrichard. It’s situated on the Cher River and the countryside around it is vineyards and forests, with both being walkable from the town center.
For train tickets, it’s best to book before you arrive as ticket prices climb higher as your travel date approaches. You can book easily online through the SNCF website, the website for the French railway. You can either get an e-ticket and the ticket collector can scan the barcode on your smartphone, or you can print a paper ticket at home or at the kiosks at the train station.
We are coming from London on the Eurostar for 3 full days in Paris (then on to Amstedam). We have 2 children ages 7 and 8. We have the visits to Versailles, the Louvre, Natural History Museum, Eiffel Tower, and Carnavalet Museum planned. I have 3 questions:
1. Is Marais a good district to stay for a family? Are family-friendly restaurants easy to find. Don’t need anything special but worried it might be a little too hip for our family needs.
2. I know you recommend the Versailles bike tour, how does that work for kids, do they have smaller bikes for kids? Is it the distance ridden good for kids? My kids have been riding for a couple years but I would not call them strong riders.
3. I’ve heard there’s an alternate way to enter the Louvre to avoid the lines. Do you know where this might be?
1. Marais is great. Yes, there are hip and trendy bars, cafes, restaurants, but plenty are kid friendly and you wouldn’t have to think twice about walking around the neighborhood with your kids. Very safe and family-friendly vibe.
2. The Versailles bike tour is very kid-friendly and there are often one or more children on every ride. They have kids bikes that you can email ahead and reserve (probably recommended). In all, you end up riding about 10 to 12 KM on the tour but with lots of stops and at a pretty leisurely pace. You stop at an outdoor market near the start of the tour and buy provisions for a picnic. You ride for about 2 hours before stopping to eat near the end of the ride. No hills to speak of.
3. There are a few alternate entrances to the Louvre – so definitely avoid the entrance and line you’ll find at the pyramid. The Carrousel du Louvre is easiest to find. It’s an underground shopping mall that you enter off Rue de Rivoli. You descend the escalators and walk about 3 minutes through the mall to the Louvre entrance. There are signs and it’s straightforward.