From luxurious hotels and restaurants to popular shopping and tourist destinations, the French capital has a lot to offer to its visitors. Renew your love for the city with this travel guide
Come rain or shine, The City of Lights is always abuzz with tourists, pesky guides and things to do that we have all done before. With the help of bespoke luxury travel planners, Parnssus Travel Group, this is your guide to see the French capital anew. But don’t miss those popular tourist hotspots if it’s your first time in Paris — their romance is still unmatched!
A little frivolity is called for when traipsing through the stomping yards of Marie Antoinette. With their arty splendour and decadence fit for modern royalty, these new hotels are the most fashionable in the town.
Le Royal Monceau: Combine a luxurious stay with a heady dose of arts and culture at this plush hotel designed by Philippe Starck. Housed in one of the few Parisian residences that were bestowed the title of “palace”, this 139-suite haven of luxury comes with its own art gallery and a mini theatre that boasts private screenings by the biggest names in Hollywood.
Old French glam blends seamlessly with modern quirk at the 2 Michelin star restaurants and if you are a discerning regular, you can even house your cigars in a personal humidor at the members-only Viiñales Cigar Lounge. Starck’s unique take on design is evident in the stunningly appointed rooms that come with their own mirrored en suites and HD tellies hidden behind floor to ceiling picture frames. With Champs-Elysées around the corner, you will not miss Arc de Triomphe even if you try.
And when shopping at the luxury shopping district Faubourg Saint Honoré has you drained, head to the Spa My Blends by Clarins to lift your weary spirits.
The Peninsula: The luxury hotel opened its doors in early September to a full house. Perfectly situated at 19 Avenue Kléber, the first European outpost of the luxury hotels brand is befittingly located in a late 19th century classic Haussmanian building, which first opened as one of Paris’s most luxurious “grands hotels” in 1908. Lovingly restored and discretely modernised, The Peninsula houses 200 luxurious rooms, including 34 suites, which are among the most spectacular in the city.
With a curated collection of arts and sculptures — including the ethereal “Dancing Leaves” installation that anoints the lobby and the larger-than-life handmade crystal headdress that welcomes you to their signature Cantonese restaurant Lili — every corner of the hotel boasts a handpicked art piece that would shame Saatchi.
The crowning glory is of course the rooftop lounge, L’Oiseau Blanc. With its aviation-themed interiors that celebrate flying aces Charles Nungesser and François Coli, the chic bistro helmed by Chef Sidney Redel offers unrivalled views of the Eiffel Tower and the hilly terrain of Montmatre.
The charm of Parisian roadside cafés and restaurants remains unmatched (give those by the Champs-Elysées a miss though) but some new haute eateries are fast climbing every gourmand’s wish list.
The V salutes French tradition, inviting you to dine under the monumental stain glass dome designed by famous Gustave Eiffel. Housed in the famous Hotel Vernet with original works of art from contemporary artists dotting the walls, the restaurant has the aura of a true Parisian collectors’ residence. The dishes, designed by Executive Chef Richard Robe — celebrating the origin and quality of the chosen ingredients — are a fresh take on French favourites. www.hotelvernet-paris.com
FRAME, the new restaurant in town promises a gastronomic road trip across France and the American West Coast. Baffled? Let chef Andrew Wigger explain: “French and Californian cooking techniques are very similar, only the ingredients change.”
Designed by Christophe Pillet as a space that opens onto Paris, the restaurant is modern, yet classical, with an open kitchen stealing the spotlight from the Eiffel tower that is a stone’s throw away. With vegetables and herbs from the brasserie’s own garden and honey produced by beehives kept on the building’s terrace, Wigger takes his role as a proponent of local produce very seriously. www.framebrasserie.fr
Hotel Costes Bar & Lounge: If Coco Chanel was alive, this is where you would have found her. Supermodels and Oscar winners mingle in the decadent, deep crimson venue dreamt up by Jacques Garcia. His mantra was one of excess and this den of opulence, dedicated to revival of classical design is the best example. In the heart of the fashion capital’s most covetous districts, the lounge is the perfect place to hang your heels as you recover from a frivolous shopping spree around Place Vendome. www.hotelcostes.com
Forget rue Cambon, the Le Bon Marché and that mammoth LV shop on Champs-Elysées. We’ve got the skinny on the some not so in your face design stores that will have you reaching into your pockets.
Christian Lacroix Maison: The famous couturier may have left the studio but his eponymous label is thriving again under the guidance of his protégé and now Creative Director Sacha Walckhoff who elected to revive the brand’s flagging fortunes via a home collection to great success. Following up, he introduced a menswear collection and the new generation boutique set in a former print shop in Saint Sulpice showcases all the brands emblematic creations. www.christian-lacroix.com
Colette: Spanning three levels of premium retail real estate in Saint-Honoré, the lifestyle store has constantly reinvented the concept of retail in Paris since its 1997 launch. Spread across 700 square metres, a never ending assortment of fashion, high-tech, arts, streetwear, beauty is displayed in a manner akin to a curated museum. Limited editions, established designers, new talents and even forgotten labels, you will find it all here. www.colette.fr
Galerie Vivienne: Located in the second arrondissement of Paris, this 176 metres long “gallerie” is arguably the oldest luxury mall in Paris. Established in 1823, it continues to maintain its “haute” status. It helps to have a selection of art galleries, exclusive furniture stores and the first ever Jean Paul Gaultier boutique under its famous glass roof. www.galerie-vivienne.com
DO THE LOCAL THING
An evening at Sacré-Cœur is, dare we say, even more magical that the church in daytime. The entire hill of Montmatre comes alive with youngsters, old couples and families as they enjoy the street market at the town square and soak in the spectacular views of the city of lights.
The Tuileries Garden and Versailles are on every tourist’s map, but there are many lesser known jardíns dotting the city. From the Anne Frank Garden in Marais to Square Jean XXIII right behind Notre Dame, you will find many secret gardens, manicured to perfection, waiting to be enjoyed.
A walk by the banks of the River Seine may sound clichéd but be it lovers attaching padlocks to the railing of the Pont des Arts, joggers getting their cardio on by the bank or the make-shift shops selling dubious art and vintage magazines, it is the best place to catch a sliver of Parisian life.