Paris City Guide

Some friends emailed me last week about an upcoming trip to PARIS, so I put together this city guide for them. The world travels through Paris at one time or another and if you are able to visit at least once in your lifetime it is well worth the effort. For fashionistas, a visit to department stores like Galleries Lafayette, Printemps, and Le Bon Marche are a must. You’ll also want to schedule time for Didier Ludot and Scarlett and window-shopping along the rue du Faubourg St. Honore. Foodies will love La Grand EpicerieE. Dehillerin and Astier de Villatte and should stroll through an open-air food market like Boulevard Raspail on the Left Bank. And while I consider it the most commercial street in all of Paris, you have to stroll down the Champs-Élysées at least once to say that you did it.

Notre Dame at Nightfall

One of my favorite ways to see the major sights is by taking a Batobus down the Seine hopping on & off at your leisure, but the metro is safe and efficient too. If you are in Paris on a Sunday, visit the museums since most everything else will be closed.

Eiffel Tower

You must see Paris from atop this tower, but be sure to book online to save major wait time and schedule one evening to see the thrilling light show.

Jardin du Luxembourg
at rue d’Assas

One of my favorite places to people watch, relax and soak in the general splendor of Paris.

Musée du Louvre
at The Pyramid

It’s huge, always crowded, and I suggest you schedule a private tour, otherwise this museum is really daunting. Try the historians at Paris Muse.

Musée de l’Orangerie
Jardin des Tuileries

Probably my favorite museum in Paris. You can see all eight of Monet’s Water Lilies as well as works by Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso.

Musée des Arts Decoratifs
107, rue de Rivoli

Design enthusiasts will love the exhibits spanning the middle ages to now and the art deco apartment of Jean Lanvin.

Musée Rodin
Hotel Biron
79, rue de Varenne

A beautifully quiet escape featuring Rodin’s unfinished ‘Gates of Hell’ and his famous ‘The Kiss’.

Notre Dame
Ile de la Cité

I suggest you walk through this gothic cathedral with the audio tour and don’t forget to stroll around back to see the quaint little park, one of my favorite places in Paris.

Pont des Arts
Quai de Malaquais

For romantics, a stroll along the Quai at sunset followed by a walk across this pedestrian bridge, behind the Louvre, is priceless.

Scallop with Black Truffle at Dominique Bouchet

Be sure to make dinner reservations before you leave. Tips are usually included on your bill, but leave a bit extra if you can. There are so many great restaurants, it’s hard to narrow down, but here are my tried and true.

Bar Vendôme
Hotel Ritz
15, place Vendome

Perfect for an early evening cocktail in one of the world’s most famous hotels.

31, rue Saint-Louis-en-I’lle

Spectacular ice creams and sorbets and only a short stroll from Notre Dame. I like to get my Lime Sorbet then sit in the park behind Notre Dame to enjoy it.

Chez Omar
47, rue de Bretagne
+33 1 42 72 36 26

Hip Moroccan food in the cool Marais arrondissement with really good couscous and steak frites. It’s usually packed and sometimes service is a bit scattered, but always a fun evening.

Comptoir Poilane
8, rue du Cherche-Midi

This quaint restaurant is usually busy, but serves simple, delicious open-faced sandwiches. Next to Poilane Bakery.

Dominique Bouchet
11, rue Treilhard

I have fond memories of this restaurant and it’s one of my favorites in Paris for a special dinner. The service is friendly and the food is top notch.

Guy Savoy
18, rue Troyon

Foodies and romantics alike will want to reserve a table at this non-stuffy Michelin-star serving impeccably presented haute cuisine.

9, rue Mont-Thabor
+33 1 42 60 6507

I am a sushi-holic, so I find sushi wherever I am and lucky for me, my girlfriends and I stumbled upon this really good sushi spot near the Tuileries.

41, Avenue Montaigne

The menu is not so French and not cheap, but the fact that its open all day is why this restaurant made my list. I like to grab a table outside for a light lunch.

L’Ami Louis
33, rue du Vertbois
+33 1 48 87 7748

Prices can be eye-popping and tables are hard to come by, so book as soon as your travel plans are set. I originally went here because I heard that President Clinton loved it, and being Southern, I know he likes good food. If you can get in, you are in for a delectable bistro experience.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
5, rue de Montalembert

This is the original of the Las Vegas version I love, and while they don’t take reservations for the mostly bar seating, the food is modern, inventive and not to be missed.

Le 21
21, rue Mazarine
+33 1 46 337690

Tucked away near Saint Germaine des Prés, this is a special occasion place for fresh seafood beautifully prepared. Reservations recommended.

Le Grand Colbert
2, rue Vivienne

Set prices for lunch and they’re open late serving traditional French dishes in a relaxed setting. Try the seafood platter.

Le Régalade St. Honore
123, rue St. Honore
+33 1 42 91 9240

Open during the week, the talented chef offers really good French food in portions that are generous and reasonably priced.

Mariage Freres
13, rue Grands-Augustins

One of the best places in all of Paris for a true tea-in-the-afternoon experience.

15, Avenue Matignon

More New York, than Paris, this popular Asian-French fusion has a hip & happening vibe courtesy of Jean George Vongrichten. Great for a night out with friends.

Pierre Herme
72, rue Bonaparte

For a very special treat, you should sample the desserts by the Parisian maestro of decadence.

4, rue Sauval
+33 1 40 26 0807

Another popular spot for Asian-French fusion cooking. Really small, so reservations are highly recommended.

Ze Kitchen Galerie
4, rue des Grands-Augustins

Popular with Americans, this contemporary serves an inventive continental menu in a fun and upbeat setting.

Paris George V

Paris has many hotels throughout the city, so it’s really a matter of personal preference. I like to be centrally located, so I tend to stay in the 2nd or 8th arrondissement on the Right Bank.

Four Seasons George V
31, Avenue George V

Of all the grand hotels in Paris, this is my favorite. From the moment you enter the lobby, everything is magical. There’s also the Michelin star Le Cinq restaurant and an old school bar that serves a tasty club sandwich for lunch.

Hotel Récamier
3 Bis, Place St. Sulpice

If you’d like to stay on the Left Bank, then you should consider this well-appointed 24-room hotel near Saint Germaine des Pres. Designed by ZR favorite, Jean-Louis Denoit the hotel is ecletic, chic and totally charming.

Hotel Therese
5-7, rue Therese

This is Récamier’s sister property and one of the best values in Paris. Near the Louvre and Paris’ best shopping, this small wonder of a hotel offers everything you need for a chic and comfortable stay.

Hotel Thoumieux
79, rue Saint Dominique

This is where the fashionable meet and greet. There are only 15 rooms stylishly awash in prints. The restaurant and brasserie are both coveted reservations.

Le Royal Monceau
37, Avenue Hoche

A Philippe Starck creation offering theatrical design in a contemporary hotel. Design enthusiasts will enjoy exploring all the unique design elements that make this Raffles property a favorite with the chic set.

Mandarin Oriental
251, rue Saint-Honore

I love the east meets west vibe and consistent service at Mandarin Oriental hotels. From the guest rooms to the spa each hotel reflects the city it’s in and this Parisian location is my new favorite.

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