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Paris City Guide

Make the most of your stay with a room at a literary hotel, oysters and champagne at Clamato, shopping at Le Marais' oldest covered market and more.

Where to Stay  /  Where to Eat and Drink  /  What to Do  /  How to Get Around

Where to Stay

Hôtel Grand Amour

Hôtel Grand Amour

For the flirty furnishings

The second Parisian outpost of hotelier and “Love Graffiti” artist André Saraiva – aka Mr. A – delivers big romance with 42 individually styled boudoirs, decorated with vintage furniture and original photography from the likes of Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton. Cap your night off with a dirty martini at the velvet-curtained bar, open to 2 a.m., before sinking into a late-night bubble bath.

18, rue de la Fidélité, Paris, 33-1-44-16-03-30, hotelamourparis.fr

Hôtel Particulier Montmartre

Photo: Jefferson Lellouche

Hôtel Particulier Montmartre

For the art-house opulence

Tucked behind 900 square meters of leafy garden, the former residence of the Hermès family is an otherworldly retreat from the din of Montmartre’s artist quartier. Cinematic intrigue lurks at every turn in this 19th century mansion, from the Lynchian vibe in the bar – the Laura Palmer cocktail comes particularly recommended – to the neo-noir padded walls in the Claude Chabrol-inspired Vitrine Suite.

23, av. Junot, Pavillon D, Paris, 33-1-53-41-81-40, hotel-particulier-montmartre.com

Shangri-La Hotel, Paris

For the best Eiffel Tower views

Located in the 16e arrondissement next to the Palais de Tokyo and Musée Guimet, the first European location of the Hong Kong-based hotel group offers the best Eiffel Tower views in the city. Start your day with cold-pressed juice at chef Christophe Moret’s supercharging B-Green wellness breakfast.

10 av. d'Iéna, 75116, Paris, 33-1-53-67-19-98, shangri-la.com

Renaissance Paris Republique

Renaissance Paris Republique

For the pop-out window nooks

The architecturally keen will appreciate the storied history of this revamped hotel, originally designed in the 1970s by Bernard Zehrfuss. Pop-out windows in standard suites offer a retro outlook on Paris’ right bank (Canal Saint-Martin is within a stone’s throw) while doubling as cozy reading nooks.

40, rue René Boulanger, Paris, 33-1-71-18-20-95, marriott.com

Hotel Gabriel

For the 1920s-inspired décor

This boutique hotel’s immaculate rooms are reminiscent of small cocoons, thanks to their minimalist decor. Located on a quiet street, this art deco building is perfect for business travellers or those intent on exploring the nearby Marais and Place de la République.

25, rue du Grand Prieuré, Paris, 33-1-47-00-13-38, hotelgabrielparis.com

Maison Albar Hotel Paris Céline

Photo: Jérome Galland

Maison Albar Hotel Paris Céline

For the chic suites

This flagship hotel for luxury brand Maison Albar may have only recently opened its doors, but whispers about room 1923 are already passing from ear to ear. With a skylight and floor-to-ceiling windows, the two-level, top floor suite possesses Parisian panoramas with La Canopée, Saint-Eustache church and the Eiffel Tower all in view. Each room is outfitted with iPad controls, so you can pull back the curtains without getting out of bed.

23, rue du Pont Neuf, Paris, 33-1-44-88-92-60, maison-albar-hotel-paris-celine.com

Le Pavillon des Lettres

For the literary clout

In the heart of the 8e arrondissement, this “literary hotel” features 26 rooms (one for each letter of the alphabet), all named after notable authors. Start your day with a morning cappuccino on your room’s balcony overlooking the roofs of the surrounding Haussman buildings, or curl up with an iPad on loan from the reception, preloaded with works from the novelists highlighted on the property, from Diderot to Shakespeare.

12, rue des Saussaies, Paris, 33-1-49-24-26-26, pavillondeslettres.com

Where to Eat and Drink

La Fontaine de Belleville

Photo: Albin Durand / Belleville Brûlerie - Paris

La Fontaine de Belleville

For the café society

Belleville Brûlerie’s first café-bar has become an instant classic in the trendy 10e arrondissement. Sip an espresso made with beans roasted in-house and nibble a jambon et beurre baguette while lounging on a signature Gatti rattan chair. Swing by at night for craft beer on tap and the occasional jazz soiree.

31-33, rue Juliette Dodu, 33-9-81-75-54-54, lafontaine.cafesbelleville.com

Allards

Photo: Pierre Monetta

Allard

For the seasoned gourmet

A Saint-Germain-des-Près institution since 1932, this familial French bistro – now under the direction of Alain Ducasse – is where locals go for traditional French fare. Order from Allard’s seven classic dishes of the day and save room for the crème brûlée.

41, rue Saint-André des Arts, Paris, 33-1-58-00-23-46, restaurant-allard.fr

Pâtisserie Yann Couvreur

Photo: Laurent Fau

Pâtisserie Yann Couvreur

For the Madagascar vanilla millefeuille

What Yann Couvreur’s much coveted mille feuille lacks in layers (he opts for cinq feuilles), it makes up for in creamy decadence with its signature Madagascar vanilla filling. Plan to visit early – only 50 are made each day and they disappear quickly.

137, av. Parmentier, Paris, yanncouvreur.com

Café Oberkampf

Photo: Molly S J Lowe

Café Oberkampf

For the shakshuka-style eggs

Come for the Coutume coffee, stay for the all-day brunch. Cozy and always crowded, this ex-pat-owned canteen has put its name on the map with picture-perfect menu items, such as coriander-garnished shashuka eggs with feta, served in a cast iron skillet on a wooden board.

3, rue Neuve Popincourt, Paris, 33-1-43-55-60-10, cafeoberkampf.com

Pain Pain

For the best croissant

As one of only a couple dozen bakers in the exclusive Grand Prix de la Baguette de la Ville de Paris winner’s circle, Sébastien Mauvieux knows a thing or two about bread. His Montmarte bakery is the quintessential stop for your morning croissant fix. For a sweet treat, indulge with a pistachio-chocolate roll or a chouquette (or two, or three) to go.

88, rue des Martyrs, 3, Paris, 3-1-42-23-62-81, pain-pain.fr

Clamato

Photo: B. Schmuck

Clamato

For the oyster saloon

This seafood joint takes its name from Mott’s clam-infused tomato juice, the ingredient that separates a Caesar (hard to come by in Paris) from a Bloody Mary. Of course, there’s also an au courant list of champagnes to pair with oysters on ice. Order the wild mussels that come served with a slice of Boulangerie du Nil bread at the bottom, soaking up a savory, yellow-wine broth.

80, rue de Charonne, Paris, 33-1-43-72-74-53, septime-charonne.fr

Buvette Gastrothèque

Buvette Gastrothèque

For the wine and plate-sharing

The French outpost of Jody Williams’ Manhattan restaurant, which, ironically, models itself as a Parisian wine bar, this Pigalle bistro draws from its land of inspiration to marvelous effect. A wide selection of wines pairs nicely with a menu of small plates, like crushed walnut and Parmesan pesto tartine, honey and orange-spiced fennel or coq au vin.

28, rue Henry Monnier, Paris, 33-1-44-63-41-71, paris.ilovebuvette.com

What to Do

Piscine Molitor Roof Top

Photo: Ludwig Favre

Piscine Molitor Roof Top

For the art deco vibes

Red, yellow and aqua-blue-threaded Moroso chairs give the wood-planked terrace a splash of colour and provide the ideal chaise lounge for a lazy afternoon. Refresh with cocktails, and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the art deco lido with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.

13, rue Nungesser et Coli, Paris, 33-1-56-07-08-50, mltr.fr

La Cuisine Paris Cooking Class

For the French technique

Celebrate the art of French cuisine with food tours and classes led by experts. Options range from Fromage and Wine Discovery workshops to Intensive Technical Macaroon classes with sessions usually lasting around three hours. The French Market Tour and Cooking Class includes a tour of Marché Maubert followed by a lesson in the kitchen. Sessions are limited to 12 participants, so book in advance.

80, quai de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, Paris, 33-1-40-51-78-18, lacuisineparis.com

Le Point Éphémère

Photo: Florian Chavanon

Le Point Éphémère

For the electro exhibitions

Stay on the pulse of Paris’ underground art scene at this graffiti-layered dockside warehouse. A fresh rotation of musicians (especially electro, hip hop and indie rock), edgy art and savage cuisine at Animal Kitchen, the culinary arm of Animal Records, draws crowds night and day. On warm days, have a drink on the rooftop terrace, Le Top, a local hotspot for its view of Canal Saint-Martin.

200, quai de Valmy, Paris, 33-1-40-34-02-48, pointephemere.org

The Broken Arm

For the fresh-find labels

Nordic minimalism informs both the airy setup and light lunch menu of this two-level concept shop in Le Marais. Browse an assortment of labels, like Gosha Rubchinsky and Loewe, and discover up-and-coming designers while relishing a cup of specialty coffee.

12, rue Perrée, Paris, 33-1-44-61-53-60, the-broken-arm.com

Fondation Louis Vuitton

For Gehry à Paris

A glistening diamond in the woods of Bois de Boulogne, Frank Gehry’s silver-sailed glass structure houses LVMH’s collections of contemporary art. Highlights include contemplative works like Olafur Eliasson’s Inside the Horizon, a kaleidoscopic walkway in the Grotto that encircles the pool, as well as multi-medium pop art by John Cage and French artist Philippe Parreno.

8, av. du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris, 33-1-40-69-96-00, fondationlouisvuitton.fr

La Grande Epicerie de Paris

For the artisanal expertise

Foodies of all flavours flock to Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche’s abundant pantry, which stocks more than 25,000 gourmet products. A bakery, patisserie, butcher, cheese shop and wine cellars offer spoils for sampling. Consult with one of the many wandering experts on what to take home, from the best regional olive oil or provincially harvested jams (Maison Dutriez’s Bar-le-Duc redcurrant is a sweet treat).

38, rue de Sèvres, Paris, 33-1-44-39-81-00, lagrandeepicerie.com

Nose

Nose

For the signature scents

It’s okay to be nosy at this Montorgueil-area perfumery, where fragrance sniffing and mingling are encouraged. Find your signature scent by completing a one-minute diagnostic that determines your olfactory profile and recommends five perfumes for blind testing.

20 rue Bachaumont, Paris, 33-1-40-26-46-03, nose.fr

Marché des Enfants Rouges

For the lemony crêpes

Still beloved by locals, Paris’ oldest covered market lies behind an inconspicuous iron gate in Le Marais. Sashay between the 20-some food stalls that cater to a wide range of international tastes, from couscous to burgers. Save room for Chez Alain Miam Miam’s sugar-lemon crêpe, where “miam” barely begins to do justice to the sweet-and-sour treat.

39, rue de Bretagne, Paris, marchedesenfantsrougesfr.com

How to Get Around

Getting from the Airport

Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport is approximately 28 kilometres from the city centre, making for a 45-minute, €55 taxi ride. Line B (the blue line) of the RER commuter train travels from Roissy to several stops in the city centre, including Saint Michel and Gare du Nord, and costs about €10.


Public Transportation

There’s no argument good enough to rent a car in Paris, not even bragging rights about driving in the Arc de Triomphe roundabout. Parking and traffic are a nightmare. The Metro, in contrast, is fast, efficient and inexpensive. Single tickets are €1.90, a book of ten (called a carnet) is €14.50. The Paris Visite tourist ticket is good for unlimited rides for a specific number of days.


Taxis

Taxis can be found at designated taxi ranks, but they’re also fairly easy to hail in the street, except around the time of the last Metro at 12:40 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 1:40 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.


Walking

You’ll have no need to hit the hotel gym here – Paris is a fantastic city to walk in, more compact than people realize.


Cycling

The Vélib’ rent-a-bike system has been a phenomenal success; you’ll see their stands everywhere. Just unlock a bike after making a credit card deposit and you’ll be pedaling like a Parisian.

Tags

CITY GUIDE     HOTELS     PARIS