Tips for a Successful Trip to Paris

There are three necessary component to any successful trip to Paris – the right accommodations, great food and places to shop. Here is a round-up of all that Paris has to offer in these three categories, including what’s new in 2006-2007.

Accommodations

Throughout the city this year and next, some new hotels are springing up that clearly reflect the diversity of the accommodations on offer in Paris. The first Parisian Love Hotel, modeled after its Japanese counterparts, has cryptically announced its opening for “sometime in 2006”. Fouquet’s is opening a hotel close to its restaurant in the former Le Relais de Carre d’Or, and will be the newest member of the Groupe Lucien Barrière. The Scribe (1, rue Scribe in the 9th) has revamped its interior and the Standard (9, rue des Taillandiers) offers designer accommodations in the 11th arrondissement. Other new hotels include the Artus Hotel, the Amiral Hotel (98, av d’Italie in the 13th) and the Novotel Montparnasse.

The French capital offers visitors the widest choice of hotels in the world with over 75,000 rooms at over 2,000 hotels. Most people probably don’t realize that Paris is one of the three least expensive tourist destinations in the world because it has hotels to suit every budget. For a night in a double room in an unstarred hotel, offering simple and basic amenities, rates are lower than 40€; for a 1-star hotel, they range from 40-80€; and for a 2-star, between 80-120€. On average, a room in an economy hotel is 83€. Hotels in the mid-range are also remarkably affordable. Three-star hotels provide a higher standard of comfort for 120-200€ per night for a double room. The reputation of Paris’ top hotels, 4-star and 4-star Luxe, is celebrated all over the world. They are an essential feature of the city scene, and include the Hôtel Meurice, Hôtel de Crillon, Hôtel Ritz, Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Hôtel Royal Monceau, Hôtel Hilton Arc de Triomphe, Park Hyatt Vendôme, Hôtel du Louvre, Le Montalembert, L’Hôtel and Victoria Palace.

Paris also has its share of design hotels – Hôtel du Petit Moulin, Hôtel Duret, Hôtel Costes, Pershing Hall – artsy hotels – Hôtel Sezz, Hôtel Lutetia – and high-tech hotels – Murano Urban Resort, Pavillon de Paris. There are also bed and breakfasts – Art, Bed & Breakfast – concept hotels – Hospitel, Hôtel Eldorado, Bâteau Péniche Paris-Yacht – and romantic hotels – Hôtel Opéra Maintenon, Hôtel Pont Royal, Saint-James Paris. Travelers might not realize they can go camping outside of Paris at the Bois de Boulogne campsite. Paris hotels also have some of the best ‘rooms with a view” in the world, such as at Hôtel des Grands Hommes, Hôtel Banville and Hôtel Régina. For those looking to follow in the footsteps of legendary artists and cult figures, there are hotels such as Relais du Louvre, where Victor Hugo and Voltaire stayed, the Hôtel Esmeralda (4, rue Saint-Julien le Pauvre in the 5th) where Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin spent some time and Hôtel Istria (29, rue Campagne Première in the 14th), to which Picabia, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray were regular visitors.

Food and Restaurants

It goes without saying that Paris is an ideal destination for foodies, The flair, expertise and quality of traditional French cooking find their most accomplished expressions here with a endless array of appealing restaurants, superstar chefs and culinary artists on the rise. There is also a calendar-full of enticing food events such as:

La Semaine du Goût, October 16-22
Chocolate Fair, October 28-November 1
Fooding, November-December
Beaujolais Nouveau, 3rd Thursday in November

There is always new restaurant opening in Paris. Some of the newest to open are:

Le Bound, 49-51, avenue George V in the 8th
K1ze, 15, rue Pierre Gaillon in the 2nd
Pavillon Baltard, 9, rue Coquillière in the 1st
Ante Prima, 137, rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th

Paris has restaurants for every budget, including rising stars – Fogon (45, quai des Grands Augustins in the 6th), L’ami Jean (27, rue Malar in the 7th), L’astrance (4, rue Beethoven in the 16th), Point Bar (40, place du marché Saint-Honoré in the 1st) – and the more affordable eateries of superstar chefs — Benoît, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chiberta, Dominique Bouchet. Paris is also home to restaurants with the world’s most stunning views, whether perched atop the Eiffel Tower – Jules Verne — overlooking the Seine – Kong, (1, rue de Pont Neuf in the 1st) – or the rooftops of Paris from the top of the Centre Pompidou – Georges. Other restaurants with spectacular views include La Tour d’Argent, Le Ciel de Paris, Le Ziryab, La Maison Blanche, Les Jardins Plein Ciel and Le Café de l’Homme. One of the best views in Paris is of the people strolling by in the warm-weather months. Paris has some of the best terrasses for people-watching in the world, all while enjoying a great meal – Café Beauboug on the esplanade of the Centre Pompidou (43, rue Saint-Merri in the 4th), Chai 33 (33, cour Saint-Emilion in the 12th), Café Marly, overlooking the Louvre Pyramid (93, rue de Rivoli in the 1st) and Pitchi Poï, which specializes in authentic Jewish and Russian cuisine.

Many of Paris’ museums also have amazing restaurants, such as the aforementioned Georges, Le Ziryab and Le Café de l’Homme. But there are others that might not be as well-known, such as Tokyo Eat at the Palais de Tokyo, Restaurant de la Maison Rouge at the Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Restaurant du Musée d’Orsay and Restaurant Musée du Vin Le Caveau des Echansons rue des Eaux. Single-minded foodies might like some of Paris’ themed restaurants, such as Terre des Truffes (21, rue Vignon in the 8th, specializingin truffles), Bar à soups (33, rue de Charonne in the 12th, specializing in soup), Culture Bière (specializing in beer) or Le Soufflé (36, rue de Mont Thabor in the 1st, specializing in soufflés).

More adventurous foodies might want to try one of Paris many « concept » restaurants, such as Dans le Noir, Le Jardin du Graal and Music’Hall. Nouvelle cuisine can be found in abundance at many of Paris’ noteworthy establishments as well, such as Spoon and Galerie Frâich’Attitude.

Food lovers might also enjoy learning to cook in Paris at one of the many cooking schools now available – L’Atelier des Chefs, L’Atelier des Sens, Arômes et Saveurs, Pavillon Lenôtre and Le Ritz Escoffier. Friendly feasts are suddenly in fashion, with table d’hôtes and communal eating rapidly becoming more popular in Paris. Antoine et Lili (95, quai du Palmy in the 10th) brings chic canteen dining to trendy Parisians, as can also be found at La Cantine de Faubourg and Le Toi.

Some of Paris’ restaurants are so well-known, so elegant and so legendary that even people who have never been to Paris have heard of them – Carre des Feuillant, Le Cinq, Pavillon Ledoyen, Restaurant Guy Savoy, Grand Vefour, Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, Restaurant Plaza Athénée, L’Arpège, Taillevent — but some of the most authentic food can be found in bistros and wine bars – L’ardoise (28, rue Mont-Thabor in the 1st), Chez Denise (at the Montlhéry Tower, 5, rue des Prouvaires in the 1st), Le Trumilou (84, quai du Hôtel de Ville in the 4th), Le Petit Verdot – and brasseries – La Coupole (102, boulevard du Montparnasse in the 14th), Bofinger, La Closerie des Lilas (171, boulevard du Montparnasse in the 14th), Le Dôme (108, boulevard du Montparnasse in the 14th), Le Vaudeville (29, rue Vivienne in the 2nd). And Paris being one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, several of its “gourmet” neighborhoods are known for the vast array of ethnic cuisine available there, such as the Chinese restaurants in the 13th, the Indian restaurants in the Passage Brady in the 10th and Japanese restaurants on rue Sainte-Anne in the 2nd.

For those who want to bring back some gourmet souvenirs, Paris is definitely the place to be. Internationally-renowned bakers and confectioners Pierre Hermé and Ladurée tempt sweet-tooths, as do the oriental pastries at Bague de Kenza (106, rue Saint-Maur in the 11th). Some of the major department stores also have great food departments, such as Grande Epicerie at Bon Marché and Lafayette Gourmet.

Shopping

Paris is the ultimate destination for retail therapy. Between the markets and the stores, there is something for everyone. Real shopping fiends should mark their calendars for the following dates:

Winter sales, January 11-February 21
Summer sales, every July and August

New boutiques, department store sections and shops seem to be opening every day in Paris. Some of the newest editions to the Paris shopping landscape include Louis Vuitton Champs-Elysées and the Nike Flagship Store Champs-Elysées.

Going shopping on Sunday is the latest thing. Around the Canal Saint-Martin in the 10th, there colorful boutiques and cool bookstores; the rue des Francs-Bourgeois and the whole Marais district in the 4th has plenty of cool little shops as well. The boutiques on the Champs-Elysées and the Cour Saint-Emilion are also open on Sundays as well.

The hot spots for Paris shopping are consistent even if the stores that make them famous change from season to season. The world’s best-known avenue is the Champs-Elysées, home to the new Louis Vuitton and Nike stores, Hugo Boss, Guerlain, Atelier Renault (which also has a great restaurant), Le Rendez-Vous Toyota, FNAC, Virgin Megastore and The Disney Store. The Avenue Montaigne is best-known as the street for haute couture and prêt à porter with designer boutiques such as Emilio Pucci, Dior Homme, Céline, Gucci, Chanel, Jil Sander, Christian Dior, Emmanuel Ungaro, Valentino, Malo, Marni and Nina Ricci, as well as two of the biggest auction houses in Paris — ArtCurial and Drouot. Saint-Germain de Prés, while also very chic, is a little more bohemian and cutting edge. It was even home to the first luxury sex shop in Paris, at the Sonia Rykiel boutique. Other famous names in the neighborhood include Miu Miu, Prada, Agnès b, Armani Casa, Sergio Rossi, Burberry, The Conran Shop, Lagerfeld Gallery, Maje and Paul Smith.

Market lovers have plenty to keep them busy in France, with a steady schedule of fresh shopping options throughout the city.

New Rue Montmartre Market, Sunday mornings, Thursday afternoons
Raspail Organic Market in the 6th, Sundays 8:30 am-1:00 pm
Bird Market (place Louis Lépine) in the 4th, Sundays 9:00 am-7:00 pm
Parisian Art & Design Market in the 14th, Sundays 10:00 am-7:00 pm
Enfants Rouges covered market in the 3rd, Tuesday-Saturday 8:30 am-1:00 pm and 4:00-7:30 pm (until 8:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays)
Saint-Quentin covered market in the 10th, Tuesday-Saturday 8:30 am-1:00 pm and 4:00-7:30 pm; and Sundays 8:30 am-1:00 pm)
Baudoyer Afternoon Market in the 4th, Wednesdays 3:00-8:00 pm
Bercy Afternoon Market in the 12th, Wednesdays 3:00-8:00 pm
Saint-Honoré Afternoon Market in the 1st, Wednesdays 3:00-8:00 pm
Batignolles Organic Market in the 17th, Saturdays 9:00 am-2:00 pm
Bastille Art & Design Market in the 11th, Saturdays 9:00 am-7:00 pm
Flower Market (place Louis Lépine) in the 4th, everyday 8:00 am-7:00 pm

Parisians are known to be some of the world’s most beautiful people. Is it any wonder then that there are so many places to buy the best beauty products in Paris? Visitors should experience the timeless design of La Bulle Kenzo and the luxurious treatments at www.alexandre-zouari.com, as well as the more mainstream beauty product selections available at www.sephora.fr and www.origins.com.

Any kind of niche can be filled in Paris. Whether one is shopping for vintage items, — Kiliwatch, Les 3 Marchés de Catherine B, Quidam de Revel – high-tech gifts and gadgets, – Surcouf, Apple Store, FNAC Digital – kids’ clothes, – Le Nain Bleu, La Grande Recré, Do You Speak Martien?, Niou – or jewelry – Mauboussin, Cartier, Baccarat, Mikimoto – it’s all in Paris. Adventurous shoppers might want to visit one of Paris’ concept stores, the first of which – Colette – opened nine years ago. French Trotters recently followed in those famous footsteps with a shop in the 11th; Black Book, located within the Palais de Tokyo, specializes in limited editions of small but beautiful items; L’Eclaireur presents a range of classically-inspired clothing and Astier de Villatte carries lots of modern, offbeat objects. Political- and ethical-correctness has reached shopping and Paris is going with the trend. That’s the motto of American Apparel, as well as of the Brazilian company OBA and the African company CSAO, all of which have opened up shop in Paris. A the group of French designers fighting AIDS that make up Les Créateurs ont du Cœur hold a special sale every April and November.

For more information on visiting Paris, go to www.parisinfo.com. Media contact: Véronique Potelet-Anty, +33 (0) 1 49 52 53 27 or vpotelet@parisinfo.com

For More Information on France Visit http://www.franceguide.com/us

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