Paris City Breaks : 9 tips tips for you!
Paris is destination for all sorts and seasons. Tree-shaded boulevards, wrought iron lamps illuminating cobblestoned alleys, and wicker chairs on outdoor terraces lend the city an irresistible charm.
If you are in Paris over a weekend or a short break you have an almost unlimited amount of choices of things to do. The Eiffel Tower is a must-see and the view from any one of its three platforms makes the wait for the escalator almost bearable (tour-eiffel.fr).
The Louvre Museum (louvre.fr) is perhaps the world’s largest gallery of fine art, with works from Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Michelangelo. You can purchase tickets online to bypass the queues and pick them up when you get to Paris. The Musee d’Orsay exhibits a collection of Impressionist and art nouveau work in a renovated former railway station (musee-orsay.fr) and is another must-see for culture vultures.
Beyond the art, Paris sights include the pretty, landscaped Jardin du Luxembourg, the lights of the Champs Elysees and the bulk of the Arc du Triomphe, rising high above the chaos of Parisien traffic. Crowds throng the Cathedral of Notre Dame, with its violet hued rose windows, spirited gargoyles and soaring spires.
The best time to go is early in the morning, before the tourist horde arrives. Visitors can also explore the winding streets of Ile St-Louis, sip a coffee on the Left Bank in the chic, literary arrondissement of Saint Germain and have a wander through the galleries of Montmartre, long an artist’s bastion.
Romance comes at a price and in Paris, rooms are costly. Book as far in advance as you can, and keep your expectations low. Space limitations mean that rooms are usually small in size.
Hotel de Blois
If you are looking for a reasonably priced room in Paris, de Blois is your best bet. Located in chic, upmarket St-Germain, the hotel offers comfortable rooms priced from $90 upwards (hoteldeblois.com).
Wonderfully evocative of the belle époque era, Hotel Chopin dates back to the 1800s and is located in a covered shopping arcade off the Grand Boulevard (hotelchopin.fr). Double rooms start from $120.
A boutique designer hotel with an unbeatable location, the Sezz is a modern, luxurious establishment. Best of all, it’s located within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and close to other amenities (hotelsezz.com). Room rates start from $300.
Eating and Drinking
There is no shortage of places to eat in Paris. Bistros, cafes and restaurants are available everywhere. The prix fixe, or set menu, offering two or three course meals for about EUR20 an above, are good value.
An unprepossessing brasserie set in a grand room, the Bofinger serves delicious French food underneath a glass chandelier and cupola. The prices are reasonable, with mains starting at $22 (bofingerparis.com).
Comptoir de la Gastronomie
For a truly elegant feast, this 116 year old restaurant offers dining guests such treats as caviar and truffles. It is worth a stop for good food and to soak up the atmosphere. A two course dinner for two with wine should cost approximately US$100 (comptoir-gastronomie.com).
La Tour d’Argent
If you are looking to pull out all the stops, the Silver Tower is the place to go for champagne and views over Notre Dame. The restaurant’s signature dish is the pressed duck, and ordering from the a la carte menu will set you back about $300 per person (latourdargent.com).