French Travel Connection’s Sophie Meunier, Product Marketing Manager and born and bred Parisian, travels back to her home town to find out what makes Paris the perfect city break.
I lived in and around Paris for 23 years before moving to Australia. Thankfully my job allows me to return every year. It is after a few recent trips home that I have come to realise that Paris really isn’t as I remembered. It is better! A new energy is sweeping through the city whilst the best of its older features is preserved. Here are my insider-outsider tips for a Paris getaway.
Where to stay**?**
On my latest trip, I was looking for what most Australian travellers seek: a bit of culture, good food and lively bars. Three nights is the absolute minimum you need to tick these three boxes.
Paris is divided into 20 urban districts called arrondissements. Every one of them has its own character. Would you prefer staying on the doorstep of the city’s main attractions? If so, try the Champs de Mars (Eiffel Tower), the Champs Elysees or Opera. For accommodation buried away in narrow pedestrian streets, I would recommend Saint-Germain-des-Pres, the Latin Quarter or Montmartre. Alternatively, Bastille, Montparnasse or Nation are ultra-trendy at the moment.
At French Travel Connection, we are obsessed with the best places to stay – be it for our clients or ourselves! Our accommodation options range from hand-picked 3* hotels to stately homes converted into sumptuous 5* palaces.
What to do**?**
There are an infinite number of things to do in Paris which some say depend on the time of year you are visiting. We say no one time is better to go than another. As the author Jules Renard once said, “Add two letters to Paris, you get paradise (paradis)!”
There are enough museums in Paris to fill up your diary for days. Here a few of our favourites – the list could go on so please contact our team for any other recommendations.
Easily accessible in the 8th arrondissement, the Grand Palais was built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900. Not only does it look impressive from the outside but its exhibitions are more than often fascinating and varied. Fine arts, fashion, photography, music, dance, cinema, theatre and sport are all themes that are covered.
Centre Georges Pompidou
President Georges Pompidou commissioned the Centre, known by Parisians as Beaubourg. When it officially opened in 1977 its high-tech, industrial façade brought a refreshing new face to Parisian architecture. Today, it houses the largest museum for modern art in Europe, a vast public library and a centre for music and acoustic research.
Palais de Tokyo
If you like contemporary art, this is where you will find it. Located next to the Trocadero.
Quai Branly Museum
Located on the banks of the Seine, the Quai Branly museum stands out with its vertical plant wall. Here is where you will find art from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
A converted train station, the Musee d’Orsay is home to the French impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces (Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, etc).
Yes, of course this is on your list!
- Parks and gardens
Read about the best parks and gardens here.
If you are travelling with kids, the Jardins d’Acclimatation is the perfect open playground and offers plenty of activities. The Cite des Enfants (for kids from 2 to 12 years old) is home to a science museum, a children’s museum, a music museum and an IMAX theatre.
- Dinner and a show
Some see this as a tourist trap, we see this as a must-do in Paris! It is a fabulous experience and unforgettable night. Foran authentic Parisian experience, book a Moulin Rouge or Lido show and dinner through French Travel Connection. Even better are our Paris packages which combine accommodation and a Moulin Rouge or Lido show.
Where to eat & drink**?**
Michelin-starred restaurants and local brasseries, floating and rooftop bars, patisseries and tea shops… here are my food and drink recommendations – new and old!
Fauchon and La Durée are the two iconic French pastry houses. Both are well worth a visit but I also urge you to visit these smaller local ones.
- Patisserie Cyril Lignac
- Huré Boulangerie
- Éclair de Genie
Bars and restaurants
- Le Perchoir Marais
- Le Sardignac Sur Le Toit
- Rosa Bonheur
- Frenchie Bar à Vins
- Train Bleu
- Le Trois Quart
Don’t be afraid to wander aimlessly around Paris. You will unavoidably stumble upon hidden gems, quiet streets with the perfect brasserie for lunch.
Where to shop**?**
- Galeries Lafayette
- BHV Marais
- Mariage Freres for authentic French tea
- Jacadi for classic French baby and kids’ clothes
Luckily, it’s that time of year where we have fantastic last-minute and early bird deals on at French Travel Connection. This Claridge package for instance includes 6 nights’ accommodation, a dinner cruise along the Seine River, a 4-day museum pass, a wine and cheese tasting tour in Paris AND a day tour of the Champagne region.
Whenever it is you are looking to travel, our team exist to assist so get in touch on 1300 858 304 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A bientôt !