Paris? It’s a whole world in one city! Each of its neighbourhoods can be explored as a different country, from the village of Montmartre, to the Latin Quarter, through to the cradle of the Île de la Cité. And every stone tells us about art, from the iconic Louvre to the futuristic Louis Vuitton Foundation. Paris is a permanent celebration of culture, as well as gastronomy. And Christelle Brua, the world’s best pastry chef, certainly agrees.
The must-sees for your visit to Paris
The best place to start in Paris is the Île de la Cité, cradle of ancient Lutetia. This is where Notre-Dame de Paris sits enthroned, a jewel of Gothic art that has been watching over the Seine for more than 850 years. In the nearby Latin Quarter, the remains of the Cluny baths and Lutèce arenas unfurl the thread of ancient history – while streets such as Rue Mouffetard evoke the Middle Ages. You can savour the village atmosphere between the cafés and stalls of fine food.
Compare this with Montmartre, another ‘village’ in Paris. While climbing up to La Butte, you continue until the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur: from here, the view across Paris is as renowned as that from the Eiffel Tower!
Symbol of the French garden, the Tuileries are a great place for an artistic walk. You’ll encounter statues by Maillol and Rodin before exploring the rich collections of the nearby Louvre. Just across from here is one of the exhibitions of the Grand Palais. You can also just admire icons from a distance: from Place de la Concorde, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées stretches between terraces and chic shops for nearly two kilometres up to the Arc de Triomphe.
Cultural Paris is also about innovation: in the district of La Villette, the Cité des Sciences et Industrie is the largest scientific museum in Europe and a magnet for the curious. And in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne, a strange vessel of glass and steel has dropped anchor: designed by Frank Gehry, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is the new icon of a contemporary art that intrudes to the very classical castle of Versailles!
The art of living in Paris
To visit Paris is to taste the art of Parisian living. Start at breakfast with a delicious hot baguette and buttery croissants, before donning your Repetto ballet pumps for a haute-couture shopping spree at Avenue Montaigne or the flea market in Saint-Ouen. In the afternoon, take a mandatory break at the Café de Flore, capital of literary Paris. In the evening, swap into Louboutin shoes to listen to an opera in the modern surroundings of the Opera Bastille or under the golden ceiling of the Opera Garnier. You can also go to the Moulin Rouge or Lido to applaud the new French cancan dancers. After that, all you have to do is go back to one of those effortlessly Parisian hotels – such as the Crillon.
Paris: a fast-growing city
There’s nowhere like Paris – the ‘smart city’ – to get yourself up to date. Pick up the craziest trends in urban tourism, from perched gardens to immersive exhibitions. Seek out new places that are constantly reinvented, giving pride of place to young designers of all kinds: the Ateliers de Paris dedicated to art, design and fashion with their pop-up shops; sheds transformed into electro clubs; or balls thrown in old municipal funeral homes.
Paris: city of fine food
In Paris there’s no question of going hungry, especially for the sweet-toothed. At Pré Catelan, Christelle Brua, the world’s best pastry chef, brilliantly reinvents the classics. And in pâtisseries you can gawp at gleaming flans, eclairs, gateaux Saint-Honoré or Opera, designed in tribute to the dancers. At Beaupassage, the new Parisian temple of gastronomy, you can eat Pierre Hermé macarons after nibbling on Barthelemy cheeses with a Thierry Marx baguette!
Live like royalty in Paris
If you want to live like a prince or princess in Paris, nothing could be easier: with 11 palaces and many new hotel openings, the French capital unites exceptional quality of service with a personalised welcome. And to dream of an even more Art-Déco Paris, unusual or intimate, you can dive into one of the fabulous hotel pools.