Paris doesn’t need an introduction. It’s the city of lights, the city of love. A city with a rich history of romance, luxury and fashion extravagance. It was home to artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali and Edith Piaf and Brigitte Bardot. The city runs on wine, champagne and is known for its culinary standards. If you haven’t been to Paris, you haven’t lived. Here’s some of our favourite luxury things to do – a traveller’s guide to luxury in Paris.
Home away from home
In Paris, you want to splurge on a fabulous home away from home. Why not – you’re in a city that breathes luxury and extravagance. There’s loads of hotel options in Paris.
If you want to go with a hotel with a view on the Eiffel tower, the iconic Plaza Athénée has to be on your list. You’ll recognise it from Sex and the City (the hotel where Carrie gets accidentally slapped by Alexander Petrovsky) and it’s Miranda Priestley’s (Devil Wears Prada) favourite abode in Paris (naturally). The hotel has balcony view rooms that offer the best view of the city. Picture yourself waking up in the morning and heading out to the balcony for breakfast with the Eiffel tower in front of you. Enough said.
For a hotel that exudes pure extravagance, we recommend Le Meurice. Located on the historic Rue de Rivoli. The hotel was featured in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The hotel is decorated in a classic style, with golden adornments, chandeliers and large windows. Our favourite is the luxurious Belle Etoile Suite. This is the perfect hotel if you want to stay in the city center and close to all the museums.
Finally, there’s The Ritz. You can always count on The Ritz, wherever you are. The Ritz in Paris has been a favourite throughout history, with frequent guests like Marcel Proust and Coco Chanel and even kings and queens staying at the hotel. The hotel is located on Place Vendôme. Rooms are decorated in a classic and artsy style, with rich brocades, oil paintings and sparkling chandeliers. It’s luxury at its finest.
On the itinerary
You can go to Paris every year and still feel like you’re discovering the city over and over again. There’s so much to do in Paris. From all the art exhibitions, the restaurants and cafes you can visit and the wineries you have to try. You don’t really need to worry about your itinerary in this city!
Paris is home to a lot of museums. From the iconic Louvre, featuring works like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, to Centre Pompidou, with more modern and contemporary art, and smaller museums like Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée d’Orsay and Petit Palais. At Petit Palais there’s currently an extraordinary exhibition about Dutch Masters. There’s really no top museum you can pick – every museum has its own focus and exhibitions. If you’re into large scale exhibitions and contemporary installations, we recommend Grand Palais. Grand Palais is known for being the first exhibition hall in the world and it’s also the place where Chanel holds its fashion shows during fashion week. If you like to escape the city to enjoy art in an oasis of peace, we recommend Fondation Louis Vuitton. The museum features a lot of exhibitions. Currently on is Takashi Murakami. And for fashion lovers, there’s also the Yves Saint Laurent Museum – a museum dedicated to the life and works of the fashion designer.
Paris is a city you want to walk in. The city has a great metro system as well, but if you really want to experience the city the right way, you go by foot. And explore every corner of the city! From visiting the Notre Dame and Opera Garnier and the various Parisian streets of Montmartre or city parks like Jardin du Luxembourg – you are guaranteed a picture-perfect trip. And of course you cannot miss on walking along the Seine.
Culinary-wise, you cannot be in a better place than Paris. A local cafe will have the best oysters you’ve ever tasted and you can have a good French dinner at a decent price anywhere. And for mornings, head out to your local bakery for buttery brioche and croissants.
A local favourite for many years now is Frenchie. The restaurant started small but is now taking up the whole street with its small franchise. At Frenchie you will find contemporary French cuisine with excellent wine selections and a great atmosphere. Another local favourite is Verjus, run by chef Braden Perkins. This small bistro has been winning the hearts of Paris and is frequented by locals often. And then there’s Septime, a restaurant that is known for its creative dishes. Get a reservation well in advance though because it is booked solid every night. And get the wine pairing!
For Michelin stars, there’s plenty of options. Paris is the city with the most Michelin stars so you don’t have to worry about finding a good one. Arpège is a three Michelin star restaurant and is widely known for chef Alain Passard’s use of vegetables. Another restaurant worth mentioning is L’Atelier Étoile de Joël Robuchon. And of course there’s Le Cinq – regarded as one of the top Michelin restaurants in Paris. With all these restaurants you want to prepare to splurge. It’s all about luxury fine-dining here and tasting the best that Paris (or the culinary world) has to offer.
Sweets & pastries
Of course you cannot leave Paris without visiting at least one Ladurée shop. Macarons may be expensive but the quality is always consistent and the macarons are iconic. We recommend going to the shop on your last day to pick up a box to bring home with you and staying for a quick pastry or two (like our favourite Ispahan). If the lines at Ladurée are too long for you and you want to try something else, we recommend Pierre Hermé as well. It’s in the same price range with a different selection of macarons but equally good. And then there’s Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse. Ducasse and chocolates – there’s really no need for a further explanation!
Fashion lovers will be thrilled with the many shopping options the city has to offer. There’s loads of luxury department stores you want to hit. From Printemps, Galeries LaFayette to Le Bon Marché – if you are okay with staying in and being able to shop everything in one place, these department stores will fill your day. Department stores will have a lot of shop-in-shops as well, like Chanel, Gucci and Céline. If however you like to visit shopping streets, we recommend areas like Boulevard Saint Germain, Place de la Madeleine, Triangle d’Or (for an ultimate luxury shopping experience), Le Marais and Rue de Rivoli. These shopping areas offer great cityscapes as well. You’ll be shopping in pretty Parisian streets, along the Seine and stunning historic buildings. Another of our favourite shops worth mentioning is Sézane – a shop with a curated selection of fashionable goods.
Paris travel tips
First of all, bring good walking shoes. You could take the metro to take you anywhere in Paris, but Paris is a city you want to experience above ground. To see the splendour of the city and the culture and history.
Second, learn the basics in French. Although Paris is tourist-oriented and most people will speak English, there’s going to be times English won’t do. And it’s France – don’t just assume everybody speaks English! So learn a couple of words and phrases. It will be appreciated by locals as well.
Third, but this is a general tip – beware of your belongings. Don’t assume you can just walk around with your bags open. Don’t make it easy for thieves to steal your belongings! Just make sure you have your things in sight at all times.