Paris, the City of Love or La Ville de L’amour attracts almost 30 million visitors each year. With so much to offer from great food, architecture and history it can be incredibly difficult to organise your time efficiently. Within this guide Flavour Magazine will take some of the stress out of your city-break planning as we let you in on only the best things to see and do in Paris when time is of the essence!
How To Get There: In the past British tourists would fly or take a ferry to Paris which was not always practical. Taking a ferry means several hours driving which can eat into precious time when your visit is only short – come Friday afternoon you would much rather be sipping coffee on the Champs-Elysees than stuck behind the wheel of a car. Flying offers a faster alternative but when you include potential long airport drives and increasingly tenuous waits this option can also eat into valuable sight-seeing time.
In order to make the most of a weekend trip to Paris the least time-consuming and most cost-friendly method of transport is the Eurostar. As well as standard advantages such as a greater luggage allowance opposed to travelling via air, you instantly become entitled to various 2-for-1 ticket offers at several Parisian attractions. For the planet concious amongst you the Eurostar is significantly more environmentally friendly than flying. Eurostar ensures you can travel when it suits you as there are 18 daily services from London St Pancras to Paris with return fares from just £69. You also have the option of upgrading to Standard-Premier which will enable you more space, hot drinks and a light meal.
When departing from London at 0830 you arrive in Paris just after 1030 (GMT) ensuring you get the whole of Friday to explore. The flexibility the Eurostar offers means the same applies on Sunday – you can get an evening train from Paris allowing you the whole of Sunday to do as you please. Grab your tickets from eurostar.com or 03448 224 777.
Where To Stay: The key to choosing accommodation on a weekend-break is location, location, location! Pick a hotel on the outskirts of Paris and you will find yourself wasting precious hours getting yourself from accommodation to destination. We are able to recommend two of the best Parisian hotels for style, value and most importantly location.
The Dupond-Smith is a beautiful hotel in the heart of Paris’ Marais Quarter. Elegant and luxurious this boutique hotel is set in a 17th century private mansion rising up four floors with picturesque views of the capitals rooftops. With few public areas the hotels emphasis is on en-suite and en-room service. There is no better way to begin a day in Paris than having a traditional French breakfast (which I must say is delicious here) delivered to your room for you to enjoy whilst looking out of your rooms swinging windows over the quaint Paris streets below.
For an added touch of elegance opt for the incredible John Doe suite. With a breath-taking renaissance-style feature wall, minimalist artistic furniture and one of the most luxurious bath-rooms in Paris there really is no better way to set up base for your weekend. Additionally, the Dupond-Smith benefits from being in the centre of the capitals most fashionable shopping district and a short tranquil walk to the Notre Dame and it’s surrounding areas. It is also worth noting the staff here are amongst the friendliest we have experienced – nothing is too much for the guys here who are more than willing to give local advice, arrange taxis or simply ensure that you are having the best possible stay.
Book a stay at the Dupond-Smith @ hoteldupondsmith.com with prices starting around £200.
Hotel De Seze is also a hotel we would highly recommend. Again in an incredible central location seconds from the beautiful Place de Madeleine the Hotel De Seze offers the perfect base to explore Paris. There are 22 unique rooms in the hotel all with their own unique character as well as a communal bar, lounge, fitness room and Turkish bath.
When you arrive at this hotel you instantly feel at home as the warm friendly staff are meticulous in ensuring you have the best possible stay. The artistic and fashionable interior exudes luxury and as much as you would love to spend the whole day within the amazing hotel you have the rest of Paris to explore on your doorstep! The hotel is within walking distance of several world famous land-marks such as the Louvre – the best way to explore Paris is by foot and if you fancy some shopping time on the Champs-Elysees then you can enjoy a glorious 30 minute stroll through Paris’ beautiful streets and you are there.
Book a stay at the Hotel De Seze @ http://www.hoteldeseze.com with prices starting around £160.
Where To Eat: It is no secret that Paris offers some of the best cuisine in the world so when you only have a weekend picking the best of the bunch can be difficult. Fortunately for you deciding where to eat when time is limited has been taken care of as we have two of Paris’ finest restaurants.
L’Atelier Renault Cafe is an incredible eatery located on the Champs-Elysees. This quirky top-quality restaurant is raised above the Renault Concept Store but you do not need to be a motor fan to enjoy the experience. The food is as good as any 5* restaurant and similar in price to the dozens of average tourist traps situated on the famous avenue.
The food you can sample whilst over looking Sebastien Vettel’s championship winning Formula One car include Foie Gras, Escargots, Tartare de boeuf as well as more informal dishes such as Fish and Chips and an incredible burger. All of the food is presented immaculately by the most friendly staff. People will often tell you that the service in Paris is cold but here we experienced the complete opposite; knowledgeable, welcoming and friendly staff only add to an incredible meal.
It was an easy decision to include L’Atelier Renault Cafe into Flavour Magazines best way to spend a weekend in Paris feature – not enough people know about this little gem as all they see is a car themed concept store and do not necessarily know that an amazing restaurant is simply a few steps away. This was certainly one of the highlights of our trip and offered us a culinary experience we will never forget.
Le Georges is our second and final must-do restaurant when on a weekend visit to Paris. Set at the top of the captivating Centre Georges Pompidou lies one of Paris’ most breath-taking restaurants. With panoramic views of the city including the Eiffel Tower this 5-star eatery is amongst the finest in France.
The menu is not overwhelming boasting a nicely sized premium list of dishes such as Foie Gras and Lobster Linguini to more modest dishes such as Chicken Curry. The restaurant attracts some of Paris’ most trendy residents but is certainly not exclusive. On our visit there was a nice mix of people enjoying the amazing food and views, Le Georges certainly welcomes all.
Paris is known for it’s incredible food but it was easy to include Le Georges. Often restaurants in such locations lack quality with the views being the focal point, but at Le Georges this not the case. The quality food matches that of the location and for that reason it makes our list!
What To Do: Whilst nowhere near the size of London, Paris benefits from some of the worlds most amazing landmarks, museums and entertainment so compiling a weekend itinerary can become quite challenging.
A must-do for any visitor to Paris no matter how long or short is to the world famous Moulin Rouge. This Parisian institution has been welcoming guests since 1889 which is a testament to the shows ability to adapt and keep it’s performances relevant for an ever changing audience. The group of 60 artists from all over the world make up the show which is performed twice every evening. I would suggest that you book in advance as it is very popular and ques can stretch the block!
The building alone makes this a must-do; grand, exuberant Parisian furniture drape the room which quickly fills with excited guests indulging in buzzing conversation over a glass of champagne. When the show starts you become enthralled from start to finish; Doris Girls, a French Cancan, Ventriloquists, Beautiful women and even a shark-tank and snakes ensure the Moulin Rouge remains the worlds best cabaret!
Essential information: Dinner & Show begins at 19:00. The shows with or without champagne are available at 21:00 and 23:00 for €112 and €102 respectively. www.moulinrouge.fr
Angelina’s is a must for any chocolate lover. This lavish Parisian tea-room offers what is surely the best hot chocolate in the world as well as a vast menu of extravagant pastries. This article focusses on must-do’s and you may question why having a drink and a pastry is so important when time is so precious, but Angelina’s is so much more. This institution offers a quint-essential French experience – we visited on a Sunday morning and the opulence, luxury and elegance of the building is breath taking.
The room quickly fills with glamorous locals and the service recieved is second to none – I would highly recommend ordering a hot chocolate and one of Angelina’s famous Mont-Blanc pastries and just relax for an hour whilst taking in the surroundings. Be warned this is not something you would want to rush due to it’s richness so sit back, take your time and enjoy!
I hope you find this guide to Paris useful and enjoy visiting the recommended places. We intentionally left out the traditional places such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre as these are already well-known choices. If you follow our above recommendations you really will be spending the best weekend in Paris possible!