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Paris, known as the City of Lights, is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. During the day, visitors will marvel at the beautiful historic buildings and monuments of central Paris but, at night, the beauty of Paris is on full display with the historic buildings, bridges and monuments grandly illuminated and the Eiffel Tower twinkling in the distance. For luxury travelers, Paris offers the world’s greatest concentration of grand luxury hotels and Michelin starred restaurants. For shoppers and food lovers, Paris is known as the birthplace of haute couture and haute cuisine and, today, you will find young chefs creating a new modern French cuisine and young fashion designers introducing fresh and modern fashion designs.

Thursday

Photos courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Photos courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Paris has so many luxury hotels that it is hard to pick just one hotel for a luxury weekend getaway but our current favorite Parisian hotel is the Shangri-La Hotel Paris. We find the hotel to be a perfect combination of luxury, classic French style and intimacy – it feels like living in a French-styled jewel-box.  The hotel is located in the tree-lined 16th arrondissement right across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower and just around the corner from the exclusive fashion designers on Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V.  It is also just a short stroll away from the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Concorde and the Jardin des Tuileries. The hotel is housed in a 19th century mansion that was formerly the home of Prince Roland Bonaparte, Napoleon’s grandnephew.  With just 101 rooms (over one-third of which are suites), the Shangri-La is smaller and more intimate than the other grand “palace” luxury hotels.  The hotel opened in 2010 after an extensive renovation supervised by famed-architect Richard Martinet and designer Pierre-Yves Rochon.  The hotel modernized all of the rooms but, fortunately, preserved the historic building’s classic French styling and details. 

Photos courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Photos courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel Paris

For this weekend, we highly recommend the terraced suites with their commanding views of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. The suites are decorated in shades of blue, white and ecru and combine European Empire and Asian aesthetics, with silk-threaded wallpaper and textured wall panels.  The suites offer enormous marble bathrooms with heated floors, rain showers, Bulgari toiletries and TVs integrated in large mirrors. For the ultimate splurge, consider booking the Shangri-La Suite, which has among the best views of Paris from its private terrace on the top floor of the hotel.

Shangri-La Hotel Paris // 10 avenue d'Iéna, Paris, 75116 // website

After getting settled into your hotel, we suggest heading to the Bastille area for lunch and then spending the afternoon wandering through the Marais area, Paris’ old Jewish quarter, which is now filled contemporary designer boutiques and trendy shops, as well as fabulous food stores.

Lunch

In the last decade, a new generation of young Parisian chefs have opened more casual market-driven restaurants and bistros that offer a lighter, more ingredient-focused cuisine.  One of our favorite neo-bistros is Septime, a restaurant located in the Bastille area and owned by Bertrand Grebaut (who trained with Alain Passard and also operates Clamato, the super-hot no-reservation seafood restaurant next door).  The restaurant’s décor is open and casual, with large north-facing windows flooding the room with light, an open kitchen, tables made of rough-hewed woods and Edison bulb lighting. Grebaut is known for his inventive parings of seasonal ingredients.  The food is simple but delicious with a daily-changing menu showcasing the season’s best offerings.  Septime also offers a great selection of natural wines. Note that reservations are challenging…best to leave it to your hotel’s concierge (at least three weeks in advance!).

Septime // 80 rue de Charonne 75011 // website

Afternoon

The Marais district has become the place to be for contemporary and emerging Parisian designers.  Here you will find the ateliers and boutiques of many of Paris’ new designers, as well as many well-known contemporary designers.  We love to wander along the old medieval streets of the Marais, some of which, like Rue du Bourg Tibourg, have been converted into cobblestone pedestrian walks, and the nearby Village St. Paul (located between the Marais and the Seine), which is filled with antique stores. Don’t miss The Broken Arm, a concept store and café offering a well-curated selection of international designers, and the boutiques of designers Iro, Maje, Sandro and, in particular, the three-story flagship showroom of Azzedine Alaïa (especially his more affordable stock (outlet) shop around the corner).  Also, for food lovers, make sure to visit Mariage Frères, France's first tea salon that sells over 500 different teas, and L’éclair de Genie for their amazing éclairs.

If you want to take a break from shopping, visit the tree-lined Place des Vosges, which is the oldest square in Paris.  The square was built by Henry IV in 1612 and the surrounding buildings represent some of Paris’ best examples of 17th century architecture.

Evening

Photos courtesy of Peninsula Hotel Paris

Photos courtesy of Peninsula Hotel Paris

Before dinner, we suggest heading to the Peninsula Hotel for a pre-dinner cocktail at the elegant Le Bar Kléber or, if the evening is warm, the open-air terrace of L’Oiseau Blanc on the top floor. The views of Paris from the terrace are spectacular.

Le Bar Kléber, L’Oiseau Blanc // 19 Avenue Kléber 75116 // website

Photos courtesy of Restaurant David Toutain

Photos courtesy of Restaurant David Toutain

You will find some of Paris’ most creative modern French cuisine at Restaurant David Toutain, a small Michelin-starred restaurant located on a quiet street in the 7th arrondissement helmed by David Toutain, one of France’s best young chefs.  Chef Toutain is considered something of a young culinary protégé with experience at Arpège, Corton (NY) and, most recently, Agapé Substance.  The light-filled space is comfortable and relaxed, with high ceilings, natural woods and an earth-tone color scheme.  We suggest requesting a table on the first floor of the loft-like restaurant and, on warm evenings, the best tables are next to the doors that open onto the street.  The service is professional and the servers are very friendly.  

Toutain's cooking is dazzling – each day he composes the creative and delicious multi-course prix fixe menu that shows off his masterful technical skills, originality and aesthetic compensations. The restaurant offers a couple of “blind” set menus, though the only difference is in the number of courses.  The wine list is excellent and deep, though the wine pairing is an excellent option to accompany the multi-course meal. Chef Toutain has a deep respect for vegetables and they often appear as the centerpiece of his dishes.  Some recent standout dishes included an egg yolk served on corn cream, smoked eel in a black sesame pudding and a supplemental theme involving a series of dishes featuring fresh langoustines.  Prepare to be dazzled.

Restaurant David Toutain // 29 rue Surcouf // website

Photos courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Photos courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel Paris

There are few better ways to end an evening in Paris than sipping Champagne with the twinkling Eiffel Tower in the background.  The terrace rooms at the Shangri-La Hotel have amazing views of the Eiffel Tower, though the view from the terrace of the Shangri-La Suite on the top floor is nothing short of spectacular.  Before heading for dinner, we suggest that you arrange to have a chilled bottle of Champagne waiting for your return.

Friday

Morning

Photos courtesy of Laduree

Photos courtesy of Laduree

Although Ladurée has opened branches throughout the world, we still love going to the original Parisian location on rue Royale.  Ladurée is one of the oldest Parisian teahouses and has preserved its rich décor that makes it feel like you are in another era. This particular shop, which was built in 1871, is the most charming, with its hand painted cherubs on the ceilings and gilded antique mirrors.  Ladurée offers all of the brasserie classics, but we highly recommend their decadent brioche French Toast (Pain Perdu). On the way out, pick up some macaroons for later.

Ladurée //16-18 rue Royale 75008 // website

After breakfast, we suggest heading to the small islands in the middle of the Seine, Ile de la Cite and Ile St-Louis, where you will find Notre-Dame and Sainte-Chapelle.  No visit to Paris would be complete without seeing 850-year old Notre-Dame, which is one of the world’s most beautiful Gothic cathedrals. Also worth exploring is Sainte-Chapelle, the medieval chapel of King Louis IX with the oldest stained-glass windows in Paris, and the narrow streets of Ile St-Louis filled with small hotels, cafes and art galleries.  Although too early for ice cream, arguably the best ice cream in Paris can be found on Ile de la Cite at the family-owned Berthillon ice cream shop.

Crossing from the islands to the Left Bank, you will arrive in the Latin Quarter where you will find a labyrinth of narrow streets from medieval times filled with small restaurants and shops, as well as La Sorbonne, France’s oldest university.  It is worth seeking out Shakespeare & Company, the famous English-language bookstore, and exploring Rue Mouffetard, a winding cobblestone pedestrian street filled with small restaurants, cafes, fruit and vegetable stands and fish markets.

From the Latin Quarter, head to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a quarter named after the oldest church in Paris.  In this area you will find beautiful residential streets, art galleries, famous cafes, designer boutiques, gourmet food shops and excellent restaurants. 

Along the Boulevard St-Germain, the main artery that bisects this neighborhood, and the surrounding streets (especially Rue de Rennes), you will find designer fashion boutiques, including Zadig & Voltaire, Façonnable, Etro, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Sonia Rykiel, Saint Laurent and Céline, and the stylish department store Le Bon Marché.

For food lovers, the Left Bank is home to some of Paris’ best gourmet food shops, including Gateaux Thoumieux (Jean-Francois Piege’s fabulous bakery), Henri Le Roux (amazing salted butter caramels), Pierre Hermé (arguably Paris’ best macaroons), Jean-Paul Hévin (incredible chocolates), Poilâne (enormous loaves of sourdough bread) and La Grande Épicere (three floors of gourmet treats within the department store Le Bon Marché).

Along the Boulevard St-Germain you will also find two of Paris’ most famous cafes -- Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore.  Although they were a favorite of many famous writers and thinkers over the last century, including Hemingway, James Joyce and Jean-Paul Sartre, today they are mostly packed with tourists and are more of historical note that worthy of a visit.

Lunch

For lunch, we suggest L’Ami Jean, which is located on a quiet street not far from the Eiffel Tower. In 2002, Stéphene Jégo, who worked as Yves Camdeborde’s second-in-command for a dozen years, took over L’Ami Jean, the oldest Basque restaurant in Paris, and turned it into one of the most popular bistros in Paris.  Jugo, a Basque, is one of the pioneers of French bistronomy, serving rustic bistro cooking with a modern twist using only top quality ingredients from top suppliers.  The restaurant has a classic bistro feel – a small zinc bar in front, traditional bistro chairs and tables, and cartoon murals painted on the wall.  For your first time, request a seat at the rear of the bistro with a direct view into tiny kitchen.  From there, you can watch Chef Jugo finish every dish with great focus and intensity and, occasionally, yell or clap loudly for the servers to hustle to pick up the food from the kitchen.  The restaurant is lively and fun and the servers are very friendly.  The portions are large and full-flavored, nothing delicate here.  Recent standouts include sautéed wild mushrooms seared in butter with herbs and veal cheeks with roasted vegetables, served with heart-clogging puree potatoes.  Do not leave without ordering their justifiably famous rice pudding (riz au lait), which is served in a huge bowl (enough for 4) with salted caramel and caramelized pralines.

27 rue Malar, Left Bank // website

Afternoon

After lunch, if you feel like visiting a museum, we suggest either the Musée d’Orsay or the small and less crowded Rodin Museum

The Musée d’Orsay was originally built as a train station for the 1900 World’s Fair and the Belle Epoque building now houses an extraordinary Impressionist collection, including works by Pissarro, Renoir, Degas and Monet, as well as an excellent collection of Art Nouveau furniture and decorative objects. 

We also love the small Rodin Museum, which is located in a beautiful mansion and displays some of Rodin’s greatest works, including The Thinker and The Kiss.

Before leaving the Left Bank, we recommend visiting the charming Jardin du Luxembourg with its tree-lined walkways, beautiful flower beds filled with tulips, hyacinths and daffodils and immaculate lawns. The northern boundary of the park is dominated by the impressive Palais du Luxembourg, which houses France’s senate.

Evening

Photos (3) courtesy of Alleno Paris

Photos (3) courtesy of Alleno Paris

One of our favorite 3-star Paris restaurants is Alléno Paris at Pavillon Ledoyen, a beautiful restaurant located in the historic Pavillon Ledoyen behind the Petite Palais at the bottom of the Champs Élysées.  The original restaurant began as a small inn in 1779 and was a favorite of many famous artists and writers.  The elegant dining room on the second floor still maintains the style and elegance of Napoleon II’s era.  The service is overseen by the watchful eye of Frederick Pedrono, the delightful general manager, who ensures that diners have a memorable experience. Super-star chef Yannick Alléno, who took over the restaurant in 2014 after Christian Le Squer left to run Le Cinq, has refreshed the restaurant with a lighter touch and returned the restaurant to 3-star status in record time.  The meal begins with the arrival of the Champagne trolley and the first of a series of amuse bouche.  While you can order a la carte, we suggest selecting one of Yannick’s multi-course tasting menu to best experience the genius of this innovative and talented chef.  Some standouts from a recent dinner included his signature fish soup (whisked table side with a Japanese bamboo whisk) and his exceptional highest-grade Wagyu beef. Also, the series of dessert courses are unforgettable.

Alléno Paris at Pavillon Ledoyen // 8 Avenue Dutuit 75008 // website

Saturday

Morning

For a truly Parisian experience, we suggest visiting one of Paris’ many neighborhood markets.  One of the best is the Marché d’Aligre, which is a bustling outdoor market located in the 12th arrondissement filled with outdoor stalls selling fruits, vegetables and flowers and an indoor pavilion selling meats, cheeses, olive oil and seafood.  

Before diving into the market, start with one of Paris’ best croissants from Blé Sucré, a tiny patisserie run by Fabrice Le Bourdat, the former pastry chef at Le Bristol.  In addition to making among the best (if not the best) croissants and madeleines in Paris, Le Bourdat is also well known for his millefeuille and kouign-amann, a caramelized cross between a palmier and a croissant that comes from Bretagne.  You can enjoy your pastries at their outdoor seating or in the charming park across the street.

Blé Sucre // 7 Rue Antoine Vollon, 75012

After being fortified with coffee and pastries, walk one block over to Rue de Cotte, where the outdoor market stalls begin.  The fruit and vegetable stalls fill the narrow street, but don’t miss the fabulous food shops behind the stalls that line the street, including Le Garde Manger, an Alsatian épicerie selling foie gras, choucroute, jams and flammekueche, a pizza-like Alsatian specialty, and the excellent cheese shops along the street.  At the end of the street you will find a covered market, Marché Beauvau, which is filled with butchers offering amazing meats, wild game and poultry, cheeses shops, seafood stands and a producer of fabulous olive oil.  Like most Parisian outdoor markets, the stalls close in the early afternoon so it is best to visit in the morning. 

Place d'Aligre, 75012

Lunch

If you visit only one classic bistro, it should be Bistrot Paul Bert, which is a short 5-minute walk from the Marché d’Aligre.  Bertrand Auboyneau opened the restaurant in 2000 but continues to produce among the best classic bistro dishes in Paris.  The restaurant is classic in every sense -- art deco style with antique mirrors, faded pictures and posters decorating the space, a tin bar and the menu presented on blackboard.  The portions are generous and the wine list is filled with excellent natural wines. Recent standouts included sautéed baby squid and slow roasted pork and for dessert.  For dessert, don’t miss their exceptional Grand Marnier soufflé.

Bistrot Paul Bert // 18 rue Paul Bert, 75011

Afternoon

For the balance of the day, we suggest a couple of different options depending upon your interests, all on the Right Bank.

For Shoppers

For serious shoppers, the best designer boutiques on the Right Bank are concentrated in a couple of areas – the so- called “Golden Triangle” where Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V and Avenue des Champs-Élysées form a triangle, the boutique-lined Faubourg Saint-Honoré and the area around the Place Vendôme.  In these areas, you will find Paris’ top couture houses and boutique fashion designers. 

Starting on Avenue Montaigne, one of Paris’ most fashionable streets, you will find Céline, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Nina Ricci, Balenciaga and Balmain. Also, make sure to visit the Montaigne Market, a concept boutique that features a collection of contemporary designer goods. While you are in the area, it is worth visiting the Foundation Pierre Berge, Yves St Laurent, which housed the brand’s original couture house and has been converted into a museum, including an enormous collection of YSL couture pieces and his extensive art collection.

Heading north across the Champs-Élysées will take you to the boutique-lined Faubourg Saint-Honoré, one of the world’s great shopping streets.  Along this street and the surrounding area, you will find boutiques of many of the world’s best designers and fashion names, including Miu-Miu, Chopard, Christian Louboutin, Zegna, Chanel, St Laurent, Hermès, Lanvin, Longchamp, Goyard, and Moynat. Don’t miss Collette, one of the best known concept stores filled with contemporary fashion and design.

Just north of Faubourg Saint-Honoré is the Place Vendôme, where you will find amazing men’s shirts and ties at Charvet, fabulous jewelry at Bulgari, Cartier and Van Cleff & Arpels and unique perfume at Annick Goutal and Maison Francis Kurkdjian.

Just northeast of this area you will find a number of beautiful covered shopping arcades filled with small shops and restaurants.  Two of our favorite old shopping arcades are Galerie Vivienne and Passage des Panoramas. Galerie Vivienne is a beautiful arcade located in the 2nd arrondissement not too far from Opera where you will find fabulous boutiques, including Jean-Paul Gaultier, Si Tu Veux (If You Want) toystore and Legrand Filles et Fils wine shop, one of the best in Paris.  Passage des Panoramas, the oldest covered passageway in Paris and also in the 2nd arrondissement, is filled with shops selling antique post cards and coins and a treasure trove of gastronomic finds, including the highly regarded restaurant Passage 53 and restaurant/wine bar Racine.

For Food Lovers

For food lovers, the Right Bank is filled with some of the best gourmet boutiques in Paris.  The Place de la Madeleine has become an iconic landmark in gastronomy with two of Paris’ most celebrated gourmet boutiques facing each other across the square -- Fauchon, a gourmet boutique offering two floors of gourmet foods, chocolates and teas, and Hediard, one of the best gourmet boutique stores in Paris.  In the same area you will find amazing truffles at Maison de la truffe, hundreds of teas at Mariage Frères, among the best macaroons at Pierre Hermé and exceptional chocolates at Jean-Paul Hévin.

Dinner

Photos courtesy of Spring

Photos courtesy of Spring

For dinner we love American Daniel Rose’s Spring restaurant located in the 1st arrondissement not far from the Louvre.  Daniel Rose grew up on Chicago and took Paris by storm when he opened a very tiny restaurant called Spring.  It was truly a “one man show” where he cooked and served without any help.  The restaurant was a huge success and in 2010 he moved the restaurant to its current location in the center of Paris.  The new space is simple and intimate, with an open kitchen, and the vibe is relaxed. Rose and his team offer a constantly changing 4-course set menu of market-driven modern French dishes that are among the most creative in Paris.  The wine list is excellent and Spring’s talented sommelier, Jonathan Bauer Monneret, was named the Best Sommelier in France 2014.  This is a very popular restaurant so book well in advance!

Spring // 6 rue Bailleul // website

Photos courtesy of Ritz Hotel

Photos courtesy of Ritz Hotel

One most famous bars in the world is the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Paris, which was a favorite of writers and artists for decades, including Hemingway, the bar’s most famous patron. The small bar, which recently reopened after a 4-year renovation of the Ritz hotel, is still filled with Hemingway memorabilia and the renovation has preserved the wood-paneling and leather armchairs of the original bar.  Colin Field, one of the world’s best bartenders and a great storyteller, has returned as the head bartender, together with many of his original staff.  You cannot go wrong ordering a Serendipity, the bar’s most popular cocktail, which is made with Calvados with fresh mint, white sugar, crystal clear apple juice and Brut champagne on top.

Hemingway Bar // 15 Place Vendôme 75001  // website

Sunday

Morning

Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Hotel Paris

Sunday is a morning to sleep in and be gently woken up by the sunlight peeking through the curtains.  Since there is no reason to rush this morning, we suggest having a leisurely breakfast on the terrace of your room.

Visiting one of Paris’ flea markets is a favorite Sunday morning activity.  The most famous flea market in Paris is the one at Porte de Clignancourt, officially called Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, but known to everyone as Les Puces (the Fleas).  Covering seven hectares made up of a number of separate markets, it is the largest antique market in the world.  Skip the outer stalls near the underpass that sell cheap imitation goods and head to the main buildings that house the best antique dealers.  Some of our favorite dealers include Le Monde du Voyage in Marché Serpette, a travel-related boutique known for vintage Hermès scarves and an excellent collection of trunks and bags from Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Goyard; Bachelier Antiquités at Marché Paul Bert for amazing cookware, including heavy copper pots, kitchen utensils, and winemaking paraphernalia; and Marché Vernaison at St.-Ouen, known for old travel posters, maps and flower and animal prints.

Lunch

Many of the better restaurants in Paris are closed on Sunday (and, for that matter, often on Saturday as well).  Fortunately, Semilla, one of the best new restaurants on the Left Bank and a favorite of Alice Waters and Patricia Wells, is open every day.  Semilla is a modern French bistro located in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood of the 6th  arrondissement.  The restaurant is owned by American Juan Sanchez and New Zealander Drew Harré, the duo behind Fish la Boissonerie, Cosi and La Dernier Goutte wine shop (as well as Freddy’s, the small tapas and wine bar annexed to Semilla).  The atmosphere is casual hip with an almost loft-like feel with its exposed white bricks and old wooden beams, exposed air conditioning piping and vents and open kitchen, and the multi-national servers are very friendly and focused on making sure you have a great experience. Chef Eric Trochon uses the best quality ingredients to create original and modern interpretation of classic French dishes.  Some of the recent standout dishes included seared fois gras in a silky eggplant mousse, roasted turbot in a lemon beurre blanc sauce and, for dessert, choux croquants (puff pastries) with caramel cream and mascarpone/vanilla filling.

Semilla // 54 rue de Seine 6e // website

Afternoon

Images courtesy of Musee de Louvre

Images courtesy of Musee de Louvre

Sundays in Paris are good days for visiting museums since most stores and many restaurants are closed.  The best known museums in Paris are the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Centre George Pompidou. The Louvre’s enormous collection (which, frankly, can be exhausting) spans the period from ancient times until around 1848, with among its most famous pieces being the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Liberty Leading the People.  The Musée d’Orsay’s collection picks up from around 1848 until just before World War I and the Centre George Pompidou covers contemporary art from the 20th century.  For art lovers, the museums of Paris can provide days of joyful exploration.

If you have visited the “Big Three” museums on previous trips to Paris or simply want something different, we highly recommend the new Foundation Louis Vuitton.  The spectacular Frank Gehry-designed modern art museum and cultural center was commissioned by LVHM’s Bernard Arnault and houses his substantial private collection and hosts excellent temporary exhibitions.  The building, located in the Bois de Boulogne, is an architectural wonder with graceful geometric curves and twelve enormous glass sails that catch the light and reflections from the surrounding water basin.  A recent exhibition included a well-curated collection of Chinese artists, including Ai Weiwei, Huang Yong Ping and Zhang Huan.

Foundation Louis Vuitton //  8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 // website

Dinner

Photos courtesy of Le Cinq, Four Seasons George V Hotel

Photos courtesy of Le Cinq, Four Seasons George V Hotel

Although very few Parisian restaurants (and, in particular, fine dining establishments) are open on Sunday, Le Cinq, one of our favorite 3-star restaurants, is open every day. Christian Le Squer moved from Ledoyen to Le Cinq in 2014 with the goal of restoring its 3-star status, which he accomplished in 2016.  The restaurant is located in the Four Seasons Hotel George V and has one of the most elegant dining rooms in Paris.  Le Squer introduced a lighter menu using luxurious ingredients and offers among the best 3-star dining in Paris.  Some recent dishes on his 9-course “Epicurean Escape” menu included prawns from Brittany with warm mayonnaise and crunchy buckwheat pancake and a braised fillet of wild turbot with truffled potatoes.  Le Squer is also known for his creative multi-course dessert offerings.

Le Cinq //31 Avenue George V 75008 // website

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Getting Around

Paris is relatively compact compared with New York, London or Tokyo.  We love to walk everywhere since it is the best way to discover hidden gems.

For greater distances, we opt for the Metro or taxis. Since Parisian taxi drivers have a well-deserved reputation for rudeness and it can be almost impossible to get a taxi during rush hour or off of the main boulevards, we have found Uber to be a much better alternative.

Additional Recommendations

Hotels

Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris.  The Hotel George V, opened in 1928, is one of our favorite Parisian hotels.  The interior of the hotel is stunning with Art Deco and Louis XVI styling and elegant tapestries throughout and the most opulent floral displays in lobby and throughout public areas.  We recommend the upper floor suites, which are large by Parisian standards, particularly the ones with views of Eiffel Tower.  The hotel has a nice spa and a compact pool with trompe l’oeil murals and potted greenery.  As one would expect from the Four Seasons brand, the service is excellent and completely lacks any of the stuffiness that one sometimes finds at other grand Parisian hotels.  The bar is elegant and the hotel offers one of the best restaurants in Paris, Le Cinq. Four Seasons Hotel George V, 31 Avenue George V, 75008  website

Peninsula Paris.  The Peninsula, located in a nice area filled with mostly residential apartments and homes not far from the Arc d’Triomphe, is one of the best new hotels in Paris.  The Peninsula hotel group successfully converted a 1908 hotel into a modern luxury hotel at the cost of over $900 million.  The modern international décor has vaguely Asian feel. We suggest requesting a high floor suite, which have comfortable seating areas, well-designed dressing areas and large marble bathrooms with rain showers and deep soaking tubs. The open-air terrace of L’Oiseau Blanc is a great spot for a pre- or post-dinner drink. Peninsula Paris, 19 Avenue Kléber, 75116  website

Hôtel Ritz Paris.  The Ritz, located in Place Vendôme, is one of the most storied Parisian hotels.  The hotel was founded in 1898 by Cesar Ritz who sought to create the world’s greatest hotel.  Over the next century, it became the home of many famous inhabitants -- Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marcel Proust and Coco Chanel.  In 2012, the hotel shut for renovation that took over four years and is reported to have cost about $450 million.  The renovation, which was long overdue, was led by French architect and designer Thierry Despont, who helped remodel the Carlyle in New York and the Dorchester in London, and was intended to update and modernize the hotel but preserve its traditional look.  The hotel reopened in June 2016 and now offers all of the modern amenities that luxury travelers expect – Wi-Fi, push-button room controls, updated bathrooms.  As part of the renovation, the hotel choose to recreate the original 19th century décor with crystal chandeliers, heavy draperies, sculptures, and gilded fixtures.  While undoubtedly appealing to a certain type of clientele, the renovated hotel feels a bit like a cliché.  That said, the Ritz is among the most elegant and opulent Parisian hotel and the service is exceptional.  If you want to get the full Ritz experience, we recommend their top-floor terraced suites overlooking the rooftops of Paris. Hôtel Ritz Paris, 15 Place Vendôme, 75001  website

Restaurants

Restaurant Guy Savoy (3-star haute cuisine).  Restaurant Guy Savoy, recently relocated to a new location at the Monnaie de Paris with beautiful views overlooking the Seine, continues to prepare exceptional modern French cuisine and offers a number of different menu options, including an 18-course(!) tasting menu.  Guy Savoy’s famous artichoke soup with black truffles is a must. Restaurant Guy Savoy, Monnaie de Paris, 11 Quai de Conti, 75006 website

L’Arpege (3-star vegetable-centric haute cuisine). Alain Passard, who was an early adopter of cuisine focused primarily on vegetables, turns vegetables into sophisticated 3-star haute cuisine. The quality of the ingredients is impeccable -- he grows many of his own vegetables in the countryside outside of Paris and sources his fish from the best suppliers.  Although there is a heavy emphasis on vegetables, his fish and seafood dishes are brilliant.  We absolutely loved his fabulous whole turbot cooked at low temperature. L’Arpege, 84 Rue de Varenne, 75007 website

Le Chateaubriand (modern French tasting menu).  Le Chateaubriand, located in the 11th arrondissement, is one of our favorite casual restaurants. You will a relaxed, unadorned casual décor and a very creative ever-changing tasting menu produced by Basque chef, Iñaki Aizpitarte.  We recommend getting the beverage paring, which may include a shot of mescal with the amuse bouche, hard cider, champagne and unusual wine selections.  Recent standout dishes included white tuna with Iberico jus.  Note that they only accept reservations for the first seating. Le Chateaubriand, 129 Avenue Parmentier, 75011  website

Le Pantruche (classic bistro). Located in the Pigalle neighborhood of the 9th arrondissement (just down the hill from Montmartre), Le Pantruche is a small, refined bistro with antique mirrors and tightly packed tables. It feels like a neighborhood staple but has become a true foodie destination spot. The bistro offers excellent refined bistro dishes that change daily. Standout dishes from a recent visit included white asparagus in season and an excellent Grand Marnier soufflé.  3 Rue Victor Masse, 75009

Pierre Gagnaire (3-star adventurous haute cuisine).   Pierre Gagnaire is widely regarded as most adventurous of the 3-star Paris chefs.  Gagnaire conjures up very creative and complex combinations with unusual parings of ingredients and pushes the boundaries of what one expects for 3-star dining. The dining room feels a bit subdued but the cuisine is anything but.  You will find very intellectual cuisine rooted in classic techniques with primary ingredients appearing in multiple many ways in a series of mini-dishes.  His “Grand Dessert” offering, a seven-course extravaganza, is legendary. Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, 6 Rue Balzac, 75008 website

Saturne (modern French tasting menu)   Saturne is one of our favorite modern French restaurants. Sven Chartier, formerly of L’Arpege and Racines, offers a modern French cuisine focused on seasonal vegetables and top quality meats and seafood at his light, airy restaurant located in the 2nd arrondissement.  The restaurant also features an excellent selection of natural wines. Saturne, 17 Rue Notre Dame des Victoires, 75002 website

Terroir Parisien (modern French bistro) Located near the Sorbonne, Yannick Alléno opened this casual, chic neo-bistro that focuses on classic and refined bistro food, including a perfect salade de frisée and classic French onion soup, a delicious lamb stew and, for dessert, amazing tarte tatin (apple tart) and, our favorite, île flottante (floating island).  Also, it is open on Sundays. Terroir Parisien, 20 Rue Saint-Victor, 75005  website

Bars

Experimental Cocktail Club.  This small speakeasy, located in the Montorgueil district, is credited with starting the craft cocktail movement in Paris.  The dark, minimalist neo-baroque vibe and eclectic soundtrack appeal to a young hip crowd.  The cocktail menu changes frequently and the bartenders are skilled at producing creative and well-conceived cocktails. Experimental Cocktail Club, 37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 75002 website