Paris

City break in Paris | from the classics to the cutting-edge

Paris, with its graceful streets and instantly recognisable landmarks, needs no introduction. There’s a reason the city is one of the most-loved destinations in the world - it always has something new to offer!

There’s something magical about getting lost in Paris. Strolling along the banks of the Seine, finding leafy parks in Le Marais, and stumbling across new street markets are just a few of my favourite ways to experience the French capital.

But when time is limited, it’s helpful to have some kind of plan. Paris, with its blend of historic treasures, innovative arts venues, and world-class restaurants is one of the most iconic cities in the world. Discovering it all takes more than one visit, but by balancing the classic Parisian sights with its contemporary spaces, you’ll have an unforgettable trip.

SEE | experience Paris’ iconic sights and modern wonders

It’s impossible to imagine Paris without its iconic landmarks. But when you explore beyond the towering monuments and world-famous museums, you’ll find cutting-edge exhibitions and blossoming neighbourhoods.

Classic

The Eiffel Tower

In a city of memorable architecture, one tower surpasses all of the rest for me. The Eiffel Tower, with its graceful wrought-iron arches and narrow pinnacle, seems to keep watch over the city. Originally built as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower has become one of the most enduring symbols of Paris. And no matter how many times I see it at night, lit up by glittering lights, I fall in love with Paris all over again. Although the tower is impressive from ground level, climbing it will give you a whole new perspective of the city. There are lifts to the top and stairs to the second floor, if you’re feeling energetic. But don’t forget to book your ticket in advance – the Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument in the world, so it gets seriously busy.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral, in all of its Gothic glory, is another of Paris’ most celebrated buildings. One of the most famous cathedrals in the world, it sits in on a small island in the middle of the River Seine. A significant part of Paris’ past and present, Notre Dame played host to numerous historic and religious events. And inside, the cathedral is all soaring splendour with intricate sculptures and stained glass windows. Although entry to Notre Dame is free and ticketless, go early in the morning to dodge the worst of the crowds.

Contemporary

Digital museum of Fine Art

If you love finding new ways to enjoy art, don’t miss the opportunity to visit L’Atelier des Lumières (Workshop of Lights). Paris’ first digital museum of Fine Art, open since 2018, L’Atelier des Lumières is a dazzling immersive experience. Paintings are digitally displayed on huge walls and paired with music to create a whole new sensory experience. The current exhibition charts Van Gogh’s work, and the changes in his work, in a powerful way. Meanwhile, the ‘Japan Dreamed’ exhibition is an explosion of colour, patterns, and rhythm.

Chic neighbourhood

For the ultimate chilled afternoon in Paris, spend a few hours strolling around the 2nd Arrondissement. Once dismissed by travellers as a stuffy neighbourhood, the chic and calm elements of the 2nd Arrondissement are what make it popular now. Embrace your inner child with a quick browse at Si Tu Veux, the neighbourhood’s magical toyshop. Or stop off at the cult boutique, Sézane, for cool-girl clothes. Then wander through Galerie Vivienne, one of the city’s prettiest covered walkways, before stopping for a decadent hot chocolate at A Priori Thé.

On summer evenings, find a spot by the waterfront at Quai St Bernard and watch as couples dance the night away.

L’Atelier des Lumières (Culturespaces, E. Spiller)

Hotels in Paris

18759 Hotels
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STAY | sleep in comfort in Paris’ elegant hotels

Whether you want historic grandeur or modern chic, there’s a hotel to suit you in Paris. Although you’re likely to spend most of your time exploring the city’s treasures, these hotels are perfect for a restful stay.

Classic | historic French stay with a spa

1/4

At Hotel de Latour Maubourg, there’s enough antique furniture and sparkling chandeliers to make you feel as though you’ve gone back in time. A three-star boutique hotel overlooking Les Invalides, the interior is a reflection of Louis XIII-style decor. But the themed bedrooms add a quirky element to the experience of staying here.

Drift off to sleep in the Classic Coco Chanel room, with its bold black and red accents, or in the softly-toned Ronsard room. Or if you’re feeling decadent, splash out on the spacious Leonard de Vinci Privilege room with its own original fireplace and impressive views. There’s also a spa, where you can unwind and refresh before your next day of sightseeing.

Hôtel & Spa de Latour Maubourg

Top rated
Paris, 1.7 km to 10th district Entrepôt
8.5 Excellent (1185 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.2 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Wellness centre / Spa
Air conditioning
WiFi in lobby
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Classic | central hotel with classic French breakfast for travellers on a budget

1/4

Small, but perfectly formed, the Welcome Hotel is somewhere I go back to again and again. Despite its lively location, on the corner of Saint Germain des Pres and Rue de Seine, it’s a peaceful retreat from the buzz outside. With rooms that  are compact and minimalist, they have everything you need for a comfy night’s sleep. Breakfast is kept simple with a basket of fresh baguettes and croissants, and there are countless cafés and restaurants just a short stroll away. The affordable rooms range from a single, which is perfect for solo travellers, to a triple room.

Welcome

Paris, 1 km to 10th district Entrepôt
8.1 Very good (1772 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Pets allowed
Air conditioning
WiFi in lobby
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Contemporary | eclectic design hotel near the trendy Le Marais district

1/4

If you’re a fan of extravagant design, then you’ll love the Original Paris. Created by Stella Cadente, the four-star Original is an eclectic mix of contemporary furniture and fairytale decor. The hotel is designed to transport guests into a fantasy world, so prepare to have a whimsical time. There’s an Alice in Wonderland-inspired double room or if you feel like sleeping in a sparkling ice cave, go for the executive White House room. And when you eventually manage to tear yourself from your room, it’s a short walk to the trendy streets of Le Marais. My favourite Paris neighbourhood, Le Marais is an addictive maze of laid-back cafes, pretty courtyards, and bold galleries.

Hotel Original Paris

Top rated
Paris, 2.8 km to 10th district Entrepôt
8.7 Excellent (1275 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Pets allowed
Wellness centre / Spa
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Contemporary | budget friendly hotel next to the Eiffel Tower

1/4

Although Hotel Eiffel Turenne is just a quick stroll from the Eiffel Tower, it’s surprisingly budget-friendly. And with its comfy lounge and fresh, modern rooms, Hotel Eiffel Turenne is also a great base for exploring the rest of Paris. The focus is on contemporary, minimalist design, so expect lots of wood, warm tones, and pops of colour. You can snuggle up in a cosy classic room or enjoy the extra space of a prestige room. But to make the most of the hotel’s location, ask for a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Turenne

Top rated
Paris, 2 km to 10th district Entrepôt
8.7 Excellent (1767 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
WiFi in rooms
Car park
Hotel bar
Air conditioning
Hotel CTA

EAT | dine on French cuisine and modern mains

In some ways, Paris is a city that revolves around food. Elegant bistros and vibrant farmers’ markets sit side by side. And you don’t have to go far to find flaky croissants, delicate macaroons, tasty onion soup, juicy steaks, and endless types of cheese.

Classic

Rustic traditional fare

For a night of traditional French food coupled with rustic charm, book a table at Le Petit Trouquet. José Madueno, the restaurant’s owner, focuses on turning good-quality French ingredients into delicious meals. So prepare to devour hearty dishes like creamy Jerusalem artichoke soup, veal shoulder stew, and lamb shoulder confit in cosy surroundings. And if you feel like a post-dinner wander, the Eiffel Tower is just a short distance away.

Romantic French classics

La Jacobine exudes romance. Tucked away down a lantern-lit passageway, it’s a wonderful place to try French cuisine. Tuck into satisfying mains of duck tagine, beef stew, or salmon served with spinach and cream. And be sure to save room for the delicious desserts.

Contemporary

Modern cuisine in an Arts centre

It’s not all about tradition in Paris though, there’s an exciting sweep of contemporary restaurants in the city. Les Grandes Verres at Palais de Tokyo, Paris’ hip arts venue, offers a nutritious and creative menu. To get your veggie fix, order the starter of multi-coloured beetroots, before enjoying a main of poached cod with a cauliflower and tonka bean puree. You can even skip the wine and order a refreshing glass of kombucha to go with it.

Health fix

When you need a break from indulgent French cuisine, Café Pinson is the place to go. A juice bar and organic café, Pinson’s plant-based menu is a treat. The nourishing Balanced Bowl is filled with quinoa tabbouleh, seaweed tofu, and vegetables, while the Portobello ‘Burger’ is satisfying and tasty.

If only the best baguette will do, head to Le Grenier à Pain – an award-winning, neighbourhood bakery in the 18th arrondissement.

DRINK | traditional bars and experimental clubs

From sumptuous wine bars to rustic taverns, Parisian drinking spots have endless appeal. This is a city where an afternoon spent people-watching over a glass of wine is just as enjoyable as a lively night out.

Classic

Legendary wines

A Paris institution, Caves Legrand is a bistro, wine cellar, wine bar, and grocery store. So if you really want to dive into all of the delicacies on offer, you’ll need to dedicate a couple of hours to your visit. Steeped in history, Legrand has sold the finest wines since the 1800s. These days, you can sample an extensive selection of wines in the bar or book a tasting session to discover more about them.

Au Sauvignon wine bar

If sipping French wine in authentic surroundings sounds appealing, book a table at Au Sauvignon. Family-run since 1954, Au Sauvignon offers a carefully created menu of high quality wines. The selection of white wine is more extensive than the red. But the affordable prices, along with a selection of beautifully-present tartines and sandwiches, make this wine bar a lovely place to spend an evening.

Contemporary

Experimental Cocktail Club

Parisian cocktail culture recently enjoyed a golden age and this was largely thanks to the efforts of the innovative Experimental Group. For a taste of this thriving scene, head to the original Experimental Cocktail Club, an underground bar and the group’s first venue. Relax in an armchair and sip potent concoctions like Bee’s Kiss, a mix of Jamaican run, cream, honey, and crushed pepper.

Drinks with a view

If you’re on the hunt for Paris’ trendiest bars, Le Perchoir are the people to follow. Having opened up bars in disused spaces, they’ve created beautiful hangout spots with impressive views. The Marais Perchoir is a bohemian-style roof bar overlooking the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. Meanwhile, the Puebla Pavilion in Buttes-Chaumont is made up of a restaurant, two terraces, and two colourful bars.

Paris hosts a number of renowned wine fairs, like the Salon Nature et Vins and La Revue du Vin de France during the year. Snap up an entry ticket for the chance to meet and learn from French wine producers, as well having the opportunity to buy regional wines at a lower cost.

DO | discover Paris’ classic heritage and contemporary attractions

There’s so much to do in Paris, that it’s impossible to fit it all into one trip. For an unforgettable experience, try balancing some of the the city’s must-see classics with its lesser-known delights.

Classic

Louvre

Visiting the Louvre is a quintessential part of the Paris experience. Simply standing outside the museum, watching the sun light up its unmistakable glass pyramid, still feels special to me now. Inside, the Louvre is a wealth of artistic treasures. The museum houses tens of thousands of artworks, from ancient Greek sculptures to masterpieces by Botticelli and Michelangelo. And of course, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa still draws the biggest crowds.

Luxembourg Gardens

Strolling through Luxembourg Gardens is a breath of fresh air. Every time I visit Paris, I spend time wandering through its lush lawns, past fountains and espaliered fruit trees, before stopping at the Grand Bassin duck pond, where children still push tiny sailboats. As one of the largest parks in Paris, Luxembourg Gardens is a dreamy spot for people watching or picnicking. So grab some fresh bread and cheese, find a spot in the sun, and relax like a true Parisian.

Contemporary

Lush park on a converted railway

If you’re still craving nature time, spend an hour walking along Paris’ Promenade Plantée. Winding through the city for almost five kilometres, this elevated park was built along a former railway line. Today, it’s lined with trees and plants, interspersed with benches and tiny ponds. Aside from getting a new perspective on the city, it’s an ideal way to escape the crowds of central Paris. Promenade Plantée begins south of the Opéra Bastille, so just follow the steps up from Avenue Daumesnil. And if you have time, browse the craft shops and galleries in the restored vaulted arches beneath the railway tracks.

Creative centre 59 Rivoli

To experience Paris’ fiercely independent creative side, catch a free show at 59 Rivoli. In 1999, a group of artists took over an abandoned building with the aim of creating an alternative cultural space. Today, the same building is home to 30 artist studios and it’s still seen as a centre of creative collaboration. Musicians perform regularly at weekends and the ground floor gallery hosts exhibitions throughout the year. 59 Rivoli is open to the public six days a week (Tuesday to Sunday), but check ahead to see what’s on before you visit.

Almost every day of the week, a Paris neighbourhood comes alive with the bustle of a street market. One of the biggest is Marché Bastille, a huge fresh produce market that takes over Boulevard Richard Lenoir twice a week.

Grace Harding Author

From the romance of traditional wine bars to the thrill of new exhibitions, Paris is a city that sweeps me off my feet. No matter how detailed my plan, I always end up going slightly off track. So embrace the adventure and give yourself time to get lost among the graceful buildings, vibrant street markets, and lush gardens. I promise, you won’t regret it.