Areas in Paris
When to go
Paris shuts down (and relaxes) in August, a national holiday. Go in spring, when the blossom’s out, or autumn, not least for Nuit Blanche, an all-night culturefest.
From the blog
Tales from our travels
PlanesBMI Baby (www.bmibaby.com) | British Airways (www.ba.com) | Air France (www.airfrance.com) and EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) fly to Paris Charles de Gaulle airport from the UK. Most major French regionals have flights into Paris Orly (www.airfrance.com). A taxi from Charles de Gaulle international airport to the centre costs about €50; buses and trains run regularly into town at a fraction of the cost. RER/TGV trains run from CDG to Gare du Nord every 15 minutes from 5.30am to 10.30pm | and take 35 minutes.
TrainsThere are six main stations in Paris, all of which are central and link to the fantastic Métro underground system (www.ratp.fr). Eurostar is by far the best way to travel there from London: trains from Kings Cross St Pancras (and mainland Europe) arrive into Gare du Nord. From the Mediterranean coast, TGV services connect via Marseille or Perpignan and, in the west, Biarritz and Bordeaux (www.tgv.com).
AutomobilesYou’re better off without one. Many hotels charge for parking, and why risk the passion-killing traffic? Determined drivers need to steel themselves for the infamous périphérique ring road.
TaxisCan be hailed in the street if you’re more than 100 metres from a rank (these are all over Paris and have phones if no taxi is waiting).
Where better to start your honeymoon than the City of Love? An intimate ville of boulevards, boutiques and brasseries, Paris is the ultimate in style and cuisine. Get your first taste at Philippe Starck’s surprisingly restrained Le Royal Monceau, a sophisticated, art-inspired Haussmannian hôtel at one of the city’s prime addresses. Meander down the street and find the Arc de Triomphe towering over you, or head the other direction and get lost among the elegant stone buildings, neighbourhood cafés and tempting boulangeries and pâtisseries. Skip the queues to see the world’s greatest art at the Louvre, and dine at the table of honour at such landmarks as Benoit on exclusive Mr & Mrs Smith-arranged outings. Get private appointments at the trendy designer boutiques of the Marais, learn the secrets to baking a true Parisian baguette at an artisan boulanger and channel Hemingway with a wander through the Latin Quarter.
Housed in a hidden garden on the Montmartre hillside, Hotel Particulier is an unexpected bubble of tranquillity in one of Paris’ most thrill-a-minute districts. Visually speaking, it’s a treat, littered with icons of design (chairs by Arne Jacobsen and Mies van der Rohe and their ilk), and inspired by artists of all media. What really makes this hotel stand out, however, are its bedrooms. The owners recruited five contemporary artists to imbue each suite with their signature styles. The walls of Martine Aballéa’s ‘Végétale’ Junior Suite are papered to resemble a light-dappled forest canopy – it’s like sleeping in a Monet.
When it comes to street scoffing, Parisian’s have deemed the baguette démodé, in favour of, well, the humble burger. Gauche, perhaps? Mais oui; however, the Gallic take on McDonalds is typically chic.
What’s cooking? Sizzling wagyu patties, bubbling gruyère and Tomme de Savoie, and authentic French fries.
• Le Camion qui Fume, Paris New York and Big Fernand’s atelier take on a burger joint makes their queues almost worthwhile. Find speedier meaty succulence with blackened red peppers and bleu cheese toppings at Cantine California on Marché St Honoré.
• It 's a long way from the Yorkshire Dales, but Paris is barmy about Ginger Pig's short-horn cattle and Tamworth pigs – well, eating them anyway. Takeaway Frenchie To Go insouciantly slaps its bacon and brisket between pain, resulting in an effortlessly on-trend snack.
• Burgers not your bag? Quai d'Austerlitz’s Wanderlust performance space hosts three-day feast Super Barquette, one of Paris’s trendiest food-truck love ins. Alix LaCloche’s feather-light fried chicken and Fricote’s Bahn Khot are stand-out eats.
Stay at Saint James Paris to swap kerbside munching for Michelin-starred cuisine come nightfall.
Life is like a box of Ladurée macaroons – if you’re staying at La Belle Juliette, that is. Rooms are styled with sugar-sweet shades – strawberry and raspberry, cherry-red and violet; and deeper darts of blackcurrant, chocolate and liquorice. The end result is as feminine and romantic as roses wrapped in ribbon. In the Madame de Stael room (a Deluxe Romantic Room), the hotel’s bright colour palette is softly subdued with intricate stucco-work, and guests are treated to amour-boosting chocolates, a glass of champagne each, rose petals and a bath bomb.
Where The Restaurant, Saint James Paris
Cuisine Modern French
What's the inspiration for your cooking?
I was born in Normandy and love to cook products of the sea – always fresh and in season.
Favourite ingredient right now?
Breakfast at the Crillon hotel with chef Jean Francois Piège, especially a coddled egg with spinach and a Parmesan cheese emulsion.
Where do you like to eat out?
I love to have diner in small Parisian bistrots belonging to friends.