City guide: Paris, France | Private jet charter
Stroll down the Champs-Élysée from the Arc de Triomphe, through the jardin and across to the Louvre, and you’ve spent a day covering at least three of the most iconic attractions in this patchwork city of vastly differing neighbourhoods.
There’s the Paris that you should see: the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Coeur and the beleaguered Notre Dame, but there’s also the Paris to be found in the sidestreets of the up and coming 11th arrondissement and in the winding trails and lakes of the Bois de Vincennes.
Historic, charming, edgy and yes even a little grimy – Paris is a city with a heartbeat, a place of art, of intellect, of unrest and of course of food. Explore a little deeper and get a brand-new view of this fascinating city.
From the UK, you’re spoilt for choice. Low-cost airlines offer flights throughout the year from all the major airports or hop on the Eurostar from St Pancras International and be in the heart of Paris in under two and a half hours.
The main airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle, also known as Roissy airport, is the second busiest in Europe. It’s a 50-minute train journey from the city centre or slightly longer on the many buses. Taxis line the arrivals terminal day and night, giving you plenty of travel options.
This airport also accepts private charter flights from many destinations across the world.
Orly airport a little further out of the city acts as a secondary hub for domestic and international flights.
Things to do and places to go
If you’re a first-timer to the city, then a walk to the Eiffel Tower never fails to impress, more so perhaps at night if you’re lucky enough to see it lit up. If you decide to stretch your legs and climb the 674-steps to the second floor then be prepared to queue a while for the privilege, particularly during peak tourist season. If you’re planning on going higher, grab a ticket for the elevator as well.
Eiffel Tower aside there are so many famous sites and so many views that sum up Paris so well. But if you’re looking for a little more than impressive cathedrals and famous art galleries, it’s time to explore some more of the 20 arrondissements or districts of Paris.
Montparnasse Tower, Avenue de Maine
The great thing about the view from this building is that you get to see the Eiffel Tower. With far less queuing you’re straight in and straight up to the viewing platform 200 metres above the city in less than 40 seconds. Make sure to go at night to see the bright lights of Paris twinkling and the Eiffel Tower in all its glory.
In the summer months, you’ll also find the champagne bar open to enjoy a glass while you gaze across the extraordinary city below you. Touchscreen kiosks also help to pinpoint key landmarks across the skyline.
Promenade Plantée (Coulée Verte), Coulée Verte René Dumont
This stunning green space runs 4.7km along a disused railway track in the east of the city. The inspiration behind New York’s High Line, this is a place of beauty and relaxation. It’s also a place for views from the 19th-century aqueduct, which had been lain abandoned for many years before it was transformed into a walkway in 1993. You’ll find this quirky garden in the 11th arrondissement. Follow it down to the Bois de Vincennes, a massive park with a zoo.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Boulevard de Ménilmontant
Possibly not the first place you might consider for a trip to Paris but on a warm autumnal day this place is magical. Buried here are Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, French novelist Marcel Proust and Doors frontman Jim Morrison. You won’t be alone, the cemetery attracts around 3.5million visitors each year.
Where to eat and drink
This is a city that prides itself on its food. Home to the fabled Michelin star you’ll find good far outnumbers bad and an eclectic offering of food from across the globe scattered around the districts.
Le Procope, Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie
Discover the history and stately glamour of Paris’ oldest café. Dating back to 1686, this spot was the renowned meeting place for Parisian intellectuals drinking the latest trend of the day, coffee. With Rousseau and Voltaire among its past alumni, you’re in good company as you tuck into some fabulous and very French staples.
You’ll find classics such as steak tartare, frogs’ legs, snails and foie gras but alongside that some standout fish dishes such as cod with tandoori mashed potato.
Café de Flore, Boulevard Saint-Germain
Another Parisian favourite the Café de Flore is a must-visit spot in the 6th arrondissement. Home to poets, philosophers and moviemakers, this café is the perfect place for an afternoon café crème or perhaps a little apéritif before dinner. Think low maintenance, simple food in a café rather than restaurant style. Go for the ambience and knowledge that you’re probably sitting where Jean-Paul Sartre once held court.
Cravan, Rue Jean de la Fontaine
This bar in the quiet 16th district is all about understatement and quality. While it might look like a sweet café on the outside in this low-key neighbourhoods, inside you’ll find a cocktail menu that will warm your heart. Classics like the negroni are given a delicious twist, but there’ll be no throwing around of bottles, just quick, efficient and perfect service. Paired with a mouth-watering menu of bar snacks, this beautifully kept art nouveau style bar is a gem of a find.
Epicure, Rue de Fauberg Saint-Honoré
You’ll find this wonderful restaurant at Le Bristol hotel. Overseen by three-Michelin starred chef Eric Frechon, the offering here is truly French. The light, spacious interior spills out into the garden during the summer, making it a great spot for an outside lunch or romantic dinner. Expect scallops and caviar followed by stuffed macaroni with duck fois gras and black truffle.
Bring your appetite because this is going to be a serious gastronomic experience, booking is essential.
Boutary, Rue Mazarine
With a mission to take the elitism out of dining, this bright and bold restaurant is the place to go for caviar and other incredible seafood. With an interior styled by contemporary artist Ann Grim, it’s both traditional and ultra-modern in its approach to food. Classics are given a twist here, and there is a caviar tasting menu to help you discover your favourite.
With some decent wines and champagnes on offer, this restaurant offers high-class food at realistic prices. Do book in advance.
Bretons, Avenue de République
If you’re going to eat crêpes in Paris, don’t opt for the roadside stands. Find a crêperie that embodies the original Breton spirit where crêpes find their roots.
You’ll find no better place than Bretons, run by brother and sister team Jérémie and Marie. Choose from savoury or sweet, galette or crêpe and wash it down with the obligatory Brittany cider to accompany this satisfying taste of France.
Where to stay
From the scenic and upmarket 16th arrondissement to trendy Pigalle on the border of the 9th and 18th, your stay in Paris is dictated only by the type of area that appeals to you. From stylish boutique hotels to Airbnb self-catering apartments and all levels of hotels in between just make sure you’re not too far from the nearest metro stop.
Hotel Marais Hôme, Boulevard du Temple
Sprawling across the 3rd and 4th arrondissements this central Marais area embodies all the charm and romance of old Paris.
The hotel itself is set in a modern building which feels more luxurious than its three stars suggests. Inside you’ll find a beautiful view of the city from the seventh-floor terrace, a sauna and spa treatments, as well as decent sized rooms.
The surrounding area is a haven for the arts, trendy bars and hip restaurants and the République metro stop is a stone’s throw from the hotel.
Le Pigalle, Rue Frochot
This 40-room hotel embodies everything that makes the Pigalle district unique. Each room is decorated with neoclassical styling and comes with a selection of art and various objects of interest from around the area. Some rooms will have a turntable and record collection, others an iPad.
Eat at the hotel restaurant with recipes and ingredients sourced locally and talk to the staff about the best way to pass an evening or night out in Pigalle.
Hôtel de Saint Germain, Rue du Four
A short walk to the river and in walking distance of the Louvre and other neighbourhood attractions, this hotel is a small, charming place in the 6th arrondissement. Good sized, light airy rooms make it a sound choice if you’re looking for a hotel in an almost perfect location that offers well-done but straightforward hospitality.
Familia Hotel, Rue des Ecoles
Close to Notre Dame Cathedral this classically-styled hotel sums up the charm of the Latin quarter and offers you a fully Parisian experience. The rooms are simple but elegant in this two-star hotel housed in a building dating back to 1865. Choose a room with a balcony, and you can welcome the day in with coffee with a view. Breakfast only, but in a great location for plenty of restaurants of your choice.
Fred Hotel, Avenue Villemain
This three-star boutique hotel can be found in the 14th arrondissement in the neighbourhood of Montparnasse. Rooms range from smaller but well-designed standard sizes, all the way up to family suites.
With a great breakfast on offer and relaxing lounge and terrace area, this small but perfectly formed hotel is an excellent option for when you want to stay a little way out of the action.
Hop on a Batobus for rides up and down the Seine between May and September with a one or two-day pass. Otherwise, it’s heading below ground to one of the oldest metro systems in Europe. Your pass will be valid on all metro lines, buses and the trams found on the outskirts of the city.
The system is easy to use, and a metro stop is never any more than a ten-minute walk away from wherever you are. You also have the option of the RER trains that run deep underground in the central parts of the city.
Grab a carnet or book of ten tickets for your trip or, if you’re planning visits to the main tourist sites, you can buy a Paris Insiders Pass that also include a metro pass.
By far, the best way to get around is to walk in a city that is surprisingly easy to navigate.
Best time to visit
With temperatures historically reaching around 26 degrees in the summer, you may not find the heat puts you off visiting in the summer months. But with several years of above the average temperatures, you may want to avoid Paris between scorching June and August. Instead, opt for the cooler spring and autumn months up until November.
Early December is the cheapest time of year to visit the city, and while the temperatures are certainly much lower, you’ll find several Christmas markets where you can warm up with a welcome vin chaud.
Paris is one of those cities that you think you know, but that always surprises. From calm and serene districts on the outskirts of town to the edgy neighbourhoods that are just so fun, there’s always a corner to discover.
Ditch the metro and explore on foot to find the best cosy cafes, hip restaurants and rich cultural history of a city that’s seen its fair share of dramas. Beautiful, resilient Paris – a city you’ll never tire of exploring.
If you are looking at booking a private jet charter to and from Paris contact us today.