If you are romanticized by the City of Lights, our City Guide to Paris offers up the highlights of what to see and do and where to stay in the capital of France. It’s just a taste of all this European city has to offer, whether you’re flying solo or grabbing a romantic weekend escape to ooh la la!
1. Sacré Couer -Take the Metro to the Maison Rouge stop and start the day at the basilica on top of Montmartre, the highest point in Paris. Sacre Couer. It offers amazing panoramic views of the City of Lights. Grab a Nutella crepe for breakfast and explore this wonderful hillside before jumping back on the Metro.
2. Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees – Take the Metro to Charles De Gaulle Etoile and stroll the fashionable shopping promenade. You can avoid climbing to the top of the Arc since you’ve already had a great city view from Sacré Couer. Instead, stroll the Champs Elysees and then head over to the Jardin des Champs Elysees and the Place de la Concorde, where they hung Marie Antoinette. Mon dieu!
3. The Louvre is a pleasant walk off the Champs Elysees, due east. Pop into one of the world’s most famous museums and grab a peak at the Mona Lisa or Venus di Milo. (Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month & Bastille Day, July 14th).
Restaurants: Time travel back to the era of film noir and grab a bite at Au Pere Tranquille (16 Rue Pierre Lescot, a block off Saint Denis). The locals never dine before 8pm; so, if you want to beat the crowd and feel better in an empty restaurant, then dine early. They’ll know you’re a tourist but you won’t fight a crowd.
Hotels in Paris: Picking the best hotels in a city with the Georges Cinq (31 Av. George V, 8th Arr.) is an insurmountable task. There are too many wonderful hotels and bed and breakfasts to narrow the field. For an offbeat holiday, move right in and rent an apartment to taste the local life.
Metalheads should head over to The Black Dog (26 Rue de Lombards) where they still have black lights for neon markings on the wall and 2 varieties of Absinthe, if you dare.
Transportation: The easiest way to get around is the Metro. The Metro lines are color-coded and at the entrance to each track you will see a list of stops it serves in that direction. Carry a bunch of euro coins to use the automatic card-dispensing machines and grab a multi-day pass for all zones. The card machines do speak English but won’t accept American debit/credit cards so be prepared with local currency.
Safety: Midnight seems to be the witching hour, although a single woman should generally feel safe walking the streets of Paris. But don’t stray too far from Strasbourg on either side of St. Denis after midnight.