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City description  

History or romance? Culture or couture? Gastronomy or bohemia? There are a thousand and one different ways of approaching the French capital, which shows its different faces without batting an eyelid. As Balzac said, “Paris is a veritable ocean. Take as many soundings as you like, you will never know its depths”.

Aloof, classic, with a hint of rebellion, classy with a touch of irreverence, the City of Light boasts countless highlights and only fully opens up to visitors who take their time here. City of Lights, did you say? Paris was given this nickname in the 17th century, when visitors marvelled at its dense public lighting that was ahead of its time, as well as the presence of lanterns in residents’ windows.


Whether it's an unmissable example of its secular heritage or a recently opened attraction, the sites you can explore along the city’s typical streets bear witness to an unfailing richness and vibrancy. Fashion Week, the Roland Garros French tennis open, the Art Paris Art Fair, the Foire de Paris… in this city, fashion, sport and design as well as architecture, literature and haute-cuisine have found the perfect home.

The international capital of gastronomy, Paris is home to the best Michelin-starred chefs and celebrated pâtissiers, committed to upholding the city’s coveted culinary excellence or keen to branch out into fusion cuisine combining French savoir-faire with discoveries from around the world.

Of course there’s the unavoidable Champs-Élysées, deemed to be the “most beautiful avenue in the world”, and its neighbour, the Avenue Montaigne, which has adorned its stunning Haussmann buildings with luxury boutiques, with Chanel and Dior leading the way. Plus a quintet of spectacular monuments: the Arc de Triomphe, the Trocadéro, the Opéra Garnier, the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, which give Paris its familiar yet disconcerting solemnity. Internationally renowned museums such as the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais and the Musée d'Orsay are often housed within sumptuous buildings that are worthy of interest in their own right for anyone who appreciates great architecture. Then there’s the Eiffel Tower, the eternal iconic monument, whose first level has just undergone a spectacular renovation, giving it a floor made completely of glass.

But if you want to experience a more intimate, private Paris, head to one of its newly restored districts: Pigalle has enjoyed a trendy rebrand around its famous Rue des Martyrs and has now become SoPi (South Pigalle); Montorgueil and its street paved with good intentions and mouth-watering shops; or the 20th arrondissement, from the Père Lachaise Cemetery to the dizzying heights of Ménilmontant, now a popular haunt among artists and designers of all genres. Because Paris is a village, or rather a collection of villages – from Montmartre and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, to Le Marais and Le Faubourg Saint-Honoré – studded with remarkable gardens such as the Tuileries, Monceau, Place des Vosges and the Palais Royal, the perfect destinations for an aimless wander or a lazy drink. Each of the twenty arrondissements that spiral around the Seine like a snail offers a unique, charming way of life.

If it’s shopping you’re interested in, then there are plenty of department stores to choose from: Le Bon Marché on the left bank in the incredibly chic 7th arrondissement, Galeries Lafayette, Le Printemps and BHV on the right bank. Last but not least, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a taste of Paris’s famous nightlife: Le Lido and its brand new review by Franco Dragone, the Moulin Rouge and its legendary French Cancan or the sensual Crazy Horse and its nude dancers bathed in light: a cabaret experience for everyone! Innovative and devilishly decadent, Paris is constantly reinventing itself, drifting from chic brasseries to new Michelin-starred restaurants, from private clubs to industrial wastelands that have been transformed into trendy venues. Hemingway was absolutely right: “Paris is a Moveable Feast”.

Where to Eat

  • Sofitel restaurants
  • Café

Fragments

Nestled on a quiet street in Paris’ trendy Marais district, Fragments invites coffee connoisseurs to step within its cosy world of excellent coffee and delicious casual cuisine as cool records play in the background. Choose between filter or espresso blends made from an expertly curated selection of beans sourced from leading coffee roasters.

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Café Honor

Paris’ first alfresco coffee shop, Café Honor is located within a charming cobblestone courtyard in the chic Rue Saint-Honoré luxury shopping district. English-Australian couple Angelle Boucher and Daniel Warburton are known for their warm hospitality and serious expertise, serving excellent coffee made with beans sourced internationally and from renowned Parisian roastery, Coutume.

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Coutume Cafe

One of the original pioneers of the coffee revolution in Paris, Coutume Cafe serves expertly-crafted coffee made with top quality beans roasted in-house. Coutume’s industrial interiors are home to every kind of coffee brewing technique and equipment imaginable. Come for their Burundi single origin espresso and stay for the delicious all-day menu.

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Café Kitsuné

With a portfolio of trend-setting fashion stores and cafes in New York, Paris and Tokyo, the Maison Kitsuné Paris cafe nestles within the colonnades of the Palais Royal garden and serves excellent specialty coffee and cakes. Airy and minimalist, this intimate space also offers a handful of outdoor garden tables not to be missed. 

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STAY Faubourg

Nestled within the Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg in the city’s famous rue Saint Honoré shopping district, Restaurant STAY Faubourg showcases the Michelin Star talents of one of France’s most celebrated gastronomy chefs, Chef Yannick Alléno. Step into a world of chequerboard floors, garden views and golden accents to discover Chef Alléno’s light, seasonal creations inspired by the joys of travel. A sophisticated, modern brasserie awaits, where you can enjoy refined dishes such as roasted duckling fillet with pink pepper, or Milanese-style veal with tagliatelle – make sure to dine en terrasse during the warmer months. To finish, give in to the temptation of STAY’s irresistible Pastry Library, famous for its exquisite sweet creations.

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Les Cocottes Arc de Triomphe

Celebrated Parisian Chef Christian Constant brings his authentic French cuisine to the Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe, situated only a few minutes walk from the iconic Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysées. A true artisan, Chef Constant has been cooking since the age of 14 and now brings his flair for urban dining to Les Cocottes Arc de Triomphe. Discover Constant’s regularly-changing, seasonal menu of classic French cuisine served in charming “cocottes” (traditional cast iron pots), such as roasted herb chicken with mashed potato, and tender beef sirloin. In a hurry? Take a seat at the bar and enjoy Les Cocottes’ express meal service if you’re pressed for time.

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Practical information

  • where to stay
  • when to go
  • Travel transportation
  • event calendar

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When to go

Paris is great to visit all year around, however the best time to visit the French capital is from March to October, when the temperatures are warmer with a minimum of 10° Celsius. The months of December, April and May tend to be the most rainy months.

Paris annual calendar

  • Jan

    Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture, late January

  • Feb

    Six Nations Rugby Championship, all of February

  • Mar

    Art Paris Art Fair at the Grand Palais, late March

  • Apr

    Paris Marathon, early April

  • May

    Tennis French Open - Roland Garros, late May to early June

  • Jun

    UEFA Euro 2016 Football Championship, mid-June to mid July

  • Jul

    Tour de France Cycling Grand Tour, all of July

  • Aug

    Paris Plages (Paris Beach), late July to late Augus

  • Sep

    Fête de la Gastronomie (French Cuisine Festival), late September

  • Oct

    FIAC Paris Contemporary Art Fair, late October

  • Nov

    Paris Photo Fair at the Grand Palais, mid-November

  • Dec

    Nautic Boat Show, early December

Travel transportation

Transportation

Transportation is very easy to organise in Paris and includes many options: local taxis, Uber, private car services, rental cars, Paris Metro, buses, trams, suburban trains, Velib (public bicycle) and even boats which travel along the Seine river.
The Paris Metro is partially automated and includes 16 lines and 300 stations. The metro runs from 5:30 am to 0:40 am. Tickets can be purchased from manned ticket windows or from automated vending machines accepting euro coins or smart credit cards (a single ticket price is 1,80€).
The Paris Ile-de-France RER (Regional Express Network, with 5 lines and 231 stations) is also a very convenient way to travel to the outskirts of Paris, including to get to Charles de Gaulle Airport. Travelling by bus is also a great way to discover Paris since there are 59 routes covering Paris and its most iconic areas.
Keep in mind that when driving in Paris, you must drive on the right side of the road.

Taxis

There are more than 17.000 taxis that operate in Paris all day and night long. You can hail them in the street, find them at a taxi rank or book one through one of the Parisian taxi firms. The minimum fare is 7.00€ and then applies a 1.05 to 1.56€ fare per km depending on journey and time of the day. Some additional charges may apply.

getting to & from the airport

There are two major airports in Paris:
- Roissy - Charles de Gaulle - CDG airport is located 35 km from downtown Paris and the journey takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes, according to the traffic.
Orly airport is located 15 km from downtown Paris and it takes approximately 20-45 minutes, according to the traffic.
Metered taxis are available and private transfers can be arranged at the airport.
A cheaper option is to take the suburban trains from the airports into the city center. From CDG, trains run every 8-10 minutes from 4:56 am to 11:50pm. An adult fare is 10€. Buses and shuttles are also available from both airports to Paris.

Getting around

Other destinations

* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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