Paris | France
City of Light or City of Love, Paris is instantly recognisable and regarded as one of the world's most beautiful capitals. The city is known for its monuments, boulevards, boutique bistros and golden-stoned facades all densely packed so you can appreciate the characteristics of different quartiers (districts) with relative ease. Experience Paris's gracious charm and opulent tree-lined avenues, including the iconic Champs-Elysees. Explore the Left Bank's contemporary culture and watch the world go by from Boulevard Saint-Germain's trendy cafes and bars. Wander the banks of the River Seine, losing yourself in the romance of old riverside market stalls. Not to mention the countless museums to explore, harbouring treasures old and new, as you discover what Paris means to you.
Montmartre and Sacre-Cœur Basilica
Meet Local Expert – Rachel Van Der Hulst
Based in Paris, Rachel is an APT Tour Director and your go-to when it comes to advice on enjoying Paris to the max. It could be as simple as knowing where to order a Kir Royal or Panache as you watch the sun set over the city skyline in summer. Rachel shares ways to make the most of Paris's highlights, as well as cultural, dining or everyday experiences you'll only come across if you know the ins and outs of this city.
"There are so many places I would like to recommend but I particular like Le Louchebem, a family-owned restaurant since 1878 in the centre of Paris. It’s a good traditional rotisserie with a rich history. I love stopping here to eat onion soup or a good steak, not forgetting one of my favourite deserts … Coup Colonel (lemon sorbet with vodka)."
"Paris still has some beautiful covered arcades left that I love to visit on rainy days. They are almost all located in the 9th and 10th arrondissements (districts). Two of the most beautiful ones are Galerie Vivienne and Passage Jouffroy. Today about 10 of these arcades are left. They became popular in the mid-1800s as a form of shopping mall. By 1850 there were over 150 in existence in the city!"
"Order from the three-course fixed-price menu if the restaurant offers one. This is what the chef has to offer for that day, the freshest products from the market, plus it's the best deal. The fixed-price menu always comes in at a lot less than ordering individual dishes à la carte. Don’t be surprised if the waiter has crossed off some of the dishes on the menu, that means they are ‘sold out’."
"I really like the area around Rue des Martyrs. This street runs from the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette to the Sacre-Cœur area and is lined with shops and restaurants. It has become very gentrified over the last 10 years but it is still an area I enjoy visiting. Don’t forget to roam around all the side streets. They have fewer shops and restaurants and have a very local feel."
Currency: Euro (EUR)
International dialling code: +33
Local time: GMT +1
Note: Travel as we know it has changed in 2021. We're working to ensure all information is accurate but please check before heading out.
Useful phrases: Bonjour (hello); Merci (thank you); Au revoir (goodbye); Bonsoir (good evening)
Metro: Using the city's metro is the most efficient way to get between the different arrondissements (or sections).
Picnics: The fresh produce and quality ingredients one can find in a grocery store in Paris means that the perfect lunch need not be at a sit-down restaurant, but simply at the Eiffel Tower accompanied by a crunchy baguette, cheese, wine and croissants.
Smaller breakfasts in Paris: It is common for breakfast just to consist of coffee and a small pastry when out and about as Parisians tend to have bigger lunches and dinners than breakfasts.
A Tour Director's take on Paris: "Walking through Paris without a goal or clear destination. Even though I pass through the same square, street corner or shop I always discover something new that in my memories was never there but in fact has been there for centuries. That could be a statue or a decoration on a building. The city never ceases to amaze me.
One of the most magical moments in Paris is the summer around sunset. When the sun goes down and the street lights come on. It feels like the city is covered in a golden for a very short period of time. My favourite place to be at that moment of the day is on one of the benches is in the courtyard of the Louvre." (Words by Rachel van der Hulst.)