The ultimate luxury guide to Paris

As they say, Paris is always good. Thanks to my father, who is Parisian, it will always be home for me. We moved to London a long time ago, but the City of Light has an inescapable allure, especially for a half-French exile across the Channel.

During my frequent trips back to Paris, I've compiled my own collection of local spots, favorite museums, sunny walks, and even the best places for date nights and Sunday lunches (and don't miss my edit of the best luxury hotels in Paris).

Away from the Louvre pyramid, the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, and the crowds of the Champs-Élysées, you'll find my favorite walks, hidden gem restaurants, and cozy hideaways that make the French capital so special. Now visiting as a tourist, these are the spots I wouldn't miss — and you'll be pleased to hear that many Parisians don't, either.

Hidden Gem: Hotel Rochechouart

Hotel Rochechouart

Cyril Duchesne

Like many of Paris' cooler neighborhoods, Pigalle was once seen as seedy, a little dangerous, and a little, well, cheeky. It is, after all, home to the infamous Folies Bergère and the Moulin Rouge. Traces of this mischievous pedigree remain in the city's hottest bars and hotels, including a tree-lined island across Boulevard Rochechouart named for one of the area's most famous transgender performers, Coccinelle. Along this avenue, you'll find the Hotel Rochechouart, which oozes Art Deco glamour, thanks in large part to its proximity to the timeless charm of Montmartre, where the Sacré-Coeur can be seen from the upper floors and rooftop terrace. Rooms are done up in a simple yet chic Parisian apartment style, with creams, dark browns and hints of mustard yellow. The restaurant and bar are lively until late at night; white-vaulted ceilings, low lighting and booth seating exude cozy romance, and the menu is full of French classics. The scallops are highly recommended. Quiet and cool, away from the tourist crowds, Hotel Rochechouart feels like a sexy secret spot – which is very Pigalle, after all.

Hotel Rochechouart55 Blvd Marguerite de Rochechouart, 75009

The ultimate appit isro: Hotel Dame des Arts

Hotel Dame des Arts

Hotel Dame des Arts

Paris rooftops are beloved, but few are equipped with the bars you need to truly enjoy them in warm weather, which is where Hotel Dame des Arts comes in. Arguably one of Paris's coolest new spots, its restaurant (overseen by Othoniel Alvarez Castaneda) serves up a cornucopia of melt-in-the-mouth Mexican dishes, and its sleek rooftop bar offers one of the capital's most striking views.

Hotel Dames des Arts4 Rue Danton, 75006

Lea Seydoux's Parisian Style Guide Preview

The Secret Garden: Parc de la Butte Schoeman

Sibylline temple and lake in the Park of Buttes Chaumont, Paris

bread//Getty Images

19 pilgrimage sitesNumber Head to the 1st arrondissement for one of Paris' most underrated pleasures. Created under Napoleon III, this vast park is laid out in the “English” style, with 61 acres of rolling hills and Roman buildings overlooking a small lake. On sunny days, the lawns are bustling with picnicking families and more savvy tourists.

Hidden History: Chapel of Atonement

Chapel of the Redemption

French national monument

Even if you live in Paris, you've probably missed this little piece of French history. Where this early 19th-century chapel now stands, was once the mass grave of aristocrats executed by the blade of the guillotine. Its most famous inhabitants were Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and this little monument was erected in 1826 by their only surviving child. The monument commemorates their exhumation and reburial in 1815 in the royal tomb of Saint-Denis, and contains two beautiful sculptures of the deceased monarchs and their final letters, fully reprinted on stone pedestals. Both a moving tribute from a grieving daughter and a fascinating piece of post-revolutionary history, this underrated site is well worth a visit.

Chapel of Penance29 Rue Pasquier, 75008

The sweetest treat: Butterfly Patisserie

Butterfly Patisserie

Marie Claire Chape

It'd be a crime against nature to go to Paris and not try one of the many desserts, but if you want to really indulge in style, treat yourself to a visit to the Hôtel de Crillon's newly opened Butterfly Pâtisserie., Here, the hotel's pastry chef, Matthieu Carlin, creates some of the capital's most sinfully delicious sweets: try the millefeuille and die happy, trust me.

Butterfly PastryHôtel de Crillon, 10 Pl. de la Concorde, 75008

Friday Night Dinner: Chez Georges

At George's House

Marie Claire Chape

Chez Georges, 2and Located on 1st Avenue in the 19th arrondissement, this is a traditional spot with the kind of high quality you'd expect from a restaurant so quietly confident that it doesn't even have a website. The waiters and manager know this is a good place, and you'll have a hard time getting a seat if you just try your luck. If you're lucky enough to get in (you'll be seated close to other diners, in true brasserie style), a handwritten menu of quintessential French dishes awaits. The food is simple, but masterful.

At George's House1 Rue du Mail, 75002

After-hours spot: Maison Souquet

A room with a red chair and paintings on the wall

Benjamin Rosenberg

If you're planning a secret rendezvous in Paris (because, let's be honest, where else would you do it?), it couldn't get any more glamorous than this glitzy Belle Époque spot. It's just a short walk from the glamorous Moulin Rouge and oozes with the velvet-tassel glamour of the era. The cocktail bar is the perfect place for a nightcap; it's sexy and a little over the top, as is the comprehensive list of rare champagnes and absinthes.

Maison Souquet10 Rue de Bruxelles, 75009

Sunday Lunch: Brasserie Lipp

On a Sunday afternoon in Paris, everyone dine at Lip. The place is packed with patrons, from old bourgeois ladies to the greats of French cinema, and everyone is treated the same, with a surly, sarcastic charm. Little has changed since this St. Germain dining giant opened in 1880. The walls and doors are plastered with cheeky messages condemning shorts and cigar smoke, and the menu strictly prohibits salads as a meal. The place has earned a well-deserved reputation for its excellent food, its dry waiters and, especially, its excellent brouis. Roast chicken and Pure AppleUh huh? It's unbeatable, you can't leave town without trying it.

Brasserie Lip151 Bd Saint-Germain, 75006

Date Night: Sebon

This small restaurant is the ideal place for a romantic evening with a loved one, be it a best friend, a lover or a cherished grandmother. It has a few tables, most of which seat two, and is intimate and candlelit. But the restaurant's charm lies in its excellent cuisine, a skilful adaptation of a modern European menu. Some of the capital's most delicate and original dishes are served here, which is why it has long been one of Paris' “best known” restaurants.

Sebon62 Rue d'Orsel, 75018

Rainy Day Getaway: Carnavalet Museum

When the skies open up, head straight to Paris' oldest museum. Set in a former private home in the heart of the Marais district, it showcases over 4,000 pieces of Parisian history. From prehistoric Parisians to the French Revolution, through the Nazi occupation and the 1968 student protests, the fascinating exhibits make for a fun way to spend a rainy Parisian afternoon. And it's free!

Carnival Museum23 Rue de Sévigné, 75003

Artistic Interlude: The Delacroix Museum

Paris has a wealth of museums to choose from, but if you've had too many wanders through the galleries of the Louvre or the Musée d'Orsay, consider the modest but charming former home of French artist Eugène Delacroix. With many of his personal belongings, fascinating facts about his daily life, early sketches and most famous paintings, you'll get up close and personal with one of the country's most famous creators. On a sunny day, end your tour with a coffee in the pretty garden below Delacroix's studio.

Delacroix Museum6 Rue de Furstemberg, 75006

Big Night Out: Alcazar

This atmospheric restaurant in one of Saint-Germain's busiest areas has been a go-to spot for the wealthy since it was opened by Terence Conran over 20 years ago. It was renovated in 2015 to become an even chicer party spot, with two floors, a mezzanine bar and live DJs on weekends. Happiness of living He also has the stamina to make the punchiest espresso martinis in Paris.

Alcazar62 Mazarine Street, 75006

The Boutique Bolthole: Hotel de la Boetie

Boetti Hotel


Boetti Hotel

Finding a budget hotel in Paris can be like finding bad cheese in France. Thankfully, Touriste is here to help: a relatively new hotel brand that specializes in affordable hotels within a certain budget. I don't know what it is – Bright, quirky chic interspersed with simple services, each with its own distinctive personality. One of Paris' newest openings, Hôtel de la Boétie, just a stone's throw from the Champs-Élysées, couldn't be more central. Despite the hustle and bustle and glitz of the nearby vast boulevard, Rue de la Boétie offers a tranquil retreat to rejuvenate after a busy day of sightseeing. Cute yet unpretentious, this hotel is the ideal choice for a city break base. What's more, the hotel was designed by Swedish powerhouse Beata Human, and the rooms are like confections come to life, with portholes in the bathrooms, soft pink sheets, designer towels and a hint of Wes Anderson scent in the air.

Hotel de la Boetie91 Rue La Boétie, 75008

Best Coffee Spot: Ma Bourgogne

Overlooking Paris' most beautiful square, Place des Vosges, this restaurant is the quintessential neighborhood restaurant. The steak tartare here is to die for and the waiters are the rudest. People-watching here in the summer while sipping a Sancerre is one of life's great pleasures. This is an old local restaurant for my family and our favorite place to have an espresso or cafe crème whenever we're in Paris.

My Burgundy19 Pl. des Vosges, 75004

A Taste of Provence: Chez Janou

A waiter here once refused to put candles on the dessert at my birthday dinner, and rightly so: my husband ordered a wobbly chocolate mousse. Waiters are notoriously rude and impatient, perhaps because patrons always eat their way through the 80-item pastis menu at the bar before they've even been seated. Tucked away in the Marais district, Janou serves up unparalleled Provencal cuisine—commonly called the best this side of Marseille—in a cozy setting with wood-paneled walls, bold Belle Époque posters, and an expansive wine list that's sure to leave you sipping.

By Janou2 Rue Roger Verlomme, 75003 Paris

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