Paris is always buzzing with hot-ticket exhibits, stylish new restaurants and chic boutiques and this season, some of the most exciting arrivals are a restaurant docked on the Seine from Alain Ducasse, a game-changing palatial hotel in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, two new gourmet food halls and a jewel box of a museum dedicated to lauded sculptor Alberto Giacometti. Read on to discover more reasons why you should travel to Paris this winter.
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Where to Stay in Paris: New Hotels
Paris’s hotels have always been top-notch, but recent years have seen truly game-changing openings. In 2016, the historic Ritz Paris emerged from a $450 million renovation looking better than ever. Abutting the Place Vendôme, the property offers the utmost in Parisian luxury and highlights, including the Hemingway Bar (a favorite of Ernest Hemingway) and the Coco Chanel suite, where the fashion icon lived for 34 years, recall the Ritz’s extensive history and esteemed patrons. In 2017, the nearby Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel finished a renovation that is rumored to have cost around $500 million, and the property, which was designed as a palace for Louis XV and has perhaps the most dramatic location of any hotel in Paris (looking out at the Place de la Concorde), joined the ranks of the city’s top addresses. While all this was happening on the Right Bank, the Left Bank was buzzing with the renovation of the Hôtel Lutetia, which swung open its doors in the summer of 2018 in the heart of the charming Saint-Germain-des-Prés and just across from adored department store Le Bon Marché. Subtle and sophisticated in style, the landmark hotel is the place to be for travelers who love the Left Bank, and its soon-to-open brasserie by Michelin-starred chef Gerald Passedat will undoubtedly be a hot spot for locals and travelers alike. Seven signature suites, including two penthouses with 800-square-foot terraces, will be unveiled later this winter.
The boutique hotel scene is also buzzing. Right near the Champs-Élysées and the iconic Le Bristol and boutique La Reserve is the new Hôtel de Berri, a Luxury Collection Hotel, the former home of Italian couturier Elsa Schiaparelli. The 75-room property is seriously stylish, with playful décor, a 3,000-square-foot garden and a hot spot Italian restaurant, Le Schiap. In the residential 16th arrondissement, designer Philippe Starck’s 59-room Brach offers a chic hideout for travelers who want to stay in a quieter area of Paris. The modern hotel appeals to a hip clientele and has a sprawling wellness center with two pools and fitness classes, a restaurant and a beautiful rooftop lounge.
If that wasn’t enough, two forthcoming properties will provide even more competition. J.K. Place Hotels (the brand behind J.K. Place Firenze, J.K. Place Capri and J.K. Place Roma) will open a boutique property in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in April 2019, and luxury pioneer Cheval Blanc is in the beginning stages of developing a hotel at former department store La Samaritaine, just a two-minute walk from the Louvre.
The 9 Best New Restaurants in Paris
Some of Paris’s most well-known chefs have unleashed a smattering of new restaurants in the past few months. Two of the most talked-about openings are Joia, by Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze, and Hugo&Co, from chef Tomy Gousset (who also runs Tomy & Co). Located in the 2nd arrondissement, Joia focuses on French comfort food (think herb-filled ravioli and make-your-own guacamole) and has a beautiful library-like cocktail bar on the second floor. Hugo&Co, set on the Left Bank in the Latin Quarter, is a contemporary French bistro that is earning high praise for its easygoing international comfort food such as stracciatella cheese with black olives and tonkatsu-style breaded pork cutlet topped with a fried egg and red-curry sauce. Another Latin Quarter debut that is earning serious acclaim is Baieta, a Nicoise bistro from up-and-coming chef Julia Sedefdjian, who earned a Michelin star in 2016, when she was just 21. Dishes on offer here include “bouillabaieta,” Sedefdjian’s take on the classic bouillabaisse, and octopus with sweet potato gnocchi. For upscale Japanese, three-Michelin-star chef Yannick Alléno is serving innovative sushi and omakase at L’Abysse, a sleek, contemporary restaurant at Pavillon Ledoyen. And lastly, offering an only-in-Paris experience is Alain Ducasse’s new Ducasse sur Seine, a boat restaurant that offers prix-fixe lunch and dinner cruises and afternoon tea from its docked location right in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Several new restaurants are in the spotlight as much for their food as for their interior design. Girafe, owned by the same people behind Loulou and Monsieur Bleu, is located within the Cité de l’Architecture and has a spectacular terrace with dramatic Eiffel Tower views. While the terrace can get noisy, the 1930s-inspired dining room is equally striking and the perfect place to enjoy the seafood-heavy menu. French fashion designer Alexis Mabille recently lent his talents to Froufrou, a speakeasy-esque restaurant with several rooms featuring elaborate wallpaper, rich blue and red velvet furnishings and a sexy atmosphere. The menu highlights upscale bistro fare (the truffle bone marrow toast is the must-order dish).
For a classic French meal, travelers should seek out nouveau bistro Astair, a chic spot that serves up dishes such as escargot and sole meunière, as well as craft cocktails. La Poule au Pot, a longtime favorite that has been open since 1935 and just underwent a stylish revamp, is a top pick for an authentic French feel and timeless cuisine including veal stew and cherry clafoutis.
Related: Healthy Dining in Paris