The Ritz Hotel
On top of all the lists of best hotels in the world, The Ritz is the one I love to go back to: its history, impeccable service and luxurious attention to detail make it the preferred destination of a choosy international clientele. Its Hemingway Bar – writer Ernest Hemingway’s favorite spot in Paris – is a small and intimate place where most of the cocktails we know were invented, and where they are always beautifully served. The Ritz underwent a 2-year renovation and is now reopened to the public, better than ever.
A 3-star restaurant on the Michelin guide since 1988, this is one of the bastions of Paris fine dining, a place for those truly serious about food. L’Ambroisie serves traditional French cuisine with a modern and fresh touch, and its location on elegant Place des Vosges – wood floors, tapestries, chandeliers – accounts for it being called the most beautiful of the grandes tables of Paris. Not for travelers on a budget – a meal for 2 with good wines can easily get to 300 Euros – but quite an experience.
Bistro Ma Bourgogne
On beautiful Place des Vosges, this typical bistro specializes in the culinary of Burgundy, one of the regions of France. Small and cozy inside, with tables on the sidewalk, this is one of Marais’ favorite eateries, and in the summer it’s hard to find a seat there. Prices are average for Paris – a meal for 2 with wine is around 50 Euros.
With a friendly service and well-located, the Hugo is always crowded with tourists. The food is not bad, but what really brings the crowds is it being right on Place des Vosges, the jewel of the Marais district. Each time in Paris I try to stop at the Hugo for at least one expresso coffee – there’s nothing like sitting outside (in the winter they have heated lamps) and see the world pass by.
One of the finest luxury hotels in Paris, the Lutetia (written in Latin Lvtetia on the facade) sits beautifully in the middle of the more relaxed and fun Left Bank area, as opposed to the other grand hotels in the city, all in the Right Bank. The Lutetia is also ideally located for shopping at Le Bon Marche – to me the best department store in Paris – or the trendy boutiques of the 7th arrondisement (district), all at walking distance. The hotel is undergoing a renovation and is reopening in June, 2018.
Le Bon Marche
The Parisians’ department store (as opposed to tourists’ favorite Gallerie Laffayette) and the first modern department store ever (1838) Le Bon Marche is elegant and classy, offering all sort of higher-end goods, the finest in Paris, and you can shop there without having to fight the crowds of other stores. Its food department – La Grande Epicerie – is second to none in Paris. If you want to see what chic Parisians are wearing, have lunch at the excellent and informal restaurant on the top floor.