What to do if you only have two days in a city
48 HOURS IN PARIS 8TH ARRONDISSEMENT
If you’re thinking that surely two days could never be enough to take in all that the city of lights has to offer, you’d be right. But, if you base yourself in the 8th arrondissement – considered the heart of Paris – you’ll be able to experience many of its best parts.
With the famed Champs Elysées as its spine and the Seine running through it, this part of Paris is home to over 40 000 Parisians, plenty hotels and boutiques, and some of its most famous sights.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Du Collectioneur
While there’s no shortage of fine hotels, this five-star grand dame is refreshingly old school. From its imperial staircase and opulent chandeliers to its over-the-top orchid arrangements and velvet couches, the Art Deco hotel will transport you right back to the 1930s the moment you’re through its heavy brass revolving doors. Situated within walking distance of the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, it is the ideal base from which to explore the area.
WHERE TO EAT
For lunch with a view bar none, this is the one. Located on the roof of the Théatre des Champs-Elysées and comprising two storeys, both levels offer uninterrupted views of the Eiffel Tower, the Seine and the bustling streets below. The menu is a fusion of traditional French and Mediterranean cuisine, prepared by local chef Fabrice Giraud. A 2-course meal will set you back around R700, but it’s worth the splurge.
For something a little more cheap-and-cheerful, but no less delicious, this low-lit, authentic bistro is superb. They serve up traditional Italian pizza, pasta and other specials, with top-notch service.
+331 4054 9826
WHERE TO HANG OUT
The Courtyard at The Four Seasons George V
Sitting in this très chic marble-floored, al fresco dining area, you’d be forgiven for thinking George Clooney or Cate Blanchett may stroll in. Order a coffee or a glass of bubbly (as a meal may put your credit card in the red), and feel like a celebrity for a little while.
Le Bar du Bristol
Here they do not merely have barmen – they have alchemists. This classic yet modern bar is frequented by both locals and tourists and is known for its cocktails and tapas. From 9.30pm, Thursday to Saturday, a secret entrance will get you into B.A.D (Bristol After Dark) nights, where you can party until the wee hours.
WHAT TO SEE
Arc de Triomphe
With its neoclassic design, intricately carved sculptures and sheer size of 50 metres, it’s a sight to behold. Once you’re done marveling at it from the ground, take a tour to the top for a panoramic view of the city.
Originally built in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle, and recognised as a historical monument since 2000, the Grand Palais hosts various exhibitions and events, and is well worth a visit, even if just to stare up at its magnificent glass dome from the inside.
Spend a leisurely afternoon gliding down the river and through the inner city on a boat cruise, while taking in famous sights like the Grand Palais, the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
The Champs Elysées
Whether you’re able to shop this “golden mile” or not, you absolutely have to stroll its cobbled streets. At 1.9km long and 70m wide it is one of the most famous avenues in the world, which links the Arc de Triomphe at one end to the Place de la Concorde at the other.
Covering an area of 8.2 hectares, the picturesque inner-city park is open daily from sunrise to sunset, with extended hours in summer. With ample space to lay down a picnic blanket and various play areas, streams, bridges and sculptures, it’s an idyllic place to while away a few hours.
Hotel de Crillon
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to afford a stay here if you’re travelling on the Rand, but the high tea is worth every cent. As one of the most luxurious and historic hotels in Paris (housed in a building dating back to 1758), you can expect to dine amongst the elite, while enjoying traditional Parisian sweet treats and taking in your opulent surrounds.
Our Paris City Guide
FLY SAA flies to Frankfurt daily. Catch a connecting to flight to Paris with fellow Star Alliance member and codeshare partner, Lufthansa.
WORDS Lynette Botha