How to Enjoy Paris in the Summer of 2023

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Image by Сергей from Pixabay

View from the Arc de Triomphe, by Сергей from Pixabay

Two years after Covid, Paris has maintained its spot as the number one tourist destination worldwide! The city continues to hold this acclaimed status for many reasons: its stellar number of museums, its thriving urban culture, boutique shopping, easy access to historic chateaux and gardens, and its storied (and constantly renewing) restaurant scene. The popularity of summer travel to the French capital means that when your dreams of Paris are confronted with the current reality, the throngs of tourists may dampen your enthusiasm. However, there are ways in which you can mitigate the crowds – and disappointment. These helpful hints will help you enjoy Paris, after you’ve been on one of our tours, which will allow you to discover the city on your own and like a local. 

Rooftop, Madame Reve Hotel

Rooftop with view onto Saint-Estauche, Madame Reve Hotel

Relaxing Alternatives to the Eiffel Tower

If you want to enjoy an incredible panorama that includes the Eiffel Tower, you should head instead to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, the viewing deck at the Montparnasse Tower, or book tickets (approximately $12) to climb the Tour Saint Jacques, only open to visitors from June to September (five people at a time or a maximum group of 17 people). If you would like views with a drink or meal, consider one of the increasing number of Rooftop Terraces, like Madame Rêve hotel or Sequoia at Kimpton St Honoré, or a meal cruise on Alain Ducasse sur Seine—the star chef’s boat cruise which uses electric power, which is well worth the trip. 

Star chef Yannick Alléno / FB

Memorable Dining Experiences 

A meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant remains a unique and amazing gastronomic experience: none of these celebrity chefs, Yannick Alleno at the Pavillon Ledoyen, Éric Frechon at the Bristol’s Epicure, Arnaud Donckele at Cheval Blanc, Guy Savoy, disappoint. If you are looking for great food and farm-to-table sustainable practices, try restaurants that combine more casual attire with appreciation of gastronomic standards: like the bistro Manie. At Yves Camdeborde’s pioneering Le Comptoir du Relais in the sixth arrondissement, tables are frequently booked months in advance. If you can’t get in at dinner, try arriving by 11:45 a.m. for lunch (reservations are not accepted, so it’s first come, first serve). Michelin-starred chef Jean-Francois Piège is behind several popular, lower-priced establishments that play up the best of French terroir, such as the hearty French classics at A l’Epi d’Or. For wine-focused bistros, try Juveniles, Willi’s Wine Bar or Aux Crus de Bourgogne.

Musée de L'Orangerie

Musée de L’Orangerie

Don’t Expect to See Everything at the Louvre

It’s massive, it’s overwhelming, and as travellers we have a tendency to put tremendous pressure on ourselves to try to “see it all.” But Le Louvre isn’t set up that way. Manage your expectations and book one of our tours. Or you may want to skip it entirely. Many of Paris’s smaller museums contain equally important and beautiful art—and are often more pleasant, since you won’t be elbowed out of the way by the Instagram-posing crowd. You’ll find Monet’s famous Nymphéas (water lily) murals in the Musée de l’Orangerie, at the far end of the Tuileries Gardens; the Musée Marmottan is home to the world’s largest collection of Monets; and the Musée Rodin, housed in a luminous former eighteenth-century hotel particulier with a lovely garden, is one of the most romantic places in all of Paris.

Vaux_le_Vicomte Photo: Jebulon / CC

Instead of Versailles, try other Castles around Paris

The Château de Versailles is celebrating 400 years of history this year, but even the Sun-King would have chosen to abandon the palace in the summer! Rather than fight the hoards in the chateau, a visit to the Trianons—also called the Domaine de la Reine—offers an opportunity to explore how Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Maire-Antoinette escaped the imposing and crowded chateau. Alternatives to Versailles are located a short 45-minute journey from the capital, like the Château de Chantilly or Vaux-le-Vicomte. The chateau of Chantilly was home to the Sun-King’s cousins, the Condé family, whose collection of paintings, horses and gardens captures the spirit of the Ancien Régime. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the fateful story of Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s financial officer who fell from grace, is paradoxically imortalized in the château that survived his disgrace.

We can arrange tours to any of the museums or castles mentioned above. For further inspiration see our website or contact us to help you organize your crowd-free trip to Paris.

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