May 12, 2017
A business trip to Paris doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Follow our top things to do in the French capital.
Wandering cobbled streets and tree-lined boulevards is a time-honoured but not exactly fast way to discover the city. A more efficient plan is to book a group walking tour with Paris Muse. Expert guides and inventive itineraries bring the architecture, history, art and local details to life. And if you choose The Marais: from Marsh to Magnificence, you can bookend the 2.5-hour tour of this medieval quarter with shopping or museum and gallery hopping.
Springtime is made for apéro, that beloved French ritual of pre-dinner drinks, en plein air. Beside the gilt-topped Pont Alexandre III, on barges moored alongside the quay, join the locals at Rosa Bonheur sur Seine for a glass of red and tapas inspired by the Camargue and Midi regions. Or take tea on the rooftop terrace at L’Institut du Monde Arabe for glorious views of Notre Dame.
Get a live-music fix with Paris’s staggering diversity of concert offerings. Take your pick from authentic manouche jazz on Monday nights at Le Piano Vache in the Latin Quarter; world-beating classical at the glittering Philharmonie de Paris; or rock and pop at 19th-century theatres such as the newly reopened Élysée Montmartre (catch French indie darlings Nouvelle Vague on May 18).
With 38,000 works on display in a former royal palace, the Louvre Museum is splendid. Locals know to book online, avoid weekends and go early or late – it’s open until 9.45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Choose a period, or even a single masterpiece, as your focus. Paintings not your thing? Visit the sumptuous Napoleon III apartments on the first floor of the Richelieu wing.
The French Open tennis tournament, referred to as Roland-Garros after the famed complex, runs from May 22 to June 11. Tickets to get courtside for the world’s only grand slam on clay sell out fast but the website offers a resale service. This year, the men’s semifinals are being sold individually, à la carte, doubling the number of places available.
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