48 Hours in Paris

HEIDI FULLER-LOVE has uncovered the best tours of Paris so you can get to the heart of the world’s most romantic city in double-quick time.

When you’ve finished your sumptuous meal, enjoy some more of that French razzle dazzle…see the city’s most celebrated monuments decked out in their glittering night lights.
City of Light, capital of love and centre of gastronomy, Paris offers a bewildering variety of pleasures. So what are the best ways to discover the city when you only have a short time to explore? These top activities will help you make the most of your own “2 Days in Paris”.

Bird’s eye view to gourmet bites
For a bird’s eye view of Paris’ long and extraordinary history, make a beeline for interactive museum, Paris Story. Once inside, a holographic image of author Victor Hugo will whisk you away on a tour of 2,000 years of Parisian history.

After your interactive history lesson, get up close and personal with the city on a segway tour with Segway Sightseeing. An innovative and eco-friendly personal transportation device, the segway is an effortless way to discover Paris. A two-and-a-half-hour tour of key landmarks includes the lively Latin Quarter, with its flower and bird markets, and the Conciergerie where famous prisoners like Marie Antoinette and Robespierre were held during the French Revolution.

End your tour at L’Avant Comptoir (9 carrefour de l’Odéon) – a cosy bistro serving delicious grilled mushrooms, local cheeses and other snacks. Then, pop into Pierre Hermé to sample some of those famous Parisian macarons, before setting out on a food tour with Paris By Mouth ... One of the city’s leading gourmet activity companies, Paris By Mouth offers a wide range of tours, including a foodie exploration of the Latin Quarter and the chance to discover the city’s best pastries and croissants.

Pedalling streets to chic boutiques
If you’re feeling energetic on your second day in the city, set out with Paris Bike. During an hour’s pedalling, you’ll discover the cobbled nooks and crannies of the Left Bank whilst your guide feeds you with historical anecdotes and cultural titbits en route.

Paris, home of haute couture, is all about style, so you may prefer to learn how to dress like a Parisian. If so, join a Chic Shopping tour, where you’ll have the opportunity to pay insiders’ prices for garments designed by Chanel, Vuitton or Dior. Your expert shopping guide will take you on a tour of the resale shops that sell haute couture at rock-bottom prices.

With your bags full of fashionable buys, you’ll want to find an elegant perfume to match those stylish garments. Some of the world’s top perfumes – from Paris by Yves Saint Laurent to Chanel’s legendary Number Five – were created right here in Paris. Take one of Neela Vermeire’s Perfume Paths walking tours to visit the stores of top scent manufacturers Guerlain, Hermes and Fragonard, and learn how to choose the best fragrance to suit your distinctive style and personality.



Paris by night
When night falls over the legendary Seine river, head for Le Meurice and indulge in a quintessential French dining experience. Le Meurice is the glamorous Michelin-starred restaurant of renowned chef, Alain Ducasse, and stands just opposite the Tuilerie gardens.

TIP
For a classic way to get around, buy a Paris Pass ( parispass.com) and get free travel on inner city transport, free entry to the city’s main attractions and exclusive deals in restaurants and shops.


When you’ve finished your sumptuous meal, enjoy some more of that French razzle dazzle with an after-dinner Paris by Night Illuminations Tour with Viator to see the city’s most celebrated monuments decked out in their glittering night lights.

After visiting all the illuminated sites, monuments and squares, end your evening at the spectacular Moulin Rouge, home of the French Cancan. You will be wowed by the sumptuous sets and sequin-costumed beauties of this world famous show, which encapsulates all the glamorous history and excitement of France’s incomparable capital city.


See Paris through the eyes of the Parisians
• Meet the French at work (www.meetingthefrench.com). From glovemakers to restaurant owners, take a behind the scenes tour of some of Paris’ most famous businesses.
• Stay in a local home. From a private villa on the charming Ile St Louis to a barge on the fast-flowing Seine, Hôtes Qualité Paris (hqp.fr) offers unique bed-and-breakfast accommodation with residents. • Dine with locals (epiculinary.com). Get to know an English-speaking Parisian family over a four course meal in their home.
• Become a Paris gourmand. Indulge in the Paris Chocolate and Pastry Food Tour (www.viatour.com). Led by an expert food guide, you will visit some of Paris’ top confectionery shops, including the store where actress Juliet Binoche learnt to make chocolate before starring in the film, Chocolat.
• Sign up for a chauffeur driven 2CV Paris Tour (www.4roues-sous-1parapluie.com) and enjoy views of the city from the well-sprung back seat of this legendary vehicle. Originally designed as a cheap run-around for French farmers, it starred in the legendary film Revenge of the Pink Panther.



LINKS

PEDALLING STREETS – CHIC BOUTIQUES
parisbiketour.net
chicshoppingparis.com
perfumepaths.com

PARIS BY NIGHT
lemeurice.com
viator.com







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Author
Based in France for the past 17 years and married to a Frenchman, Heidi Fuller-love (www.heidifuller-love.com) contributes to countless publications worldwide, has a regular hotel and travel column for Good Things in the UK and hosts an award-winning radio show for British Airways. She had her own Chambres d’Hotes in Charente for many years, is a trained chef and the editor of French travel website.