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Eleanor Aldridge

Eleanor Aldridge

Articles (12)

A perfect day at the Château de Versailles

A perfect day at the Château de Versailles

The glamorous, sprawling Château de Versailles is matchless in many ways. Transformed from hunting lodge to palace by Louis XIV in 1682 (with the help of some 36,000 labourers), this is quite simply one of the most impressive royal residences in Europe, unbeatable in both physical epicness and the sheer grandeur of its décor. Feeling up to the challenge? Here’s how to get the most out of your day trip, whether you want to tick off the estate’s headline attractions or discover little-visited corners in the grounds and beyond. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Paris

The 14 best day trips from Paris

The 14 best day trips from Paris

Paris may be beautiful, but boy is it built-up. And come summer… sweat-soakingly muggy. That means the stately inner-city parks fill up in no time, the piscines pack out, and even finding a canal-side patch of concrete can be a struggle. So thank goodness for the brilliant, tranquil, relaxing day trip. From Paris, you can get pretty much anywhere in northern France within a couple of hours, and there are plenty of excellent escapes to be had closer to home, too. From Parisian suburbs, to the Normandy coast. It's all surprisingly close and easy to get to. Hop on the metro or the train, and you're away. Take a spare bag for any goodies you encounter.  Ready to get up and go? Whether you fancy roaming the the grand parkland and museums of Boulogne Billancourt, exploring the thriving arts scene of Vitry-sur-Seine, treading Monet’s picture-postcard Giverny turf, or hopping on the RER to an imposing Loire Valley château, our selection of the absolute best day trips from Paris should cater to day-trippers of all stripes. So... bon voyage! RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Paris

The 14 best cheap eats in Paris

The 14 best cheap eats in Paris

One of the greatest myths about dining out in Paris is that you have to spend a lot to eat well. Even classic French cuisine is built on brilliant basics: seasonal ingredients, good-quality produce and the same menus served day in, day out. If you know where to look, it’s still totally possible to find big brasserie lunches for around €15, and a life-affirmingly good jambon-beurre for little more than €5. (Let’s be honest, is there anything more appealing than a fresh baguette slathered with salty butter – even if you later find crumbs in unexpected places?) Some of our latest faves show how the city’s culinary scene is changing, both in wine bars that are swapping rillettes or planches for pizzette and in a growing range of true-to-the-source restaurants and delis serving everything from Israeli to Sichuan cuisine untempered for European palates. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Paris

Your essential guide to public transport in Paris

Your essential guide to public transport in Paris

Paris is an excellent city to explore on foot – but even on a short trip, you’re likely to use public transport at least once. The great French tradition of grèves (strikes) aside, the RATP-run network is mostly cheap and efficient. The Paris metro is of course one of the symbols of the city, with its art nouveau entrances and quirky station designs (check out Arts et Metiers’ copper-clad platforms). Lines are shallow and trains run every few minutes, so it’s easy to hop on and off. Buses can also be handy, especially if you don’t mind making sacrifices on style to stay above ground. Taxis and ride-hailing apps take over after dark, while the brave can hit the roads on a Vélib’. To reach the airports or explore further afield, you’ll find yourself on the RER network or regional train services. You’re unlikely to take one of the eight lesser-known tram lines on the city’s fringes. Tickets Tickets can be picked up from machines in any mainline or metro station, all of which have an English-language option. For journeys in the centre of Paris, a €1.90 t+ ticket can be used for a single trip in zones 1 and 2 on the metro, bus, RER or tram. It’s usually worth buying a carnet of 10 for €16.90. For longer journeys, you can pick up point-to-point tickets or set-fare one-way tickets to and from the airports. If you want unlimited travel, buy a Mobilis one-day ticket or a five-day Paris Visite pass. Rechargeable weekly, monthly or annual Navigo passes are only really worth it if you’re

The 19 best shops in Paris

The 19 best shops in Paris

We’re calling it: this is the best city for shopping in all of Europe. Away from the soulless glitz of international consumerism that’s slowly etching away at the Champs-Élysées, there are hundreds of one-of-a-kind boutiques totally worth checking out. You could spend weeks exploring them all (trust us, we have) and still come across undiscovered designers and covetable labels. Forget Breton tees and Chanel bags – what’s à la mode these days is statement glasses and monochrome unisex staples. Sustainability also climbs ever higher on many brands’ agendas. And while the ‘buy less, buy quality’ mantra has always held sway here, you’re now just as likely to find beautiful vegan accessories as leather and luxe fabrics. Of course, there are the traditional shops that’ll define your time in Paris, whatever side of town you’re on. Traiteurs where saucissons dangle from the ceiling. Tiny wine bar-shops where bottles are hand-delivered by the vignerons themselves. And bookshops that remain at the heart of the city’s Anglophone communities, much as they were during the années folles.

How to do Paris in 48 hours

How to do Paris in 48 hours

It may seem all care-free and laid-back and très, très romantic, but Paris can be a difficult city to explore on a whirlwind weekend. One of the most obvious reasons to visit the French capital is to experience the joys of Parisian life – at least for a few days. If you dash from museum to gallery to brasserie, you’ll see little more than the well-trodden tourist trail, albeit with some world-class art and architecture along the way. Our 48-hour itinerary includes plenty of the big-hitters, but also some more niche museums, less visited arrondissements and moments for quiet contemplation. As for food, there’s more to discover than the holy trinity of French cuisine (bread, cheese and wine). Sure, no trip to Paris is complete without a night at a natural wine bar, but the cocktail scene is also second to none and tasting menus are getting ever more inventive and affordable. Ready to get out there? Come hungry, pack comfy shoes for walking and don’t even think about planning to go to bed before midnight. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Paris

The 14 best free things to do in Paris

The 14 best free things to do in Paris

Paris’s rep for being hugely expensive doesn’t always ring true. Sure, it’s easy to splash out on champagne and oysters, or accidentally blow your budget on a shopping spree in the Marais, but there are plenty of experiences that won’t cost a penny (or euro centime). First up, the city’s magnificent parks and gardens – swerve the Tuileries crowds and head east to get away from it all in wilder green spaces like the Buttes-Chaumont instead. Rainy days call for afternoons exploring lesser-known but fascinating free museums or cosying up at cool community spaces, perhaps Ground Control or Les Grands Voisins. Later on, there’s plenty to do after dark, including what feels like an endless array of free exhibitions, gigs and film screenings. The only question is where you’ll go first. No matter whether you’re sightseeing on a shoestring or saving up for something special, these are our go-to wallet-friendly activities – the absolute best free things to do in Paris right now. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Paris

The 13 best places for breakfast in Paris

The 13 best places for breakfast in Paris

There’s all manner of delicious ways to start the day in Paris. Years of bad coffee and limp pancakes are now firmly in the past, and if you’re willing to drop up to €20 on the first meal of the day, it’s never been easier to find an exquisite flat white and syrup-drenched short stack. The French capital has embraced Anglo breakfast culture with abandon, led by a clutch of pioneering roasteries and patisseries. Even classic Parisian breakfasts are getting a makeover. The finest tartines now comprise artisanal sourdough and obligatory organic Normandy butter, while chia seed bowls and smoothies are as ubiquitous here as they are in New York or London. The most traditional petit déj remains a pain au chocolat still warm from the boulangerie oven, but frankly, sometimes we fancy something a little more substantial for breakfast. Looking to go big at the weekend? We’ve picked the best blowout brunches, too. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Paris

The 13 best bistros in Paris

The 13 best bistros in Paris

What would Paris be without its bistros? These fun, cosy, affordable restaurants have been at the heart of French dining culture for centuries. Steak-frites, pot-au-feu, soupe à l’oignon – just three of the delicious culinary classics we can thank them for popularising the world over. Yet in recent decades the traditional bistro has come under threat, as our obsession with old-school dining has dwindled in favour of all things nouvelle cuisine. Only in the past few years have Parisians rediscovered a love for the bistro’s more homely style of cooking and eating, albeit often now with the optional extra of natural wines and impeccably sourced ingredients. The bistros we’ve picked here are both new and old, and stand out from other French restaurants and brasseries thanks to their informal ethos and cuisine. So order a kir, bag a comfy spot on a banquette and settle in for the menu du jour. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Paris

Giverny

Giverny

It takes just an hour to reach Giverny from Paris, but this small village feels a world away. Here in the sleepy Pays d’Eure life moves at a more tranquil pace, much as it did when Monet lived and painted here from 1883 until his death in 1926. It was at his family home that he produced some of his most famous works, including his celebrated water lily series, Les Nymphéas. Today, his magical gardens and the nearby Musée des Impressionnismes are one of the most enjoyable day trips from Paris, drawing around half a million visitors each year. Book Online

Things to do near Paris: a perfect day in Parc de Sceaux

Things to do near Paris: a perfect day in Parc de Sceaux

Just 30 minutes south of Paris lies Parc de Sceaux (pronounced “So”), a beautiful yet little-known estate home to sprawling formal gardens and a small château. It's one of the most delightful weekend escapes from the city, particularly in spring when you can picnic beneath the cherry blossom.

Fun things to do near Paris: visit the Domaine de Chantilly

Fun things to do near Paris: visit the Domaine de Chantilly

The Domaine de Chantilly is one of the most enjoyable day trips north of Paris. The estate was the home of Henri d’Orléans, the Duke of Aumale, who amassed one of France’s greatest collections of precious books, paintings and decorative arts. Today, as well as admiring the château’s galleries, you can visit the impressive suites, stroll the gardens and stop by the stables, which are now an equestrian museum.

Listings and reviews (1)

Afternoon tea at Le Bristol

Afternoon tea at Le Bristol

4 out of 5 stars

Renowned for its fastidious approach to tradition and service, Le Bristol has been a bastion of charm on Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré for nearly 100 years. Afternoon tea doesn’t come more refined than in the marble surrounds of Café Antonia or if it’s sunny, in the Jardin Français, shaded by rhododendrons and white parasols. The petit fours are the highlight, showing the kitchen’s expertise in a riot of gold-leaf-covered decadence. The chocolate macarons combine a wafer-thin shell with a fudgy, brownie-like interior unlike any we’ve tasted before. The choux buns are also unmissable, the cream generously flecked with vanilla. Scones, served with pots of jam and clotted cream are less exciting, while the lemon madeleines have an airiness that belies their size (trust us, you can definitely make room for at least one). Dainty club sandwiches are filled with inventive ingredients: tender veal with rocket, or a vegetarian combo with avocado, aubergine and sun-dried tomato. A bite-sized mouthful even Anna Wintour (one of the hotel’s many illustrious guests) would approve of. Salmon and poppy seed croissants, a delightful experiment in miniature patisserie, round off a triumph of savoury offerings. To drink, there are twenty different teas, poured from a pretty English-style tea service decorated with leaves, birds and butterflies – a nice touch where showier porcelain would have been overkill. Staff are charming but surprisingly hands-off. On the plus side this means little pressur