We asked Roderick Levejac, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, to gather the savviest sightseeing suggestions he could find—not just his own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Hotel. With breathtaking architecture, world-class art collections and a fine shopping and dining scene, Paris celebrates its past as dynamically as it does its present.
Among the smaller and most fascinating museums are Jacquemart-André and Nissim de Camondo. Both located by the Parc Monceau, they were once the private hôtels particuliers of prominent 19th-century families. Beyond their splendid collections of art and furniture, they offer unique glimpses into the home life of the most refined Parisian society of that time. On rare occasions, visitors may tour the homes of Coco Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Located in Paris and Asnières respectively, these properties are incomparable treasures of the fashion world. Another exciting stop is the Baccarat Museum. Housed in a spectacular 19th-century mansion, the museum features décor by legendary designer Philippe Starck and showcases some of the finest crystal in the world.
In Paris there is no better place to experience live performances than the Palais Garnier. Designed by Charles Garnier under Napoleon III, the Opera House mostly hosts ballets but occasionally features opera. An equally interesting opera venue that is not well known by visitors (or even Parisians) is the Royal Opera of Versailles. Taking in a show here is a great way to end a full visit to the Sun King’s palace. In summer, when the Opera closes, enjoy a concert under the stained glass of the Sainte-Chapelle on Ile de la Cité.
Sometimes, you just need to sit and watch the world pass by, and it’s hard to find a better place to do that than the cafés of Paris: Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots in Saint-Germain, Carette at the Trocadéro and Ladurée on the Champs Elysées. A favourite stop for hot chocolate is Angelina. Once Coco Channel’s favourite tearoom, it is now known for a beverage that has been described by some as liquid truffles. Take your hot chocolate to go and sip it while walking through the Jardin de Tuileries, or savour it at the café, where it is served in a pretty silver tea pot accompanied with a side of fresh whipped cream.
Someone once said that it would take ten years, lunch and dinner, to experience all the restaurants of Paris. From haute cuisine offerings such as Le Cinq and Taillevent to true bistros like La Fontaine de Mars and Savy, fine food is found around every corner. A favourite spot among the city’s old covered passages, Passage 53 will transport you to the early 20th century. This tiny restaurant is owned by Guillaume Guedj and only seats 20 guests, who pile in to experience the award-winning fare. Located in the Passage des Panoramas, Passage 53 flirts with Haute Gastronomie and earned its second Michelin star in 2011.