“Paris is always a good idea.” So said a starry-eyed Audrey Hepburn in 1954’s romantic drama, Sabrina. Truer words were never uttered. Along the tree-lined banks of the Seine, in the many petite bistros, on the charming side streets of Ile Saint Louis, you’ll find all the proof you’d ever need that Paris still — forever — reigns supreme as the world’s loveliest city for lovers. Plant yourself in the middle of it all, at the idyllic, iconic Hotel du Louvre, where the city in all its glory lies at your doorstep.
BY DAY: The museums, monuments and Paris guidebook sights are a given, oui? Perhaps the best place to start is on the Seine, where you’ll find a number of sightseeing cruises — a simple way to see much of the city. Many cruises board at the base of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral; among them are the Bateaux Parisiens, with glassed-in, climate-controlled interiors that are cozy in colder weather. Or take an informal tour via the fabulous Parisien d’un Jour, Parisien Toujours association — a group of friendly volunteer tour guides who walk and talk you through different neighborhoods. You should really plan as many strolls on your own as possible, though, as that’s how best to experience all the enchanting sights, smells and shops in this walkable city: along both sides of the river; in the busy, buzzing Marais district; and through lively Montmartre and sexy Pigalle. Sidewalk cafés and bistros are scattered everywhere, so you’ll find plenty of places to settle in with a cappuccino or — since you’re in Paris and in love — a bottle of Taittinger.
BY NIGHT: Nighttime visits to the Eiffel Tower and L’Arc de Triomphe are popular for good reason, but you also won’t soon forget a sunset from the high-up Parc de Belleville, overlooking Paris in all its splendor. You might also consider a late-night bike ride: Paris is alive at all hours, and you can find bikes for rent all over the city. Or, hop on the back of a couple of motorcycle taxis for a bit of an adventure. Of course, much nightlife in Paris year round revolves around food and wine, and for that …
WHAT TO EAT: Hotel du Louvre’s Brasserie du Louvre is reputed in its own right, with a menu by famed French chef Guy Martin and a roster of modernized French bistro classics: a beautifully seasoned beef tartare, butter-smooth foie gras of duck, and a rum-soaked cake called baba au rhum that’s simply a must. Not far from the hotel, on the slender Rue Vivienne, is the glowing Le Grand Colbert, a star restaurant for Parisians and tourists alike (also known for its appearance in the rom-com Something’s Gotta Give), but there are plenty of just-as-delicious meals to be found at less high-profile places — even the street fare is infused with that country-wide commitment to culinary excellence. The best, crispest falafel sandwich you will ever eat is yours for about $7 at the teensy L’As du Fallafel on a colorful street in Le Marais. Oh, and a stop at one of the handful of famed Laduree pastry shops for the world’s best macaroons is a requisite.