Beyond the Eiffel - need to know
Aer Lingus (0818 365 000; aerlingus.com) flies from Dublin and Cork to Paris Charles de Gaulle. Air France (01-605 0383; airfrance.com) also flies from Dublin.
Parisian hotels can be on the poky side. Le Littré (9 Rue Littré; 0033 153 630 707; hotellittreparis.com) in the central area of Montparnasse has a traditional atmosphere, but the rooms are generous in proportion, with rates from €189. Superior rooms have balconies with views of the Eiffel Tower.
The French government's tourism website is a good source for unusual travel tips (franceguide.com).
FIVE GREAT THINGS TO DO IN PARIS
- Eat at Les Ombres (pictured below, (0033 147 536 800; lesombres-restaurant.com), the restaurant with the city's best view. French presidents like to leave their mark on Paris, and President Chirac left the sprawling museum of exotic art from Oceania and Africa at the Musée du Quai Branly eatery.
After a quick gawk around the museum, have lunch in the glass-sided restaurant with panoramic views over the Seine. We had a three-course lunch that any Michelin-star chef would be proud of for €24.70.
- Go on a private 2CV tour of secret Paris and see La Vie en Rose. There's room for three as you bump around the city (0033 158 592 782; 4roues-sous-1parapluie.com)
- Discover hidden Parisian waterways on a canal cruise. Travel under the Bastille and along the Canal St Martin (0033 142 391 500; canauxrama.com; departures from Port de l'Arsenal).
- Follow in the path of Ernest Hemingway by strolling in the Parc Des Buttes-Chaumont. There are artificial cliffs, waterfalls, a boating lake and an island crowned with a Roman-style temple. The nearest Metro stop is Buttes Chaumont.
- Sample over-the-top Parisian opulence with a drink in one of the bars at Hôtel Fouquet's Barrière (0033 140 696000; fouquets-barriere.com), at the junction of avenues Champs-Elysées and George V.
This is where Nicolas Sarkozy and his cronies came to party after their election victory.