What makes for the best and most memorable luxury experiences in France? Fantastic service, impeccable attention to detail, and going above and beyond the norm.
These luxury experiences aren’t for the average person or budget travelers – they’re for the well to-do, sophisticated jetsetter who wants to see Paris in a completely new way.
1. Shop in one of the world’s premier fashion centres
If you came to Paris solely for the shopping, nobody would blame you. The Champs-Élysées is home to leading designer brands like Chanel, Céline, Gucci and Prada, and you can stop midway through your outing for a Champagne brunch at Ladurée. Rue du Fabourg Saint-Honoré is also iconic for luxury shopping, with major international brands at your disposal.
You may also want to visit the Passages des Panorama, the city’s original malls that date back to 1799 and that are now a covered walkway filled with antique shops, boutiques and bookstores, plus plenty of cafes for when you need a rest.
2. Drape yourself in vintage jewelry
Karry’O Jewels has a breathtaking, handpicked collection of jewelry from some of the world’s top artisans. You’ll find the best, rarest and most distinct pieces of jewelry at this boutique. If you’re especially interested in gems, consider taking a class at L’École des Art Joailliers, set in an 18th century mansion.
3. Indulge in a gourmet meal
At Le Jules Verne, one of the Eiffel Tower’s most exclusive restaurants, you can dine on a three-course meal of contemporary French cuisine. You’ll also have three glasses of wine and one of Champagne to sip (just interested in the Champagne? You can order by the glass at the separate Champagne Bar). And of course, nothing beats that stunning view of Paris. Find out more about this experience here.
You may also want to go to the restaurant at Hotel Costes for a candlelit dinner or drinks on the terrace that overlooks the courtyard. This restaurant attracts both locals and famous faces. Order classic duck specialties and other French dishes, many of which are prepared with ingredients from local markets.
4. Dive into the vibrant nightlife scene
The Théâtre des Variétés hosts comedies and concerts, and the world famous Moulin Rouge has a private balcony where you can nosh on macarons during the show. The former cabaret Cinéma des Cinéastes is now a theatre that shows independent movies and hosts small film festivals, and there’s also a pub that serves food and drinks at night. For a truly elegant evening, though, consider seeing a ballet or opera at the Palais Garnier (you’ll need to buy tickets well in advance), and ask about behind-the-scenes tours.
5. Sail along the Seine at sunset
You won’t have any trouble finding a company that will take you for a sail on the Seine, but it’s best if you can find one that has a glass boat for unbeatable views (you’ll be passing by a lot of notable sites). We also recommend sailing at night, because the city is never prettier than when it’s lit up. Bateaux Mouches offers sunset cruises on the Seine that are accompanied by piano and violin music while you’re served dinner.
6. Book a VIP tour unlike any you’ve ever taken
Paris has any number of VIP tours for its exclusive visitors, like this tour of the Palace of Versailles, complete with a private view of the rarely-seen royal quarters. French Links Tours has various unique tours, too, including the guided A Woman’s History of Paris tour, where you’ll follow in the footsteps of Coco Chanel, Édith Piaf, Gertrude Stein and Simone de Beauviour, among others. If you’re traveling with friends, this tour for up to nine people gets you skip-the-line access into Paris’ most popular sites.
7. Reserve a chauffeured outing in a vintage convertible
Paris is a city for walking, but you can zip around much faster with a private tour in a Citroen 2CV. Your driver will show you around the main attractions, share his knowledge of the area and then stop so that you can order a cup of tea and a treat at a popular French bakery. Find out more about this experience here.
8. Let Black Tomato plan a multi-day trip
Black Tomato will provide you with a personal guide and driver, as well as a well-planned itinerary, all to give you a Parisian experience most will never have. Your trip will include dining at restaurants like Les Cocottes and The Peninsula Paris; exclusive access to places that are closed to the public; a private evening cruise on the Seine; a perfume-making class; and a cabaret show at Le Lido.
9. Arrange a bespoke experience
Luxury travel and events companies, like 1889 Travel, among others, create custom experiences for their clients. Dive into the best that Paris has to offer in art, culture, gastronomy and workshops, and spend time with some of the top craftsmen, designers and experts in their field.
See the Louvre after-hours. Feast on a gourmet dinner in the home of a Michelin-starred chef. Take a haute couture workshop during Fashion Week. Get a private pastry lesson at The Ritz. Meet the dancers of Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo.
Keep in mind that these experiences take extra time to plan, so it’s best to start early.
10. Treat yourself to much-needed R&R
The warm lighting, wooden fixtures and green aesthetic at the Free Persephone day spa are all intended to remind you of nature. Manicures, pedicures and other treatments, like the aromatherapy massage, utilize organic products.
Other spas and beauty services in Paris include Ken Club, which has a hammam and the Tiger Yoga Club; Institut Paloma for a cut and color; and Bonhomme, where men can get all sorts of hair services and skin treatments.
One last thought about luxury experiences in Paris
We would never suggest that you skip Paris’ major landmarks – they’re iconic for a reason – but if you’ve been to the City of Light in the past, you’re probably ready for a completely out-of-the-box experience.