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French Side Travel’s Picks: Seven New Hotels in France for 2024

Explore enchanting destinations with French Side Travel, your gateway to a luxury experience. As seasoned experts, we reveal seven new hotels in France, each with its unique allure. From the heart of Paris, the royal realm of Versailles, and down to the sun-kissed shores of the French Riviera, we provide insider insights for an extraordinary stay.

Let French Side Travel guide you to these hidden treasures, ensuring your journey in France is nothing short of exceptional.


New Hotels in Paris

1, Place Vendôme

1, Place Vendôme emerges as a radiant gem in Paris, featuring five rooms and ten suites, each a unique setting that weaves a tapestry of influences and stories. The hotel invites guests into an exquisite journey through art, knowledge, gastronomy, nature, and care. Behind its blue carriage door, a wrought-iron gate with the Chopard initial leads to a familial haven redesigned by architect Pierre-Yves Rochon. The rooms and suites, named after precious stones, showcase a blend of materials and colors. From a cigar lounge with Eastern influences to an exotic winter garden adorned with mosaics, every space radiates magic. The hotel’s elegance, deeply rooted in Parisian charm, extends from meticulously crafted interiors to the refined entrance reworked in 18th-century style. The overall enchantment of this Parisian escape is undeniable, creating a captivating experience for every guest.

Paris Hotel Room Place Vendôme
Courtesy of 1, Place Vendôme

Craftsmanship Atelier in a Haute Couture House

Participate in a discovery workshop, for an introduction to craftsmanship in the luxury fashion world. Perpetuating the noble gestures of haute couture and luxury ready-to-wear, we invite you to the private atelier that collaborates regularly with the greatest names in the fashion world, from Chanel and Christian Lacroix to Yves Saint Laurent and Maison Margiela.

Hôtel Hana

In the heart of Paris’s 2e Arrondissement, Hôtel Hana merges Haussmannian architecture with Japanese inspiration. Majestic neighbors like the Opéra Garnier and the Bourse surround the hotel, creating a sanctuary for travelers. The talented architect Laura Gonzalez has curated 26 rooms and suites, transforming them into tranquil retreats that offer the supreme luxury of calm amid the energy of Parisian life. From Japanese cuisine at Hanabi, a culinary spectacle by Shirley Garrier, to Japanese-inspired treatments in the spa, Hôtel Hana invites guests to indulge in a space where silence and calm reign, honoring the significant role of self-care deeply rooted in Japanese traditions. Hôtel Hana ensures an unforgettable and sensory-rich experience for every traveler.

Paris Hotel Hana Cocktail Bar Hanabi
Courtesy of Hôtel Hana

Backstage Access at Opéra Garnier

Learn about the fabulous history of this institution linked to music and dance since the 17th century. During this exclusive tour, you will discover not only the backstage areas and the historical “Central costumes” room, storing the creations of the latest productions, but you will also learn the costume-making secrets from the Company’s productions.

Hôtel Balzac

Experience timeless elegance at the newly reimagined Hôtel Balzac, set to open its doors in June 2024. Located on the iconic Champs Elysées, this legendary establishment, redesigned by the Festen duo, seamlessly blends minimalist aesthetics with the tradition of French hospitality. With 58 rooms and suites, some offering breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower, every space exudes creative modernity and prioritizes absolute comfort. The Japanese-inspired spa promises a holistic retreat, while the lounge and bar provide intimate settings for relaxation. Nestled in the heart of the vibrant Champs-Élysées, Hôtel Balzac offers a unique retreat where you can recharge and immerse yourself in the charm of chic Parisian living.

Paris Hotel Balzac Room Picture
© Yann Deret

Paris Illuminations Tour

Experience the enchantment of the City of Light in a private driving tour. As night falls, step into a classic car, departing from your accommodation. Witness the transformation of Paris into a mesmerizing spectacle, with shimmering lights adorning iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, Madeleine Church, Place de la Concorde, and the historic Place de la Bastille. Conclude this magical journey on the illustrious Champs-Élysées, where the beauty of Paris radiates under the night sky.


New Hotel in Versailles

Hôtel Les Lumières

Opening its doors in June, Hôtel Les Lumières promises a radiant stay in the heart of the Royal City. This 5-star boutique hotel, dating back to the 17th century, beckons with the illustrious Palace of Versailles at its doorstep. The hotel offers an intimate interlude, blending the inspiration of the Grand Siècle with a contemporary atmosphere across its 31 elegantly decorated rooms and suites. Ascend the grand staircase from 1907, nestle in the period library, or indulge in a unique sensory pause at the spa. A highlight is Pierre Hermé‘s Café, where a tearoom with a 6-meter-high ceiling and views of the Place d’Armes invites you to explore an exceptional menu. Indeed, Les Lumières is more than a hotel; it’s an invitation to awakening, where every moment promises eternal memories in a place that marries the lights of yesterday and today.

Versailles Hotel
Courtesy of Hôtel Les Lumières

Private Guided Tour of The King’s Garden at Versailles with The Garden’s Manager

The King’s Garden was built between 1678 and 1683 by Jean-Baptiste La Quintinie, at the request of Louis XIV. Also, it is the historic site of the École Nationale Supérieure de Paysage. Classified as a historical monument and a remarkable garden, its gardeners perpetuate the art of pruning and cultivating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in a French-style garden.


New Hotels on the French Riviera

Maison Albar – Le Victoria

Maison Albar Hotels introduces Le Victoria, an upcoming jewel in Nice’s crown, overlooking the azure expanse of the Mediterranean Sea. Positioned between the iconic Promenade des Anglais and Place Masséna, this elegant retreat merges French design with the relaxed charm of the South. Boasting 102 rooms and 30 suites, the hotel offers sweeping views of the Baie des Anges and the countryside. Le Victoria features a 600m² spa, and a rooftop with a restaurant, bar, and infinity pool. With high-end boutiques at its doorstep, the hotel’s refined aesthetic and culinary excellence redefine the essence of a Côte d’Azur stay.

Courtesy of Maison Albar Hotels

Private Tour of Nice

Set out on a captivating full-day private tour of Nice with your licensed guide and driver. From the panoramic views of Mont Boron Hill to the vibrant streets of the old town, immerse yourself in the blend of Italian and French charm. Stroll along the iconic Promenade des Anglais, wander through narrow winding streets, and savor local street food. Discover the architectural gem of the Russian Orthodox Church and culminate your day with a wine-tasting experience in the heights of Nice, surrounded by the vineyards of Bellet.

vineyard in nice france
Courtesy of Château de Bellet

Hôtel du Couvent

Nestled within the heart of Nice’s Old Town, the soon-to-be-unveiled Hotel du Couvent, slated for a June opening, is a sanctuary blending 17th-century tranquility with 21st-century luxury. Boasting 88 meticulously restored rooms, the hotel embraces ancient architecture, lush gardens, and a Roman-inspired thermal spa. Valéry Grégo, the visionary behind Les Roches Rouges and Le Pigalle, orchestrates this ultra-luxurious haven. Guests can anticipate farm-to-table dining, herbalist treatments, and access to the hotel’s farmers market. Beyond its historical significance, the hotel offers an idyllic retreat where visitors can immerse themselves in the captivating charm of Nice’s old-world allure.

hotel room in nice france
Courtesy of Hôtel du Couvent

Tour of the Balcony Villages of Tourette-sur-Loup & Saint Paul de Vence

Head to the picturesque inland areas of Nice, where the majestic peaks of the Alps unfold. Your first stop is the medieval village of Tourette-sur-Loup, nestled atop a rocky hill. Revel in the village’s medieval charm and savor a panoramic view of the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Continuing your adventure, explore Saint Paul de Vence, once a haven for artists like Matisse and Picasso. Immerse yourself in its medieval streets, walls, and the captivating views that have inspired artistic legends throughout history. Today, art galleries and decor shops still echo the town’s rich creative heritage.

Château de Théoule

Discover the enchanting Château de Théoule, a historic haven turned into a seaside jewel, opening its doors in March. Originally a soap factory built in 1630, the château now invites you to relive the Côte d’Azur’s golden age. Nestled in Théoule-sur-Mer, each room and suite offers unparalleled views of the Mediterranean in an Art Deco ambiance. Indulge in refined Italian cuisine at the panoramic sea-view restaurant and enjoy the magic of Plage Blanche, a hidden gem for sunset swims. With a spa facing the sea, Château de Théoule promises an exquisite escape on the French Riviera.

private beach club in théoule sur mer france
Courtesy of Château de Théoule

Hiking in the Estérel Massif

Embark on an extraordinary journey in the Estérel Massif, where the rugged red rocks meet the azure Mediterranean waters. This mountain range, stretching along the Var department’s coast in Provence, captivates with its distinct geological formations. However, despite its modest elevation, the Massif de l’Estérel promises an enchanting hiking experience. The inland trails lead to panoramic viewpoints, revealing breathtaking coastal vistas. As you explore, encounter the remnants of a once-forested landscape, now transformed into a striking panorama of hills and cliffs. Alternatively, traverse the scenic coastal road, offering glimpses of coves embraced by red rocks and jagged boulders plunging into the sea. Immerse yourself in nature’s artistry and discover the extraordinary beauty of Estérel’s vibrant landscapes.


Elevate your travel experience with French Side Travel. Contact our experts to craft a tailor-made itinerary featuring these exclusive new hotels in France. Let French Side Travel curate an unforgettable adventure tailored just for you. Check out: The Best of Paris in a Week & A Perfect Week on the French Riviera

Marie Antoinette-Inspired Paris Itinerary

Among a history marked by kings and generals, few women have made their mark on French history quite like Marie Antoinette. Born in Vienna, Marie Antoinette married Louis XVI with luxury and infamy to follow closely behind. Although she died in the 18th century, you can still follow in her footsteps in Paris today. If you’re curious about French Revolution history and French royalty, we’ve curated our best Marie Antoinette-inspired Paris itinerary. 


Marie Antoinette-Inspired Paris Itinerary

Who was Marie Antoinette?

Jean-Baptiste Isabey via Wikimedia Commons

Although she played a major role in French history, Marie Antoinette wasn’t French. She was born to the Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa in Austria, per Versailles. And by age 15, she was already married off to Louis XVI with the goal of improving Franco-Austrian relations. 

Marie Antoinette only lived to the age of 37, but these several decades proved to be eventful. She was rumored to have an affair with a Swedish diplomat; she had a gambling problem. She gave birth to four children, with two of them dying at a young age. In 1789, the French people stormed the Bastille, and three years later, monarchy was abolished, per History.com. And in 1793, she was sent to the guillotine at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, only a few months after her husband. In such a short time, Marie Antoinette made a name for herself.

Let Them Eat Cake (Or Not)

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Although Marie Antoinette most likely never said “let them eat cake,” the public sentiment wasn’t far off. One major scandal that marked her time as queen was the Diamond Necklace Affair during the mid 1780s. 

This said necklace wasn’t just any type of jewelry; it had almost 650 diamonds and weighed nearly 2,800 carats, according to Versailles. A shady countess duped a cardinal into acting as a middle man to buy this expensive necklace supposedly on behalf of Marie Antoinette. Although she was known for her fashion tastes and luxury goods, Marie Antoinette had declined to purchase this necklace years prior for its outrageous price tag. The countess was found out and punished, but the queen’s reputation of excess still suffered. She even earned herself the nickname Madame Deficit, according to Biography.

Even more, Marie Antoinette didn’t fit too well into French royal life. “She found it difficult to adapt to French customs and when she became queen,” according to the Palace of Versailles. “She committed more and more blunders, often unwittingly, which gradually alienated public opinion, helping to tarnish her image in a most disastrous way.”

For better or for worse, Marie Antoinette left her mark on French history. There’s much to be discovered in Paris regarding her legacy. We’ve rounded up our favorite places to craft the ideal Marie Antoinette-inspired itinerary.

Take a VIP Visit of the Palace of Versailles

Versailles and its gardens, France

Turn back the clock to the era of Marie Antoinette with a private visit of her not-so humble abode, the Palace of Versailles. This isn’t just any palace: its grounds cover nearly 2000 acres and welcome 15 million guests annually, per Explore France. With French Side Travel, you can personalize your VIP guided visit by catering the tour to your interests. Whether you’d like to explore the palace or the king’s apartments, Marie Antoinette’s hamlet or her private quarters, the choice is yours.

Nosh on a Luxury Picnic in a Parisian Park

Bask in the beauty of the Jardin des Tuileries, which dates back to the 1500s, or the Jardin du Palais Royal over a gourmet picnic. We’ll take care of the logistics. Simply show up and your array of pastries, savory goods and champagne will be waiting for you. Admire the regal buildings lining these parks.

Stroll Château de Fontainebleau

Photo by Stefan K on Unsplash

South of Paris lies the majestic Château de Fontainebleau, boasting more than 800 years of history. With French Side Travel, you can discover this castle’s elegance with an exclusive after-hours visit. Learn about Marie-Antoinette’s mark on this castle, to where she and Louis XIV escaped. Your guide will share the ins and outs of this opulent castle. Finish the magical evening with a gourmet meal or cocktail.

Discover the Conciergerie and Sainte Chapelle 

stained glass windows in sainte-chapelle-paris

Named a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Conciergerie used to serve as a prison, where Marie Antoinette did time. During your private guided tour, you’ll discover where Marie Antoinette was held in isolation before going on trial for treason and misuse of national funds, per La Conciergerie. Take a quick walk to the nearby Sainte Chapelle, which was used as a flour warehouse during the Revolution, per Centre des Monuments Nationaux. Bask in the beauty of its colorful stained glass windows.

Where to Stay in France

Hôtel de Crillon in Paris
Indulge in a stay fit for a queen at the Hôtel de Crillon. This elegant five-star hotel boasts 78 rooms and dozens of suites, including designs from Karl Lagerfeld. Treat yourself to a romantic dinner at l’Écrin, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. This hotel overlooks the Place de la Concorde, where Marie Antoinette faced the guillotine hundreds of years ago.

Courtesy of Hotel Negresco

Hotel Negresco in Nice
Located in the sunny town of Nice, Hotel Negresco entices with its 102 rooms and 26 suites spanning five centuries of history. This hotel also offers a Marie Antoinette signature suite. From your opulently decorated suite, savor the Mediterranean Sea views and private terrace. Unwind at its recently opened N Le Spa with a revitalizing body scrub or soothing massage.


Feeling enchanted by this Marie Antoinette-inspired Paris itinerary? We get you. You might enjoy: A Historical and Cultural Escape to Paris or The Best of Paris in a Week. Need some help planning your trip?

Love in Every Corner: Top Five Romantic Hotels in France

Discover the most romantic hotels in France with the expertise of French Side Travel. From Paris to Provence and everything in between. Embark on a journey through the enchanting landscapes and iconic cities of France, where timeless romance meets unparalleled luxury. Our curated selection of hotels and unique experiences invite you to indulge in a romantic escape. Let these exquisite destinations set the stage for an unforgettable stay in the land of love.


Paris

Château des Fleurs

Within a stone’s throw of the Arc de Triomphe, Château des Fleurs stands as a beacon of intimate luxury. This enchanting haven pays homage to the refined merriment of 19th-century Parisian celebrations and the joie de vivre of the Belle Époque. What sets this romantic retreat apart is its unrivaled proximity to the famed Champs Elysées. As you step inside, the red accents and curated decor create an ambiance of romance, providing an idyllic backdrop for your stay in Paris. Immerse yourself in the timeless allure of Château des Fleurs, where every moment is a celebration of love and luxury.

Courtesy of Château des Fleurs

Private Seine River Cruise

Enhance your romantic escapade in Paris by reserving an exclusive private Seine River Cruise. Picture yourselves gliding along the Seine at sunset, passing by iconic landmarks as the city gradually illuminates. This tailor-made cruise down the world-renowned Seine River promises a uniquely intimate experience. Seated in the plush leather banquette, surrounded by tinted windows to ensure your privacy, you’ll embark on a journey through the heart of Paris. The cruise encompasses the historical center, featuring landmarks like Notre Dame, the Louvre Museum, and the Eiffel Tower. A bottle of champagne accompanies this enchanting voyage, transforming your evening into an unforgettable and magical moment. Allow French Side Travel to add an extra layer of romance to your stay at Château des Fleurs.


Champagne

Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa

Amidst the picturesque vineyards of Champillon, the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa stands as a testament to refined romance. This luxurious haven offers an enchanting retreat for couples seeking an idyllic escape. Surrounded by rolling vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see, the hotel boasts a stunning location that captures the essence of the Champagne region. The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa harmoniously blends charm with elegance, providing an intimate setting for a truly romantic experience. Don’t miss the chance to unwind and pamper yourselves at the hotel’s amazing spa, enhancing your romantic escape.

Courtesy of Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa

Candlelit Dinner in a Vineyard

Experience the romance of a private candlelit dinner amidst the vineyards of Champagne. This unique and intimate encounter, curated by French Side Travel, offers a rare opportunity to indulge in the beauty of the French countryside. As the sun sets, casting a warm glow over the rolling vineyards, embark on a culinary journey like no other. Begin with an introduction to the vineyards, savoring the aroma of the terroir and the gentle rustle of grapevines in the evening breeze. Your private chef will then craft a four-course culinary masterpiece, perfectly complemented by selected champagnes. This dinner promises to be an intimate feast for the senses, creating cherished memories of your time together in Champagne.


Normandy

La Ferme Saint Siméon

Perched above Honfleur, Ferme Saint Siméon stands as a testament to timeless romance. This 17th-century inn, a cherished retreat for the masters of impressionism, offers a panoramic view of the Seine estuary. The charm of this unique hotel lies not only in its scenic location but also in its carefully decorated accommodations spread across three distinct buildings. The 34 rooms and suites exude history and beauty, featuring traditional paneling, oak flooring, and noble materials. Each room, equipped with modern amenities, provides a comfortable haven for guests. Ferme Saint Siméon beckons couples to explore the picturesque town of Honfleur. A stay at this charming retreat promises an intimate escape, inviting guests to discover the beauty of Normandy from this enchanting vantage point.

Courtesy of Ferme Saint Siméon

Day Trip to Fécamp & Étretat

Make your way to the picturesque towns of Fécamp and Étretat, nestled along the stunning Alabaster Coast. These idyllic destinations offer a perfect blend of cultural charm and natural beauty. In Fécamp, the historic harbor and the renowned Palais Bénédictine, home to the production of their famous liquor, stand as a testament to the town’s rich heritage. Palais Bénédictine is a masterpiece of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, providing a captivating journey into history and the art of liquor-making. Meanwhile, Étretat, with its famous arches and towering cliffs, boasts awe-inspiring scenery that has been immortalized in numerous paintings. A private guided driving tour ensures an immersive experience, allowing you to explore these coastal gems, making your romantic escape to Ferme Saint Siméon truly unforgettable.


Provence

Domaine de Fontenille

In the heart of the Luberon, Domaine de Fontenille stands as a celebration of romantic French charm. Surrounded by organic vineyards and cypress trees, this 4-star haven offers a unique blend of modern luxury and classic elegance. The 19 rooms and suites provide enchanting views of the with several boasting private terraces. While only a short drive from Aix-en-Provence, the estate transports guests to the true essence of Provençal countryside living. Domaine de Fontenille is not just a hotel; it’s a celebration where romance flourishes amidst lavender fields and rolling vineyards. The estate invites couples to immerse themselves in the vibrant local markets, saunter through fragrant gardens, and soak up the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. In this captivating setting, create timeless memories that linger like the sweet scent of lavender.

Courtesy of Domaine de Fontenille

Private Guided Tour of the Luberon Villages

Enhance your stay at Domaine de Fontenille with a full-day driving tour exploring the renowned villages of the Luberon. Nestled within the picturesque Luberon Regional Nature Park, a UNESCO-listed reserve, this off-the-beaten-path area boasts limestone mountains, rolling hills, and captivating villages that encapsulate the essence of Provence. Your day begins with Gordes, a hilltop village resembling a postcard with its dramatic setting and vibrant town square. Continue your journey to Roussillon, known for its striking ochre cliffs and unique village built from these vibrant pigments. Conclude the day in Lourmarin, a charming village with tree-lined streets, a Renaissance castle, and a delightful atmosphere. After a day of discovery, your driver will seamlessly return you to the comfort of Domaine de Fontenille, adding a touch of cultural richness to your romantic escape.


French Riviera

Chèvre d’Or

In the captivating village of Èze, La Chèvre d’Or stands as a romantic haven, offering an intimate escape amid the picturesque landscapes of the French Riviera. This luxurious gem boasts an array of individually designed rooms and suites, each exuding a unique charm. Guests are invited to savor exceptional cuisine at the hotel’s prestigious Michelin-starred restaurant, where panoramic views of the Mediterranean provide a breathtaking backdrop to every meal. The terraced gardens, adorned with vibrant flowers, create an enchanting ambiance for quiet moments. With its harmonious blend of natural beauty and sophisticated elegance, La Chèvre d’Or beckons couples to indulge in the serenity and sophistication of the Côte d’Azur.

Courtesy of La Chèvre d’Or

Discover the Splendor of Monaco & Menton

Immerse yourself in a day of romantic exploration with a private full-day driving tour of Monaco and Menton from La Chèvre d’Or. Your driver will whisk you away in a luxury vehicle, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience. In Monaco, a realm of sophistication, explore iconic landmarks such as the grand Casino de Monte-Carlo, the historic Monaco-Ville, and the captivating Prince’s Palace, evoking the timeless romance of Grace Kelly and Prince Ranier III. After a leisurely lunch, traverse the picturesque coastline to Menton, where the scent of lemon trees and vibrant gardens fills the air. Stroll along the Promenade du Soleil, immersing yourself in the colorful facades against the Mediterranean backdrop. This tour curated by French Side Travel promises a day of refined romance and memories to cherish.


French Side Travel – Where your love story meets the magic of France.

From the iconic allure of Paris to the tranquil vineyards of Champagne, the coastal charm of Normandy, the lavender-scented realms of Provence, and the sophisticated ambiance of the French Riviera. French Side Travel stands as your trusted expert, seamlessly weaving dreams into tailor-made vacations. As you embark on this journey, let our expertise curate moments where the romance of each location intertwines with your love story.


Ready to make your dream vacation a reality? Contact our experts to tailor an unforgettable experience, ensuring every moment resonates with the magic of your love. Let French Side Travel be your guide to a romantic escape like no other. Check out: Incredible Wine Trip to Champagne, Romantic Getaway to Monaco & the Riviera, and Cultural and Culinary Stay in Provence.

Best Museums in France (Other than the Louvre)

From its rich gastronomy to its breathtaking landscapes, it’s no shock that France is one of the most visited countries in the world. Another big draw to France is also its vibrant museum selection. France’s capital is home to the Louvre, which is the most visited museum across the globe, according to Museums.eu. But the rest of France has much to offer in terms of art, culture and history. We certainly do recommend a visit to the Louvre, but beyond this classic, we wanted to share some of the best museums in all of France as well as exclusive experiences that we offer in these places.


Best Museums in France (Other than the Louvre)

Museum Culture in France

France is home to more than 1200 museums, according to the Ministry of Culture. The first French museums were opened in Paris and other big cities near the end of the 1700s. And since then, museums have become a hallmark of French heritage. Whether you’re interested in art or history, oceanography or wine, there’s a museum for you.

You can visit most museums year round, but there are several special days for the museum network each year. Since 2005, la Nuit Européenne des Musées, or the European Night of Museums, often takes place in May. On this Saturday evening, various museums offer free entrance and remain open past typical closing hours. Among the thousands of participating museums across Europe have included the Musée d’Orsay, the Château de Versailles and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.

France also participates in the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine, or European Heritage Days. This annual weekend in September often includes free entrance to museums across the country. Many museums across France also offer free entrance on the first Sunday of each month. 

With more than one thousand museums, it can be hard to choose. But we’re sharing some of the best museums in France (other than the Louvre, of course!).

Musée d’Orsay in Paris

orsay museum paris

The Louvre gets ample screen time, as it should. But oftentimes, first-time visitors to Paris overlook other gems such as the Musée d’Orsay. This famed art museum sits on the Seine River and is home to a large collection of Impressionist art. In this museum also located along the Seine, you can see Claude Monet’s water lilies and Edgar Degas’ famed dancer statue.

Château de Chantilly near Paris

Credit: Unsplash

Just a short drive from Paris, the Château de Chantilly dates back to the Middle Ages. Today you can visit the majestic castle with its vast collection of antique paintings, private suites and the reception rooms of the princes of Bourbon-Condé. The Château de Chantilly also has its own stables, built for the prince Louis-Henri de Bourbon in the early 1700s.

Private Visit of the Horse Museum

Delve into the history and culture of horses over the centuries. With a private visit either before or after hours, you’ll discover the history, training and racing culture of horses. French Side Travel may also secure an after-hours private horse show at the Grand Stables.

Private Château Visit

Start your day with a helicopter ride from Paris. Your bird’s eye view will allow you to soak up the beautiful garden views of the Château de Chantilly before even stepping foot on land. Get the entire castle to yourself and a museum curator who will share the castle’s secrets.

Mucem in Marseille

marseilles-waterfront-view-mucum-musuem-fort

While in Provence, be sure to visit the Mucem, or the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations. From traditional fashion to coffee cultivation, collections vary depending on when you visit the museum. After you’ve brushed up on Mediterranean culture, head across the suspended bridge to enjoy the rooftop gardens overlooking the sea. You can wander Fort St. Jean and even dine at the Mucem’s restaurant Le Môle Passedat with Michelin-starred chef Gerald Passedat.

Cosquer in Marseille 

Credit: Kleber Rossillon & Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

You know Napoleon, you know Marie Antoinette. But what happened in France thousands of years ago, even long before Julius Caesar conquered Gaul in the 50s B.C.? Now underwater, a prehistoric cave was discovered in 1985 in Marseille, and the recently opened Cosquer Museum has created a replica for guests to admire.

Carrières des Lumières in les Baux-de-Provence

culture-art-history-tours-france

The quaint village of les Baux-de-Provence is home to the Carrières de Lumières art center. Here you can stroll through its “From Vermeer to Van Gogh,” a digital, immersive exhibition celebrating Dutch artists. The art center also proposes exhibitions on Mondrian and Tin Tin.

Hôtel de Caumont in Aix-en-Provence

Located in the posh town of Aix-en-Provence, Hôtel de Caumont used to be a private residence but was repurposed into an art center in 2015. You can stroll its regal rooms and wander through its temporary exhibitions. Be sure to enjoy the center’s film on Paul Cézanne, an artist born in Aix. Treat yourself to tea time in its manicured gardens.

Private guided visit to Hôtel de Caumont

Whether you’d like the museum all to yourself before opening or after closing, French Side Travel can make that happen. Meet an art lecturer who will give you the inside scoop on this former private mansion followed by a breakfast or cocktail hour in one of its salons.

Camp des Milles near Aix-en-Provence

Although less glamorous than other museum subjects, World War II played a major role in French history. Located outside of Aix-en-Provence sits the Camp des Milles, a former World War II internment camp.

During the war, this former tile factory became a holding spot for different groups. Before Nazi occupation in France, the internment camp was for “enemy subjects,” according to the camp’s site. From July 1940 to July 1942, Camp des Milles was used for transit and as a detention center for those deemed “undesirable.” And from August to September 1942, around 10,000 people were interned here — of which 2,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz from the Camp des Milles

Today you can visit the Camp des Milles and learn about the history of this internment site as well as the brave people who resisted against the Nazis and who fought to protect those targeted.

Cité du Vin in Bordeaux

Credit: Unsplash

Red, rosé or white, wine can be found on menus across the globe. But long before your glass is poured, this libation has endured various climates, aging processes and beyond. And the Cité du Vin in Bordeaux seeks to address to many facets of wine from grape varieties to geography, climate to packaging. After brushing up on winemaking, you can even finish off your visit to the Cité du Vin with a complimentary glass of wine.

Musée des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux

Credit: GFreihalter via Wikimedia Commons

Claiming the title of the city’s oldest public museum, the Musée des Beaux-Arts houses an array of European art with artists such as Rodin, Delacroix and Matisse.

Private guided visit at the Musée des Beaux-Arts

Perhaps you’d like to admire the works of artists such as Rubens and Picasso in exclusivity. With French Side Travel, you can secure a private after-hours visit at this museum to admire these world-renowned pieces with a guide. 

Oceanographic Museum in Monaco

Nice | French Side Travel | Monaco | monaco Oceanographic museum

Monaco offers much to be explored on land: palace, gardens, churches. But Monaco also boasts access to the Mediterranean Sea, which has even more to be discovered below water. More than a century ago, Prince Albert I commissioned the creation of the Oceanographic Museum, which celebrates the elaborate underwater ecosystem of the Mediterranean. If you’ve ever wanted to see a zebra shark or a fluorescent coral up close, you’re in luck. 

Private tour of the Oceanographic Museum

After the museum closes to the public, you can have private access to the museum, thanks to French Side Travel. Grab your flashlight as you discover the riches of Mediterranean flora and fauna with your guide by night.

Where to Stay in France

Yndō Hotel in Bordeaux
Make the most of your time in Bordeaux with a luxurious stay at this five-star hotel. Yndo Hotel was once a private mansion, and its cush velvet upholstery and chandeliers continue the ambiance. Choose from its 12 rooms, perhaps one of its Crazy Rooms marked by a “touch of eccentricity.” Sip on a cup of tea in its courtyard and nosh on its restaurant’s local dishes only available to hotel guests.

Courtesy of Villa Saint Ange

Villa Saint Ange in Aix-en-Provence
Once an 18th century villa, this five-star hotel now welcomes guests in its posh rooms in the heart of Provence. After a day of exploring Aix, spend the evening dining at its tastefully decorated restaurant Âma Terra. Unwind with a spa treatment or massage at Villa Saint Ange’s facilities. Dive into its outdoor pool or simply soak up the Provençal sun from a lounge chair.


Ready to book your trip to visit one of these best museums in France other than the Louvre? We’re here to help. You might enjoy: A Historical and Cultural Escape to Paris or A Journey Through History, Art, and Nature in Charming France. Need some help planning your trip?

Elevate Your Game: Best Hotels for Golfing in France

Elevate your golfing experience in France with our expert-selected hotels, where sophistication meets the fairway for an unforgettable stay. No need to wonder where to golf in France, we have done the work for you. Unveil a collection of exquisite accommodations nestled amid scenic landscapes, providing avid golfers with world-class courses and lavish amenities.


Versailles

Airelles Le Grand Contrôle

Courtesy of the Palace of Versailles

Nestled next to the historic Versailles Palace, Airelles Le Grand Contrôle stands as a beacon of refinement and elegance. This luxurious hotel boasts a regal ambiance and access to some of the finest golf courses in the region. For an unforgettable experience, guests can indulge in a round at the prestigious Le Golf National and Le Golf de Saint Germain. Both courses offer immaculately manicured courses that challenge and captivate golf aficionados.

Le Golf National

A golfing haven boasting two full courses and a nine-hole gem, Albatros stands out as the hero among them. It was a host of the French Open and the second course in Europe to showcase a Ryder Cup. Its 2018 edition witnessed a historic victory spearheaded by Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari. The anticipation builds as the Olympic Games are scheduled to grace Le Golf National in 2024, solidifying its spot on every golfer’s must-visit list.

Courtesy of Golf National

Golf de Saint Germain

Designed in collaboration with Harry Colt, the Golf de Saint Germain emerges as a stunning course nestled within the enchanting forest of Saint Germain, just west of Paris. Having played host to the prestigious French Open on nine occasions, this course has witnessed remarkable moments, including Sandy Lyle’s triumph in 1981 and Seve Ballesteros’ extraordinary feat in 1985, where he set a course record with a remarkable score of 62. Immerse yourself in the rich history and captivating beauty of Golf de Saint Germain, an iconic destination where the legacy of golf’s finest moments continues to unfold.


Brittany

Domaine de la Bretesche

Courtesy of Domaine de la Bretesche

Discover the pinnacle of golfing excellence at Domaine de la Bretesche. Set against breathtaking landscapes, this premier hotel and golf resort combines luxury hospitality with world-class golfing facilities. The Domaine de la Bretesche features elegant rooms and suites, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay. Immerse yourself in the charm of Brittany while enjoying top-notch amenities, including gourmet dining and a spa retreat. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a leisure seeker, Domaine de la Bretesche stands out as an ideal golfing getaway in France.

Golf de la Bretesche

Courtesy of Golf de la Bretesche

Golf de la Bretesche is a floral paradise. Each hole is uniquely adorned by hydrangeas, roses, azaleas, or rhododendrons. The 18 holes, comprising 4 par 3s, 10 par 4s, and 4 par 5s, offer a diverse range of challenges. Pay attention at the enchanting green n°9, where the castle of La Bretesche is magically reflected in its pond. It’s worth noting that, the 18-hole golf course, expertly designed by renowned architect Henry Cotton, offers both a challenging and picturesque experience for golf enthusiasts


Seignosse

70 Hectares… et l’Océan

Courtesy of 70 Hectares… et l’Océan

For those who seek a coastal golfing escapade, 70 Hectares et l’Océan in Seignosse emerges as an idyllic retreat. This exclusive destination offers a harmonious fusion of oceanic serenity and expansive green landscapes spanning 70 hectares, hence the name. The golf course, set against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, provides an exhilarating challenge for golfers of all levels. The hotel itself exudes a laid-back luxury, ensuring a tranquil retreat after a day on the links.

Golf de Seignosse

Courtesy of Golf de Seignosse

Golf de Seignosse stands as a captivating masterpiece on the southwestern coast of France. This premier golf course, renowned for its scenic beauty and challenging layout, immerses golf enthusiasts in a harmonious blend of nature and sport. Designed by the legendary American architect Robert von Hagge, the course winds through lush pine forests and sandy dunes. With its strategic bunkers, undulating fairways, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, Golf de Seignosse promises an unforgettable golfing experience. Whether you are a seasoned player seeking a challenging round or a leisure golfer looking to soak in the coastal charm, this course offers a perfect blend of captivating landscapes and golfing excellence.


Provence

Domaine de Manville

Courtesy of Domaine de Manville

Nestled in the heart of the Alpilles Natural Park in Provence, Domaine de Manville is a luxurious haven that blends historic charm with modern elegance. This five-star hotel, set within a meticulously restored 18th-century farmhouse, offers discerning guests a tranquil retreat. Boasting spacious rooms and suites adorned with stylish furnishings, the hotel provides a sophisticated ambiance for relaxation. Guests can indulge at the on-site restaurant L’Aupiho*, or simply bask in the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape. With its commitment to excellence, Domaine de Manville ensures an unforgettable and indulgent escape in the heart of Provence.

Golf de Manville

Courtesy of Golf de Manville

Golf de Manville presents a golfing paradise amidst the enchanting landscapes of Provence. This 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Thierry Sprecher and Anne-Laure Ricci, offers a perfect blend of challenge and beauty. Surrounded by olive trees and featuring strategically placed hazards, the course provides an exhilarating experience for golfers of all levels. The meticulously manicured fairways and greens complement the picturesque setting, creating a harmonious balance between sport and scenery. Whether you are a seasoned golfer or a casual player, Golf de Manville promises an immersive golfing experience, where each swing is accompanied by breathtaking views of the Alpilles.


French Riviera

Terre Blanche Hôtel & Spa Golf Resort

Courtesy of Terre Blanche

Situated in the heart of the French Riviera, Terre Blanche Hotel Spa & Golf Resort offers an unparalleled blend of sophistication and sporting excellence. Boasting two championship golf courses, designed by golf legend Dave Thomas, the resort provides an exclusive golfing experience. Guests can bask in the Mediterranean sun as they navigate the challenging fairways, and later, unwind in the lavish surroundings of the hotel, indulging in world-class spa treatments and gourmet dining.

Le Château

Courtesy of Terre Blanche

This 18-hole championship course offers a challenging yet picturesque golfing experience amidst the stunning Provençal countryside. With its undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and breathtaking views of the surrounding hills, Le Château Golf Course provides a test of skill for golfers of all levels. Impeccably maintained and seamlessly integrated into the natural terrain, this course stands as a testament to the perfect marriage of sport and scenic beauty.

Le Riou

Courtesy of Terre Blanche

The resort’s second 18-hole championship course complements the landscape with its meandering fairways and strategic water features. Le Riou offers a golfing challenge set against the backdrop of the picturesque Provençal hills, inviting players to navigate through well-manicured greens and enjoy the panoramic views. With its thoughtful design and commitment to excellence, Le Riou Golf Course ensures a memorable and rewarding golfing experience within the refined ambiance of Terre Blanche.

Effortless Travel for Unforgettable Experiences

Embark on a stress-free vacation with French Side Travel, where luxury extends beyond your hotel suite. Our exclusive service includes a private driver-guide seamlessly integrated into your itinerary, ensuring effortless travel from your accommodation to various activities and back. Envision being chauffeured in a luxurious vehicle, ready to explore the finest destinations in France. Whether you’re indulging in sightseeing, enjoying exquisite dinners, or partaking in other planned activities, your dedicated driver ensures a smooth and comfortable experience. Allow yourself to unwind as you’re effortlessly transported back to your accommodation, creating cherished memories of your French getaway.


Ready to tee off your dream golf vacation? We know where to golf in France. Our experts stand ready to tailor-make your journey, ensuring every swing is accompanied by unparalleled luxury and breathtaking landscapes. Contact us today to unlock the doors to a world where your golfing aspirations align with French hospitality. Let us craft the perfect golfing escape for you!

The Many Lives of the Louvre

Mona Lisa, Venus di Milo, Liberty Leading the People. The Louvre is home to thousands of precious art pieces, and books and guides abound on all the treasures to be found inside the museum. But the history of the Louvre building itself is arguably as fascinating as the many canvases and statues it stores. Today, the Louvre is one of the most famous art museums in the world, but these buildings didn’t always serve this purpose. The history of this iconic museum has seen and survived multiple wars and républiques. Here’s a brief history of the Louvre with its different eras and how best to enjoy a visit today.


The Many Lives of the Louvre

The Louvre Today

In 2022, the Louvre welcomed an average of 25,000 daily visitors, per Statista. For your visit to the Louvre, be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you have lots of ground to cover. “It would take you around 200 days to see each of the 35,000 works of art on display at the museum if you took 30 seconds to see each and every piece,” according to an article in Condé Nast Traveler.

The First Eras

Credit: Unsplash

We need to turn the clock back nearly a millennium to understand the origins of the Louvre. In 1190, it was originally built as a fortress under Philippe Auguste, according to the Louvre. In 1364, it became a royal residence. Over the years, the Louvre has evolved. “Almost every subsequent French monarch extended the Louvre and its grounds, and major additions were made by Louis XIII and Louis XIV in the 17th century,” according to History.com

The Museum Era

Credit: Unsplash

After wearing several hats, the Louvre eventually found its enduring purpose. In 1793, it was inaugurated as the Musée Central des Arts, according to a Louvre press release. In 1803, Napoleon so humbly changed the name to Musée Napoléon, according to his eponymous foundation. It was later changed to the Louvre, but you can still find mentions of Napoleon throughout the museum. 

World War II Era

Credit: Unsplash

Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt. When studying World War II history at school, we learn about important names from this period, including these leaders. But one name you probably haven’t heard of — yet one who played an important role — is Jacques Jaujard. 

In summer 1940, the Germans began their occupation of Paris. But Jacques Jaujard, director of the Louvre, was already one step ahead. In 1939, in order to protect the masterpieces from the Nazis, Jaujard started the evacuation process of the Louvre to hiding places all across France, according to The Collector. “Between August and December 1939, two hundred trucks carried the treasures of the Louvre… nearly 1,900 boxes; 3,690 paintings, thousands of statues, antiquities and other priceless masterpieces,” writes Guillaume Deprez in the article. “Each truck had to be accompanied by a curator.”

It’s thanks to Monsieur Jaujard that we can appreciate the genius of da Vinci in the Mona Lisa. He, along with many others, coordinated the hiding of many pieces of artwork across France, even castles. Near the end of the war, the Nazi army started burning a castle, and the Venus di Milo and the Victory of Samothrace were on the other side of the flames, writes Deprez. At gunpoint, a curator named Gérald Van der Kamp begged the officers, and eventually the fire was put out. And since then, these masterpieces have returned home to the Louvre for millions to see today. Under the care and direction of Jaujard, not one piece of artwork was damaged or missing, according to Deprez’s article.

The Pyramid Era

When one thinks of the Louvre, its glass pyramid often comes to mind. But this iconic pyramid is a relatively recent addition as it wasn’t completed until 1989. During François Mitterand’s presidency, he appointed Emile Biasini to manage the construction project of the Louvre. Recruited by Biasini, Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei is the genius behind the elegant glass pyramids, which made him the first foreign architect to work on the Louvre, per Architectuul


From royals to war times, the history of the Louvre is an emblem of French heritage. Visiting the Louvre is an absolute must for your trip to Paris, and we’re sharing some of our favorite experiences at this museum.

Visit the Louvre with an Art Historian 

As you’ve read, you could spend entire days exploring the Louvre and not see it all. With a premium private tour, you can see the Louvre with an art historian as your guide. You’ll even have access to museum shortcuts and direct access to important pieces. Your guide will show you the most famed pieces of the museum and share its many tales, including the burglary of the Mona Lisa in the early 1900s. Your guide will tailor your exclusive visit to your likings; whether it’s Egyptian artifacts or Dutch paintings, the choice is yours. This exclusive visit includes a welcome in front of the glass pyramid by the museum department head as well as no queuing. 

After-Hours Private Guided Visit 

Not into crowds? We don’t blame you. With an after-hours visit, you’ll explore the treasures of the Louvre with room to spare. On this guided visit, you’ll have privileged access to the Louvre’s permanent collections.

Private Louvre Scavenger Hunt 

This world-renowned museum isn’t just for adults. With French Side Travel, children can delve into the world of art with a special treasure hunt. With their booklet, they’ll set out to discover the many gems of the museum and will be rewarded with a surprise gift at the conclusion of their scavenger hunt.

Where to Stay in Paris

Le Roch Hotel & Spa
This five-star boutique hotel not only offers 37 luxurious rooms but also close proximity to the Louvre. Retreat from the speed of the city in the hotel’s inner courtyard and treat yourself to a trip to its hammam. A stay in Le Roch also means access to its in-house restaurant, Maison 28, where you can feast on French classics. And best of all, you’re just a hop, skip and a jump from one of the best museums in the world. 

Courtesy of Hotel de la Place du Louvre

Hotel de la Place du Louvre
A day at the Louvre may just not suffice. Perhaps you crave proximity to and views of the Louvre; if that’s the case, the Hotel de la Place du Louvre has your name on it. This four-star hotel offers views of the museum as well as a history of its own. The building dates back to the 17th century and sits in a neighborhood frequented by names such as Victor Hugo and Balzac. Hotel de la Place du Louvre welcomes guests in its 20 rooms marked by chic decor and exquisite views.


Although it has thousands of pieces of artwork to explore, the history of the Louvre is also worth discovering, too. And we’re here to help. You might enjoy: A Historical and Cultural Escape to Paris or The Best of Paris in a Week. Need some help planning your trip?

The World of Luxury Shopping: Best Department Stores in Paris

Luxury Shopping in Paris

Welcome to the world of luxury shopping as we explore the iconic department stores that shape the Parisian retail. Our focus turns to La Samaritaine, Le Bon Marché, and Galeries Lafayette – three pillars of elegance, style, and curated exclusivity. From the contemporary flair of La Samaritaine to the historical charm of Le Bon Marché and the captivating ambiance of Galeries Lafayette, discover the distinct qualities that make these department stores in Paris essential destinations for discerning shoppers. Join us as we delve into the unparalleled luxury experiences awaiting you in the French capital.


La Samaritaine: A Timeless Luxury Haven

History & Heritage of La Samaritaine

La Samaritaine’s Rich History & Recent Renovation

Step back in time and into the fascinating history of La Samaritaine stretching back over 150 years. Situated behind the prestigious Cheval Blanc and adjacent to the iconic Pont Neuf, La Samaritaine stands at the heart of the city, beckoning luxury shopping enthusiasts visiting Paris to immerse themselves in its timeless allure. From its 19th-century origins to its pivotal role in shaping Parisian culture, trace the evolution of this landmark. The grand reopening in 2021 marked a transformative moment. The renovation seamlessly blends the heritage of Art Nouveau design with contemporary finishes, inviting visitors to experience a new era of sophistication.

Shopping Experience at La Samaritaine

Unique Offerings and Exclusive Brands

Immerse yourself in an unparalleled shopping experience at La Samaritaine. This premier shopping destination proudly carries an extensive selection of over 600 exclusively curated brands. What sets this luxury haven apart is not just its role as a shopping destination, but its affiliation with the prestigious LVMH conglomerate. Being part of this illustrious group brings forth a myriad of benefits, ensuring that La Samaritaine stands as a beacon of excellence in the world of high-end fashion and lifestyle. La Samaritaine invites discerning travelers to witness the epitome of luxury shopping in the heart of Paris.

Personalized Services at La Samaritaine

Concierge Excellence & VIP Experiences

With La Samaritaine’s concierge services, luxury is not just a concept but a personalized experience. Uncover the art of tailored assistance as their concierge team goes above and beyond to curate every moment of your visit. La Samaritaine boasts the unique ability to source products from all LVMH Maisons across their boutiques in Paris. This unparalleled access guarantees that your exploration of La Samaritaine’s luxury offerings extends beyond its own selection, providing you with an array of choices.

VIP Retreat: L’Appartement

Step into the lap of luxury with La Samaritaine’s private shopping experiences in “L’Appartement,” . This is an exclusive shopping lounge reserved for VIP clients. Indulge in personalized shopping consultations, exclusive previews, and a serene atmosphere that takes your retail experience to new heights. La Samaritaine invites you to embrace a level of luxury that goes beyond expectations, setting the stage for an unforgettable shopping escapade in the heart of Paris.


Le Bon Marché: Pioneering Elegance

Legacy and Innovation at Le Bon Marché

The World’s First Department Store is in Paris

Take a journey through history at not only the first department store in Paris, but the first in the world. Uncover the visionary beginnings that reshaped the retail landscape, setting the foundation for a legacy defined by sophistication and refinement. Experience the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity at Le Bon Marché, where the spirit of innovation thrives. As part of the LVMH conglomerate, this iconic establishment stays at the forefront of contemporary trends through strategic collaborations, ensuring that every visit promises not just a glimpse into the past, but a forward-thinking exploration of luxury and style.

Luxury Brands & Designer Collections at Le Bon Marché

Le Bon Marché’s Exquisite Offerings

From internationally renowned designers to emerging talents, explore a meticulously curated selection that defines the very essence of style. Delve into the exclusive realm of limited-edition items at Le Bon Marché, where the allure of rare finds and exclusive collections elevates the shopping experience. Patrons have the unique opportunity to acquire pieces that not only epitomize contemporary luxury but also hold a place in the annals of fashion history.

La Grande Épicerie & Le Bon Marché Food Hall

Savor a culinary journey where gourmet excellence meets sophistication within the iconic department store. Le Bon Marché Food Hall curates a diverse culinary experience, featuring luxurious delicacies, limited-edition items, and collaborations with renowned chefs. Adjacent to it, La Grande Épicerie, celebrated for its premium groceries and artisanal products, invites you on a global flavor exploration. Both establishments seamlessly blend culinary innovation and a celebration of global tastes, making them essential destinations for those seeking an elevated gourmet adventure on the Left Bank of the Seine.


Galeries Lafayette: Glamour & Grandeur

Iconic Location of the Galeries Lafayette

The Famous Haussmann Location & Rooftop Terrace Panoramas

Nestled along the illustrious Haussmann Boulevard, Galeries Lafayette Haussmann stands as an emblem of Parisian sophistication for over a century. Haussmann is famous for his pivotal role in transforming Paris into a modern and aesthetically pleasing city. The boulevard and its architectural style have become enduring symbols of Parisian elegance, attracting locals and tourists alike to experience the unique charm of the French capital.

Take in the history and legacy of this iconic destination, where luxury and style intertwine. Ascend to the pinnacle of glamour as we explore the rooftop terrace of Galeries Lafayette. Marvel at the breathtaking panoramic views of the City of Lights, a cinematic fusion of architectural landmarks and the enchanting Parisian skyline. This elevated experience promises a unique perspective, offering a moment of serenity amidst the bustling city below. This department store in Paris is most famous for their unrivaled decorations for the Christmas season.

Fashion Shows and Events at Galeries Lafayette

Front Row to Fashion

Immerse yourself in the world of haute couture with Galeries Lafayette’s regular schedule of fashion events and shows. From runway debuts to trendsetting spectacles, each showcase is a celebration of style. Dive into the highlights of recent displays, capturing the essence of fashion expression that defines this dynamic center of cultural creativity.

Shopping Experience at Galeries Lafayette

Step into luxury as you navigate the grand halls of Galeries Lafayette for an unparalleled shopping experience. Explore a diverse range of luxury products, from high-end fashion and accessories to exquisite home decor and beauty essentials. The carefully curated selection within these hallowed halls is a true reflection of Parisian style, beckoning discerning shoppers into a world of sophistication. Indulge in the charm of tax-free shopping, an exclusive benefit extended to international visitors by Galeries Lafayette. Uncover the details of this enticing offer, adding an extra layer of luxury to your shopping experience in the heart of Paris. As you immerse yourself in the grandeur of Galeries Lafayette, let every moment become a luxurious memory, capturing the essence of French sophistication in one of the world’s most iconic department stores.

Where to Stay in Paris

Château Voltaire
This five-star haven conceived by Thierry Gillier, co-founder of the iconic fashion brand Zadig & Voltaire is the epitome of Parisian chic. Set in 17th-century buildings, this boutique hotel with 32 uniquely designed rooms offers a seamless blend of history and modern luxury. Indulge in culinary delights at Brasserie Emil before exploring the vibrant shopping scene at Galeries Lafayette, just a stone’s throw away. Château Voltaire beckons, combining the elegance of its historic architecture with its close ties to the world of fashion.

Courtesy of Hôtel Lutetia

Hôtel Lutetia
Nestled in the chic enclave of Saint Germain des Prés, Hotel Lutetia, a distinguished five-star palace since 1910, beckons with 184 luxurious rooms on the Left Bank. Indulge in exquisite dining at the hotel’s restaurants or savor a drink at Bar Josephine, paying homage to the iconic Josephine Baker. With a storied history and proximity to Le Bon Marché, this prestigious establishment is not just a hotel but a captivating retreat in the heart of Paris.

Courtesy of the Nolinski

Nolinski 
This elegant 5-star hotel is recent entrant into the City of Light’s burgeoning hotel scene and is located just a stone’s throw away from the Louvre and the Opéra Garnier. Indulge in the allure of this uniquely charactered hotel, seamlessly blending contemporary aesthetics and classical prestige. Immerse yourself in the harmonious ensemble of blue and emerald hues, noble materials, and private balconies, all just steps away from the iconic La Samaritaine for an unforgettable Parisian stay.


Looking to shop till you drop while traveling France? Look no further: An Unforgettable Fashion and Art Trip to the City of Light or An Exclusive and Unique Tour of Paris. Need some help planning your trip?

The Beginner’s Guide to French Crêpes

Do French people really do that? Whether it’s wearing berets or eating escargots, French stereotypes abound. Some of these assumptions have more merit than others. One classic “Frenchism” is their love for crêpes. And truth be told, crêpes are widely eaten in France. Nearly four out of every five French people enjoy sweet crêpes, per Statista. We’re sharing all about French crêpes: the different types; their history; and la Chandeleur, a holiday known for its crêpe consumption.


The Beginner’s Guide to French Crêpes

The Origins of Crêpes

North, south, east, west: no matter where you travel in France, you’ll be able to find crêpes. But these French “pancakes” originated in the region of Brittany. The crêpe or galette can be traced back to the 1200s during the time of the Crusades, per Crêpes Recette. But long before then, cultures had been eating pancake- or crêpe-like concoctions. 

The recipe is simple: some flour, eggs and milk. Restaurants or vendors may have a special crêpe-making machine, but you can also make them in a frying pan on the stove. Our rule of thumb is: the more butter, the better!

Sweet Crêpes vs. Savory Galettes

Credit: Unsplash

Not all crêpes are made the same. There are two main categories of crêpes: sucré (sweet) and salé (savory). The first type is traditionally made with wheat flour, the second with buckwheat (or sarrasin) flour. The latter is often referred to as a galette, instead of a crêpe. Typical toppings for crêpes sucrées include: Nutella, chocolate sauce, caramel, sugar, lemon and many more. Restaurant menus for galettes vary, but you’ll most likely see the complète, with ham, cheese and an over-easy egg. But just like sandwiches, chefs use their creativity on what they include in crêpes.

Some restaurants even offer a formule, or meal deal, where you nosh on a savory galette and then a sweet crêpe for dessert. You can find them at a sit-down restaurant or take it to go and eat it while walking.

French Crêpes and la Chandeleur

Crêpes are eaten year round in France, but there’s one day in France that’s particularly known for crêpes. February 2 marks la Chandeleur, or Candlemas. This holiday celebrates the day that Mary and Joseph presented baby Jesus at the temple. At the temple, a man named Simeon gave Jesus a blessing, saying that he was “a light for revelation” in the gospel of Luke. That’s why Chandeleur or Candlemas celebrates this light with candles, per Geo.

“The celebration is said to date to Roman times and Pope Gelasius I, who had pancakes distributed to pilgrims arriving in Rome for the festival,” according to an article in The Connexion. “Chandeleur symbolized the end of winter and the return of the sun and lighter spring days. Crêpes, with their round shape and yellow, golden color were seen to embody the return of the sun.” 

How to Enjoy French Crêpes in France

Finding a sweet crêpe or savory galette during your trip to France won’t be difficult. Whether it’s a street vendor or a restaurant serving up crêpes, you will have your pick. But perhaps the technique and art of French crêpe-making intrigue you. We have several delicious crêpe-making experiences that are sure to make you drool.

Private Crêpes-Making Class in Paris

Credit: Unsplash

In between your stops at the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, spend an afternoon with a French chef as you perfect your crêpe technique. Whether it’s creamy chantilly or salted caramel, you’re sure to find a crêpe that suits your fancy. Try your hand at the famed crêpe Suzette, a sweet dessert with orange and flambéed. And the icing on the cake: you’ll enjoy this cooking class in an elegant Parisian suite. Bon appétit !

Private Crêpes-Making Class in Brittany

Credit: Unsplash

Vanilla whipped cream, buckwheat crumble and roasted fruit… need we say more? During this private cooking class, you’ll try your hand at crêpes bretonnes, or crêpes from Brittany. Your chef will provide an array of seasonal products as you get to work in the kitchen. 

Where to Stay in Paris and Brittany

Courtesy of Four Seasons

Four Seasons Hotel George V
Located in the posh 8th arrondissement in Paris, Four Season Hotel George V promises a luxurious escape — and only a short walk to the Champs-Elysées. Admire the rooms’ style inspired by Louis XVI – think chandeliers, thoughtful decor and Eiffel Tower views. Explore the the charming neighborhood or enjoy a night “in” at one of the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurants. Treat yourself to a visit to the spa, perhaps with an individualized Haute Couture treatment.

Les Maisons de Bricourt
This luxury collection of villas near Saint Malo jumped right out a fairytale. Perhaps you fancy a stay in its Château Richeux in one of its 11 rooms or two apartments facing the bay of Mont Saint Michel. Or maybe you’d like to indulge in a stay in its boutique hotel, Les Rimains. This foliage-covered stone building feels more like a home than a hotel. You can wander the hotel garden’s pathway to the bay. And if you’re deeply longing for tranquility, enjoy a stay at one of its Seafront Lodges. Each morning, you’ll wake up to freshly baked French bread, fruit and milk products on your doorstep


It’s one thing to read about French crêpes, but it’s another to taste or make them yourselves. Looking to discover the best of French gastronomy? You might enjoy: A Culinary Experience in Paris or Lyon Wines & Culinary Delights. Need some help planning your trip?

From Tire to Table: How the Michelin Star was Born

The name Michelin often evokes swanky restaurants, excellent cuisine and star counts. But the history of the Michelin stars goes back more than a century to a pair of brothers who sold tires. So how does a tire company go on to create one of the most prestigious restaurant rating systems? From the tire to the table, we’re explaining the history of Michelin stars as well as our favorite Michelin experiences in France.


From Tire to Table: How the Michelin Star was Born

Who Were the Michelin Brothers?

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Hailing from Clermont-Ferrand, brothers André and Édouard Michelin had a challenge. They had a tire company, but in 1889, there were only several thousand cars in France. Alas, how could they inspire the French to purchase cars and eventual tires? “The Michelins were determined to turn vehicles from a novelty that took drivers to a Sunday picnic to a viable mode of transportation over long distances,” writes Richard Feloni in Business Insider.

Perhaps a bit of travel inspiration would get people into the driver’s seat. Much like bloggers do today, the brothers decided to create the Michelin Guide with recommendations. These books included hotel and restaurant recommendations, information on how to change a tire and road maps. And more than a century later, this tire company’s guide has become a sort of litmus test for fine dining. The first Michelin guide was published in 1900, and over the years, these originally free guides continued to grow and evolve, per ERIH

How Does Michelin Operate?

Who gives out Michelin stars to restaurants? We don’t know. The Michelin brothers had anonymous restaurant inspectors who would visit different establishments, and this tradition continues today, per Michelin. Usually boasting culinary backgrounds, these inspectors aren’t allowed to speak to journalists and must undergo Michelin training in France, according to Business Insider. Technically, the Michelin Guide awards stars to the restaurant, not the chef.

What do the Michelin Stars Signify?

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1926, the first Michelin stars were given with just one star total being possible; several years later, they increased it to three total stars. One star means “a very good restaurant in category,” two stars means “excellent cooking, worth a detour,” three stars mean “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey,” per Great Big Story.

Michelin’s criteria considered are: food quality, cooking techniques, chef’s personality displayed in the menu, consistency and flavor harmony.

It’s not only about stars. They also have the Bib Gourmand symbol, which is awarded to restaurants who have good quality food at affordable prices. Other symbols in the guide may mention the restaurant’s stunning views, its impressive wine list or its outdoor dining.

Where Can I Find Michelin-starred Restaurants?

Although the Michelin Guide is French, the restaurant need not be in France to earn a Michelin star. It makes sense that France would have the most Michelin stars awarded with more than 600 Michelin-starred restaurants in 2023. The runner-up goes to Japan, which has more than 400 Michelin-starred restaurants. Other countries in the Top 10 list include Italy, Germany and the United States. In France, Michelin stars aren’t reserved only for Paris or even large cities; you can find 3-star Michelin restaurants in charming towns such as Menton and Annecy. At French Side Travel, we’d be more than happy to help you plan your trip with great Michelin stops along the way.


Interested in not only visiting France but also tasting the best of its Michelin-renowned cuisine? French Side Travel offers several luxurious experiences for our foodie travels looking for the best of the best.

Dinner Cruise in Paris

Enjoy a splendid boat ride along the Seine complemented with an exquisite meal. Under the direction of Michelin-starred chef Frédéric Anton, you’ll enjoy the best of French cuisine. The meal includes five courses along with a glass of champagne and a glass of red or white wine. As you sip on your wine, you’ll cruise past the incontournables of Paris: the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Louvre and Notre Dame.  Be sure to dress to the nines as the dress code is formal. 

Cooking Class with Michelin Chef in Provence

Courtesy of Château de Berne

Nestled in the heart of Provence, the Château de Berne offers not only a luxurious place to stay but also the opportunity to take a cooking class with a Michelin-starred chef. You’ll learn new recipes, which feature produce from their gardens, in a traditional kitchen. After you complete your recipes, you’ll enjoy them with wine from the domain.

Private Cooking Class in the Loire Valley

Get some quality time with a Michelin-starred chef as you learn and make classic French recipes. This private cooking class reflects the season in order to provide fresh ingredients and authenticity. Perhaps you’ll make a Blanquette de veau with his signature of Sologne chanterelles and spring onions. Or maybe you’ll make the chef’s version of a tomato salad topped with roses and passion fruit. And don’t worry: you’ll get to taste your dishes!

Where to Stay in France with Michelin Experiences

Les Sources de Caudalie
Tucked south of Bordeaux, les Sources de Caudalie is a five-star palace hotel located in the Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyards. Escape from the city center with a stay in one of these 61 rooms and suites in Martillac. You can’t miss a visit to its Vinothérapie Spa where you can enjoy a Crushed Cabernet scrub. Not only will you drink well, but you’ll also dine well at its Michelin-starred restaurant La Grand’Vigne.

Courtesy of Le Petit Nice Passedat

Le Petit Nice Passedat
Located on the glamorous Corniche along the Mediterranean, le Petit Nice Passedat isn’t known just for its views. This five-star hotel boasts a restaurant with three Michelin stars. You’ll nosh on the craftsmanship of chef Gérald Passedat with an unobstructed view of Marseille’s blue waves. You can’t go wrong with his 6-course My Bouille Abaisse menu, which features Marseille’s famed fish soup. President Macron has even been known to dine here!


Is the history of the Michelin star making you crave a trip to France? You might enjoy: A Perfect Mixture Between Gastronomic and Cultural Discoveries in Champagne, Burgundy, and Lyon or Luxury Dive Into French Gastronomy. Need some help planning your trip?

Haute Couture-Inspired Itinerary in Paris

Not only has France made a name for itself in cultural sites and culinary arts but also on the runway. Over the years, the French have decorated the global haute couture industry. From Yves Saint Laurent to Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton to Coco Chanel, French designers sprinkle runways and closets across the globe. The legacy of these haute couture designers can be found across France, but much of their influence and presence remains in Paris. We’re rounding up some of the top French designers as well as the perfect haute-couture inspired itinerary in Paris.


Haute Couture-Inspired Itinerary in Paris

Louis Vuitton (1821-1892)

Today the Vuitton name is synonymous with luxury, but Louis himself did not start out as such. At the age of 13, he left home on foot from eastern France to Paris to escape a life with a complicated stepmother, per Britannica. The turning point came in 1852 when Napoleon III’s wife hired Louis Vuitton as her personal box-maker and packer, according to Biography. Trunks of his day were typically dome-shaped, but Vuitton opted for a rectangular shape for its practicality. The brand’s bread and butter remain luggage, but LV also sells clothing and accessories today. We recommend a stroll down the Champs-Élysées to visit one of LV’s storefronts.

Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

Credit: Credit: Radio Times Hulton Picture Library via Wikimedia

Hailing from a town in the Loire Valley, Chanel spent a notable part of her childhood in an orphanage in Aubazine. And here she’d learn a skill that would change the course of her life: sewing. In 1910, she opened her first shop in Paris and later on stores in Biarritz and Deauville, per Vogue. Chanel nixed corsets and instead opted for different fabrics, such as jersey, per the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1926, Vogue labeled her LBD as “The Chanel ‘Ford’ — the frock that all the world will wear.” Chanel’s legacy can be found across Paris; we recommend a stay in the Chanel suite at the Ritz.

Christian Dior (1905-1957)

Before he rose to fame in the haute couture world, Christian Dior ran an art gallery, worked as an illustrator and also served in the military. It wasn’t until after World War II that he launched his couture house at 30 Avenue Montaigne, per Galerie Dior. He named his first perfume, Miss Dior, after his sister Catherine, who participated in the French Resistance and survived the Ravenbrück concentration camp, according to Vogue. Before his death, he named his assistant Yves Saint Laurent as his successor.

Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018)

Credit: Larry Bessel, Los Angeles Times via Wikimedia Commons

Audrey Hepburn, Princess Grace of Monaco, Jackie O. These are just a few names that Givenchy dressed during his decorated career, per Biography. Givenchy befriended Spanish designer Balenciaga, and together they created “a new silhouette called the ‘sack,’ a loose form without any waistline,” according to Biography.

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008)

“Chanel gave women freedom. Yves Saint Laurent gave them power,” Pierre Bergé said. At the ripe age of 21, Saint Laurent took over the Dior house as creative director. During his career, Saint Laurent went against the grain. He dressed women in pants and chose models of color to showcase his designs, both uncommon at the time, according to Vogue


Fashion remains an integral part of French heritage, especially in its capital. If you’re interested in learning more firsthand, here’s your perfect haute-couture inspired itinerary in Paris.

Private Guided Tour of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Credit: Dalbera via Wikimedia Commons

You’ve seen his luxurious clothes in storefronts, but you’re interested in learning more about the genius behind it all. Opening its doors in 2017, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum allows guests to explore original sketches, photos and collection boards. It was in this very building where Saint Laurent spent decades crafting his designs. French Side Travel will organize a private guided tour of the museum so that you can explore his designs and legacy as well as get the inside scoop from an expert.

Exclusive Guerlain Visits in Paris

Credit: Tangopaso via Wikimedia Commons

What’s a great outfit without a spray of luxurious perfume? Enter Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, who launched his eponymous storefront in 1828. But in 1853, Guerlain made a name for himself when he created Eau de Cologne Impériale for Napoleon III’s bride Empress Eugénie. French Side Travel is delighted to offer two unique experiences for those interested in learning more about the Guerlain perfumery. You can enjoy an exclusive welcome in the Guerlain storefront to explore the many iconic perfumes or perhaps make your own. We also offer a visit to its Parisian perfume designer store where you can chat with the designer and create your own personalized perfume.

Private Visit of Galerie Dior

Peruse the splendor of French haute couture with a private visit to the Galerie Dior, where his workmanship has been created for more than 70 years. Our guide will share the ins and outs of Dior original sketches, accessories and clothing pieces on display. 

Personal Shopping

During your trip, you may have your eye on something special from one of these iconic French designers. Or maybe you’re looking to browse with someone who is well-versed in haute couture. Our personal shopper will help you find the perfect piece for your closet as you stroll through salons such as Chanel, Dior and YSL.

Where to Stay in France

Courtesy of Hôtel Lutetia

Hôtel Lutetia
Located in the cush neighborhood of Saint Germain des Prés, this five-star palace is the perfect place to rest your head. Opened in 1910, this hotel offers 184 posh rooms and a convenient location on the Left Bank. You can enjoy a meal at one of the hotel’s restaurants or a drink at Bar Josephine, named after one of their famed guests, Josephine Baker. Hôtel Lutetia is a short walk from where Yves Saint Laurent used to live at 55 rue de Babylone

Château Voltaire
This five-star hotel is the essence of Parisian chic. Château Voltaire is the brainchild of Thierry Gillier, one of the founders of fashion brand Zadig & Voltaire. These 32 rooms are housed in buildings dating back to the 1600s. Nosh on some beef carpaccio followed by crême brûlée at the hotel’s Brasserie Emil

Courtesy of Hotel Le Bellechasse

Hotel Le Bellechasse 
Indulge in a stay at this four-star hotel just a stone’s throw away from the Musée d’Orsay. Hotel Le Bellechasse is decorated by renowned couturier Christian Lacroix. Enjoy breakfast in bed in one of its 33 thoughtfully designed rooms.


Looking to shop till you drop while traveling France? Look no further: Luxurious Escape to Monaco and An unforgettable Fashion and Art Trip to the City of Light. Need some help planning your trip?

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