its name, Ile-de-France is not an island. No spot
could be less insular than this province at the
heart of Europe, since archaic times a strategic
crossroads between Britain and the Mediterranean,
Germany and Spain. Home to some twenty percent
of France's inhabitants — or about fifteen
million souls — Ile-de-France is the nation's
richest, most populous and productive region.
Some might be tempted to view Paris, with its
sumptuous monuments and historic sites, as a shrine
to the glories of past kingdoms and empires. But
that is not the whole story. Paris is a high-energy
modern metropolis, a creative world capital.
| CRÈME DE LA CRÈME
Top French Restaurants in Paris
Since no one does French cuisine better than the French, it is no surprise that Paris boasts many of the world's best bistros, brasseries, cafés and restaurants in the world.
THE CLASSICS: REVISITED
Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
With unconventional décor and revisited classic dishes, Alain Ducasse first caused a sensation at the Plaza Athénée at the start of the century. See what's changed a decade later.
Paris Bistros on a Budget
We've rounded up the best Parisian bistros where you can dine on simple dishes such as carefully simmered soups, lamb legs and stewed apple compote for a reasonable price.
| OUI, CHEF!
Ritz Escoffier School
Learn from the masters themselves at one of the most esteemed hotels (which is temporarily closed for renovations until 2014) in the country. From French gastronomy to winemaker classes, there is something to satisfy every gourmand.
Best Bistros in Paris
Known for comforting food
and warm, romantic environments, bistros
are ideal places to eat while in Paris,
the city that made them famous. Check out
our top picks.
CHARMS OF CHANTILLY
Grand Castle on the Water
in the shimmering waters of its moat, the
Château de Chantilly, located about
40 kilometers from Paris, looks like a fairytale
castle, almost too perfect to be true.
cosmopolitan and vibrant, Paris is the ultimate
walking city. We don't recommend gearing
up for a monument marathon including mechanical
stops at the Eiffel Tower, L'Arc de
Triomphe, Notre Dame and the Louvre. Paris
itself is the attraction, to be savored
slowly and sensuously, as even the ordinary
features of daily life are aesthetically
appealing: walking around, shopping, stopping
for a café and people watching.
is located 55 kilometers southeast of Paris.
Its opulence is awe-inspiring: the gilding
alone is worth a trip. On Friday and Saturday
nights in season, visitors can experience
the ambience of the festivities held in
1661 in honor of Louis XIV.
(Updated: 10/04/13 CT)