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Hôtel Plaza Athénée is the stuff of Parisian dreams, with chandelier-clad dining rooms, foliage-filled courtyards and elegant rooms, each decorated with crown molding and pops of bright pastels. Although the hotel exudes European charm, its quaint atmosphere doesn't mean amenities are few and far between. The property boasts five restaurants, ranging from chic and casual to downright fine dining, including the Roaring '20s-inspired Le Relais Plaza. The hotel also has a spa and 24-hour concierge service, in addition to on-call chauffeur-driven transportation. But travelers may find that a car simply isn't needed: Hôtel Plaza Athénée's location blocks away from the Seine puts lodgers within a 1-mile radius of the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées and the Louvre. And though the address and amenities left travelers in awe, it was the hotel's incredible service and attentive staff that made the biggest impression. Just note, all of these luxuries equate to sky-high room rates.ParisTripAdvisor (838)5.0-star Hotel ClassExcellent Critic RatingFree WiFi
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Blending European and Asian aesthetics in a nod to its moniker, the Paris iteration of the Shangri-La Hotel enjoys a prime location just north of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. In fact, many of the rooms boast views of the iconic landmark. Recent guests suggest springing for accommodations with a balcony or terrace. Regardless of whether you choose a room or suite, you'll be greeted with a blue, ivory and white color palette and a marble bathroom with heated floors, plus a separate tub, a rainfall shower and double sinks. Amenities like free Wi-Fi access, an indoor pool and a spa were a hit with past travelers. The hotel is also home to a fitness center and various dining options, including two restaurants with Michelin stars. While most previous visitors raved about the location, decor and on-site amenities, reviews were split on the staff. Many cited prompt assistance when requested, while some noted that for a hotel of this caliber, they expected a bit more consistent service.ParisTripAdvisor (1569)5.0-star Hotel ClassExcellent Critic RatingFree WiFi
Neighborhoods in American University of Paris
Paris is split into two halves – the Right and Left banks – by the storied Seine River. The city is further broken into 20 numbered arrondissements (or neighborhoods), which twirl clockwise from the centralized 1er (or first) arrondissement.
Accessible via Palais Royal Musée du Louvre, Louvre Rivoli, Tuileries, and Les Halles métro stops.
As its name suggests, the 1er should one of the first places to explore. This neighborhood, which lies on the eastern banks of the Seine River, is home to the enormous Musée du Louvre – a royal palace-turned-art museum, which contains more than 35,000 works of art, including the Venus de Milo and the "Mona Lisa."
The Tuileries make a perfect open-air retreat after hours of museum touring. Located right next to the Louvre, the gardens were designed by André Le Nôtre, the landscape architect who also designed the Gardens of Versailles.
Accessible the Réaumur - Sébastopol métro stop.
Rubbing up against the 1er arrondissement to the north, this district used to house Paris' Bourse, or the stock exchange. A collection of theaters, including Théâtre Musical Populaire, also fills out the 2ème arrondissement.
3ème and 4ème
Accessible via the Cité, Hôtel de Ville and Arts et Métiers métro stops.
Known collectively as Le Marais, the French word for 'marsh,' the 3ème and 4ème arrondissements make up one of Paris' oldest neighborhoods. (Located southeast of the 1er arrondissement, this area used to be a boggy marshland, hence the name.) The trademark Notre Dame Cathedral and the gorgeous gothic Sainte-Chappelle, or Holy Chapel, are both located in the south of Marais on the Ile de la Cité, one of two islands in Paris' Seine River.
Don't miss out on touring the Centre Pompidou, a contemporary art museum. And if you're hungry, stroll along Marais' main thoroughfare, Rue de Bretagne, and purchase some fresh fruit at the city's oldest market, Marché des Enfants Rouges. Then wander down to Place des Vosges and eat your snack in the city's oldest square.
Accessible via the Charles de Gaulle-Étoile métro stop.
Facing the 7ème arrondissement across the river, the 8ème is home to the famous Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Though the Champs-Elysees has recently seen a decline in its once posh character, existing as more of a mirror of New York's Times Square than an emblem of Parisian glamour, it's still a Paris must-see. Be sure to bid bonjour to Napoléon's war tribute, the Arc de Triomphe. To get to the Arc de Triomphe, do not try and cross the busy streets of the roundabout; recent travelers recommend using the pedestrian underpass rather than risking a run-in with a fast-moving car.
Accessible via the Chaussée d'Antin-La Fayette métro stop.
These days, the resplendent Palais Garnier, which is the setting for the tragic "Phantom of the Opera," and Les Grands Boulevards, gives the 9ème district its elegant identity. Today, Les Grands Boulevards house two of France's favorite department stores: Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.
Farther north, visitors experience a lesson in contrast. Place Pigalle – nicknamed "Pig Alley" by Allied troops during WWII for its congregation of seedy nightlife options – is still filled with brothels, sex shops and questionable clientele after hours. Visitors should be on their guard when touring this area, which is located north of 2ème and east of 8ème – especially after dark.
Accessible via the Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est and Château d'Eau metro stops.
East of 9éme and north of 3éme, the 10éme neighborhood is one of the least desirable arrondissements for sightseeing, dining or otherwise. However, the nearly 3-mile Canal St-Martin makes for a lovely walk or boat ride along the canal's nine locks, through tunnels and under bridges.
11ème and 12ème
Accessible via the Bastille métro stop.
The 11ème and 12ème arrondissements sprawl to the east of the 3ème and 4ème arrondissements and contain the Place de la Bastille, or the site of the infamous storming of the Bastille in 1789. Today, the Opéra Bastille, rises from the ashes of this historic locale and has helped rejuvenate the area.
Accessible via the Rue de la Pompe métro stop.
Across the Seine from the 15ème, the 16ème arrondissement is where well-heeled Paris lives. But visitors should take a peek because this district is near the Trocadéro's sweeping views of the city, as well as the Bois de Boulogne forest, which affords a perfect retreat — though only in the daylight. After dark, it tends to be a home base for prostitutes.
Accessible via the Rome, Villiers and Malesherbes métro stops.
This district, located to the northwest of the city, is mainly residential and doesn't provide too much in the way of tourist attractions.
Accessible via the Anvers, Abbesses, Pigalle, Blanche and Marcadet Poissonniers métro stops.
The Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur) stares down from the highest point in Paris, in an area of Paris called Montmartre, located in the northern Paris' 18ème arrondissement. A brilliant white castle of a church, the Sacré-Coeur affords a fabulous view of the city below, but you'll have to work to reach it. A steep hill and dozens upon dozens of steps await all those who seek to tour it.
As you follow the cobblestone streets down from the Sacré-Coeur, you'll find streets lined with cabarets and strip clubs, including the legendary Moulin Rouge, made famous in the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec and the movie-musical by the same name. You'll also run into another famed cemetery, the Montmartre Cemetery (Cimetiere Montmartre), in which impressionist painter Edgar Degas is buried.
Accessible via the Porte de Pantin, Laumière, Ourcq, Corentin Cariou and Danube métro stops.
East of the 18éme neighborhood, this district once contained Paris' meat-packing districts and, similar to other major cities, it has undergone revitalization. The formerly meat carcass-strewn district is now covered in green space — from the Park de la Villette, complete with canals and a Grande Halle that hosts live performances and films to the Promenade des Gardens, whose series of gardens are a favorite among youngsters (trampolines, slides and even a roller coaster). There's also the Parc des Buttes Chaumont.
Accessible via the Père-Lachaise métro stop.
Perhaps the most famous of Paris' many cemeteries is the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetière du Père-Lachaise), located in the western 20ème arrondissement. Home to a number of famous people — Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison — the cemetery is a work of art, too, with sculptured tombs and serpentine paths.
Accessible via the Saint-Michel or Cluny-La Sorbonne métro stops.
Situated on the Left Bank of the Seine, directly across from Le Marais, the 5ème arrondissement, also known as the Latin Quarter, is loaded with universities, including La Sorbonne, École Normale Supérieure and Collège de France, as well as little cafes and book shops ideal for studying. Sidling along the Seine, the Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore is a cozy shop stacked with books that is hugely popular among expats (dating back to the early '50s), as well as among English-speaking tourists today. Be sure to check out the Rue Mouffetard for a vibrant open market accompanied by accordion music. The 5ème also contains the historic Panthéon, a church that doubles as the final resting place of notables like Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Marie Curie, as well as the Roman-era amphitheatre, Arènes de Lutèce.
Accessible via the Saint-Suplice or Théatre de L'Odéon métro stops.
To the east of 5ème arrondissement is the 6ème, home to the beautiful and sprawling Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg). These formal gardens, in the shadow of the Palais du Luxembourg — which now houses the French Senate – also contain rose gardens, sports courts and a number of sculptures.
The city's oldest theater, Théâtre de L'Odéon and the historic churches — Église St-Suplice and the Église St-Germain-Des-Prés — are also located in this district. The Boulevard St-Germain, which slices through the 6ème district, used to shelter France's intellectuals in two classic cafes: the existentialists in Café de Flore and the surrealists in Café Les Deux Magots. Now, the boulevard is known for its high-quality eateries with comparably priced coffee and a bounty of shops and boutiques.
Accessible via the École Militaire or Bir Hakeim métro stops.
Located in the curve of the Seine River, on the Left Bank and directly east of the 6ème, is the 7ème arrondissement, home to what was once considered as a gaudy, assemblage of metal and is now a national symbol: the Eiffel Tower. A favored activity among young lovers, (friends and families, too), is to find a seat on the long tree-bordered Parc du Champs de Mars (Field of Mars park) and watch night fall over the Eiffel Tower.
Also in this area are the gold-domed Les Invalides (which contains Napoléon's grave), the outdoor-indoor Musée Rodin and the Musée d'Orsay (which houses an impressive amount of the world's greatest Impressionist works).
Accessible via the Tolbiac métro stop.
The 13ème arrondissement, which faces the 12ème across the Seine, is quite multicultural and it's known for its Chinatown. Also in this district, you'll find the National Library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France) as well as the popular Place d’Italie, surrounded by cobblestone streets and a variety of restaurants and shops.
Accessible via the Raspail and Edgar Quinet métro stops.
Counted among its many allures are the extensive museums, the romantic neighborhoods, the divine restaurant scene, and amazingly enough, the cemeteries. In the 14ème arrondissement, which is situated south of 5ème and 6ème, is the famed Montparnasse Cemetery (Cimetière Montparnasse). If you're partial to any of the cemetery tenants, which include Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Baudelaire, Simone de Beauvoir and Guy de Maupassant, among others, you can pay them your respects or otherwise enjoy a peaceful stroll among the statues and graves.
In the early 1900s, many of this area's cafes — especially along Boulevard du Montparnasse — played host to expat literati like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as the French artists Marc Chagall and Marcel Duchamp. Sadly, only the faintest glimmer of this early 20th century intellectual center survives. Crowds and chain stores have all but erased its vibrant past.
Accessible via the Montparnasse Bienvenüe métro stop.
Located to the west of the 14ème, the 15ème arrondissement is mainly a business and residential district. However, if you're searching for a great photo opportunity, snap a picture from the top of the Tour Montparnasse, or the Montparnasse Tower, which rises 59 stories tall and offers a 360-degree photo opportunity. In this district, you'll also find a copy of New York's Statue of Liberty.