Paris, the city of lights, has had some major evolutions that have impacted the ease of business travel. While there are three main airports in the city, Paris Charles de Gaulle is the busiest with a record 88 million travellers passed through the airport last year. To this day, the City of Light remains the world’s most visited city — and nearly half of those visitors (45%) are there on business.
The city centre is laid out on an east to west axis, bisected by the River Seine. Key business centres are located in La Defense, a district of skyscrapers and corporate headquarters in the city’s northwest, and on the left (south) bank of the Seine, near the Eiffel Tower, are most governmental and quasi-governmental offices. The central core of the city on the right (north) bank of the Seine is home to fashion houses, banks, department stores, most large hotels and embassies.
Here are a few suggestions: Even if your time in Paris is short, it is a city that can be explored easily. By walking down its cobbled streets or main strips, you can easily enjoy the beautiful architecture and Parisian landmarks along the way. A promenade around the Seine (Right or Left banks) will steer you in the direction you seek. On the right, you’ll find major attractions like the Louvre and Hotel de Ville, on the left, you’ll find the charming St. Germaine district, Montmarte, Musee D’Orsay and Notre Dame (on the lovely island, Il de la Cite.)
Paris’s Promenade Plantée is a beautifully landscaped walkway through eastern Paris, which opened in 1989. This 4.5km stroll, which begins just east of the Opera Bastille, winds above and below ground by shops and gardens along what was once the Vincennes railway line. It is open to pedestrians and cyclists only, making it a perfect place to escape the hubbub of the city for a walk or jog when your meetings are over.
For the more adventurous, enjoy a bottle of wine in the Marais. It’s a wonderful area just North of Hotel de Ville where you’ll find a more artistic Paris community, happy to partake in the middle of the day.
If you’ve always wondered about how to prepare a souffle, you can always take a Paris cooking class. There are a number of easily searched options for teachers in all languages - most are expats. Start the morning shopping the local markets for fresh ingredients, spend the day cooking and learning about the history of your dish, and finish with gobs of local wine and enjoying the rewards of your labor.
Where to stay: If shopping is your thing, stay near Champs Elysées, Concorde or Opera. These areas offer a large range of restaurants, attractions and amazing shopping on Rue St. Honore and beyond. It’s well connected with public transport and always has an abundance of taxis. A visit to he charming stores near St. Germaine are a great option as well.
As for accommodation, he new MODE Aparthotel, Arc de Triomphe near Rue Victor Hugo is an exceptional choice. Located near the Arc and Trocadero (which overlooks the Eiffel Tower), it’s a perfect central location for shopping, site seeing and mingling with Paris’ fashionable business set.
Where to eat: It’s hard to go wrong in Paris. Ingredients are generally fresh and bright with French cuisine (naturally) being done so well in Paris. Berthillon’s reputation as one of Paris’ best restaurants is legendary. It's’ an excellent place to take clients for a morning business meeting. You may pretend like you’re only there for coffee and tea but, once you see the vast array of ice cream and pastries, you’ll have a table full of delectable delicacies before you know it. Come hungry, leave the laptop in your bag and stick to high-level strategy discussions.
And you can always pick almost any local cafe and stick to the local fare of melettes, salad verte, cheeses and crepes. Since Paris is known for its exceptional culinary fare, you can’t got wrong.