Friday, March 18, 2011

Exploring the Left Bank of Paris

The Left Bank in Paris is known for exciting places to visit and things to eat, and you aren't confined to the traditional St-Germain shopping and cafe-hopping. Lonely Planet partnered with the BBC to bring you fresh recommendations from the heart of the Left Bank—the Latin Quarter—as well as from the boutique-lined streets of St. Germain.

Where to Go
There's no reason you should be a lost tourist in the city, especially not when there are so many updated guides floating around for your convenience. These are some of the hottest tourist spots on the to-do list this year.

Musée d’Orsay
: If you enjoy Impressionist paintings, then you'll love seeing the work displayed at the Musée d’Orsay: it covers work from the 1840s to 1914, from artists like Degas, Monet, and Cézanne .

Musée National Eugène Delacroix: Delacroix died in Paris in 1863, and some of his lesser-known and more intimate pieces are displayed here.

Jardin du Luxembourg: This gorgeous public gardens houses orchards and apiaries, as well as the more standard manicured greenery.

Institute of the Arab World: Arab and Western elements fuse in this successful museum of traditional and modern finds.

Where to Eat
Paris + fine dining go together like fromage + vin, so explore these dining options when you're in the Left Bank.

La Mosquée de Paris: Dining inside the city's central mosque is a perfect way to experience another side of strong Parisian culture—another culture within the city. Try peppermint tea, couscous, and tagine here.

L’Agrume: Check out the chefs cooking in an open kitchen on tasty dishes.

Le Comptoir du Relais: Seasonal dishes are the fare you'll find at this exciting Left Bank stop, and you should really try the foi gras if you are feeling adventurous.

Bistro Les Papilles: Looking for some French wine in an unpretentious setting? This part-wine cellar location offers a daily hot special—a “market hot pot.” Lonely Planet calls the wine list “exceptional.”

Suggested Accommodations

Wondering where to stay? All of these hotels listed offer exclusive complimentary perks through

Hotel Lutetia
If you're going to be checking out all that the Left Bank has to offer, then the Hotel Lutetia is one of your best options. This luxury accommodations, the 'Spirit of the Left Bank,” has been host to a wide variety of prominent individuals like jazz artists, royalty, and jet-set celebrities. The hotel is decorated in the classic style of the 1930s and is situated in the stylish district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Hotel Pont Royal
The Hotel Pont Royal combines charm and elegance and is located in the Left Bank, in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. If you plan on exploring the area, why not settle into a hotel that evokes the spirit of the Belle Epoche, while still remaining close to the Musée d'Orsay and the Louvre?

Hotel De Crillon
This luxury hotel is a legendary European hotel in a prime location for exploring Paris. Setting itself apart from the renovated-to-the-hilt options, the Hotel de Crillon is a former private residence with classical décor and all the modern conveniences. Walk to major points of interest like the Louvre and Opéra.

La Reserve Paris
La Reserve Paris isn't just for your quick trips abroad: it also has ten apartments in duplex or triplex design to provide a home-away-from-home during an extended stay in Paris. 1930s elegance is the fashionable direction taken by in-the-know hotel designers, and you're be able to roam shops nearby without worry.

Hotel du Louvre
If opulent is what you're after, then the Hotel du Louvre will surely impress you. With Napoleon III style dominating the chic hotel, you'll find it warm and inviting, while still looking incredibly rich, with a touch of eclecticism. There are also 8 meeting rooms for the business traveler.

The Left Bank, with its rich history and many sights to see, should occupy a place on your bucket list. Surrounded by gorgeous hotels and memories of the past, the Left Bank is an unmissable destination in Paris, in France, and in Europe. In other words, GO.

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