PARIS CITY GUIDE
"There are only two places in the world where we can live happy- at home and in Paris."
Paris has seduced the world for centuries. Whether it's the food, fashion, lifestyle, or tennis that draws you in, the city of lights is a place every true tennis fan should experience. The French Open, the second grand slam event of the year and the culmination of clay season is such a special tournament. I visited in 2018 and had the most wonderful time! I'll share my experience as well as tips I've picked up from other Parisian experts along the way!
Global Tennis Network is a great resource to use if you're looking for a public court to play while you visit Paris.
Roland Garros- The French Open, or Roland Garros is the largest tennis tournament in Paris and takes place the end of May. Like most professional tennis tournaments, I like to visit in the early rounds and buy good seats in the main stadium. Court Philippe-Chatrier is Roland-Garros centre court. These tickets include assigned seats in Court Philippe-Chatrier, plus first-come, first served access to Court Suzanne-Lenglen, and all practice courts. To me, this is a better value, and I prefer to be at the tournament during the day when there are so many matches going on and the crowd is lively and bustling. Some people prefer the night sessions, which usually feature more popular players, but it's really a personal preference. I like to spend a full day at the Open, then head back into Paris for dinner and drinks at a local bistro where we can watch the night matches with fellow tennis fans.
Tickets The tournament spans two weeks and ticket options are vast. If you're on a budget, the grounds pass is a wonderful way to see lots of tennis and get the full feel of the venue. Practice schedules are published and you can easily get up close and personal to some of the best players in the world! Don't be afraid to utilize your hotel concierge! We were visiting the tournament on a rather hot day and our concierge used their ticket contact to make sure we were in the shade. Make sure to reward them with a nice tip for their services. These small gestures go a long way!
Where to Stay?
I have such great memories of this lovely boutique hotel. It is uniquely Parisian, with cozy velvet furniture, a garden terrace, and rooms that feel more like a chic Paris apartment than a standard hotel room. Often times we book hotel brands like Hyatt and Marriott, places where we are more familiar with the accommodations. When you fly across the world, the last thing you want is to be in a hotel room the size of a shoe box. However, Paris is such a special place. If you can do some extra research and stay somewhere more authentically Parisian, I think it makes the experience much more special. I would definitely stay here again. One of the best things about the hotel is its central location. We were able to walk just about everywhere.
Although Paris is jam packed with incredible restaurants, most of our meals were made up of charcuterie and a glass of wine on a bistro patio where you can linger for hours. This may be good or bad, but I never truly kept up with where we stopped, which is part of the charm. We'd walk around and when we got hungry, we'd look for busy bistros and grab a patio table.
Our favorite patissier was just a short walk from the hotel and we'd start our day with a croissant and latte before heading out on our adventures.
We wanted traditional French cuisine and Chez Georges delivered! It's one of several locations in Paris. We visited the one on Rue du Mail, just a short walk from our hotel.
ON MY LIST FOR NEXT TIME
A wine bar created by American Jody Williams, and loved by Parisians. That can't be easy, and I'd love to visit!
This is part of the Savoir Vivre Hospitality Group. Their IG is full of incredible small dishes and has a quirky Wes Anderson vibe.
We walked by this restaurant several times but never made it in. They’re known for their burgers, one of Paris's best.
The perfect place to stop after a long visit to the Louvre. A scroll through their photo gallery will show cozy leather club chairs, along the large windows, perfect for lingering with a book or writing in a journal.
How to get around:
We came into Paris on the high speed train from London. It's a really great option if you'd like to see both cities in one trip. We used Über to and from the airport, and to and from Roland Garros. You can also use the metro system which is very easy to navigate. Our hotel was in such a great location, we walked to almost all of our destinations.
There’s a lovely movie starring Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldaña called The Words. It’s a beautiful movie that I love, and it starts with a young couple browsing antique shops in Paris where they find a priceless treasure. This is the type of thing you buy in Paris. I love purchasing things that are incredibly special in special places. Whatever's inside your heart- a piece of jewelry, a designer piece, a piece of art, don’t buy it online, save, wait, and buy it in Paris, you’ll never let it go. Paris is the center of fashion, and you'll find everything there.
I know these tours might seem touristy, but whenever we visit a new city, we start with a city tour. It's a great way to get your bearings and find out where you want to spend time. This tour was particularly great! We did a quick loop through the Louvre, had lunch at the Eiffel Tower, sailed the Seine, and ended at Notre Dame Cathedral. It was a whirlwind day following our guides red umbrella, but I highly recommend it. It's also a fun way to meet other tourists and chat about what they've done, discovered and planning to do.
Paris is one of those cities you never tire of. There is always something new and exciting to do and see. As any tennis fan will attest, a trip to the French Open is a dream come true! You can definitely save money by planning ahead and organizing the trip yourself. I hope these places to stay, visit, and see provide a good start to your planning. Feel free to ask me any questions, and if there are any great new spots that you like or old favorites, please share!