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Trendy bistros, new wine bars, and a slew of exciting hotels rejuvenate the City of Light

Word of Mouth"We've had 20+ awesome Paris visits staying in apartments and hotels all over the city and really cannot complain about any," says Fodorite Judy. "Any location allows one to savor whatever that area has to offer."

Why Go NowA wave of luxury hotel openings, a fresh bistro and growing wine-bar scene, and a reinvented Left Bank neighborhood, give Paris’ first-timers and regulars beaucoup reasons to visit in 2012. Foodies must try star newbie Septime (80 Rue de Charonne, 11th Arrondissement, 01-43-67-38-29), the brainchild of Arpege-alum Bertrand Grebaut, and spend an evening noshing on imaginative tapas at trendy Rem Koolhaas-designed Le Dauphin (131 Avenue Parmentier, 11th Arrondissement, 01-55-28-78-88). Transformed by dynamo architect duo Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane, the 13th Arrondissement’s industrial docks now house Cite de la Mode et du Design (City of Fashion and Design), a sculptural waterfront arcade that is home to Institut Fran├žais de la Mode, designer boutiques, cafés, and a rooftop park.

Where to StayIt’s time to bid adieu to the Ritz (at least for two years while it freshens up) and welcome a handful of ritzy newcomers, including the posh Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La Paris, a tres chic (albeit tres pricey) 1896 mansion, originally home to Napoleon's grandnephew, turned 61-room hotel. Also in the 16th Arrondissement, the gorgeous 48-room Saint James Paris has been completely renovated and jazzed up by Philippe Starck. The W Paris Opera, the City of Lights’ first W, will open later this year in the 2nd Arrondissement. See more Paris hotel reviews.

Insider TipIf you can’t snag a reservation at hotspot Frenchie or stand the long wait for a table at its wine bar, try Vivant (43 rue des Petites Ecuries, 10th Arrondissement, 01-42-46-43-55), a pretty little Art Nouveau bistrot a vins with a chalkboard menu of comfort classics.

When to GoThere’s never a bad time to visit Paris, but the spring and fall months are mild and divine, with a full roster of cultural events on tap.

Plan Your TripVisit Fodor's Paris Travel Guide for the latest hotel, restaurant, and shopping reviews. Also, read about Paris's Best New Wine Bars.

Photo: Dana Ward/Shutterstock

Member Comments (3)  Post a Comment

  • thursdaysd on May 22, 13 at 01:50 PM

    What these mostly have in common is the expense of getting there. I would not say that you need to be intrepid to visit Antactica these days, just have plenty of money. And unless you actually trek there, what's so brag-worthy about seeing Machu Picchu? Even Myanmar is now making its way onto the tourist trail - do I get extra "credit" for visiting in 2004?

  • thursdaysd on May 22, 13 at 01:50 PM

    What these mostly have in common is the expense of getting there. I would not say that you need to be intrepid to visit Antactica these days, just have plenty of money. And unless you actually trek there, what's so brag-worthy about seeing Machu Picchu? Even Myanmar is now making its way onto the tourist trail - do I get extra "credit" for visiting in 2004?

  • Randy2192 on May 18, 13 at 12:05 PM

    The Falkland Islands should also be included. It meets the criteria of being remote and challenging to get to and the scenery is fantastic. The residents are friendly and the bird life including the penguins are worth the effort it takes to reach the remote islands.

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