A New England Traveler’s Guide to Paris, France

What’s left to say about a city that has it all? Turns out, quite a lot in 2024.

Setting out at sunset on the Seine. / Photo by Prasit Rodphan/Alamy Stock Photo

Few cities in the world instantly entice the senses and inspire the soul like Paris. Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, Saint-Germain, the Marais—this roll call of enchanting neighborhoods conjures images of quaint sidewalk cafés, verdant gardens, exquisite museums, intimate restaurants, and sun-splashed rooftops. With the Olympics beginning later this summer, the cosmopolitan capital has never looked more vibrant and prepared to welcome visitors. Wait, the French…welcoming? Indeed, even the Seine has undergone a massive cleaning and is set to host aquatic events, mon dieu! Whether you want to witness the Games or visit before the crowds start flowing in, there are a wealth of new attractions, restaurants, and hotels at the ready to experience the “City of Light” like never before.

The Louvre on a sunny day. / Photo by Bruce Beck/Alamy Stock Photo


One of the city’s newest—and most offbeat—attractions is Maison Gainsbourg, a Left Bank museum showcasing the provocative work of famed French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg (add on a visit to his historic house across the street for the full experience). To admire another lesser-known gem, head for Île Saint-Louis, the smaller of the two islands on the Seine. Here you’ll find narrow streets lined with 17th-century buildings featuring elaborate façades and quiet courtyards that offer a glimpse into the Paris of yesteryear. Stopping at Berthillon, which has been serving delicious ice cream since 1954, is a must. Prefer to actually get on the water? Try water skiing or wakeboarding on the river—yes, that’s really a thing—just outside of the city with the Ski Nautique Club.

If you still need to scratch some of the city’s most iconic sights off your bucket list, fear not. Several legendary spots are reopening their doors this year, including the Grand Palais: An architectural masterpiece originally built for the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition will once again host the arts, as well as some Olympic competitions. Speaking of comebacks, Notre Dame Cathedral, which tragically burned in 2019, is set to reopen later this year after a painstaking $900 million-plus renovation.

No French sojourn would be complete without a stroll through the legendary Louvre, of course, but we recommend at least a few hours at the Musée d’ Orsay as it celebrates the 150th birthday of impressionism with an immersive new exhibit, “Tonight with the Impressionists.” Don a virtual reality headset to step back in time to 1874 and witness one of the first exhibitions of the movement featuring works by Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Cézanne.

Strolling the Rue des Francs Bourgeois. / Photo by Lana Rastro/Alamy Stock Photo


On the Right Bank, the Marais is where you can find trendy boutiques lining the Rue des Francs Bourgeois. To seek out the best bargains, peruse the network of stalls, alleys, and showrooms at the Marché aux Puces, open on weekends and Mondays. It covers close to 20 acres and is one of the oldest flea markets in the world.

A Thai crèpe from Restaurant Thiou in Hôtel Norman. / Photo by Yann Deret


Tempting bistros are seemingly around every corner, but why not sample a bit of everything at the new gastronomic hall Communale Saint-Ouen? This is no ordinary food court—Parisians gather here to listen to live music; sample street food, pastries, and cheeses; and sip fine wine and craft beers. For a more romantic atmosphere, slide into a booth at Le Christine, where chef Mehdi Bencheikh’s inspiring menu features creative French cuisine. Or take it to the next level at Dans Le Noir, which offers a truly unique experience: dining in almost complete darkness. When it’s time for a nightcap, the elegant Bar Hemingway remains a popular haunt, just as it was for F. Scott Fitzgerald.

A plush room at Hôtel Norman. / Photo © MrTripper


Just a short stroll from the Arc de Triomphe, the new Hôtel Norman is a boutique property conceived by architect Thomas Vidalenc. Ideal for couples or families, amenities at the intimate 37-room hotel include the Spa by Omnisens and Restaurant Thiou, which serves up sumptuous Thai dishes from the legendary Parisian chef Apiradee Thirakomen. La Fantaisie is another new boutique property, this one with a rooftop bar, café, and 63 tastefully appointed rooms and 10 suites—many offering breathtaking views of the bustling Montmartre and the city beyond.


Nonstop flights from Boston to Paris are available on several carriers, including Air France, Delta, and JetBlue.

First published in the print edition of the May 2024 issue with the headline, “Paris, France.”