I love Paris but always have difficulty choosing which luxury hotel to stay in and where to go. French Links Tours offer unique private tours of Paris and will help you make the most of this romantic and stylish city.
Dedicated to the discerning traveler French Links Tours gives you an insight into the country’s art, history, food, fashion, and craftsmanship. Their international guests are couples, multigenerational families, and select groups. You are the co-creators of your travel experience: your trip becomes a unique, shared adventure with local experts, instead of a tour package. French Links Tours include private walking tours off the beaten track in Paris, day trips outside the French capital, and journeys to the best France has to offer: Champagne, Normandy, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Provence, and the French Riviera. In addition, we organize similar programs in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
I met up with the Rachel Kaplan, the president of French Links Tours, and asked her for some insider tips on making the most of Paris:
I love Paris but always have difficulty choosing between Luxury Hotels, can you help?
I have two favorite luxury hotels in Paris: the first is the Four Seasons George V which has an outstanding concierge service and the most stunning flowers in Paris including in their marble-tiled courtyard. I also like their informal piano jazz quartet that is available every Thursday and Saturday night. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, it feels very glamorous. My second favorite hotel is L’Hotel de l’Abbaye on the Left Bank because you really feel like you’re in Paris with its charming outdoor courtyard and Old World service and charm. Located next to some of the best shopping in the city, it’s truly a travel connoisseur’s hotel.
I am always looking for a classy local bar and a good restaurant when I am in Paris, can you recommend any?
I can recommend the very confidential Très Honoré, on the Place du Marché St. Honoré, the Hotel Costes (but not during Fashion Week), as well as the bar at the Hotel Bristol.
When it comes to restaurants, among my favorites, I can easily recommend La Dame de Pic (the only woman chef with a three-star restaurant), L’Affriolé, La Régalade, Frenchie’s, and the exquisite Cristal Room, located in the Baccarat Museum. I celebrated a big birthday there recently and can recommend it highly. Besides you get to visit their gorgeous museum next door free of charge.
You specialize in dedicated to the discerning traveler, You have kindly donated a wonderful shopping tour of Paris for our auction. If I am new to Paris and want to really get to know it, which French Links Tours would you do and why?
If you are a luxury traveler who is new to Paris—and you really want to get to know Paris—I suggest that you stay at an intimate boutique hotel or an elegantly furnished apartment with a concierge service. French Links Tours not only arranges unique accommodation for all its guests, but we provide a very useful welcome kit filled with guidebooks, maps, and beauty samples as well as discount shopping cards to enhance our visitors’ stay. We also can book passes to a fashion show, and arrange fashion museums and artisanal tours by specialist guides who really know and get the fashion industry. We recently offered a VIP tour of Louis Vuitton and Goyard that was a real hit. We also take foodies on tasting tours to the neighborhoods where the top chefs buy their spices, meats, fish, and cheese—and where they can sample the best chocolate éclairs in Paris—the same bakery that once fed the French court including Marie-Antoinette.
Art collectors can visit unique design, painting, sculpture, and photography galleries as well as meet local internationally recognized artists and purchase their work directly from them. We can also arrange for people to purchase vintage Chanel and Hermès, or source cutting-edge mid-century design or Art Deco masterpieces at the Paris Flea Market—best of all, we edit the best at the market, which is the largest in the world with over 1800 dealers. Our tours are such, that by the time we finish negotiating for our guests, the tour all but pays for itself!
But people who choose to play their trip with French Links Tours don’t have to limit themselves to Paris—we offer tours all over France and other parts of Europe. This year we arranged a family trip on the French Riviera on a private yacht with four bedrooms and four baths, daily shore excursions, and cooking classes/market tours. We also arranged a three-day program in Provence for a couple celebrating a “big” wedding anniversary. Best of all, we were able to organize tickets to Amfar, to the Formula One Finals in Monte Carlo, and screenings at the Cannes Film Festival. Our entire approach to luxury travel is to offer authenticity and accessibility as well as convenience and flexibility.
Of all the tours that you offer at French Links Tours, which is your favorite?
I personally love our Midnight in Paris tour in a traction Citroen car that covers many of the highlights in the movie and which includes the wonderful sound-track of period jazz favorites. I think this tour is both romantic and informative, and if you are taking pictures or hiring one of our photographers, it’s a tour of a lifetime. Throw in a bottle of vintage champagne and a couple of glasses, and you reach nirvana!
A fun family-oriented tour is the Behind the Scenes at the Eiffel Tower tour which allows you to go to parts of the Tower closed to the general public. This tour is going to be even more popular now that the first level has a glass viewing platform.
Finally, if you only had one day in Paris, how would you spend it?
I would do the tour titled “2,000 Years of Paris in a Single Day.” This way you get to discover the best of the city’s architecture—from its Gallo-Roman arena to its 21rst century Louis Vuitton Foundation designed by Frank Gehry and inaugurated in October 2014. In between, you would discover the stunning Medieval architecture of the Left Bank and the Ile de la Cite (Notre Dame Cathedral, the Conciergerie, the Cluny Museum), the Renaissance and Baroque treasures of the Marais, and the Classical Age of Louis XIV on the Left and Right Banks—including the Invalides Royal Chapel. The French are great builders and organizers and their monuments and institutional buildings speak for themselves. I would conclude the day at the top of the Eiffel Tower of course with a glass of champagne, and then a fabulous dinner overlooking the city skyline on the deck of Maison Blanche restaurant. It doesn’t get better than that!
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