If it’s your birthday, then Paris is the perfect place to spend it in style. This isn’t the economy version of things to do on your birthday in Paris, after all, you only get one birthday a year, I’ve kept it mid-range price-wise but special. Fabulous places to visit, eat, drink and dance – with some free Champagne thrown in…
Things to do on your birthday in Paris that you’ll love…
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Well not quite at Tiffanys’ but there is a lovely café in the Champs-Elysées where Tiffany’s have a store! Equally luxurious, head to Ladurée at no. 75 on the world’s greatest avenue for a great coffee to start the day (opens at 07.30). The flamboyantly decorated café is magnificent.
Shop for a gift
While you’re in the Champs-Elysées you might want to do a spot of shopping. It’s where you’ll find the Galeries-Lafayette. With 600 brands and 300 designers spread over four levels, you can’t help but be impressed by this temple of shopping dedicated to fashion, beauty and gastronomy. All the great names in luxury shopping plus boutique designers are here.
If you fancy something less… well fancy, maybe the flea markets at Saint-Ouen will be more your style. Vintage clothes, antiques, old books, second-hand jewellery, furniture, art deco and knickknacks galore. It’s one of the biggest flea markets in the world. Metro: Métro stations: Porte de Clignancourt (line 4) or Garibaldi (line 13)
Parisian birthday lunch
When it come to lunch, it depends on what you like to do. How about a picnic in the Jardins de Luxembourg. A baguette and cheese, sitting alongside the River Seine. A café that’s really local. Or splashing out on a delicious lunch somewhere luxurious. In which case, maybe you’ll like the Lobby restaurant. In the former ballroom of a grand Haussmanian palace, now the 5* Peninsula Hotel, close to the Arc de Triomphe, this place is a real find. It’s not cheap (expect to pay around 40 euros for a main dish) but it is gorgeous, pure belle epoque, like dining in Versailles.
Pop into a museum
You’re spoiled for choice in Paris, there are more than 150 museums in the city. There’s the Louvre, the world’s most popular – and biggest – museum for starters. The Picasso Museum, Museum of Romantic Life, Museum of History of Medicine (yes really) … it’s up to you what sort of museum you like the sound of , but when of the best is the Musée d’Orsay with its wonderful collection of furniture and impressionist paintings and much else. It’s in a converted railway station close to the Louvre and is usually far less crowded.
There’s also the Opera Garnier, not a museum but it makes for a fascinating visit and tour.
Afternoon tea, always considered a very British thing to do, has become incredibly popular in Paris and many hotels offer a fabulous tea/coffee and pastries experience. You can also get a cake and coffee in more unusual places such as the Shakespeare & Co. book shop – an institution in the city and well worth a visit in its own right. Angelina’s Tea Room, rue de Rivoli is also perfect for hot chocolate in the afternoon.
Love book shops? Check out 3 brilliant English language bookstores in Paris
Boat ride with free Champagne
If you’re in Paris on your birthday, head for the Vedettes de Paris who run sightseeing boat trips on the Seine. Take your passport or ID as proof of your big day and they’ll offer you a free sightseeing ride and a glass of Champagne or a pancake and soft drink. Website: www.vedettesdeparis.fr
Head to the top of the Eiffel Tower for the Champagne Bar. As you sip the bubbles the view over the city before you is truly uplifting. Plus you get to take the lift straight up to the bar on the top floor and avoid the queues for tickets. Best time to go is at night when the tower puts on an hourly twinkle show. The lights sparkle for 5 minutes on the hour from dusk to 1 a.m. (2 a.m. in Summer). Or how about the bar at the Ritz, a former favourite of Ernest Hemingway. Or the belle epoque style bar at the Shangri-La Hotel on the corner of Place Iéna, in the former private mansion of Prince Roland Bonaparte, now listed “Monument Historique”.
The most chic and best cocktail bars in Paris
Dinner at a fabulous restaurant
Where to start? It all depends on you – luxurious, historic, romantic… One that fits all these descriptions is the Les Ombres. It’s located at the top of the Musée du Quai Branly and it has the most magnificent view over the Eiffel Tower. It’s not cheap, but that view is priceless. lesombres-restaurant
Dance the night away
Don’t want the night to end? Why not go to one of the many clubs in Paris. Maybe you prefer to watch the dancers – in that case, the famous cabaret clubs beckon. If you want to let your hair down, Rosa Bonheur, a boat on the Seine moored by the Pont Alexandre III has a fun and festive atmosphere. In the summer there are open air tango dances at the mini amphitheatres along the Seine in the 5th arrondissement.
Stay in a fabulous hotel
End your birthday with a stay in a fabulous hotel in Paris. If you’re a millionaire, you’ll love the Ritz’s Coco Chanel suite, but you’ll need to spend around €30,000 for a night of elegant refinement and luxury (though it does include a greeter at the door of your plane, fast track through immigration and limousine return). However, you can still find luxury elegance without taking out a mortgage. At the historic 5 Star Fouquet’s Barrière on the Champs-Elysées in the glamorous “Golden Triangle”. It’s a 15 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, and you are guaranteed to be pampered and made to feel very special.
The in-house pastry chef will bake you a cake to remember, the in-house Champagne is superb, the designer rooms are comfy and very Paris, all muted colours and Chanel hues but with a modern edge (the mirrored wall in the courtyard has to be one of the biggest mirrors in the world) you can really push the boat out with a balcony looking on to the Arc de Triomphe. Plus they include a well-stocked minibar that’s free – and as for the dreamy spa… let’s just say you’ll want your birthday to never end.