At just a hop, skip and a jump across the Channel, for UK residents doing business in Paris is as commonplace as heading to our own northern cities, if not more so. It boasts the world’s highest concentration of global conglomerates and regularly hosts high profile technology, manufacturing and economic summits and conferences.
I often travel to the French capital for meetings and I don’t think there are too many train, plane or automobile modes of transport I haven’t used to get me there, or any meeting room from La Dèfense to the Champs Elysees that I haven’t been in! Of course I may be exaggerating somewhat, but I certainly have gained a lot of valuable insider tips from my many years of travelling to the city, so allow me to share a few.
Getting to Paris
While there are three main airports in the city, Paris Charles de Gaulle is the busiest, serviced by flights from carriers including British Airways, easyJet and Air France from London Heathrow and Gatwick, as well as direct flights from other UK cities. (The other airports are Orly and Beauvais.) With around 190 scheduled flights operating from the UK every week and a flight time of just over an hour, I do tend to fly when travelling from London, but you can also take the Eurostar from Kings Cross St Pancras.
Once you land at the airport, the most convenient way of getting to your accommodation or straight to your meeting is with one of our Executive or Premium pre-booked Paris airport shuttles. From Charles de Gaulle (CDG), for example, our professional drivers can have you in to the centre of the city in a little over half an hour. If you arrive on the Eurostar you can also book our onward transport services to meet you at Gare du Nord.
Charles de Gaulle Airport is a bit like a second home to me as collectively I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours there. It’s got excellent facilities for business travellers though, so I usually manage to make any downtime productive.
Wi-Fi: There is Wi-Fi access through the terminals, which is free for the first 15 minutes and then operates with a charge.
Facilities: With extensive dining facilities across all three terminals, if you’re looking for a quick bite before a flight or even an informal lunch meeting you’ll be covered. Regus Business Services operate a business lounge, meeting and conference rooms all with 24-hour access, and there are a number of dedicated workstations (with fax, copiers and computers) available to access at various points around Terminals 1 and 2.
Business Lounges: As well as the Regus lounge there are a number of airline lounges that are available to Business and First Class passengers. If you’re not a member you can still access the premium lounges with the purchase of a Priority Pass (there’s an annual fee).
My Favourite Paris Business Hotel
I have to say I followed the corporate crowd to the InterContinental Paris (Avenue Marcel) on a recommendation from a colleague and I haven’t looked back. Situated just off the Champs Elysees (and a few minutes’ walk from the Metro direct to La Defense business district) the rooms are light, luxury and soundproofed (a big plus for me) and, if you know my fondness for a Nespresso machine, let’s just say I’m pretty happy here!
For what is essentially a boutique hotel, the conference centre is superbly facilitated, with a meeting space that can be adapted to the size of the group and a dedicated business centre with computers and fax. The restaurant/bar is a great place for a casual meeting over lunch or dinner. Even though it’s predominantly a business clientele at the InterContinental Paris, I always feel like I’ve stumbled across a very hip, independent hotel rather than a branded chain.
A Couple of Others….
If you’re looking for accommodation slightly out of the centre but within easy access of all the major districts, I can highly recommend the Pullman Paris Bercy. With the floor-to-ceiling windows and luxury touches in the rooms you feel like you’re on holiday, but the 20 very well-equipped meeting and conference rooms remind you it’s very much aimed at the corporate traveller.
The Hotel Plaza Athenee is part of the Dorchester collection, so you can expect the accommodation is going to be of an exemplary standard – and you won’t be disappointed. The onsite Michelin-starred restaurant will definitely impress any business guests over lunch and the two dedicated private meeting rooms are ideal for larger groups.
Wining & Dining Your Clients
The Champs Elysees may be a bit of a cliché, but it’s also home to some of the city’s best dining establishments. Copenhague is my most recent discovery, and I keep going back not just because it’s discreet, elegant and a very good place to host clients, but because I just can’t get enough of its Danish-themed gourmet menu.
I recommend booking a table in advance so that you can dine semi al-fresco on the spacious terrace (it’s kept warm with heaters in the colder months) that overlooks the Champs Elysees. Ah, is it really a working lunch? Mais oui!
The attractions of the city are very well-documented, but the good news is that even if you don’t get very much downtime in between meetings, you’ll more than likely be able to glimpse a handful of the icons on the way to and from the airport. Keep an eye out for the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Sacré Coeur, Bastille and, naturally, the Eiffel Tower.
If you do have some spare time to explore the city, I recommend just putting on your most comfortable shoes (hopefully it’s not all business brogues in your case!) and strolling along the magnificent Haussmann boulevards of the 9th, through the parks and green spaces like Parc Monceau, Jardin de Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg, and around the charming, cobbled streets of Montmarte – stopping for regular coffees along the way, of course.
About Shuttle Direct:
Shuttle Direct is the most trusted provider of airport transfers in Paris and throughout the rest of Europe. Make an easy booking online and secure the most efficient and convenient transport to and from your meeting, business event or accommodation. Choose from our Standard, Executive or Premium services and you’ll be met at the airport by one of our friendly drivers and transported directly to wherever in the city or surrounds you need to go. Make your business trip to Paris seamless with Shuttle Direct.