MT Business Travel: Frequent Flyer - Chris Pinnington's guide to Paris

HOW TO GET THERE - Even with the dawn of Eurostar, I prefer to fly with BA from Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle. It's slightly faster and normally on time, and you can enjoy a drink and arrive with more time to spend in the city. AIRPORT TO TOWN - By taxi ... and I order one if arriving at peak time, to avoid horrendous queues. It's about 45 minutes to central Paris.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

BEST HOTEL - The Saint James Paris 1 (43, avenue Bugeaud, +1 44 05 81 81) is wonderful. It's a glorious historic building approached by a sweeping drive and with heavenly, spacious rooms. It's a five-minute jog to the Bois de Boulogne, where you can run for miles alongside lakes, finishing on the Champs Elysees. I manage this only occasionally, but when I do, whatever happens in the day becomes bearable

BEST ROOM - Room 305, first floor at the Saint James. Unlike many French hotel rooms, it's airy, light and huge.

BEST BUSINESS RESTAURANT - Paris is overflowing with terrific restaurants to satisfy even the most particular palette or occasion. My favourites include Georges at the top of the Centre Georges Pompidou 2 (place Beaubourg, +1 44 7812 33), with great views and a lively atmosphere. For privacy, La Maison Blanche 3 (15, avenue Montaigne, +1 47 23 55 99) has good views and food, and well-spaced tables, allowing detailed business discussion.

Ask for a window table. Restaurant Helene Darroze 4 (4, rue d'Assas, +1 42 22 00 11) is great. The top female chef in Paris, Darroze has created a good balance of traditional-meets-chic. It also has a large private table available. L'Ami-Louis 5 (32, rue du Vertbois, +1 48 87 77 48), a small, cramped but unbelievably traditional French brasserie, is a good place to take locals. The red tables and warm reception make it down-to-earth and inviting. If you fancy la creme de la creme, try Le Stresa - London's Ivy 6 (7, rue Chambiges, +1 47 23 51 62). It's where you can find yourself lunching next to Tom Cruise or Bill Gates.

BEST BARS - After busy meetings, finding a good bar can be the essential ingredient to a successful trip. From an aesthetic standpoint, try Le Andy Whaloo 7 (69, rue des Gravilliers) in the fashionable Marais, opened by Momo from Momo's and Sketch in London. The bar at the Hotel Prince de Galles 8 (33, avenue George V) also fits the aesthetics bill, as it boasts the best flower display in Paris (and serves a great brunch). The Ritz 9 (15, place Vendome) remains a traditional top venue for business drinks, but the bar at the Plaza Athenee 10 (25, avenue Montaigne) is fashionable at the moment. A personal favourite is the Sir Winston bar 11 (5, rue de Presbourg) for its cosy atmosphere.

A FEW HOURS TO KILL? - I'm a true jazz lover and Paris is full of great clubs. Make your way to one of my favourites, Castel 12 (15, rue Princesse). Castel is totally, utterly and completely French. They have dreamlike jazz in a small smoky room downstairs, where the beat is as likely to be taken up by a member of the audience with a beer bottle as a musician with a real instrument.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE - The appreciation of good food is, of course, important to French culture and business. Most Anglo-Saxons are not perceived as sharing this interest, but if you do, it will count heavily in your favour. Food choices that will help include foie gras, magret de canard and andouillette.

And if you like your meat well done, don't order meat. I most enjoy the French business lunch. A formal and important event, it's the time for relationship-building and establishing contacts (and where much true 'business' takes place). Plan at least two or three hours and don't say: 'I have to rush back to the office.' Also, even if you aren't up for a drink, always accept a glass of wine (you'd be amazed how long slow sipping will last you). And save the business conversation for dessert. A final word to the wise: don't cut your lettuce or order ketchup. These crimes can never be undone!

SECRETS OF THE JET SET - Wherever you go on business, allow yourself two hours to enjoy the city by yourself. I manage this on only one out of 10 trips, but these are the ones I remember most fondly.

Chris Pinnington is chief executive of Euro RSCG Worldwide UK.

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