8th: Opera, Champs Elysees
Paris - 8th Arrondissement
The Paris 8th very popular with Right Bank visitors in the City of Light and standing on the famous boulevard Champs Elysées will surely bring a thrill. The most exclusive retail real estate in the world is surrounded by famous monuments and museums, so consider a stop at a sidewalk café to recharge and take-in some people-watching before a nice long walk.
Start at the top of the Champs Elysées and work your way down to conserve energy, which means starting at the Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile. Hike to the top of Napoleon's arch (the world's largest of its kind) and your reward is one of the most beautiful panoramic views over Paris—a true shutterbug's delight! If you're a couture and luxury brand shopper, make a detour on your left to the Golden Triangle at avenue Montaigne, where you'll find Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Bulgari, Chanel, Hugo Boss and countless upscale boutiques ready to welcome you. If you keep walking down to the Seine, you'll see the Flame of Liberty near Pont d'Alma, better known today as "Diana's Flame" to some in honor of Princess Diana, who perished in the tunnel below the monument.
Make your way back to the Champs Elysées and move down the sloping boulevard. The boulevard is lined with many well-known brands, including C42, the Citroën showroom with concept cars displayed. Ladurée has divine macarons perfect for dine in or take-away, and internationally known retailers, like the Marks & Spencer store that opened in late November 2011. If you wish, stop at #127, the Office de Tourisme de Paris. During peak tourism season, typically May through October, hosts can give you tourist advice and brochures to help plan your visit.
As you pass, note the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais and the cluster of trees before the American Embassy (sorry, no tours and guards before the property will ask you to refrain from taking photos) and soon you'll be at Place de la Concorde at the bottom of the boulevard near the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon. Some say this wide open expanse, the widest square in Paris, has the best street level view of Paris and we won't argue. If you're a Tour de France fan, you'll recognize this view, with cyclists racing around the Corcorde Fountain on their dash up to the Arc de Triomphe. This is where the infamous guillotine drew mobs during the French Revolution, and it is here Marie-Antoinette met her fate. The Luxor Obelisk stands now on that spot, which once marked the entry to the Ammom Temple in Luxor, Egypt and a gift to France in the mid-19th century.
If you're a shopper, continue on rue Saint-Honoré, another exclusive shopping street with brands such as Hermès, Lanvin, YSL, Versace, and many more.
Should culture be on your mind, the Paris 8th is rich with options, such as: Jeu de Paume, Musée Jacquemart-André, Musée du Petit Palais, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Musée Nissim de Camondo, Chapelle Expiatoire, and La Madeleine, where you might catch a classical concert or chorale performance.
Destinations in the 8th: Opera, Champs Elysees
The Arc de Triomphe (The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) stands like a five-star general in the middle of Place Charles de Gaulle on the Right Bank, with 12 streets extending outward; the Champs-Elysées being the most notable.
This chapel is constructed on the cemetery where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette were first buried after being guillotined in 1793.
Some of the best temporary exhibitions are on display at the Grand Palais. This wondrous example of Beaux-Arts architecture was built for the 1900 World’s Fair where the Eiffel Tower was also debuted. It spans an area of 775,000 square feet in the form of an 'H'. Listed as a historic monument, it is easily recognizable thanks to its glass roof which is the largest in Europe.
In 1991, the French government finished its renovation of the Jeu de Paume, renaming it the Galerie Nationale de l’Image. Its new purpose was to showcase the history of photography, videos, and art in multimedia formats. The change was to provide a prestigious venue for photography and related arts by centralizing the photographic archives. The museum displays numerous works of photography and video, mounting exhibits by notables such as Hungarian photographer André Kertész, 19th century French photographer Camille Silvy, and the American legend, Richard Avedon.
(Obélisque de Louxor)
The Luxor Obelisk was installed in 1836 at Place de la Concorde. A gift from the Viceroy of Egypt, it is one of a pair of obelisks that had adorned the entrance to the temple of Luxor. Its twin still marks the entrance to the temple.
This pink granite monument, measures 75 feet (23 meters) in height and weighs 280 tons (250 metric tons), was erected using what was then state-of-the-art elevating machinery.
The Museum of Discovery is a great place to take the kids to look at exhibitions on phenomena of the natural world such as electromagnetism, chemistry, astronomy, the human body, biology and geosciences. The kids will enjoy the interactive activities the museum as to offer, but if you don’t speak French, it might be difficult to learn from the exhibitions as most do not have English translations. Located close to the Champs Elysées, the Palais de la Decouvert is situated conveniently for the tourist, so drop by while you’re doing a bit of discovering in Paris.
Like the Grand Palais opposite, the Petit Palais is a museum built for the 1900 World’s Fair and is home to Musée des beaux-arts de la ville de Paris (Museum of Fine Arts for the City of Paris).
Don’t forget to bring your camera when you come to Place de la Madeleine. From its front stairs you can take one of the classic panoramas of Paris down the Rue Royale with the Place de la Concorde and the Egyptian Luxor Obelisk (Obélisque de Louxor) in the background.