A tourist magnet, the 8th arrondissement in Paris is a must on every visitor’s itinerary, whether it’s to sample some of the capital’s finest restaurants, to amble down its most beautiful avenues taking in the designer boutiques, or simply to watch the ‘beau monde’ go by at a terrace. It’s even home to the French president...
So where is it?
Place de La Concorde © Flickr.com/eutouring
Of course there are all the obvious sights, one can’t miss, whether you like to shop, eat or just wander. The 8th stretches from Place de Clichy, down south to the Seine just beyond Place de la Concorde and across to the Pont de l’Alma, up the Avenue Marceau to the Arc de Triomphe with its northern border running along Boulevard de Courcelles and Boulevard des Batignolles. This encompasses the chic Montaigne shopping area, the Champs Elysees, but also the lively Ternes area between Avenue Wagram and Courcelles where embassies cohabit with locals and heaps of restaurants.
Avenue Montaigne © Flickr.com/84554176@N00
Shopping in the 8th demands a budget. Designer fiends should head to Avenue Montaigne and along the Champs Elysees for brands and high-end boutiques like Chanel, Céline and Dior. The Champs are slightly more accessible, if busy, and home to many flagship stores, from Banana Republic to Zara and locals Eric Bompard, Petit Bateau or Lacoste. Another stretch worth visiting is what lies between Gare St Lazare and Madeleine, around Rue Tronchet and of course, leading up to the famous ‘Grand Magasins’ like Printemps and Galleries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann.
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Jef Aérosol 2013 - "décalages" (Galerie Caplain-Matignon, Paris)
Within this privileged Parisian zone, don’t miss a trip to the Grand Palais. Built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900, it’s home to the biggest shows in town, under its famous ‘verriere’ glass roof, the largest in Europe. Across the road, the Petit Palais also holds its own, housing the City of Paris Museum of Fine Arts and hiding a lovely café to get away from the crowds. Hop across the Champs and beyond the Elysee Palace, where the area around Avenue Matignon is packed with high end galleries, perfect for Art afficionados with illimited means. Another gem in the 8th worth popping into? The Musee Jacqumart Andre on Haussmann which sees an Impressionist expo starting mid March and a much anticipated Rembrandt collection going on show in September.
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Where to eat?
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon/Facebook
With plenty of offices in the area, cafes and bistrots are a dime a dozen. You’ll be inundated with choice for quick meals from the likes of Exki, ‘sandwicheries’ or the many sushi bars. Happily, this patch also has more Michelin starred restaurants than you can shake a stick at. Well, sixteen in fact. The big, plush hotels like the Royal Monceau and its much loved ‘La Cuisine’ (and Il Carpaccio both are starred) or the Fouquet’s Diane are both excellent choices, and offer quick, affordable lunch menus for those in a hurry. Other big names, a walk away are L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon on the Champs, Lasserre on Ave Franklin Roosevelt, La Scene on Ave George V and newly starred Lucas Carton on Place de la Madeleine - amongst others. Spoiled for choice indeed.