If you are looking for quintessential luxury, the 8eme arrondissement in Paris may be your best bet. Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent Paris, and Prada are all located in the neighborhood.
But there is a lot more to the 8th arrondissement than just expensive shops. With the Champs Elysées being part of the Axe historique de Paris, the history of the city can be traced around this area.
Located on the Right bank, this district of Paris is one that is a must for any visitor to the City of Lights. So let’s explore what there is to do in the 8th arrondissement, shall we? Allons-y!
What to see: Top Attractions
1. Avenue des Champs Elysées
Today the Champs Elysées may be a famous shopping street, but it has also historically been the street that has seen the conquering armies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Prussians, Hitler, and the Allied army parade celebrations at the end of WWII.
At one end of the Champs-Elysées is the famous Arc de Triomphe. One of the best views of the Champs-Élysées, look out and imagine the armies of conquering soldiers that have walked through the Arc.
At the base of the Arc de Triomphe is the tomb of the unknown soldier and the eternal flame.
The Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysées, as well as a 2nd one that is standing in front of the Louvre, were both commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806 to commemorate his victories.
His defeat by the British meant that he never saw it finished. It was finally completed in 1836, and become a rallying point for both French and foreign armies.
If you would like to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, I recommend buying your tickets in advance as lines can be long.
2. Place de la Concorde
On the other end of the 8th arrondissement near the Louvre Museum and the Rue de Rivoli is the Place de la Concorde. It is where Marie-Antoinette, King Louis XVI and other members of French nobility had their heads guillotined during the French Revolution.
Some of the stones from the prison at Bastille were used to build to the Pont de la Concorde that leads from the Place de la Concorde to the Assemblée Nationale (France’s House of Representatives) which is in the 7th arrondissement.
If you are interested in is era, follow my self-guided walking Revolution tour. These days, the Place de la Concorde is a giant roundabout, with a fountain in the middle and the American Embassy next to it.
3. Palais de l’Elysées
Nearby is also the official residence of the President of France, the Palais de l’Elysées. However, Journée du Patrimoine, is the only day of the year that it is open, for security reasons.
If you do happen to be in Paris in September, do visit inside if you can. Entry is free and you can explore the famous Cour d’honneur, the President’s office, and much much more. You can read more about my visit(s) to the Palais de l’Elysée here.
4. Grand Palais
Located on Avenue Winston Churchill just off the Champs Elysées, is the Grand Palais that was originally built for the 1900 Exposition Universelle.
The Grand Palais is an exhibition hall and is famous as the place where Chanel usually presents its fashion show défilé. In wintertime, it bills itself as the world’s largest indoor ice rink, lit up under an incredible glass roof.
4. Petit Palais
Directly across the Grand Palais, is the Petit Palais. It is a small art museum which holds a collection of medieval paintings as well as more recent works from the likes of famous artists like Rembrandt, Rubens, Delacroix, Monet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Modigliani, Rodin and more.
The permanent exhibits of the Petit Palais are free, and there is a lovely little café on the inside with a terrace to enjoy in good weather. There are also usually temporary exhibitions which do require paid tickets. You can find more free museums in Paris here.
6. Musée Cernuschi (Asian arts)
If you are looking for something different, head to the City of Paris’s Museum of Asian arts, called Musée Cernuschi. It is located in the 8th arrondissement near beautiful Parc Monceau.
The museum was founded in 1898 by Henri Cernuschi, a French-Italian banker and former politician. He began to collect Asian art, and the collection now sits in the mansion that used to be his home. It is considered the 2nd-oldest Asian art museum in France, and the 5th-oldest Chinese art museum in Europe.
7. Église de la Madeleine
Located in the 8th arrondissement, the Church of Saint-Marie-Madeleine and is usually called La Madeleine. It is a Catholic parish church in Paris devoted to Mary Magdalene and the surrounding square it sits on is also called Place Madeleine.
It was originally planned by Louis XV to lead towards the new Place Louis XV, (now Place de la Concorde where the French royals were beheaded). Napoleon Bonaparte had it redesigned in the Neoclassical style with Greek pillars to become a monument to the glory of his armies.
However, after his downfall in 1814, it continued construction as a church and was completed in 1844.
Avenue de Champs Elysées
Most locals don’t usually head to the Champs Elysées to shop, since it can get rather crowded, but if you are looking for a place to see the flagship store of a particular brand, the Champs Elysées is your best bet.
From Lacoste to Tissot, you have your pick. There’s something for everyone, from Nike to Bulgari. With plenty of cafés around, it is also a lovely place to sit around and people-watch.
And if you are a football fan, check out the Paris Saint Germain football team’s souvenir shop that is on the Champs, right near the movie theatre.
Avenue Montaigne and the Triangle d’Or
If you are looking at the French high-end boutiques such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, they are actually just off of the Champs-Elysées on Avenue Montaigne.
This somewhat unassuming quiet street is all the luxury shops like Givenchy and Prada are located.
This area is called the Triangle d’Or because of all the high-end boutiques located in this area. The triangle is formed by Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V and Rue Francois 1er, which is just across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.
Be sure to have your car and driver on standby however, to carry all those packages!
What to eat: Restaurants, Brasseries, and Bistros
As you can imagine, there are a lot of wonderful haut de gamme restaurants in the 8th arrondissement. Some local favorites are:
- Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen – in the Champs Elysées Gardens at 8 avenue Dutuit, 75008 Paris
- Pierre Gagnaire – Hôtel Balzac at 6, rue Balzac, 75008 Paris
- Il Carpaccio – Hotel Le Royal Monceau at 37 Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris
You can find more ideas and ways of spending an evening in Paris here.
Bars and Nightlife
If you are looking for luxury and a more sophisticated clientele, you cannot go wrong with the bars and restaurants on the West end. Dress appropriately and bring your wallet. Some local favorites are:
- Buddha Bar (upscale restaurant and bar) – 8-12 Rue Boissy d’Anglas, 75008 Paris
- Gigi Maison Blanche (rooftop panoramic restaurant and bar) – 15 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris
- Verde by Yeeels (upscale bar and restaurant) – 24 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris
You can find more bars and nightlife options around Paris here.
Where to stay: Hotels and other accommodation
For luxury and the haut de gamme on the Right Bank, you can’t go wrong with the 8eme arrondissement. Some recommended hotels in the area are:
- €€€€ – Hotel Le Marianne
- €€€€€ – Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris
- €€€€€ – Hotel de Crillon
You can find more accommodation options for the 8th arrondissement here.
If you enjoyed that article, you may like to read more about the nearby 9th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements. A bientôt!