Featuring the most famous street in Paris, this district is strongly linked to Napoleon’s rise and France’s dark years of revolution.
Wander the sprawling Avenue des Champs-Élysées surrounded by breathtaking architecture and boutique stores in the 8th Arrondissement. View an exquisite church styled like a Greek temple and visit the large square where many aristocrats were killed during the French Revolution.
Ride the metro to George V Station and stroll along the wide Champs-Élysées. Relax in the shade of leafy trees and shop at luxury stores selling fine garments and jewelry. Find a quiet café for a drink and continue on to the Arc de Triomphe at the street’s western end. Completed in 1836, the arch is 164 feet (50 meters) tall and decorated with battle scenes as tribute to Napoleon’s military successes as French emperor. Follow the underground passageway below busy traffic to reach the arch. Once here, admire the intricate carvings or pay to climb 40 steps to the top for panoramic city views.
Take the metro from Charles de Gaulle-Etoile Station near the arch or walk 30 minutes to the Place de la Concorde at the far end of the boulevard. Admire this large public space with statues and fountains. Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and other members of the ruling class were beheaded here during the Reign of Terror in the late 1700s. Today the guillotine has gone, replaced by the much more appealing Luxor Obelisk, located centrally in the square. More than 3,000 years old, it was a gift to France from Egypt in the early 1800s. On its base, note the graphics depicting its difficult transportation to the square.
Head to l’Église de la Madeleine just north. The façade of this church, consecrated in 1842, is decorated as an ancient Greek temple with tall columns supporting an angled roof. Step inside to see an interior of shining gold and smooth marble.
The 8th Arrondissement has hundreds of restaurants serving typical French dishes and delicious Asian food. Take the metro here from elsewhere in the city or stay at one of the many nearby hotels.