Spring is fast approaching and many of you are planning a visit to Paris. So picking up from my tour of the city’s arrondissements, today I grab your hand and guide you around the 8th.
Many Parisians go to work in the 8th arrondissement. Avenues like Hoche, Friedland, Haussmann are home to national and international companies, their spacious offices tucked away safely inside the tall imposing Haussmannian buildings.
Before I was married I worked for several years on the avenue Hoche, and remember clearly the sweeping staircase and sky-high ceilings of our elegant offices. The bonus at lunch time was being just next door to Parc Monceau, filled with pink blossom in the spring, and an ideal place to sit with a book and a sandwich on my lunch break.
To the visitor however, the 8th is often an obligatory port of call. The Champs Elysees, at the heart of the so called golden triangle, leads from the Arc de Triomphe, down to the Place de la Concorde, passing by the Grand and Petit Palais art museums.
If you are looking for a more charming museum then visit the Jaquemart André, an imposing building, dating from 1875, when it was a private home. Today it’s an art museum but still within the original home, and the trip back in time to late 19th century Paris is fascinating.
This arrondissement has to have the highest density of prestigious palace hotels: the George V; the Crillon that will re-open 2016 after renovation; the Royal Monceau; the Plaza Athenée; and the Hotel Bristol are all within walking distance of the Champs Elysees .
If you don’t need palace service and you like a smaller hotel, then you’ll probably enjoy the Francois 1er, where the service is excellent and the rooms very chic.
But the 8th is much more than just the Champs Elysees and I’d encourage you to stay off the main avenue, and instead get involved in a more authentic side to this city hub.
First of all, dining. If rubbing shoulders with celebrities and politicians is your thing, then head for Le Fouquets. Personally I prefer the charm of the very Parisian little bistro, chez André , where tables are packed in side by side, service is rapid and sometimes brusque, but where you really know you are in Paris.
And if you want something a little more chic, and upmarket, then head for Le Chiberta and taste the cuisine of the famous chef Guy Savoy, or to the legendary Boeuf sur le Toit, for good food and jazz music.
For a taste of chic french patisserie and a choice of perfect gifts to take home with you in the plane, head down to Fauchon on the place Madeleine. While you are there, be sure to visit the huge imposing la Madeleine church in the centre of the square. Besides being a place of worship, it is also a magnificent venue for concerts which take place several times each week.
The fashionistas among you will love the rue St Honoré where they can shop until they drop, and if you are clever enough to know anyone who is a member of the Club Interallié, then be sure to get yourself invited for tea – one of the most divine havens in the city centre, and a lo-o-ong waiting list for club membership.
Voilà for today, I’ll see you soon in the 9th!
If you missed them, here are my step-by-steps around the other arrondissements so far: