Last Updated on 23rd November 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
The 8th arrondissement of Paris is synonymous with chic and is best-known as being home to the Arc de Triomphe, as well as the iconic shopping street of the Champs Élysées. One of twenty Parisian districts, this part of the city is located on the Right Bank of the River Seine to the West of Paris. Here’s your guide to the very best things to do in the 8th arrondissement…
Climb the Arc de Triomphe
I’ve said it countless times before, and no doubt I’ll say it again: the best view in Paris is not from the top of the Eiffel Tower. Instead, depending on your personal preference, some of the best views of Paris can be found in Montmartre, at the top of Tour Montparnasse, and from the rooftop terrace of Galeries Lafayette.
If you’re looking for a classic view of the city, then that of the Arc de Triomphe is easily the best the French view the capital has to offer as it’s from here where you can best snap photos of the Eiffel Tower. Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, the Emperor of the time wanted to honour the French army with a great memorial. Purchase your Arc de Triomphe tickets here in advance.
Read more: Tips for going up the Arc de Triomphe
Wander along the Avenue des Champs Elysées
The most famous shopping street in the world can be found in Paris in the form of the Champs Élysées. Translated into English as the ‘Elysian Fields,’ of all the things to do in the 8th arrondissement of the city, a wander along the avenue is a bucket-list must.
Over a mile long and home to countless shops, it’s here where the military parade on Bastille Day is held, and where the Arc de Triomphe can be located. To the other end of the avenue, you’ll soon discover the sprawling Jardin des Tuileries, Paris’ answer to New York’s Central Park.
Read more: Paris bucket list!
Visit Parc Monceau
Parc Monceau is the secret green space of the 8e arrondissement. After all, unlike London where large public parks are abundant, Paris instead is home to plenty of smaller public areas. One stroll around Parc Monceau will guarantee a glimpse into what 18th-century follies and pleasure gardens might have been like.
Commissioned by the fabulously wealthy Duke of Orleans, cousin of Louis XVI, in the 1700s, today the park is the perfect place to escape the busy crowds of the city, or simply enjoy a Parisian picnic. Head to the park for yourself and you’ll discover tiny follies, meandering waterways, and lots of elegant bridges.
Spy the Pagoda Paris
Wedged between several typically Haussmannian buildings, Pagoda Paris is an architectural masterpiece and was constructed in the early 1900s by a wealthy businessman who wished to live near Parc Monceau, but who also wanted a piece of his roots with him.
Read more: Pagoda Paris
Marvel at Musée Jacquemart-André
Hard to believe that this beautiful museum was ever a family home, the private museum of Jacquemart-André first opened its doors to the public in 1913. Located at 158 Boulevard Haussmann, the museum features an impressive selection of French furniture, as well as a collection of Italian Renaissance art to rival those of museums in Italy.
Some of the best things to do in this former museum include admiring French Renaissance furniture, ascending several beautiful marble staircases, and soaking up some truly fine Italian art. Works of art of note include pieces by Pietro Perugino, Botticini, and Bellini. In more recent years, the banquet scene in the 2002 film, the Count of Monte Cristo, was filmed in a replica of the museum’s downstairs salon.
Read more: 57 offbeat & unusual things to do in Paris
Visit the Armenian Church in Paris
Constructed in the early 20th-century, the Armenian Cathedral in Paris can be found just steps away from the hustle and bustle of the Champs Élysées. Built by a wealthy businessman for an eye-watering sum of some 1.5 million francs, today the church is a beautiful example of carved stonemasonry.
Read more: Visiting the Armenian Church in Paris
Located along Rue Jean-Goujon, not far from the Armenian Cathedral in Paris, Notre Dame de Consolation was designed by the same architect as the Armenian Church and is a poignant memorial to one of the worst fire tragedies of the Belle Epoque era. During the late 1800s, a market selling trinkets was held by the wealthiest Parisians to raise money for those less fortunate.
However, as a result of a combination of incredibly flammable film and wooden nature of the event hall, tragedy struck and the event soon became enveloped in flames. Over one hundred people lost their lives that day, leading to the beginnings of fire safety regulations in France. Today, the chapel holds a memorial each year by way of remembrance of the terrible accident.
Enjoy art in the Petit Palais & Grand Palais
Located steps away from the most beautiful bridge in the world, Pont Alexandre III, the beautifully appointed buildings of the Grand Palais and Petit Palais are a wonderful destination to spend a rainy day. All gilt door frames and extravagant architecture, the two palaces hold events and art exhibitions all throughout the year. In the winter, the Grand Palais even often hosts an indoor skating rink!
Stroll through Le Village Royal
Once upon the space where Le Village now occupies would have been home to a building which housed Louis XIII’s royal guard, i.e. the musketeers (such as d’Artagnan). Today, one of the best places to enjoy the Christmas lights in Paris during the end of the year is by heading to Le Village Royal, steps away from Église de la Madeleine. The pedestrian-only shopping courtyard is filled with boutique shops and luxury brands.
Discover the covered passages of Paris
Once upon a time, some a hundred and fifty covered passages were to be found across the city. Today, only a handful survive and are largely concentrated in the 1st, 2nd, 9th, and 10th arrondissements of the city. However, look hard enough in the 8th arrondissement and you’ll soon discover that there are two shopping arcades remaining there too.
The first of these is Galerie de la Madeleine, which is named for the nearby square and church. Constructed in the 19th-century, today, the covered passage remains home to a series of boutique stores and food vendors. When entering Galerie de la Madeleine, be sure to check out the ornate cariatydes which flank either side of the entryway.
The other passage of the 8th arrondissement is that of Passage Puteaux. Opened to the public in 1839, the walkway measures just 29 metres and is named for the passage’s financer, Louis Puteaux. Secret and away from the crowds that inevitably flock to the rest of the 8th arrondissement, the commercial aspect of Passage Puteaux soon failed, though the arcade itself is still in existence.
Step inside L’Église de la Madeleine
If you’re looking for one of the most beautiful churches in Paris, then you need to look no further than that of Madeleine. Dominating the surrounding area, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you spy the Corinthian columns and grand rooftop. The church dates all the way back to the early 1800s and was actually designed in the Neo-Classical style to honour ‘the glory of Napoleon’s army’.
Walk across Pont Alexandre III
Nearby, spanning the River Seine, you’ll find the golden bridge of Pont Alexandre III. Often said to be ‘the most beautiful bridge in the world‘, the structure Alexandre III was built at the end of the 19th-Century and has continued to wow locals and visitors alike since its completion in 1900.
Named after Tsar Alexander III (who had formed a strong alliance with the French just a few years prior), it’s easily one of the best places to watch the sunset in Paris. From the bridge, it’s also possible to see several Parisian monuments, including Les Invalides, and the Eiffel Tower.
Read more: Where to see the sunset in Paris
Visit Place de la Concorde
Situated on the fringes of Jardin des Tuileries, the largest public squares in Paris is that of Place de la Concorde. One major highlight of this spot is an Obelisk which once stood at the entrance of the Luxor Temple in Egypt. Dating back to at least 1000 BCE, it has stood in the heart of Place de la Concorde since 1836.
Elsewhere in the public space, there are several fountains, including one built during the reign of Louis Philippe in the mid-19th-century. The square is best visited at sunset when the golden hour presents the light at its best and it’s worth noting that the Ferris Wheel presents a great viewpoint from which to snap the Tour Eiffel.
Read more: Ultimate Paris Bucket List
Where to stay in the 8th arrondissement
Home to plenty of luxury brands and stores, this area of Paris tends to err on the pricier side of things. However, for those who wish to get a true taste of the luxurious side of Paris, a stay in the 8th will guarantee all of this and more (as well as easy access to numerous museums, views of the Eiffel Tower, and, of course, the Arc de Triomphe).
Hotel Montaigne, 6 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris
Well-reviewed, this five-star hotel is equipped with all the luxuries you could ever want during your stay in Paris. Located along Avenue Montaigne, Hotel Montaigne features interiors designed by the world-famous designer, Pierre-Yves Rochon. Check prices and availability here.
Plaza Athénée, 25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris
The beautifully appointed rooms of Plaza Athenee can be found along Avenue Montaigne (i.e. where all of the designer shops are located). Featuring rooms with balconies which offer splendid views of the Eiffel Tower, this hotel is a true honeymoon destination. Check prices and availability here.
Hotel Le Royal Monceau Raffles, 37 Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris
Located right next to Parc Monceau, this accommodation is situated in a slightly more residential part of the 8th arrondissement. Luxurious inside, Le Royal Monceau is rated as a five-star hotel. Check prices and availability here.
Hotel Lancaster, 7 Rue de Berri, 75008 Paris
Situated within a 19th-century former mansion, today the five-star hotel sits on Rue de Berri, not far from the Champs Élysées and just steps away from the Arc de Triomphe. Amenities of this 8th arrondissement luxury accommodation include a bar, fitness centre, and spa. Check prices and availability here.