The 8th Arrondissement of Paris is one of its most quaint districts, and it makes the perfect base for a stay in the city of love. Here are 8 things to do in the 8th.
1. A weekend (or more) at Hotel Du Collectionneur
Part of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts group, Hotel du Collectionneur is a five-star Art Deco hotel that transports you right back to the 1930s with its decor and charm. Designed by Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann for the 1925 Paris Universal Exhibition, the hotel pays tribute to the bankers and industrialists of France’s Second Empire, and has the feel of being on a luxury liner of yore. Situated within walking distance of the Arc de Triomphe and the famed Champs-Élysées, it is the ideal base from which to explore the highlights of Paris.
2. Dinner at Lino Ristorante
A few strides away from the hotel is this quaint little bistro. Low-lit and cosy inside, the service and food are equal parts incredible. Serving up Italian pizza, pasta and other specials, you won’t be disappointed no matter what you order.
+33 1 40 54 98 26
3. Stroll along the Champs-Élysées
The famed Avenue des Champs-Élysées, which is 1.9km long and 70m wide, is regarded as one of the most picturesque views in the city. It links the grand Arc de Triomphe at one end to the Place de la Concorde on the other, and in between you’ll find an array of high-end boutiques, various restaurants and bistros, and architecture and scenery that will delight the eyes.
4. Visit the Arc De Triomphe
Towering over the city at 50m high, the Arc De Triomphe was originally built between 1806 and 1836, to honour those who fought for France, in particular those who fought during the Napoleonic Wars. With its neoclassic design, intricately carved sculptures and sheer size, it’s a sight to behold and, if you’re up for it, you can pay to take a tour right to the top for a view of Paris unlike any other.
5. Cruise down the Seine
Experience the inner city by boat with a cruise down the Seine with Bateaux Parisiens. A boat trip is a great way to take in the sights, gliding down the river beneath the city’s bridges and passing some of its most famous sights (like the Grand Palais and Notre-Dame de Paris), with detailed commentary available via audio in 14 languages.
6. Picnic in the park
Established in 1778, Parc Monceau was created as a public park with ‘the intention to surprise and amaze visitors’, which it absolutely delivers on. Covering an area of 8.2 hectares, there is plenty of room to lay down a picnic blanket and set up ‘camp’ for the day. With various play areas, streams, bridges, sculptures and kiosks, there’s lots to see and do. Grab a baguette, some cheese and a bottle of red, and enjoy some people watching (as you do in Paris). The park has nine different entrances and is open daily from sunrise to sunset, with extended hours in summer.
7. Experience the Grand Palais
Highly regarded as one of the best sites in Paris, the Grand Palais was originally built in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle. Its large glass dome makes it instantly identifiable and it has been recognised as a historical monument since 2000. Hosting various events, shows and exhibitions – from horse-riding to art exhibitions showcasing Picasso and Hopper – it is a must-visit, even if just to admire the magnificence of its beautiful glass, stone and steel façade.
8. Lust over Louis
Even if you may not be able to afford anything, Louis Vuitton’s flagship store is still worth ‘sightseeing’. The largest of its kind at 1 800sqm, it truly is a tourist attraction, as throngs of visitors flock to it each day. You may need to queue to get a glimpse of the luxury goods, but if fashion is your thing, you’ll find this experience worth the wait.
Getting there: Air France offers daily flights from Johannesburg to Paris, on an Airbus A380 or Boeing 777. There are three direct flights available per week from Cape Town to Paris on JOON, a subsidiary airline of Air France. Within France, Air France flies to 25 cities from Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports.