Neighborhood Guides

The Best Things To Do in the Champs-Élysées Neighborhood 

Paris-based news correspondent and travel writer Tamara Thiessen brings us up-to-speed on the best things to do in the Champs-Élysées neighborhood.

Emily in Paris is just the latest screen hit to add to Paris’s allure. Sexy, stylish, charming, romantic, picturesque Paris. For centuries, the Ville Lumière has been glowing for those on and off film sets. Everyone gets to play the role of their dreams when in Paris. Particularly when staying on the most beautiful avenue in the world.

Sip, Shop & Stroll On The Champs Elysées

Named from Greek mythology, the “Elysian Fields” sweeps in the Élysée Palace, so you’re in good company here. And not just because of the President but the shops, the restaurants, cafés, and boutiques.

Royal gardener and Versailles creator, André Le Nôtre, created this strolling promenade par excellence in 1674. Later, in the 1860s, the gardened strip inherited elegant stone and wrought iron Haussmannien facades.

Make A Grande Dame Your Paris Home 

Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s and its landmark boulevard brasserie sit right among them at the heart of the 8th arrondissement’s Golden Triangle.

Fouquet’s people-watching terrasse wraps around the corner of the Champs-Elysées and Avenue George V under a red and gold awning. 

This classified historical monument loved by Hollywood celebrities is the spot to soak up its glamorous cinematic airs over a Pierre Gagnaire signed menu. The wood-paneled walls sport black-and-white photos of the stars. 

The hotel’s lush interiors by Jacques Garcia, spelled out in purple velvet, rich mahogany, quilted headboards, gold hues, fleur-de-lys wallpaper, and Louis XV style chaises longues, include a show-stopping curvy Art Deco reception desk with reflective glass pendants razzle dazzles the lobby.

Enjoy brunch in the plush library-like interiors of restaurant Le Joy or a glass of Veuve Clicquot in its charming interior garden, complete with snow domes and deers in winter. Then step out and discover these gems from my little Parisian address book. It’s what the French call bonnes adresses.

Bask In The Views From The Pont Alexandre III 

Head down to the Seine and across this opulent span of bronzed winged horses and golden cherubs. Inaugurated for the 1900 Exposition Universelle, it’s here the City of Light image came to life amid a glorious lineup of Art Nouveau lamp posts.

A famous Emily in Paris location, it’s been immortalized in many films, including Midnight in Paris

Wrap Yourself in Monet’s Water Lilies 

From here, many of Paris’s best museums are a hop, skip and jump away, including the dome-topped fine arts collections of the Petit Palais. (Its big brother, Grand Palais, is closed until 2024). 

Whatever’s on at the Musée de l’Orangerie, it’s worth it for immersion in Monet’s water lilies. For some art historians, Les Nymphéas — gifted by the artist as a peace symbol the day after the November 11, 1918 armistice — represents the world’s first art installation.

Go For a Twirl in the Tuileries Gardens 

Another Le Nôtre landscaping masterpiece, the formal pond and magnolia-filled Jardins des Tuileries, received its name after the old tile factories where Catherine de Medici built her palace. Where else can you enjoy an outdoor exhibition of Maillol, Rodin, and Giacometti statues? 

By the 2024 Summer Olympics, Paris plans to transform the entire 1.2 mile Avenue des Champs-Elysées into an “extraordinary garden” — so back to its green roots. 

Indulge in Perfumes and Pastries 

The window displays of the avenue’s famous perfumeries and pâtisseries will draw you in. From the “haute pâtisserie” creations and art form chocolate box coffrets of  Pierre Hermé to the pistachio macaron shaded awnings of Ladurée’s boutique with its lavish chandelier strung salon du thé

Olfactory and design heaven is the Champs-Élysées store of Maison Guerlain. My preferred French parfumerie of exotic, travel-inspired scents, American architect Peter Marino fittingly transformed it into an enchanting “cabinet of curiosities” dedicated to art, artists, and artisans. 

Take in an Architectural Triumph By Night 

Before you bed down for the night, head up to the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (this is its name in full) for a wow, wow, wow experience.

Honoring those who died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the monument lies at a star-shaped confluence of 12 avenues. Anyone taking in its beauty will want to cry passionately, “Vive la France!”