Top 5 things to do around the Champs-Elysées
The Champs-Élysées is the emblematic home of French elegance, housing Michelin-starred restaurants, cultural exhibitions, and luxury brands in a setting straight out of a postcard.Highstay presents five of our favorite activities, giving you an overview of what the world’s most beautiful avenue and its surroundings have to offer.
The Arc de Triomphe: more than a national symbol
At the end of the Champs-Élysées sits one of the symbols of France: the Arc de Triomphe. Erected as a monument to the glory of the army on orders of Napoleon I, the monumental arch is modeled after the ancient constructions of the Roman Empire but takes liberties with the design, reinventing it. A witness to historical and cultural events, the Arc is also the stage for artistic performances. In 2021 example, it was entirely covered in twenty-five thousand square meters of silver fabric for an ephemeral work of art imagined by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
Climb atop the esplanade and enjoy a panoramic view embracing the entire city. Beneath the richly decorated archways with depictions of France’s military history lies the tomb of the unknown soldier, where an eternal flame has burned for over a century.
You may witness a rare natural spectacle: the sun rising or setting as it passes through the arches. This phenomenon only occurs during ten days of the year and offers a sublime surrounding for the lucky few. In any case, be sure to admire the monument at nightfall when it is majestically illuminated.
The Dior Gallery, an immersion into the world of haute couture
In 1946, a superstitious couturier asked a fortune teller about his professional future: should he agree to open a fashion house bearing his name? The cards were clear, and a few months later, the first haute couture show by Christian Dior took place, making him an instant legend. The famous fashion house has since left its mark on many fields, from perfume to jewelry, and you can now follow a retrospective of all of its creations at la Galerie Dior.
A visit to this museum is an ideal opportunity to stroll down the no less prestigious avenue Montaigne where all of the big luxury brands are gathered: Versace, Chanel, Vuitton, or Yves Saint Laurent, without forgetting the historical boutique of the House of Dior. Your steps will guide you to the Pont de l’Alma, a bridge offering a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower.
The Grand Palais, a typically Parisian style of architecture
With its distinctive shape and tricolor flag planted atop its imposing glass roof, the Grand Palais is one of the most immediately recognizable buildings in the city. Built for the occasion of the 1900 World’s Fair, it was nearly demolished to make way for a building designed by Le Corbusier.
Today the Grand Palais is a listed historical monument welcoming two million visitors per year underneath sixteen thousand square meters of glass. Many large-scale conferences are organized in its nave, while well-known artists are exhibited in the national galleries.
Located just steps from the Champs-Élysées, it’s a necessary detour for architectural enthusiasts, and the sight of it leaves no one indifferent. A few blocks away, the Place de la Concorde and its ancient obelisk marking the beginning of the avenue will complete your walk.
The hôtel national des Invalides, an extraordinary site
From the Grand Palais, take the Pont Alexandre III. Named to celebrate the friendship between the Russian and French people, it’s one of Paris’ most beautiful bridges. It will lead you to the esplanade where you can admire another emblematic dome of the City of Light: the Hôtel des Invalides.
You will have the opportunity to greet Rodin’s famous Thinker in the garden of the museum named after him located right next to the Invalides, which itself houses the Museum of the Army and two churches. Under the sumptuous dome lies Napoleon’s tomb in a crypt decorated with marble bas-reliefs, offering a breathtaking spectacle.
The Cabaret: the quintessential art of Burlesque
You can find legendary addresses on the Champs-Élysées, such as le Fouquet’s –where the prestigious Nuit des Molières takes place– or l’Alléno Paris, a famous restaurant awarded with three stars in the Michelin Guide.
However, Cabaret is a must-see event for a sensual moment emblematic of Parisian nights. The Crazy Horse counts among the most legendary establishments in this domain. Before booking your seat, opt for an exclusive backstage tour before the show and experience this glamorous and unique moment to its fullest potential.
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