SIDE OF THE SEINE: RIGHT BANK
One of the wealthiest arrondissements of Paris, the allure of the 8th is irrefutable. The tree lined streets of the Champs-Élysées will dazzle you in ways you didn't know you could be dazzled." Observe impeccably dressed Parisians step into and out of designer boutiques juxtaposed to, well, touristy-dressed tourists.
You may have heard that some visitors consider the 8th to be overrated and not worth your time, but it's all about perspective and personal preference. Though you may not spend the majority of your time in the 8th, it is certainly worth visiting and exploring. I absolutely love walking through Parc Monceau in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand.
As the Champs-Élysées can understandably become inundated with crowds, I prefer to do my shopping on other trendy streets in arrondissements further away. And as wonderful as it would be to eat at a 3-Michelin-star restaurant every night, you can still get fantastic food and a lovely atmosphere if you stray further away from the main boulevards. Still, if it is your first visit to Paris, you must take a trip to this magnificent area.
SHOULD I STAY HERE?
Depending on your budget and whether or not your inclinations lie toward the posh and luxurious, the 8th may or may not be your cup of tea. Luxury apartments and hotels abound here, so you can gather that it can be quite expensive. If you're able to afford it, the 8th is a wonderful, centralized arrondissement to stay in. If it doesn't lie within your budget but does lie within your preferences, you can always settle in a nearby arrondissement and take the metro or an uber to the 8th for a full day of shopping and fine dining.
- Champs-Élysées: This street will not only dazzle you metaphorically-- at night, the lights of the cars that occupy either side of the street dazzle like rubies and diamonds. The northern part of the boulevard, closer to the Arc de Triomphe, hold a multitude of designer boutiques, chain stores, and malls, while the southern end holds an array of restaurants, cafés, and bars.
- Arc de Triomphe: I don't know how drivers do it, but the roundabout surrounding the Arc de Triomphe, the busiest intersection in Paris, is a hectic cacophony of honking horns and tires screeching to a halt. My brother-in-law finds it an amusing way to pass the time and once went around the arc three or four times in a row for the fun of it. The fun of it is beyond me. My niece and nephew once ran across the intersection to get to the Arc de Triomphe for the fun of it. Again, the fun of it is beyond me. Seeing as I have some semblance of sanity, I suggest you access the tunnel that lies on the north end of the Champs-Élysées rather than sacrifice yourself to the madness above. Once you reach the Arc, you can ascend the stairs to the top for sublime views of the city.
- Parc Monceau: Surrounded by mansions, Parc Monceau has been the setting for scenes in a number of films and couture fashion commercials. Walk along the path aside locals, joggers, and nannies pushing posh babies in designer strollers in this scrupulously maintained park that offers a moment of peace away from the stress of the city.