Champs Elysee Walk, Paris (Self Guided)

On this self guided walk you will witness the grandeur of the 8th arrondissement of the French capital, one of its busiest and chic neighborhoods, thanks to the presence of Avenue des Champs Elysées, Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. If shine and glamour are up to your liking, we invite you to take this walk in a mixed crowd of fashionistas, tourists and local workers, and see some of Paris' most prominent attractions.
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Champs Elysee Walk Map

Guide Name: Champs Elysee Walk
Guide Location: France » Paris (See other walking tours in Paris)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km
Author: karen
1
Place de la Concorde

1) Place de la Concorde (must see)

Place de la Concorde is a major public square in Paris; in fact, the largest and the most monumental of all squares in the city. It is best known for its 230-ton Egyptian obelisk, aged over 3,000 years, which makes it by far the most ancient monument in Paris. The obelisk is flanked on the sides with two magnificent fountains – the “Maritime Fountain” and the “Fountain of the Rivers” – built in 1836 and recently restored to their original exuberance. Respectively, they symbolize French seagoing spirit and passion for inland navigation. In continuation of the nautical theme, there are 20 rostral columns throughout the square adorned with a ship prow which is part of the official Paris emblem.

Designed initially to glorify the absolute power of monarchs, at some point the square became the theater of its downfall. The equestrian statue of King Louis XVI, that once stood in its center, was torn down during the French Revolution, upon which the square was renamed "Place de la Révolution." Instead of the monument, the new revolutionary government installed there a guillotine, the first “client” of which became none other than the King himself. Among other notables who shared his fate there later on, in front of the cheering crowd, were Queen Marie Antoinette, Princess Élisabeth of France, and Maximilien Robespierre.

The guillotine remained quite busy throughout the "Reign of Terror" in the summer of 1794, when in a single month more than 1,300 people were executed. A year later, when the revolution took a more moderate course, it was removed.

Today, major avenues converge and pass through Place de la Concorde so vehicle traffic can always be expected; however, the roundabout with the three important monuments – obelisk and fountains – is well worth viewing. The square is sometimes used for large scale events and festivals like Christmas markets and other festival activities.

Today, Concorde Square is a popular tourist spot, ideal for photos; conveniently located to fan out from to just about any major attraction in Paris. All the main avenues of the French capital either converge at or pass through this square, making it a somewhat traffic-dense roundabout at times. The square regularly hosts public events, Christmas fairs, and festivals.

Tip:
In the square, there is a big Ferris wheel for those keen on getting a bird's eye view over the nearby river Seine, Louvre, Tuileries Garden, Champs-Élysées, Triumphal Arch, and the Eiffel Tower. This wheel turns three times faster than the London Eye, actually, and is much cheaper too!
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
La Madeleine

2) La Madeleine (must see)

La Madeleine is a Roman Catholic church affiliated with the Benedictine abbey in Paris.

Its construction, started during the reign of King Louis XV, suffered several stoppages including a major one during the French Revolution. Eventually, in 1806, Napoleon announced the decision to make it a temple to glorify his Great Army and commissioned to the job the architect Pierre Vignon. Evidently aware of the emperor's taste for opulent imperial Roman-style architecture, Vignon came up with the idea of an enormous Corinthian temple. He was still working on the project when Napoleon was demoted. The replacing him King Louis XVIII kept Vignon on, but ordered that the temple be made into a church.

The most striking feature of La Madeleine is its enormous size, in part prompted by the surrounding monumentality of Place de la Concorde, but also, no doubt, due to the inflated ego of Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Devoid of windows, so as not to disturb the severity of the temple, the light is let in from above, via three domes open at the top, in the manner of the Roman Pantheon. Each dome is supported by four Corinthian arches with pendentives, featuring a grand imperial Roman style.

Tip:
In the basement of the church is the Foyer de la Madeleine which today plays host to some of the most fashionable concerts and wedding parties in Paris. The concerts take place several times a month on Sunday afternoon and include baroque and chamber music, as well as organ recitals and symphonic orchestral performances.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Élysée Palace

3) Élysée Palace (must see)

The Élysée Palace is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic properties of the French capital, situated just a few steps away from the Madeleine church, not far from Champs Elysées. Situated on Rue Saint-Honoré, one of the most prominent streets of Paris, it was constructed in the early 18th century and was initially owned by the Count of Evreux.

Lavishly enlarged and repainted during the Second Empire in the fashionable style of that period, the palace has retained much of its original appearance dating back to the days of its first owner. The distinguishable, vast grounds allowed the architect Armand-Claude Mollet to give it something of an air of a small castle. Later, one of the most influential French architectural theorists Jacques-Francois Blondel described the palace as having the “air of magnificence” and being “the most beautiful mansion in the Paris region”.

Having changed hands several times, the palace finally became residence of a French President in 1873. The actual office of the head of state, the Gold Room, has changed very little since. The terrestrial globe, a significant element of the interior, was brought in by Charles de Gaulle. Today, the French Government holds regular meetings at the palace. In the underground section, there is a room with the red button pushing which the President of France can activate the country's nuclear arsenal. The room is also fitted with large screens and communication module linking the President directly to the Minister of Defense and strategic air force commander.

It so happens that presently, with the exception of the European Heritage Days, it is almost impossible for ordinary people to get into the palace. Still, it is well worth the while to view it from the outside. So, whenever you're in Paris, just make sure to walk by.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Grand Palais

4) Grand Palais (must see)

The Grand Palace and its sister, the Small Palace, just across the street, were conceived simultaneously as centerpieces for the 1900 World Fair in Paris. In that, the former palace was to accommodate fine arts, comprising various “salons” showcasing the artistic life of the French capital. Masterminded by four different architects, the palace took the form of an enormous glass-iron pavilion quite suitable for exhibiting sculpture and paintings. Curiously enough, the facility also suits for and, in fact, regularly hosts... horse shows!

Its façade is a typical example of Beaux-Arts architecture and is dominated by an enormous 8-tonne Art Nouveau glass roof, the largest in Europe. Reportedly, its construction took more steel than the entire Eiffel Tower. When the night falls and the lights go up, the play of light on the pillars, columns, scrolls and roof glazing produces a magical sight that leaves no one indifferent.

There are multiple entrances to numerous outstanding exhibitions and art fairs, as well as to a cinema, a restaurant, and even a skate ring sometimes.

Inside, there are three major sections, namely: the Main Hall, the National Galleries, and the Palace of Discovery, which is the museum and cultural center dedicated to science. The Main Hall is undeniably festive and, although heavily criticized by its contemporaries initially, it is now widely admired. Quite spacious, the Main Hall is usually partially closed and gets fully open for special events only. But the museum and the exhibition section are open all the time and are very well laid out and interesting on their own. There are several exhibitions and art fairs underway there perpetually, each of which has its own separate entrance. Also, on the premises, there is a cinema theater, a restaurant and, seasonally, even a skate rink.

Tip:
Should you decide to visit, don’t miss the Petit Palais just across the street while you're there, too!

Opening Hours:
Mon, Thu-Sun: 10am-8pm; Wed: 10am-10pm; closed on Tuesdays
Last admission 7:15pm (9:15pm on Wednesdays)
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Champs-Élysées Avenue

5) Champs-Élysées Avenue (must see)

By far the most popular avenue of France, Les Champs-Élysées, or the "Elysian Fields", is a household name deeply rooted in the Greek mythology as a resting place for the blessed souls. Stretching for about 2 km, this major Paris thoroughfare extends from Place de la Concorde to Place Charles de Gaulle, boasting, apart from the exuberant shopping, luxurious dining and world-class entertainment, some of the top photographic panoramas of the French capital, particularly that opening from the top of the Arch of Triumph.

At one end, Champs-Élysées is straddled by a patch of greenery, surrounded by landmark attractions such as the Grand Palace and the Small Palace, housing a bunch of art galleries. Once a year, on the Bastille Day, the avenue hosts a military parade, as well as sees the finish of the annual Tour de France cycling race.

As a staple destination for foodies, it offers a choice of gourmet eateries fit to spoil even the most discerning gluttons. Among the places particularly worth checking out here are: bistro “Atelier Renault”; Flora Danica – renowned for its caviar; Fouquet’s restaurant aged over 100 years; the famous Laduree tea room; as well as L’Alsace Bistro specializing, just as the name suggests, in the cuisine from the Alsace region of France, open 24 hours a day.

Those craving entertainment will find it here in equally rich supply. Cinema Gaumont, France's #1 screen for movie premiers, the world famous cabaret Lido, the bar and club Montecristo, Le Queen nightclub with some of the top DJs in town, plus the Marigny Theatre are just some of the options to consider.

Why You Should Visit:
Whatever the season, day or night, Champs-Élysées never fails to impress.
Still, if you come here around Christmas, you'll be in for a special treat!
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Arc de Triomphe (Arch of Triumph)

6) Arc de Triomphe (Arch of Triumph) (must see)

The spot at the termination of the Champs Elysées Avenue was always the subject of numerous plans for some kind of landmark monument. It was not until 1806, however, that Emperor Napoleon finally decreed that a triumphal arch, dedicated to the glory of his Great Army, should be built on the site. Napoleon’s architectural projects all made clear his desire to identify his regime with the glory of imperial Rome, and the design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The measure of Napoleon’s audacious ambitions can be got from the size of the Arc de Triomphe: a colossal 45 meters wide by 50 meters high, making it almost certainly the biggest triumphal arch in the world. Because of the presence today of the towers of La Défense on Paris's western horizon, it is hard to appreciate the Arc's original impact on the cityscape, when it was the most prominent and massive object for miles around, a hegemony it retained until the building of the Eiffel Tower in the 1880s.

Inevitably, the arch quickly became an object of the national pride and subsequently the world-famous symbol of French patriotism. Built in the era when a war was undoubtedly the “overriding argument of kings”, the arch was intended primarily for triumphal entrances into Paris by victorious French troops. Napoleon himself had a chance to pass beneath this arch mock-up replica only once, together with his bride Marie-Louise, the Archduchess of Austria, in 1810. The other Napoleon – Napoleon III – was more fortunate in this respect, and was able to ride underneath the completed arch upon his ascending to the throne in 1852. As to the proper victory march, the Arch of Triumph saw it for the first time only in 1919. The aftermath of World War I, though, shifted the French public interest away from war and, as of 1921, the arch has been solely the place of commemoration of the fallen soldiers, for which purpose there's a tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Flame of Remembrance.

Why You Should Visit:
If you're a history buff or just keen on spectacular views, you should definitely pay a visit to the arch and take a spiral staircase to the top of it or, if you're not fit for a climb, just take an elevator, to observe the intricate tapestry of Parisian streets from up there. Within the arch itself there's also a gift shop, in case you want a miniature replica thereof to take home.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-11pm (Apr-Sep); 10am-10:30pm (Oct-Mar)
Last admission 45 min before closing
For safety reasons, the ticket desks may close early during peak times
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Jacquemart-André Museum

7) Jacquemart-André Museum (must see)

The Musée Jacquemart-André is a public museum created from the private home of Édouard André (1833–1894) and Nélie Jacquemart (1841-1912) to display the art they collected during their lives.

It features works by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, Bellini, Botticini, Luca Signorelli, Cima da Conegliano, Pietro Perugino, Neri di Bicci, Vittore Crivelli, Luca della Robbia, Paolo Uccello, Canaletto, Jean-Marc Nattier, Alfred Boucher, Quentin Massys, Rembrandt, Anthony van Dyck, Frans Hals, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Jacques-Louis David, Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Thomas Lawrence, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sandro Botticelli, Andrea Mantegna, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin.

Why You Should Visit:
A lavish place to escape crowds and still experience outstanding works/exhibits. Furnishings and art collection are all as the couple left it.

Tip:
Make sure to have lunch or tea in the terrific café with a Tiepolo ceiling – the original dining room of the house. The setting and the dessert are not to be missed!
Note that it is possible to visit the gift shop and the café without purchasing a museum entry.

Opening Hours:
Mon: 10am-8:30pm; Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Nissim de Camondo - House Museum

8) Nissim de Camondo - House Museum (must see)

The mansion was built in 1911 by the Comte Moïse de Camondo, a banker, with architect René Sergent, to set off his collection of 18th-century French furniture and art objects. Its design was patterned upon the Petit Trianon at Versailles, though with modern conveniences. Both house and collections were bequeathed to Les Arts Décoratifs in honor of his son, Nissim de Camondo, killed in World War I, and opened as a museum in 1935. Today, the house is maintained as if it were still a private home preserved in its original condition. Three floors are open to visitors: the lower ground floor (kitchens), upper ground floor (formal rooms), and first floor (private apartments). They can enjoy the impressive interior and wonderful design.

Why You Should Visit:
A place to drift back into time, filled with an exquisite collection of decorative arts; very interesting from both art & human perspectives, as the bitter-sweet story behind the home is just as compelling.
The location near Parc Monceau and the development of the adjacent area are most enjoyable.

Tip:
If you've read Edmund de Waal's book "The Hare with the Amber Eyes", you'll enjoy this gem of a building even more.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Sun: 10am-5:30pm; closed Monday & Tuesday
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Paris, France

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Create Your Own Walk in Paris

Creating your own self-guided walk in Paris is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

The French Revolution Landmarks Walking Tour

The French Revolution had a huge impact on France's history as it gave rise to a radical democratic republic and resulted in violence during the Reign of Terror. A lot of Paris' buildings were damaged beyond repair in the course of the Revolution. The sites they occupied are of a great historical value now. This self guided walk is to visit the landmarks of the French Revolution that...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 10.5 km
St-Germain-des-Pres Walking Tour

St-Germain-des-Pres Walking Tour

This self guided walk takes you to explore the 6th arrondissement, covering St-Germain-des-Prés quarter, the River side districts and the areas nearby the Luxembourg Garden. It is one of the most expensive districts of Paris, home to posh boutiques, eateries and iconic cafes once favored by legendary writers, the likes of Hemingway and Camus. The area is particularly renowned for its unique...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Royal Paris Walk

Royal Paris Walk

The capital of France is made up of 20 administrative districts, commonly referred to as “arrondissements”. The 1st arrondissement of Paris sits mainly on the right bank of the River Seine and is the home of royal palaces and lush gardens. This self guided walk explores Jardin des Tuileries, Palais-Royal, La Conciergerie and many other prominent sights.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
City Orientation Walk I

City Orientation Walk I

The capital of France takes its name from the Celtic tribe of Parisii who, back in the Iron Age, around the 3rd century BC, settled near the river Seine. The Romans conquered the Parisii and established on their land a garrison town which, towards the end of the 5th century AD, fell to the Franks and flourished under their rule. Despite wars, revolutions and numerous social cataclysms, Paris had...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.9 km
Montmartre Walking Tour

Montmartre Walking Tour

Originally named “Mons Martis”, meaning the “Mount of Mars”, Montmartre is one of the most famous and visited neighborhoods in Paris. Beyond the Sacré-Coeur, the Moulin Rouge and notable landmarks, the district is also about the atmosphere, the narrow streets, and the artsy culture that has made Paris famous. Once home to artists such as Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh, Montmarte continues...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Eiffel Tower Walking Tour

Eiffel Tower Walking Tour

The 7th arrondissement of Paris is the most affluent and prestigious residential area in France, home to the French upper class, plus a number of French national institutions, government offices and diplomatic missions. This neighborhood boasts typically Parisian architecture complete with vibrant cafes, restaurants and gourmet shops which draw foodies in their numbers. Among other attractions on...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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15 Places for Tasting Best French Desserts in Paris

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Top 16 Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris

Top 16 Vegetarian Restaurants in Paris

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10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

10 Unusual Things to Do in Paris, France

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9 Must Try Cafes in Paris

9 Must Try Cafes in Paris

Discovering the best coffee and cafes in Paris can be difficult. The city is filled to the brim with brasseries and cafes, but very few offer the Anglophone standard of a good cup of coffee. This is a guide to inform tourists and Parisians alike of the new and somewhat established cafes in Paris...
18 Must-Visit Cafes in Paris, France

18 Must-Visit Cafes in Paris, France

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Paris Souvenirs: 19 Distinctively French Products to Bring Home from Paris

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Paris for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Paris has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Paris's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Paris Pass, Paris Explorer Pass, Paris Museum Pass, or Paris Night Pass.

A city pass combines all or multiple Paris' top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Paris hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: Novotel Paris Les Halles, Les Rives de Notre-Dame, 9Confidentiel.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Paris, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Paris typically costs from around US$20 up to US$200 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Paris from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for both).

- Alternatively, you can cruise along the river Seine on a similar hop-on hop-off sightseeing boat viewing Paris's top attractions from a different angle, able to get on and off as often as you want at any of the eight stops along the Seine riverbanks. The ticket is valid for one day (24 hrs) and may be upgraded to two days (48 hrs).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts about 3 hours and allows you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Paris on a bike tour. In the course of 4 hours you will visit the city's most spectacular sights stopping at each of them for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the city from an informative group leader.

- Take a walk around Paris with a knowledgeable guide for an alternative view of the French capital. Over the course of this 2-hour walking tour you will get insights and hear stories about every major classic sight of this fascinating city. A complete overview of Paris from the ground up!

- Come see the best of the French capital in just one day in a combo of a Seine river cruise and historical walk of Paris. You may start either with the Eiffel Tower or the Notre-Dame Cathedral making your way around the iconic sights of the city: the Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, Alexandre III bridge, Invalides, Concorde Square, Orsay Museum, etc.

- Missing out on the French food, whilst in Paris, would be worse than a crime – it would be a mistake! If you don't want to make such a mistake, consider a private 3-hour food tour of Paris complete with a set of 10 unforgettable tastings the memories of which will last you a lifetime. Just make sure to bring along your appetite to make the most of the savory treats awaiting!

- Live a chocoholic’s dream right at the heart of Paris! Follow your sweet tooth sense on this 2-hour guided “chocolate walk” in central Paris visiting some of the best chocolate boutiques of the French capital, learning about peculiar chapters in the history of the city and the place delectable chocolate played in it. Adding to the excitement is a round of free tastings.

Day Trips


If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Paris, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Versailles, Fontainebleau, Champagne region, Loire valley, Normandy, or a combo of Honfleur and Giverny. For as little as US$90+ to US$200+ per person you will get a chance to discover highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, see the favorite residence of the French royalty, world-famous vineyards, charming castles, and historic battlefields of World War II. For any of these tours you may be picked up either straight from your hotel or any other place in Paris, and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned minivan or train (whenever applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.