Europe Day 16 – Champs-Élysées & Place Vendôme

Waking up in Paris, I took a look out of our hotel window to be greeted by the hotel’s courtyard. I had been advised the courtyard facing room in Paris might be quieter since Champs-Élysées can be a bit noisy even at night. With no breakfast provided, it isn’t worth spending money on crappy breakfast since the hotel doesn’t seem any special. We figured it was best to head down to Champs-Élysées for a Parisian breakfast experience. Just around the corner are several cafes and we picked Laduree, a renowned establishment in Paris and beyond for its macarons. One won’t miss its green window panels with golden letters sparkling in the morning sun! We ordered an assortment of pastries, along with a breakfast set of eggs and bacon and I had a coffee eclair, another Parisian tradition. While the cost of breakfast at Laduree wasn’t cheap, it was wonderful and tasty.

Laduree at Champs-Élysées
Laduree at Champs-Élysées

After breakfast, the shops started opening between 9.30am and 10am, and we headed to the Louis Vuitton flagship store, where an amazing array of products await us! Wonderfully stocked and furnished in a modern contemporary style, we were amongst the first to enter and was served by the attendant promptly. This shopping experience is perhaps one of the best ever with attentive service from the attendants and helpful advice from them. Needless to say, we exited with a huge bag filled with LV goods. However, my Mum was still looking for a party clutch which the salesperson advised would be stocked in London, conveniently our next destination in our trip.

Window Displays at LV
Window Displays in the Louis Vuitton Flagship Boutique
View of Champs-Élysées
View of Champs-Élysées from Avenue George V

Thereafter we returned to the hotel to place our shopping bags before heading out to Hermès, and to view some watches. These 2 stores seems quiet in comparison to the queues that is already forming outside the LV boutique. For watches, I got some advice from the shopkeeper to head out to Place Vendôme for more brand selection. However, since it was already time for lunch after watch-browsing, we chose to have lunch at this restaurant aptly named ‘Asian’ Brasserie along Avenue George V where they had 2 separate dining areas, a smaller section for their bistro dishes and a separate section for extensive a la carte options. We chose for the bistro section since we had another reservation tonight at a 3 star Michelin restaurant. For lunch, the bistro was serving boxed lunch sets including mineral water which was great value at around EUR 12.90 each! I got the Chicken Teriyaki, Dad got the Roast Duck, and Mum got the Fish in Curry set. All the sets were very delicious and tasted great! Definitely a place I recommend for quick and great eats in Paris while shopping in Champs-Élysées.

Prince de Galles Hotel
Prince de Galles Hotel along Avenue George V

Taking a walk after a meal is always a great way to digest especially when the sun came out for a bit as we walked along Avenue George V towards Pont de l’Alma, where Avenue Marceau, Avenue George V and Avenue Montaigne meets. There is a metro station here and several more restaurants and cafes as well as a sneak peek to see Paris’ most famous monument, the Tour Eiffel or Eiffel Tower. Avenue Montaigne is another one of the shopping streets of Paris with haute couture boutiques like Chanel, Dior and Prada that can be found here. From here, we took a taxi to Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, which is actually a narrow street with more classical Parisian architecture. It’s main draw to ladies, however, would be for its location of the flagship store of Hermès. As with the Louis Vuitton boutique, the Hermès flagship is a vast shop unlike the ones that can be found in other locations, and had a large selection of merchandise to choose from. Besides Hermès, this street is also home to lots of other high-end brands which makes a trip here worthwhile for shoppers. For those who don’t come to Paris to shop, one can always savour the building styles along this narrow street. Unlike the grand-avenues around Champs-Élysées, this street resembles more of the traditional European towns which gives it a distinct character of its own in Paris.

Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
Buildings along Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

Another reason to visit this area is to walk across to Rue Saint-Honoré and along Rue Royale, one can admire the Église de la Madeleine a church built in the Greek-style architecture. Walking along Rue Royale near Place de la Madeleine allows one to get some of the fine foodstuffs, pastries and chocolates that have been one of the reasons of visiting Paris. Across Rue Royale along Rue Saint-Honoré is more shops and hotels as well as Rue Cambon where one can find the location of Chanel’s first boutique. After giving a visit to the Chanel boutique on Rue Cambon, we proceeded to Place Vendôme which is just a block away. This slightly octagonal square once housed nobilities and building No. 3 was the venue for the marriage of Napoleon and Josephine. Today the square is surrounded by watch makers and the Hôtel Ritz Paris. In the centre of the Place Vendôme is the Colonne Vendôme which consists of a stone core wrapped in a bronze spiral made from the melted bronze of Austrian and Russian cannons captured by Napoleon during the Battle of Austerlitz. Reliefs along the bronze spiral celebrates the victories achieved by Napoleon between 1805 till 1807 and the statue at the top of this column depicts Napoleon as a Roman emperor. The original column was sadly destroyed and what stands now is a replica of the original.

Place Vendôme
Watchmakers’ boutiques along Place Vendôme
Bronze Column at Place Vendôme
Colonne Vendôme, the bronze column at Place Vendôme

Close by to Place Vendôme is the Park Hyatt at Paris which also bears the same name as the square due to its close proximity. This allowed us to head inside for a short break, before getting a taxi from the hotel to bring us back to Champs-Élysées. The drive back by taxi was perhaps one of the nicest experiences since a drive down Champs-Élysées would perhaps represents the vibrancy of life in the French capital. My dad was tired and opted to take a rest at the hotel before our dinner in the evening at Guy Savoy which is located not far from our hotel. Thus it left me to accompany my Mum to walk over to Avenue Montaigne where she got her Chanel handbag since the other Chanel store no longer has stock of the sizes she wanted. Apparently it was a crowded day for most of the Chanel boutiques on the day I went to Paris, since all the 3 stores I been to that day had crowds and saw many buyers leaving with loads of stuffs. One might have mistaken that Chanel was having a sale that day! With another full day of shopping, it was time to end the day by indulging in a 3 star Michelin Restaurant at Guy Savoy. Haute-couture and fine dining – what better way is there to immerse oneself in Paris than these?

Driving down Champs Elysées
Driving down Avenue Champs-Élysées
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