It was Napoleon I, versed in Greco-Roman history, who chose to pay homage to the soldiers of his Grande Armée with a monument in the likeness of the Parthenon.

The Arc de Triomphe was ultimately dedicated to these plans and La Madeleine, returned to the Catholic church, became the intriguing place of worship it is today, with its antique columns and no bell towers, lending its name to the surrounding area.

The central crossroads of Haussmann’s grandiose urban development plan, the district gives prominence to wide avenues lined by buildings in the style favoured by the Baron.

Poised between the Opera House, Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries, luxury brands have set up shop here, drawn by the advantageous central location and the elegant architecture. And thus the district’s status was born.

Along the walls of this temple-like church, Parisian avant-garde artists exhibit their works year-round.

This blend of immoderate urban development, luxury boutiques and art has become synonymous with the neighbourhood’s identity.

The architecture here is the epitome of the Haussmann style to clinch the Napoleonic fantasy that presides in its centre, while the real estate, in tune with the surrounds, is naturally upmarket.


Neighbourhood life

Although it may seem engulfed by the monumental shadow of the church that bears its name, the neighbourhood is teeming with stories and addresses intricately linked with the history of Paris. Proust was born here, Lully took his last breath here, and Chopin and George Sand played out their fiery love affair here.

Rue Royale was home to the Queen’s favourite chocolate shop - the famous Ladurée, which has since expanded around the world while still trading out of its original, historic address.

Theatres (Les Mathurins) and luxury hotels (Crillon, Scribe) sit alongside ministries (of the Interior) and the Élysée Palace, while the adjoining streets are filled with everything typical of daily life in Paris: iconic restaurants (Caviar Kaspia, Maison Lucas Carton, La Maison de la Truffe) and restaurants that embody food from further afield (the distinguished Jugaad Indian restaurant, or Toraya the Japanese tea house). Even the coffee shops are upscale (Noir Café).

The discreet residents work in fashion or in the ministries, and the real estate offering is on a par with their high standards: prestigious and elegant.

Private mansions with gardens are certainly more common here than in other parts of the capital.


Not to be missed

Octagonal and sheltered by private passages, Place Edouard VII is an emblem of architectural originality that is certainly worth a visit, as is the Passage de la Madeleine, not the most well-known arcade but in fact one of the first and most elegant in Paris.

Rue Cambon, an icon of French refinement, is another one not to miss, and offers some of the world’s most delectable window shopping around.

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