(Editor’s note: Ternes runs from the l’Arc de Triomphe on the south to Square des Épinettes on the north. Where Ternes ends and the neighborhoods of Batignolles and Épinettes begin, only the Parisians can say.)
Where do tourist flock to in Paris? The usual haunts are in the 5th and 6th arrondissements, home of the Eiffel Tower, museums, the Seine and the famous luxury stores along the Champs-Élysées.
I recently travelled to Paris with my husband, who was working at the Palais des Congrès on the edges of the 8th and 17th arrondissements. So, rather than go to the areas that we, as tourists, already know, I chose to explore the chic residential area known as Ternes and immerse myself for a moment into Parisian life.
What To Do
Arc De Triomphe ~ This is probably the area’s most famous building. Standing in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle it provides a fabulous view of the city of Paris from its rooftop and is a stunning monument to honor the French fallen. It is also here that the French “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” is found, which makes the Arc de Triomphe France’s most patriotic site. The building itself is stunningly beautiful.
Pro tip: Definitely purchase your tickets online ahead of time as this gets you into the arch much faster. You can get yours here.
Shopping ~ The main avenues leading from the Arc de Triomphe are where to shop, particularly the Avenue des Champs-Elysées which is home to all the big-name stores. Avenue de Wagram also has many stores to browse including the furniture store Habitat and the lovely furnishings store Maisons du Monde.
Foodie browsing ~ The Rue Poncelet is a foodie heaven! Lots of small food stores, with stalls outside, selling everything from bread, patisserie, fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese and freshly ground coffee. Oh my gosh, I challenge you to not publicly drool as your senses are hit with the sight, sound and smells of this fabulous area!
Museums ~ There are incredible museums should you want to educate yourself or the weather be wet.
• Musée de la Contrefaçon (The Museum of Counterfeit) ~ This museum is in a fabulous grand Parisian mansion and is very small, unusual and interesting. Here you can learn how to spot that counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag or Rolex along with more mundane items.
• Musée Jean-Jacques Henner ~ A small museum that is worth visiting as it is situated in another Parisian house. The museum is small but has a large collection of Henner’s paintings.
• Fondation Louis Vuitton ~ the art museum and exhibition space is based in a fantastic building designed by architect Frank Gehry, in the Bois de Boulogne. There is also a small auditorium for intimate concerts and a fabulous restaurant. While I was visiting, I was able to see a wonderful retrospective exhibition of American Mark Rothko’s art.
Outdoors ~ Parc Monceau is a lovely park surrounded by stunning Parisian houses, created in the 1700’s, to wander should you feel the need for “green.” At the weekend it’s full of runners and families enjoying the outdoor space and the wonderful old trees. There is a carousel for little kids to ride, a play area and a café selling coffee etc.
Jardin d’Acclimatation ~ this amusement park in the Bois de Boulogne, was one of France’s first and has 42 rides, a selection of restaurants and food trucks and with 18 hectares of meadows, flowers and woodland, is a great place for your kids to let off steam.
Where To Stay
The area is home to a range of hotels from the grand Hyatt Regency Paris and Le Méridien close to the Palais des Congrès to smaller hotels. We stayed at Le 46 Hotel and were very impressed by this boutique hotel.
Where To Eat and Drink
The area is full of good restaurants and wonderful cafés.
Le Relais de Venise (Boulevard Periere) ~ An extremely popular restaurant since 1959 serving steak-frites with a secret homemade sauce. This place does not take reservations so come with the expectation of joining a long line of equally hungry people.
Chez Georges (Boulevard Pereire) ~ a traditional brasserie that has been feeding people since 1926. The food is classic French and the wine good.
La Maison (Place Saint-Ferdinand) ~ a local café that is a lovely quiet place to sit and enjoy the everyday vibe of a neighbourhood.
Sir Winston Churchill (Rue de Presbourg) ~ a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, this British pub and brasserie serves British classics with an Indian twist.
The Canadian Embassy Pub (Boulevard Gouvion-Saint-Cyr) ~ a great bar that serves Canadian poutine and other typical pub food. Lots of TVs here so a great spot to watch sport events. We watched a Rugby World Cup game here and the atmosphere was great.
Le Meridien Jazz Club Étoile (Boulevard Gouvion-Saint-Cyr) ~ great live jazz with a fantastic dinner menu.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.”
Ain’t that the truth!
Read more about Paris here in Dispatches’ archives.
Photographer/writer Jackie Harding was born in the United Kingdom. As a long-time expat, she lived in Boston for 12 years and in the Netherlands for the past 10 years.
Trained as a nurse in the U.K., she worked for nine years in the United States as a special education teacher’s assistant. Since moving to the Netherlands, she has discovered writing and photography.
Contributing to Dispatches since 2016, Jackie has written about her travels around Europe as well as about expat life and issues.
She also covered the Women’s March Amsterdam.
She’s married to British businessman Martin Harding and is the mother of two international adult children.