Best Paris Strolls

Stroll 17: Concorde To Place De L’Alma

Stroll 17 Grand Palais and Pont Alexandre III

Quick Description:  Exposition Universelle 1900 fairgrounds and buildings, all still intact, including palace museums for art, culture and science, unique gardens, and the city’s most ornate bridge, plus an extension to a luxury shopping street and a boat tour option. 

Where: Right Bank, from Place de la Concorde west to Place de l’Alma.

Start at Place de la Concorde, outside Metro station Concorde (#1, #8, #12 lines).  End at Place de l’Alma, outside Metro station Alma-Marceau (#9 line). 

Duration: 45 min walk, each museum @1-2 hrs, with all venues @4-7 hrs. Add 1.5 hrs for river cruise at the end.  Two Early Departure Options, plus an option to skip the last leg of the route and take a one-stop Metro ride to the boat tour location.  

Best Days: Wed – Sun (not Mon).

Best Time to Start: 10am – 11am.

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Connects: by foot to Stroll 18 (Avenue Wilson Museum Mile), and by quick Metro rides to Stroll 19 (Passy), or Stroll 20 (Eiffel Tower & Vicinity), or the standalone site, Musee Jacquemart-Andre.

Past and Present:

The area from Place de la Concorde west to Place de l’Alma encompasses the Right Bank portion of the fair grounds for the Exposition Universelle of 1900.  It was the most extravagant world’s fair in European history, held at the height of the Belle Epoque and meant to showcase that era’s impressive achievements and elevated tastes.   Some elements of the grounds were already here.  Place de la Concorde, for instance, was installed in the 1700s and during the Revolution was the site of the guillotine.  The Champs Elysees and the adjacent Jardins des Champs Elysess, as well as the Cours la Reine promenade, were created even earlier.  And attractions from previous 19th century fairs were also incorporated, such as a hidden garden and an ice-skating hall.  But the construction in 1900 of two huge and beautiful exhibition halls, the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, plus the ornate bridge, Pont Alexandre III, tied everything together to create a spectacular scene.  And, it is all still intact and able to be experienced today.  The stroll route includes all of these fairground sites, then extends a little further to the west, following a premier shopping thoroughfare, Avenue Montaigne, with a famous luxury hotel and a landmark Art Deco theater, and ends at Place de l’Alma, with a port for tour boat cruises – which you can take to keep exploring.     

Attractions (in order):

  • Place de la Concorde: Forming the western border of the Jardin des Tuileries, and the eastern end of the Champs Elysees.  Plaza dating from the 18th century, site of the guillotine during the Revolution, now a spectacular traffic rotary with statues and fountains and the Luxor obelisk, plus former royal buildings along the north side.  
  • Hotel de la Marine: #2 Place de la Concorde.  Magnificent 18th century royal mansion forming the northeastern boundary of Place de la Concorde.  It is now open to the public to tour the opulent rooms and view the private Al Thani antiquities collection housed there. Building accessible daily 10:30am-7pm (9:30pm Fridays), but entry requires reserving a tour time.  There are Five audio guided tours to choose from: four 90 min long €17; one 45 min long €13.   (Note: To visit here on this stroll, schedule your tour time near to your start time as the route ends far from here.) 
  • Hotel de Crillon: #4-10 Place de la Concorde, start of route.  Magnificent 18th century royal mansion forming the northwestern border of Place de la Concorde and housing an historic luxury traveler’s inn, also called Hotel de Crillon, at #10, plus the Automobile Club of France and the Hotel de Coislin mansion site.  The public areas of the traveler’s inn are accessible.      
  • Jardins des Champs ElyseesBordering the west side of Place de la Concorde and the north side of the Champs Elysees.  Wooded gardens with walking paths, sculpted fountains, historic theater and restaurant buildings and a WWII Resistance memorial.  Jardins open 24×7, free. 
  • Champs Elysees: Running between the Jardins des Champs Elysees and the area of the palaces.    This famous thoroughfare was created in the 1700s to be an approach to the city, which at that time ended at a wall along the Jardin des Tuileries.   This is the road’s eastern end, which was always meant to be a garden area.  The road runs west to the Arc de Triomphe, visible in the far distance.  The western half today contains its shopping district (not visited on this stroll).  
  • Petit PalaisMain and Handicapped entries on Avenue Winston Churchill.  This gorgeous Beaux Arts / Art Nouveau palace was created for Exposition Universelle 1900 and now serves as Paris’s municipal museum of fine art.  It displays extensive collections of paintings and sculptures (mostly French and Flemish), along with furniture and objets d’art dating from antiquity through the 1800s,as well as art relating to Paris, and changing special exhibits.  There is also a lushly planted courtyard garden with ponds and a café (see “Dining Suggestions”). Tues-Sun 10am-6pm.  Admission to the permanent collection is free.  A fee is charged for special exhibitions, but many persons qualify for reduced rates. 
  • Grand Palais: Main entry on Avenue Winston Churchill.  Handicapped entry on Avenue du General Eisenhower, which parallels the Champs Elysees.  Fantastical Beaux Arts / Art Nouveau building mimicking London’s Crystal Palace, created for the Exposition Universelle 1900.  It presents changing exhibitions, most focused on modern culture, art, or music, but also including automobile and trade shows.  Wed-Mon 10am-8pm (to 10pm Wed).  Adults €10, €8 for persons 13-25, free for persons under 13.  Reserved time entry: €11.30 for adults, or €9.30 for persons 13-25.  Check the venue’s status as it has been under major renovation.
  • Statues Around the Palaces:  Along Avenue Winston Churchill, between the Champs Elysees and the river.  Greenspaces bordering the two palaces feature statues of George Clemenceau, Charles De Gaulle and Winston Churchill, each depicted in wartime gear.   
  • Pont Alexandre III: Connecting the Right Bank, at Avenue Winston Churchill, with the Left Bank at the Esplanade des Invalides.  Constructed from 1896 to 1900, this is Paris’s most ornately decorated bridge, and it offers exceptional views of the river and both banks.   
  • Cours la ReineThe river road and tree lined walking promenade in the vicinity of the palaces and bridge.  Created in the 1560s as private walking and carriage paths for Queen Catherine de Medici, today these are public ways and feature various sculptures, including one of the Marquis de Lafayette, a gift from America.  
  • Jardin de la Nouvelle France: Entry at corner of the Cours la Reine (the river road) and Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt (which runs behind the Grand Palais).  Secluded, multi-level park with woodsy gardens, water elements and a bridge, plus several sculptures at the entrance.  Previously named – and still known by many as – La Valle Suisse.  Open 24×7, free.   
  • Palais de la Decouverte:  Entry on Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at the rear side of the Grand Palais. Museum of science and mathematics with different sections oriented to adults and children, housed in palatial halls.  Tues-Sat 9:30am-6pm, Sun 10am-7pm. Adults €9, €7 for persons under 26 or over 65.  Check the venue’s status as it has been under major renovation.
  • Theater du Rond Point: #2bis Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, near the Champs Elysees.  Constructed in the 1850s to be a panorama exhibit space, by the time of the Exposition Universelle 1900 this building was the Palais de Glaces, a popular ice-skating venue.  It now hosts theater productions.  The interior is open only for performances; however, it has a public restaurant open for lunch and dinner.   
  • Avenue Montaigne: Running between the Champs Elysees and Place de l’Alma.  Upscale commercial and residential street that is home to shops of nearly every well-known designer fashion brand, most open 7 days a week.  
  • Hotel Plaza Athenee: #25 Avenue Montaigne, near Place de l’Alma.  Famous luxury traveler’s inn opened in 1913 and used in recent years as a set for film and television. Public areas accessible. Features chic bar and dining venues (see “Dining Suggestions”).    
  • Theatre des Champs Elysees: #15 Avenue Montaigne, near Place de l’Alma.  The city’s first Art Deco style building, constructed in 1913, still in operation.  Interior open only for performances.
  • Chapelle Notre Dame de Consolation: #23 Rue Jean Goujon, an optional detour.  Elegant Baroque Revival church built in 1900 to commemorate a tragic fire on the same site in 1897 that killed more than 100 persons.  The chapel is run by a conservative (some say radical) Catholic clergy group called Society of Saint Pius X.  Visiting hours are in question.  Previously: Mon-Fri 7:30am-8:15pm, Sat 10:30am-11:45am, 4pm-7:30pm, Sun 8am-12:45pm, 4pm-7:30pm, free. However, information in late 2022 indicates hours may be limited to Mon-Fri 5:30-7pm, Sun 9am-5pm.   
  • Cours Albert 1er and Place de la Reine Astrid: The Cours Albert 1er near Place de l’Alma are a portion of the Cours la Reine renamed for King Albert I of Belgium, a hero of WWI.  The small park situated along the Cours and adjacent to Place de l’Alma is dedicated to Astrid, a princess of Sweden who became Queen of the Belgians when she married King Albert 2nd., but tragically died young. 
  • Pont de l’Alma with Zouave statue:  The sculpted statue of a  Zouave soldier attached to the west side of the bridge (left as you look from Place de l’Alma) is used as an unofficial gauge of the river’s height.
  • Bateaux-Mouches: Port de la Conference, (lower quay adjacent to Pont de l’Alma).  This famous Seine River tour boat operation offers a round-trip route through the city that lasts about 1.15 hours. The boats run daily, leaving every 45 minutes from 10:15am to 3:30pm, then every 30 minutes until 10:30pm.  The fee is €15 (adult), €6 (child 4-12).
  • Flame of Liberty Statue: Place de l’Alma.  Replica of the flame on the Statue of Liberty in New York, installed here in 1989 to thank French engineers for helping to restore the original, but now an unofficial memorial to Princess Diana of Great Britain, who died in a car crash in the tunnel beneath Pont de l’Alma in 1997.

Dining Suggestions (in order):

  • Café de le Jardin du Petit Palais: Located inside the Petit Palais (which has free admission).  Light French cuisine (e.g., quiches, sandwiches, salads, snacks, desserts).  The café faces the gorgeous courtyard garden and ponds and offers indoor and terrace seating. Tues-Sun 10am-5pm.  Average cost: @€15 two courses.   
  • Minipalais: Located inside and on the terrace of the Grand Palais but with a separate street entrance at the corner of Avenue Winston Churchill and the Cours la Reine (the river road).  French cuisine.  Large modern upscale room, with a more Belle Epoque atmosphere on the terrace under a majestic arcade.  Daily 10am-2am.   Appetizers @€9-18, Mains @€18-39.  There is also a cocktail bar set in the dining room with drinks @€15-18.  Check for access as the Grand Palais, where it is located has been under major renovation.    
  • Brasserie Le Grand Palais#21 Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, opposite the Palais de la Decouverte.  French cuisine, including standards, salad plates and more.  Traditional room, outdoor seating.  Mon-Fri 6am-Midnight, Sat-Sun 8am -Midnight.  Lunch prix fixe @€18.50.   
  • L’Avenue: #41 Avenue Montaigne.  French cuisine.  Modern room, outdoor seating.  Known as a celebrity haunt, rather than for its food.  Daily 8am-2am.  Pricey.    
  • Dining Options at the Hotel Plaza Athenee: #25 Avenue Montaigne.  This famous luxury hotel, popular with celebrities, has various dining venues for lunch or tea, all elegant and pricey, plus at night a modernistic (and also pricey) bar.  Check the website.
  • Bar des Theatres: #44 Rue Jean Goujon, near Place de l’Alma, on detour to Chapelle Notre Dame de la Consolation.  In business since 1945.  French cuisine with the emphasis on meat and fish dishes.  Traditional room.  Mon-Fri 6am-Midnight, Sat 6:30am-Midnight, Sun 7am-4pm.   Mains @€15-29.   
  • Chez Francis: #7 Place de l’Alma.  French cuisine (a broad ranging brasserie menu including standards, small plates, seafood platters, breakfast).  Traditional room, outdoor seating, Eiffel Tower views.  Mon-Thurs 8am-11:30pm, Fri-Sun 8am-Midnight.  Lunch prix fixe @€28- 36.
  • Shirvan Café Metisse: #5 Place de l’Alma.  French / Azerbaijiani cuisine. Elegant modern room.  Daily Noon-2:30pm, 7-10:30pm.  Prix fixe meals @€36-40.

Ready to stroll?
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Stroll Map

Ready to stroll?
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