From the Étoile to the Dauphine Gate
Starting point: place Charles-de-Gaulle/Avenue Hoche (3.6 miles, 8th, 17th & 16th districts)
Take avenue Hoche to the gates of Monceau Park. This is one of the most prestigious streets in Paris, but noticeably lacking in impressive buildings, with the exception of nos. 36 and 34, fine examples of the 1930s elegant style. The Royal Monceau Hotel, opposite no. 30, is the last remnant of the early 1900s grand palaces. No. 33 (Christian Dior) is an unmistakable work by Ricardo Bofill. At no. 12, the charming neo-Renaissance hôtel particulier (private residence) belonged, from 1878 onwards, to Albert and Léontine de Caillavet. Madame de Caillavet received, in her "salon", many men of letters and the supporters of Captain Dreyfus. At no. 5, a superb gilded gate marks the entrance to one of the most sumptuous mansions in the neighbourhood, Émile Menier's former residence. He was an enormously successful chocolate-maker, who in 1913 became the owner of Chenonceau Castle His hôtel particulier was built by Parent between 1872 and 1876 and decorated by Dalou. It is now one of the city's most exclusive private clubs.
Stroll across the Monceau Park, following the allée de la Comtesse de Ségur. This used to be the duke of Chartres's "folie". He was Louis XVI's cousin and Louis-Philippe's father and was nicknamed "Philippe-Égalité". This park, too, is due to Alphand and is a typical example of the haussmanian public gardens. Take your time, enjoying the old trees, flower-beds, statues, small temples, the pond with its ducks and swans and graceful colonnade...
At the corner with avenue Vélasquez (no. 7), you can visit the enchanting Cernuschi Museum, whose Far East art collection was donated by the banker Henri Cernuschi to the city of Paris in 1896.
Chauchard, founder of the Louvre Department Store, lived next-door, at no. 5. He left his collection of 19th century paintings to the Louvre Museum.
Turn left onto boulevard Malesherbes, until you reach place du Général-Catroux. At no. 1, the hôtel (in the sense of private residence) Gaillard (Émile Gaillard, regent of the Bank of France) is in my opinion a neo-Renaissance horror, designed by Jules Février in 1878, which should (or would) be a reproduction of a wing of Blois Castle. It is now a branch office of the Bank of France, that came into possession of this building in 1919.
On the square stands the monument to Sarah Bernhardt. The legendary actress and sculptress lived near here, in rue Fortuny. More interesting are the monuments, one facing the other, to the renowned writers Dumas, father and son.
Take avenue de Villiers and turn left onto rue Fortuny. No. 42 has a remarkable façade, which has unfortunately lost its magnificent stained-glass windows. It was built in 1879 by Bolland for the glass-maker Ponsin. On the other side of the street, at nos. 37 and 35, once stood Sarah Bernhardt's residence, before economic hardship forced her to sell everything, house and furnishings. Two other "queens" of the time were her neighbours: at no. 29 lived the actress Geneviève Antelme, while "La Belle Otéro" resided at no. 27. Between 1933 and 1950, Marcel Pagnol lived at no. 13, with its pretty mosaic decoration. The building at no. 8 imitates a 15th century Norman house. Its owner let the building at no. 2 to Edmond Rostand. It is here that Rostand, at 29 years of age, wrote "Cyrano de Bergerac".
Cross rue de Prony and take rue Médéric. At no. 9 you will find the Swedish Church of Paris, which was erected, quite appropriately, in Nordic style, with dark bricks, in 1911.
Take, on the right, rue Léon-Jost. At no. 12 there is an elegant neo-classical building in stone and bricks. At the end of its courtyard, you can see a lovely bas-relief, representing a group of naiads. Gervex, painter of the early 20th century Parisian bourgeoisie, lived here in 1910.
Rue Léon-Jost ends in rue Cardinet. Turn left, towards avenue de Wagram. At the corner stands an imposing Art Nouveau building, designed by Théo Petit in 1907. At any time of day, light plays on its lively façade and floods the rooms through the large windows.
Cross avenue de Wagram and take rue de Poncelet. In the 18th century, this street was part of the path leading from the "château des Ternes" to the Dames de Montmartre's abbey. These nuns (Dames) left their name to rue des Dames, in another section of the 17th district (Batignolles).
Turn right onto rue Bayen, until you get to rue Pierre-Demours where, at nos. 17-19, the remains of the "château des Ternes" can be found, tinyurl.com/6ftcnd2 (in French).
Once arrived in avenue des Ternes, cross it and take rue Saint-Ferdinand, on the right-hand side of the neo-Romanesque church (1938-44), as far as the square bearing the same name. At no. 21 rue Saint-Ferdinand, have a look at the cité Ferenbach, with its pretty ochre and pink garreted cottages. If the main door at no. 25 happens to be open, it is worth giving a look at the courtyard, where a typical example of Napoleon III mansion, dating back to 1863, can be seen.
A terribly kitsch monument to car-racing pioneer Léon Serpollet, created by Boucher in 1911, stands in the middle of place Saint-Ferdinand.
Take rue Denis-Poisson until you reach avenue de la Grande-Armée. Maybe putting your life in jeopardy, try and stand in the middle of the avenue. You will find yourself on the Arc de Triomphe-Arche de la Défence axis. At this spot, the closeness and raised position of the Arc de Triomphe give the illusion that its size is about the same as that of the Arche de la Défence, which is actually much farther away and 360 feet high.
Safe and sound (hopefully!) on the opposite side of avenue de la Grande-Armée, take, on the right, rue Pergolèse. Cross avenue de Malakoff and keep walking along rue Pergolèse to its end. You are now in one of the fanciest neighbourhoods in Paris. Only from afar will you be able to get a glimpse of the chic houses of rue Berlioz, villa Dupont and villa Saïd. Rue Weber, on the other hand, lets you admire its homes and small gardens through identical gates. At no. 45 rue Pergolèse, notice the lovely neo-Renaissance hôtel particulier. You find the same style at no. 51, on a 1896 plan by Boussard.
Rue Lalo has replaced a bull-ring that had been erected for the 1889 Universal Exhibition, whose success, however, was short-lived. This street offers some fine examples of Art Nouveau buildings, like the one at no. 5 (1906).
Return to rue Pergolèse. At no. 64 there is another charming Art Nouveau building. The General Delegation of Quebec, at no. 66, is instead a sober neo-classical building.
Turn right onto avenue Foch, perhaps the most opulent street in Paris. You will notice a great variety of architectural styles which often clash, like the overornate mansion at nos. 66-68 (Armand Pollet, 1888), compared with the elegant neo-classical building at no. 72, which would not look out of place at Versailles.
The luxurious mansion at no. 90 once belonged to the car-maker Louis Renault. It is in the neo-classical style, surrounded by a large garden, which is hidden from view.
The perspective on the avenue and the Arc de Triomphe is simply spectacular from here.
Our walk comes to an end at M° Porte-Dauphine. This station dates back to 1902. It is an Art Nouveau masterpiece by Hector Guimard.