A view of 8TH Arrondissement of Paris
The 8th arrondissement of Paris is one of the 20 districts of Paris. Located on the right bank of the Seine, it is bordered on the west by the 16th arrondissement, on the north by the 17th arrondissement, on the east by the 9th and 1st arrondissements, and on the south by the Seine and the 7th arrondissement.
Caron, Place Beauvau, 90, Rue du faubourg Saint Honoré, 75008
The 8th arrondissement is both a tourist hotspot and one of those where the upper middle class lives. It hosts many shops and luxury hotels, but also many financial institutions. It is also a place of power, since it includes the Elysée Palace and the Ministry of the Interior. It also bears the name of « arrondissement of the Elysée » although this name is rarely used in everyday life.
ELYSEE PALACE; below: CHRISTIE’S
The Seine was once a vast river that covered a large part of the current 8th district: the whole boulevard Haussmann, the Saint-Lazare station and its surroundings, the Saint-Augustin square, La Boétie street, the Champs Élysées Roundabout and all the southern part of the district from the Place de l’Alma to the Place de la Concorde were then covered by the waters. Only the area around the Faubourg Saint-Honoré between Rue Royale and Saint-Philippe-du-Roule and the southern part of the boulevards between Place de l’Etoile and Place de Clichy had emerged. The same situation was repeated almost during the flood of the Seine of 19103.
The gradual withdrawal of the river transformed a good part of the sector into a vast swamp, crossed by a small stream that descended from Ménilmontant to throw itself into the Seine at the height of the current Alma Bridge. These swamps were a defense for the population because they were difficult to cross by possible attackers. Thus, in 52 BC, the Gallic army Camulogène had to circumvent these swamps by the north before delivering in the plain of Grenelle or the foothills of Passy the disastrous battle of Lutetia against the lieutenant of Julius Caesar, Labienus.
In the early days of the Capetian dynasty, much of the territory of the current 8th district depended on the parish of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois, one of the oldest and, at the time, the largest parishes from Paris. In 1223, the act called forma pacis recognized the suzerainty of these domains to the bishop of Paris, the king reserving the rights of justice on the main roads that crossed them.
From the end of the eleventh century, the north of the old marsh was allocated to the canons of St. Opportune who took care of cleaning up and cultivating it. The area between Rue de Chaillot and Montmartre Street is thus transformed into cereal land, then soon grown fruit and green vegetables, more logical crops near a city since they do not support long transport. The 8th becomes, since the Middle Ages, a market gardening area providing Paris with fresh produce.
At the end of the Middle Ages, we find in this area, covered with woods and warrens along the Seine, fields and gardens dotted with a few houses in the north, three hamlets: a suburb along the rue Saint-Honoré, called the Ville l’Évêque, in reference to the suzerainty of the bishop of Paris, served by the church of the Madeleine of the City Bishop; the village of Roule, served by the church Saint-Jacques-Saint-Philippe and the village of Chaillot. Their inhabitants were mainly members of convents.
Below: A painting of Saint Honoré Street at the end of the nineteenth century