Colombes is located in the northwest of Paris, a suburb with easy access to the city center. Around Columbus, one is reminded of the industries that swept the region in the 19th and 20th centuries. These old factories and warehouses have been turned into offices, shops and luxury apartments.
Colombes attracts high earners and services, making it La Defense for a moment. The Yves-du-Manoir stadium in Colombes also hosted the 1924 Paris Olympics and is still home to the successful Racing 92 rugby club. If you can’t ignore the call of the capital, you can reach Paris Gare Saint-Lazare in 20 minutes on the suburban train network.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Colombes:
1. Olympic Stadium Yves-du-Manoir
The top 14 rugby club Racing 92 still uses the 14,000-seat stadium in Colombes for home games.
Les Ciel et Blanc always competed with the best teams in the division and won the championship in 2015-16.
If you want to play some top-notch rugby, great because the squad is packed with international players like New Zealander Dan Carter, one of the greatest ever.
But the stadium also has a certain mystique: it hosted events including track and field at the 1924 Paris Olympics, and was also the stage on which Giuseppe Meazza’s team won the World Cup in 1938.
2. Municipal Museum of Art and History
Long before it became a Parisian suburb, Colombes had its own castle, occupied by some important historical figures.
One of them was Henrietta Maria, the widow of King Charles I of England, who fled here after being executed by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. This is one of the few old system threads you can learn about at your local museum in Columbus.
Then you’ll delve into the 19th and 20th centuries, when the region industrialized and was home to manufacturers such as Ericsson, Goodrich tires and perfume maker Guerlain.
Colombes’ sporting heritage is also reflected in an exhibition about the 1924 Olympics.
3. L’Avant Seine
A cultural venue that Columbus can be proud of, L’Avant Seine is a stylish theater that opened in 1991. Even 25 years after its construction, the 1,000-seat auditorium is still state-of-the-art because its stage is on hydraulic cylinders and can be adjusted to the type of show.
The season starts in May and is varied enough to satisfy all tastes: there is theatre, opera, dance, film screenings, all kinds of music, comedy and magic.
You can also stop by the theatre’s stylish restaurant for lunch.
4. Ancienne Église Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul
This former church is a French historical monument but has been in ruins for almost 50 years.
It was a victim of its location, next to the main road, which was enlarged in 1968, calling for the demolition of the nave.
What remains now is the bell tower and some arches, whose stonework dates back to the 1100s.
In fact, there has been a church here since the early Middle Ages, and while excavating the road in the 60s, workers stumbled across Merovingian tombs.
5. Place La Defense
Unless you’re on a business trip, La Defense is all about its shopping, modern architecture and avant-garde sculpture.
You can experience it all on the long, wide Esplanade de La Défense, like walking on the floor of the canyon between the walls of skyscrapers.
If you take your time, you can stop and observe some special public art pieces, most of which were installed in the 80s and 90s.
See Grande Mosaïque and Le Pouce (giant bronze thumb) by Michel Deverne at César Baldaccini.
You can also see where La Defense begins with the double-shell reinforced concrete CNIT building.
This dates back to 1958 and is still as fascinating as any newer structure.
6. The Great Arch
The Axor Historique intersects Paris on the diagonal from La Defense to the Louvre.
It is also a kind of satisfaction to be able to stand in front of the Grand Arc de Triomphe and look directly at the entrance of the Arc de Triomphe several kilometers to the southeast.
Completed in 1989, the Grande Arche is the most photographed landmark in the area.
In May 2017, you will be able to access the roof for the first time since the elevator accident in 2010. While you’re here, you can admire how it was built on another axis of the city’s tallest buildings, tour Montparnasse and the Eiffel Tower.
7. Île de la Jatte
In less than 10 minutes you can drive to Île de la Jatte, a river island between Courbevoie and Neuilly-sur-Seine.
Although the island is now inhabited by around 4,000 people, it was once the park of the now razed Château de Neuilly.
The Temple of Eros at the southern tip of the island is one of the few remnants of the property.
After the Île de la Jatte was redeveloped by Napoleon III in the 19th century, it became a day for the Impressionists who parked their easels on the Seine.
There is now an Impressionist trail that takes you to Monet, Sisley, Van Gogh and, of course, scenes painted by Seurat, whose depictions of river banks are the most enduring.
8. District 17
If you want to peek into the upper crust of Paris in its natural habitat, you can take a 10-minute train ride to this luxurious district.
The 17th arrondissement we see now was designed by Baron Haussman, with wide streets and gorgeous townhouses.
On the street, there are boutiques and high-end restaurants.
You’ll have several great food markets to visit in the area: Marché Poncelet, a permanent street market, and Marché des Batignolles with outdoor stalls.
The Parc de Monceau here is decorated with folly commissioned in the 18th century by the Duke of Chartres, a cousin of Louis XVI, who also quickly lost his mind during the revolution.
9. Arc de Triomphe
This is the closest major Paris landmark to Columbus when the crow flies by.
It’s only 5 km from the hotel, and if you’re leaving first thing on a weekend morning, you can get there by car in 10 minutes.
The rest of the time, it will take you longer to reach the monument that, together with the Eiffel Tower, is the international identifier of Paris.
As the name tells you, this is a triumphal arch built in a classical style to commemorate those who died in the Revolution and Napoleonic Wars at the turn of the 18th century.
There are reliefs of battles and the names of the protagonists carved into the limestone.
Go up to the roof and enjoy sweeping views along the Axor Historique.
10. Paris Opera
This iconic Beaux-Arts Opera House sets the standard for performance venues around the world.
If you want to get a seat in a ballet company at the Palais Garnier, you need to book in advance.
But it’s worth it just to walk around on the tour.
The interior decoration needed to be believable, including friezes, balustrades, columns and statues made of marble in various colours.
The ceiling of the foyer was painted by Marc Chagall.
The Italian-style auditorium has a capacity of nearly 2,000 people and has the largest stage in Europe with a capacity of 450 performers.
11. District 1
The right bank of the Seine has many of the monuments and institutions that make Paris Paris.
You can take the train from Colombes to Paris Saint-Lazare in 15 minutes and walk along the river.
Every few steps there is a world-class museum such as the Louvre, the Orangerie or the Museum of Decorative Arts.
Alternatively, you may find yourself in a place that resonates with centuries of history, such as Cardinal Richelieu’s Royal Palace or the Tuileries Gardens.
This is the palace of Louis XVI, which was attacked by the National Guard during the Revolution.
12. Shopping Aisles
Bordering the Saint-Lazare station is the 2nd arrondissement, which is not only a financial district but also a shopper’s dream.
Passages Couverts turned shopping into an art form, and these galleries first appeared in the late 18th century and became an integral part of the cityscape.
The 2nd Arrondissement has six in all, and the whirlwind tour will take about an hour.
But it’s best to take your time and admire the mosaic floors of Galerie Vivienne, gaze at the nave-like roof of Passage du Grand Cerf, or browse the postcard shop at Passage des Panoramas.
13. District 8
Public transportation is also easily accessible, and the eighth arrondissement has its own large landmarks and fascinating museums.
Culturally, you can choose from the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, a treasure trove of Italian art at the Jacques-Mar-Andre Museum and Chinese treasures at the Senucci Museum.
La Madeleine is a neoclassical church, designed to resemble a Roman temple, built in the early 1800s during Napoleon’s reign.
And of course the incomparable Place de la Concorde, where Louis XVI was executed in 1793, and the Champs-Elysees, the scene of epochal events such as the 1998 World Cup celebrations.
14. Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
Head east from Colombes and you’ll reach a huge flea market, which trades on weekends and Mondays.
It started in 1870 and has expanded over time to cover 9 hectares with 2,000 traders and up to 5 million shoppers each year.
Although the market has cleared and lost some of its slutty charm over the past few years, it remains a wonderland for antique shoppers.
If you’re ready for errand work, you’ll find unrestored furniture, lighting, mirrors, paintings, figurines, toys, records, clothing, lamps, and any number of other used items.
15. Les Quatre Temps
For a very different expedition, you can hop over to this mall in La Defense.
Be prepared, because this is not something to be taken lightly; Les Quatre Temps is the most visited mall in France, attracting nearly 50 million shoppers each year since it reopened after a makeover in 2008. The stats of this behemoth will make your head spin; there are more than 300 shops on four floors.
This time, parking in this mall will not be a problem, as there are 6,500 parking spaces on the fourth floor.
Don’t come if you need boutiques and one-off stores.
However, if you want to have all the big brands and mass market chains in one place, you can reach Les Quatre Temps from Colombes in a few minutes.
Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Columbus, France
Lowest price guaranteed.