The Eternal Glamour of the Champs-Elysées Paris

Written by on August 13, 2017 in Paris

When visiting Paris it’s a good idea to take a slow stroll down the Champs-Elysées. Parisians have always regarded their special street as the ‘Plus Belle Avenue du Monde’. And so it is. For most of us, the Champs-Elysées is a form of fantasy. We can look but never touch. We can’t really afford to contribute to it, but we can feel it and be part of it for a while.

The Champs-Elysées is a wide avenue of affluence, light, inspiration and of dreams. The route is the Princess of Paris and runs between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triumph in the distant eighth arrondissement. It is the grandest component of the 10km long ‘Axe Historique’ or ‘Triumphant Route’. It blends perfectly with the apparently dead straight line of iconic architecture from the Royal Palaces to the Grande Arch so far away in the La Defense district.

Champs-Elysées means Elysian Fields, the paradise for dead heroes in Greek mythology. The avenue was originally laid out by André le Notre, designer of the Versailles Gardens, in 1667 as an extension of the Jardin des Tuileries. Before this, the route was just an area of suburban fields and kitchen gardens. Louis XIV was inspired to have the area redesigned and it has become the iconic symbol of Parisian grace and urban sophistication.

What to see in the Champs-Elysées

The Champs-Elysées today is filled with luxury shops and one or two very polished modern fast food outlets. There are a number of upmarket theatres, cinemas, restaurants and places of other culture. The avenue hosts the route of the annual Bastille Day military parade held each year on July 14th. It’s also where the Tour de France ends in glamorous style with a final non-competitive leg of the world’ most famous bike race. The riders make for a vibrant sight as they allow the overall winning rider from the multiple previous stages to cross the line first.

Make a stop at the Jardin des Champs-Elysées a sort of extension to the Tuileries gardens just beyond the eastern edge of the street. The garden is a place for contemplation and to savour the grand architectural features of the Avenue Foch.

At the western end of the avenue rests the Arc de Triumph, inaugurated to mark the victory of Napoleon at the battle of Austerlitz in 1818 though it wasn’t completed until after his death.

Twelve major Parisian thoroughfares radiate from the Arc which rests on what was once called the Place de Etoile, the place of the star. It is now called the Place Charles de Gaulle and a great starting point for your stroll along the world’s most beautiful avenue.

Bob Lyons is an ex-pilot turned travel writer whose favourite place to travel is France.

Related Articles

The fabric district of Paris | buttons, baubles and beads

On a cold, crisp April morning, with numb fingers, and an almost feverish determination I searched for buttons. Muscling locals aside I pounced on another matching set. My fingers became blue, nose snuffly, but the button search went on and on, till every button had been turned and either discarded or bagged as a treasure […]

Continue Reading

Diner en Blanc in Paris 2018 in pictures

Friendship, gastronomy, elegance, magic: Diner en Blanc Paris is the chic-est annual gathering the world has ever seen. It is the pique-nique of pique-niques. A giant sea of laughing faces and popping champagne corks. A magical night: Le Dîner en Blanc celebrated 30 years in 2018 On June 3rd 2018 the world’s biggest organized pop-up picnic, the exclusive Dîner en […]

Continue Reading

Top tips to help you do 5 star Paris on a budget

We might all hanker after a 5 star visit to the city of light but for most of us, it’s way beyond our budget. However, with a little know-how, you can enjoy 5 star style and not have to take out a bank loan. 5 Star Paris Dining and Drinking without breaking the bank If […]

Continue Reading

Yves Saint Laurent Museum Paris

Yves Saint Laurent was a genius – a visionary who became a legend at an early age. Today his name graces a variety of products from luxurious cosmetics to high-end handbags. Knowing a bit about his background will enhance your visit to this excellent new museum. Early Yves Saint Laurent Saint Laurent’s career began with […]

Continue Reading

The best ice cream shops in Paris

The best ice cream shops in Paris

Written by on April 23, 2018 in Paris

If you want to indulge with a delicious ice cream in the city of light, you won’t find any shortage of choice. There are pretty ice cream parlours, awesome artisans shops making unusual and delicious flavours and plenty of scope for a scoop of something to indulge your sweet tooth. Here are some of the […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top