The immense tree-lined avenue of the Champs-Élysées, 1910 metres long, is part of the 12 axes branching off from the Arc de Triomphe and is one of the symbols of Parisian grandeur.
From the time of its construction, the Champs-Élysées has represented the place of power, luxury and political or commercial grandeur: even Queen Marie Antoinette and her ladies-in-waiting strolled under its large trees. From then on it became fashionable and represented the dream of every aristocrat and wealthy bourgeois.
Indeed, not only is it the scene of the greatest national celebrations, the parades for 14 July, the day of the storming of the Bastille, and the final stretch of the Tour de France, but all the great luxury brands of Paris line it, making it the heart of the capital’s shopping.
The Champs-Elysees can be compared, in terms of elegance and importance, to New York’s 5th Avenue: a rich, elegant, refined avenue, especially in the upper part, starting from Place De Gaulle, while in the lower part, from Place de La Concorde, it is characterised by large historical buildings, luxury restaurants including Ledoyen, Laurent, Gabriel, Elysées-Lenôtre, or important theatres and cabarets such as Marigny and Rond-Point.
This area of Paris was completely redesigned by Baron Haussmann to celebrate the grandeur of the capital: the urban redevelopment involved a regular layout with large tree-lined boulevards serving as links to the city’s various districts.
The result of this urban transformation was the construction of large boulevards and large squares to project the city into the modern era.
The Baron put his hand to the Champs-Elysees, commissioned in 1616 by Marie de’ Medici to reclaim the marshy areas of the city, and made them even more grandiose and majestic as we can admire them today. It was the Belle Epoque years that were the heyday of the Champs-Elysees, which saw the construction of the first metro line.
The area quickly acquired unstoppable prestige: the construction of grands hotelsand the development of the luxury goods trade led to a rush to open new boutiques, such as the Guerlain perfumery in 1913. Within a few years, the Champs Elysées became the meeting place of Parisian aristocrats and the centre of elegance and luxury in the common imagination.
At 1910 metres long, the Avenue des Champs Elysées is part of the Historic Axis of Paris and in addition to shops and boutiques, many museums, monuments and historical sites can be seen here.
This long street is divided into two parts. The section near the Place de la Concorde is full of gardens, small squares and nooks and crannies that frame several restaurants and theatres. The Rond-Point roundabout, an important traffic junction, marks a decisive change of scenery: from here on, the buildings and shops are the real stars of the boulevard, with haute couture boutiques and prestigious car showrooms.
From this marvellous avenue you can see an incredible and spectacular view: the equestrian statue of King Louis XIV of the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe of the Carrousel, the jardin des Tuileries, the obelisk of Place de La Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe and in the distance also the Arc de la Defence.
If you have time to spare, you can also visit the Galeries Nationales in the Grand Palais and the museums in the Petit Palais. Also not far away you will find the Palais de la Découverte, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée Dapper of African Art.
A stroll along the Champs-Elysees is almost a must during a visit to Paris. Once the exclusive location of the most luxurious and refined boutiques, today the grand boulevard has also been taken by storm by chain stores, severely eroding its former charm.
In spite of progressive globalisation, with the arrival of fast food, Nike and Disney stores, the Champs-Elysees remains the undisputed emblem of luxury and wealth, with the shop windows of the leading French cars, the most prestigious brands, from Louis Vuitton to Cartier, via Dior, Hugo Boss, Gucci, Lacoste, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, and the best-loved patisseries such as Ladurèe, the mecca of tasty, colourful macarons.
Shopping on the Champs-Elysees is not for everyone but remains a popular destination for those who love fashion and extra-luxury items.
Paris, the ville lumiere, is one of the most popular destinations to spend New Year’s Eve, amidst bottles of champagne and a magical, romantic atmosphere, perfect to usher in a new beginning.
There are several sought-after locations to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Paris. Besides the Eiffel Tower, which is festively decorated for the occasion and lit up even more sparklingly, another popular corner of the capital is the Champs Elysèes .
Thousands of Parisians and tourists alike gather along this triumphantly lit promenade to toast the arrival of the New Year with champagne and admire the fireworks and laser shows, which project ever more spectacular and impressive plays of light into the sky.
Around 9pm, the grand boulevard of the Champs Elysées is closed to traffic for safety reasons and can only be reached on foot or by public transport. Because of the huge crowds of people that pour into the streets on the evening of 31 December, we advise you to get there as early as possible and get close to the Arc de Triomphe, on which a sound and light show will be projected around 11.30 p.m. to mark the countdown to midnight.
At the stroke of midnight you will be able to admire above you the beautiful fireworks display that will light up the Paris sky and greet the arrival of the New Year.
New Year’s Eve on the Champs Elysées is not the only big event that animates and characterises these immense tree-lined avenues of Paris. There are a number of national festivities and events that have the Champs Elysées as their backdrop.
First and foremost, the great military parade on 14 July, in the presence of the President of the Republic: this is the most beloved and heartfelt national holiday for Parisians and a not-to-be-missed event for tourists as well. The armed forces parade on the Champs Elysée and the whole city is in celebration to remember and celebrate the storming of the Bastille.
Of a sporting nature, on the other hand, is the event that has taken place every year in July since 1975: the last stage of the Tour de France arrives right on the Champs Elysée. Before standing on the podium, the Tour winner performs, like the rest of the riders, the Parisian ritual of victory: eight laps around the Champs-Elysees.
Since 1976, also on the Champs Elysées, on the first Sunday of April, another unmissable sporting event takes place: the Paris Marathon, one of the five largest marathons in the world.
Lastly, the Avenue des Champs Elysées is cloaked in magic and charm at Christmas time, when it glows with decorations and a Christmas market and ice skating rink are set up.
The Champs-Elysees can be easily reached by public transport in Paris at various points along the avenues.
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