The most famous avenue in the world is avenue des Champs Elysees (Elysian Fields) in Paris. It stretches for 2 km long and 70 meters wide from the Place the la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle, the site of the Arc de Triomphe. Like the Eiffel Tower, the avenue is a symbol of Paris. It is lined with restaurants (Hard Rock Café, l’Atelier Renault, Ledoyen etc.), luxury boutiques (Louis Vuitton, Mont-Blanc, Guerlain, Ferrari etc.), flagship stores (Banana Republic, Abercrombie, Sephora etc.) and nightclubs.
Main French avenue
The Champs-Elysées is used for all the major celebrations. Parisians celebrate New Year’s Eve here and the military parades on the 14th of July as well as the Liberation at the end of the Second World War are held on the avenue.
In the sixteenth century there were only fields outside the center of Paris. In 1616 Marie de Medicis decided to create a long tree-lined path going east from the Tuileries. The route was redesigned in 1667 as an extension of the Jardins des Tuileries. The promenade then called ‘Grande Allée du Roule’ or ‘Grand-Cours’ and had become a fashionable place.
Twenty-seven years later the promenade was renamed to ‘Champs-Elysées’, or Elysian Fields in English. The name was derived from Greek mythology where ‘Elusia’ is a place where heroes come to relax.
In 1724 the Champs-Elysées was extended all the way to the Chaillot hill (the site of the Arc de Triomphe). Its current form took shape in 1838 when French architect Ignaz Hittorf – who was redesigning the Place – created the Jardins des Champs-Elysées. He also installed sidewalks, gas lamps and fountains. The Champs-Elysées started to attract more and more restaurants and hotels, especially after 1900 when the Paris metro line no. 1 reached the Etoile station.
Champs Elysees location
The Champs-Elysées draws a perfectly straight line from the Louvre, through the Tuilerie Gardens and the Place Concord, bisects the Arche de Triomphe where it becomes the avenue de la Grande Armée, and culminates at the base of the modern Arche de la Défence.
The latest redesign of the prestigious avenue was done in 1994 by Bernard Huet. The side lanes were converted into pedestrian zones, an underground parking lot was created and new trees were planted. Cars now only occupy half the width of this grand avenue.
- Location: Avenue des Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris
- Nearby hotels: Best Western Le Colisee, Hotel Delarc, Hotel Monna Lisa
- Nearby sights: Musee d’Orsay, Eiffel Tower , Musee du Louvre