Champs Élysées

So named the most prestigious avenue in Paris and one of the most lavish streets in the world, Les Champs Élysées is a wide avenue in Paris. Given its high popularity with Parisians and tourists alike, les Champs Élysées has become the avenue of choice for high profile shoppers as world renowned brands have their shops opened on the avenue. Starting at Place de la Concorde, the avenue stretches over 1.91km and ends at Place de l’Étoile, the site where the Arc de Triomphe is located. Its one of the must-visit places in Paris, and given the fact that it begins on the biggest and most popular square in Paris, it’s hard not to spend some time there.

The beauty of les Champs Élysées was not always there in the beginning. Until the early 1600s, it was nothing but fields and gardens. Then an idea was conceived of opening up an avenue of trees from the Tuileries Garden. This was in 1616, and the trees planted were to be in a straight line. After a century and some years, the avenue was extended to lead up to the Place de l’Étoile. It was not long before the avenue picked up popularity with footpaths and lighting being added as the years went by. It has also been widened, more so with the sidewalks to increase the useable foot area for Parisians and tourists who prefer spending time on the avenue.

Les Champs Élysées is a colossal avenue by average standards, with a width of 70m. The architectural consistency of the establishments on the avenue is obvious, and this is credited to Baron Haussman. In his urbanization plans of Paris, he proposed architectural consistency with the buildings that were on the avenues to display a similar façade. The lines of trees on the avenue give it an awe-inspiring beauty that is especially easy to appreciate with a raised view, as from the Arc de Triomphe. As one would conclude, life on the avenue is far from cheap, so most of the buildings on les Champs Élysées are occupied by offices, shops, restaurants and cafés. As a matter of fact, the asking price for a piece of real estate on the avenue is one of the highest in the world.

Brightly-lit and always buzzed with activity, les Champs Élysées has always been the avenue of choice for Parisians who are out to celebrate. The countdown on New Year’s Eve happens on the avenue, and given its colossal scale, it is able to accommodate a huge number of people. With the erection of Arc de Triomphe, the street was notably used for victory parades. In recent times, it has been used for holding gatherings, especially those of a political nature.

Les Champs Élysées is especially famous with shoppers because of the many high profile stores located on the avenue. While not every global chain has the freedom of opening a branch on the avenue (not only due to space limitations but also due to prohibitions by the City of Paris), there are many luxury brands available on les Champs Élysées, not only from Europe but the rest of the world as well. Independent shops are a rare thing on the avenue, and this explains why only continental and global brands are available.

An unmatched view of les Champs Élysées can be gotten either from the Place de la Concorde or from the Arc de Triomphe. From Place de la Concorde, one is treated to a serene view of the avenue, as the lower part of it, which is the one seen from the square, is rich in greenery. From Arc de Triomphe, one is able to appreciate its size, as well as its popularity as the upper part is the busiest. It is richer in cafes, restaurants and shops, and as such is always more visited by Parisians and visitors alike.

There are few other avenues that come close to les Champs Élysées, and even then, they are hardly able to match up to the popularity and the offering that the avenue has made over the many years. Its convenient placing makes it easy to explore, either when you are from Place de la Concorde or the Place de l’Étoile.