Avenue de Champs-Elysees

Champs Elysees (Avenue de Champs-Elysees) is one of the main thoroughfares of Paris and one of the most popular,  the crowd of tourists does not dry out here, even late at night. The name comes from Greek mythology. Elysian Fields or Elysium – “island of the blessed”, home to the heroes who have received immortality from the gods.

The famous Champs Elysees is stretched between Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. Compared to the age of Paris Champs Elysees is a relatively young street. The width of the street  is 71 meters, the length is 1915 meters.

Once there was a withered arm of the Seine here, in the beginning of XVI century it was a swampy place where French kings came to hunt ducks. In 1616 Marie de Medici ordered to built here three avenues with elms, and in 1667 the landscape architect Le Nôtre arranged exquisite park walking area that continued Tuileries garden.  Both sides of its territory were drained and planted with trees. This road stretched then to the present area of the Rhone-Poincare on the Champs Elysees. However, at the time of  Louis XVI the area remained uninhabited and not safe for walking. That’s why in 1777, at about the level of the current house number 73 on the Champs-Elysees was built a guard post.

The first houses appeared on the Champs Elysees, at the time of the construction of the royal palace at Versailles.

At the end of the 18th century, the Champs Elysees had a view of a small forest where in some places were stalls, shops and huts. On weekends poor people gathered on the Champs Elysees, hoping to take a break from the six-day working week. They settled on the fresh grass, drinking wine, dancing and singing vaudevilles.

The Second Empire had made ​​some changes in the appearance of the Champs Elysees. More prestigious buildings, luxury villas, lights, pavement paths began to appear here. In 1815 the anti-French coalition troops entered the capital of French. They included the British and the Cossacks of Alexander III. As a place to camp they chose the Elysian Fields. As a result, almost all the old mansions that were in those places, were completely destroyed. A lot of time and money was needed to restore them.

Large-scale construction began on the Champs Elysees in 1840. By this time many of the sights of Paris were at their present locations (for example, the Arc de Triomphe). The whole process of building of the Champs Elysees was under the strict control of Baron Ossman, including the creation of the garden areas. Their appearance has remained virtually unchanged to this day.

Champs Elysees is the traditional place where military parades are held on July 14 (Bastille Day) and on November 11 (the end of the First World War). Crowds of Parisians flock here at the moment of “national jubilation”. It was so, for example, on July 14 in 1989, on the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. So it was on July 12 in 1998, when France became the first champion of the World Cup (on the Champs Elysees was meeting more than 3 million people!).

On the Champs Elysees there are many cinemas, commercial centers of the largest automobile campaigns, world-famous cabaret “Lido“, one of the most expensive Russian restaurants “Rasputin”, a huge store of musical production Virgin Megastore, a lot of travel agencies.

Restaurants are gradually giving way to American food service type of McDonald’s. However the famous restaurant Le Fouquet’s (the oldest restaurant in France (among his guests were Sacha Guitry and Charlie Chaplin)) is still “alive”.

Avenue de Champs-Elysees is one of the best streets in Paris and, according to the popular expression in France: «la plus belle avenue du monde» – «the most beautiful street (prospect) in the world»

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *