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Champs-Elysees

Listed under Squares, Streets & Urban Spaces in Paris, France.

  • Photo of Champs-Elysees
  • Photo of Champs-Elysees
  • Photo of Champs-Elysees
  • Photo of Champs-Elysees
Photo of Champs-Elysees
Photo by flickr user @rgs
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The Champs-Elysees, or 'Elysian Fields' as translated into English, is perhaps the most famous thoroughfare in the world, more famous than Picadilly or Park Avenue. This wide 2km long tree lined street is spectacular for the fact that it links a view of the Arc de Triomphe at one end with the Place de La Concorde, and beyond that the Tuileries Gardens and the Louvre, at the other - so the view is amazing, especially at night with the red and white tail-lights of the cars. Tourists risk life and limb to run across to the island in the middle of the Place de la Concorde to get this shot. The street is lined by those stores who can afford the astronomical rent - car showrooms, cinemas, Louis Vuitton, Disney, all major world brands, and the famous Lido nighclub. The upper stories are all offices - only about nine people actually live on this expensive street.

It's also the location of France's military parades and other great events - the most famous of which have been De Gaulle's re-entry into Paris in 1944 (see the image on the right) - and France's World Cup victory party in 2000, when 1m people thronged the Champs-Elysees. Oh, and the President lives in the Elysee Palace near the bottom end of it.

Written by  James Dunford Wood.

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Shopping on the Champs Elysees

Car showrooms with concept cars in the window, block-buster cinemas and a Hagen Daas Café have slightly lowered the tone of what I used to think of as the world’s most glamourous street. The view and the bright lights are just as dazzlingly perfect but some of the most wonderful stores have been driven out by companies who can pay higher rents – but don’t worry – the classy stores have just moved further down towards the Tuileries. Sephora, mecca of parfum is a highlight for the girls but it’s not like the boys will feel let out – as long as they like cars. The fashion is your standard blend of Gap upwards and people certainly aren’t dressing for the cinema or to sit in the sidewalk cafes as I hope that would in Paris – but maybe they’re just some of Paris’s many guests. Even so taking a stroll along the Champs Elysees still makes you feel, if not a million Francs, at least a million Euro, especially at night if you’re coming down from the Arc de Triomphe and you have the long wide road in front of you.

Sephora

Paris loves the ladies, or at least appreciates them at their best – and expects it. For many visiting dames, Paris has an air of class that we want to emulate or at least get close to and for that reason Sephora on the Champs-Elysees is something a bit more than a store selling parfum and beauty products. Scents mingle in a not unattractive way, drawing passing girls in towards the walls lined with deliciously coloured bottles in all manner of appealing shapes.

Women’s scents are on the right wall, the men on the left and in the centre are a thousand promises of a more beautiful you – unguents, creams, potions, powders, polishes, all packaged delightfully – and when you’ve finally decided which item you’re least able to leave behind, they’ll package it up for you in a bag that’s practically a fashion statement in itself with a few testers to keep you wanting more next time.

What could be more perfectly wonderful than bringing a little bit of Paris back into your everyday life by wearing it on your wrist? The only thing better is knowing your precious elixir or glamour came from this mecca of loveliness.

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