The most beautiful avenue in the world, Champs-Elysées.

Ok so this one has been beate around the corners a lot. Everyone comes here need to visit it and they do in hordes of visitors,not to mention the poor souls who need to work here. So rather than tell you about how wonderful the stores are, the restos around it and the monuments , I will just concentrate on the history I like mostly, which is one reason to love Paris. History is in every stone, brick, glass, around you.

The most beautiful avenue in the world is a lot. OF course, its the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.  It was once call that and more ,however, many businessess come and gone and the highest price street in the world as well has taken some of the glitter from it. Too touristic ,but hey that is why Paris is so popular; the most visited city in the world again!

My previous bit post in my blog here: My previous post on Champs Elysees

Let me give some basic transportation stuff.  I love the bus because you stay above ground to see all the beauty of Paris, and the 27 and 73 especially are a tourist paradise; the buses passing by the avenue are the  17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, and 73.  Then, you have the metro  with stations  Concorde, Champs élysée – clémenceau, Franklin Roosevelt, George V,  and Charles de Gaulle – étoile on lines  1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, and 13. Right there is an RER A transilien station too, that can even connects to Disneyland Paris!

Paris

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (locals call it simply Champs-Élysées, and even shorter for Champs) is almost 2 km long linking the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles-de-Gaulle in the 8éme arrondissement or district of Paris. It is very visible and spectacular in the view of the Jardin des Tuileries. It takes this name from the place of hell where the souls rest in the Greek mythology, so they tell me….

plan quartier Champs-Elysees

The origins of the Champs-Élysées are simply a swampy area and not inhabited in ancient times; then came Marie de Médicis and decided to fix this even away from the former Palais des Tuileries,along the Seine river, with an area bordering on trees. This road was call the cours la Reine (or road of the queen) taken inspiration from the promenade des Cascine in Florence opening in 1616.  Later king Louis XIV, around 1670, ordered André Le Nôtre, the gardener of the Château de Versailles and  the jardin des Tuileries, to continue the arrangement of lands there tracing an axis from the main central body of the Palais des Tuileries,from the current Place de la Concorde all to the current rond-point des Champs-Élysées-Marcel-Dassault, in the direction of the mountain or montagne du Roule that was at the current Place de l’Étoile (Charles de Gaulle).

It was called the Grand  Cours or big road  to distinguished it from the cours de  la Reine, or even the big alley of the Roule or  grande allée du Roule , or the avenue de la Grille Royale  (1678), or avenue du Palais des Tuileries  (1680), and the Champs-Élysées, name that show up for the first time in 1694 but that it was given official name by 1709  as told in the Royal accounts.

By the 18C the new avenue went out further than that of the ramparts of king Louis XIII and reached the level of the current rue Marbeuf. The big sewer that followed this trace into a small stream going down to Ménilmontant and into the Seine river by the current Pont de l’Alma.  This continue until what was called the étoile de Chaillot or the star of Chaillot finished in 1724.  By 1774, it was time to enlarged the avenue to the west until the Seine river by the level of the Pont de Neuilly, on the current avenue de la Grande-Armée in Paris ,and avenue Charles-de-Gaulle in Neuilly-sur-Seine. To improve the security on the Champs-Élysées, a post of Swiss guards was set up in the barrier of Chaillot in  1777.

There are four fountains almost identical at the entrance  such as the fontaine des Quatre Saisons, aka fontaine du Cirque, done in 1839. Decorated with a group of four children, symbolizing the seasons.  The  fontaine de Diane ,  fontaine de Vénus aka fontaine des Ambassadeurs, both done in 1840, and the  fontaine de la Grille du coq, without sculptures done also in 1840.

Marly’s two horses, a pair of wild horses on wheels, are held by naked men. Ordered from 1739 by  king Louis XIV done  from 1743 to 1745 located at Place de la Concorde, at the entrance of the Avenue des Champs Elysées. Two other groups of horses held by men and gods are at the entrance of the Tuileries, ordered by king Louis XIV for the entrance to the watering-water of Marly, represent the fame and mercury straddling a winged horse, Pegasus. The original marble models have been replaced by cement statues in the Louvre museum.

It was here on the  Champs-Élysées that the carriage was sent to bring the Royal family to Paris on October 5 1789. It was here also, that the Royal family was brought into Paris on June 25 1791 after trying to escapre by Varennes.  During the reign of terror ,the Place de la Concorde was the scene of executions by the unfamous guillotine.

There are other more gentle fame to the Champs-Elysées , when dotted with elegant cafés such as the old Café des Ambassadeurs,of which plans drawing was done by none other than Jean-Jacques Rousseau, rebuilt in  1841,  this cafe developped to welcome from 1897  spectacles reviews until finally demolished in 1929 to be replaced by the Theater or  Théâtre des Ambassadeurs , and the restaurant of same name;; today the Espace Cardin (theatre de la ville de Paris) more here:Espace Cardin

There were others like the  traiteur Dupe, opened in  1800 atracting all the celebraties of the day starting by Paul de Barras,located in a pretty white house with green awnings that todayis the famous itself Ledoyen.  More here: Ledoyen   The  Champs-Élysées becomes an elegant street , passage point to take some air in the country towards Longchamp (bois de Boulogne). Emperatrice Marie Louise d’Austria, makes her entry by here in 1810 and also her exit in 1814.  The parade on allied troops have the visits thereafter of the Tzar of Russia Alexandre Ier, king of Prussia, Frédérick-Guillaume III ,and the Prince of  Schwarzenberg  near the Palais de l’Élysée.  It was king Louis XVIII that renovated this area and opened the Avenue Gabriel; where the USA embassy is today.

In 1848 a great banquet is held at the Champs-Élysées, that would the start of the 1848 revolution. During the Universal Exposition of 1855, the Champs-Élysées became a model and during the Second Empire a period of great events and splendor.  The avenue bordered with luxury mansions, becomes the high of the Parisian elegance. To prepare for the Universal Exposition of 1900, the Palais de l’Industrie, destroyed in 1896 to leave the space to built the Petit and Grand Palais. This allows the linkage of the Hôtel des Invalides to Palais de l’Élysée by the pont Alexandre-III. On August 26 1944, after the liberation of Paris, Gen Charles de Gaulle comes here followed by the tanks and armored vehicules of the 2nd Armored Division of Leclerc.

Paris

PAris

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cute we go way back at the Champs Elysees!

This is the beauty and brief history of this wonderful magnificent avenue to the world. I like to get some readings and tell you some of the most elegant and historical buildings found here. My list

At No. 25, Hotel de la Païva. This particular hotel, was built between 1856 and 1866 for Esther Lachmann, marquise de Païva, called La Païva (1818-1884), famous courtesan of the Second Empire. The hotel, famous for its interior decoration, is one of the best preserved examples of private architecture of the Second Empire. After the death of the Païva, the hotel was sold to a banker in Berlin and then, in 1895, to the restaurateur Pierre Cubat. Since 1904, it houses a private circle, the Travellers.  No. 30: Home of the Earl of Monte Cristo in the novel by Alexandre Dumas. No. 37 (corner of  rue Marbeuf): Residence of Beatrice Charlotte Antoinette Denis de Kérédern de Trobriand (1850-1941). She was the daughter of the Count Régis de Trobriand (1816-1897), a naturalized French aristocrat and general of the Union armies during the American Civil War, and Mary Jones, wealthy heiress, daughter of Mary Mason Jones, Grand-aunt of Edith Wharton. While her husband lived in New York, the Countess of Trobriand resided most of the time in Paris.  The Countess lived separate from her husband after an episode of theft and corruption. This episode inspired Maurice Leblanc to do a chapter on the novel  entitled “The Blue Diamond” of  Arsène Lupin against Sherlock Holmes (1908).

At Nos. 52-60: Originally built (1933) in the place of the Hotel de Massa for the American bank Citybank of New York, this building subsequently hosts a Virgin Megastore store (from 1988 to 2013), as well as a Monoprix. It is renovated from 2016 after the closure of the Virgin Megastore in order to host in March 2019 a store of Galleries Lafayette. At
No. 70: Vuitton Building (now the Marriott Hotel). Facade of late Art nouveau style built in 1914. At no 76-78; Arcades of the Lido. The building raised at this address has on the ground floor a shopping arcade which gives on one side on the Champs-Elysées and on the other on the rue Ponthieu. The arcades of the Champs-Elysées,of  luxury shops, were built in 1925.  The arcades were inaugurated in  1926. Some marble columns, coming from the old Hotel Dufayel, are used in the realization. The basement of the passage housed the Lido until 1976. Inaugurated in 1928, it was originally a beauty salon with a worldly swimming pool. Transformed into a cabaret in 1946, they were the origin of the current name of the passage, the “arcades of the Lido”.

At No. 79: The Queen night Club, between 1992 and 2015. No. 92: During the German occupation, the seat of the magazine Der Deutsche Wegleiter für Paris, intended for occupation troops. The building houses on the ground floor the famous brasserie Fouquet and, on the upper floors, the hotel Fouquet Barrière, inaugurated in 2006. At
No. 103: Élysée-Palace. Hotel de Voyageurs built in 1898 for the company of sleeping wagons. This was the first of the great Hotels of travelers built on the Champs-Elysées. It was soon followed by the Hotel Astoria (1904) and the Hotel Claridge (1912). Th original decor was destroyed by the Crédit commercial de France, which acquired the building in 1919 to install its headquarters. At No. 114: Alberto Santos-Dumont , an aviation pioneer, inhabited this building in front of which he landed in 1903 his airship.

At No 116 bis-118 was the seat of Radio-Paris under the Nazi occupation, in the building of the post office. In 1977 , it became the Cabaret Lido (that was before at No 78).  At No 119 : Hôtel Carlton, built in  1907. In 1988 it was the HQ of Air France. At No 120 , James Gordon Bennett jr, owner of the New York Herald  lived here.  At No 122 , the Count Henry de La Vaulx  a pioneer of Aviation lived here from 1898 to 1909. At No 124 (corner of  2, rue Balzac) mansion built before 1858 for Santiago Drake del Castillo, one of the rare examples of Second Empire mansions bordering the avenue. At No 133, the  drugstore Publicis , was the first drugstore to open in Europe on October 16 1958 in a building from early 20C.  It was destroyed by fire in 1972 and rebuilt in glass and steel. At No 136 (and 1, rue Balzac) mansion from 1910, today is the car dealer Peugeot ;keeping the deco in the rooms of the first floor (2nd US). At No 144  entrance to the Tunnel or tunnel de l’Étoile, connects the avenue de la Grande-Armée passing underneath the Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile. At No 152 (corner with rue Arsène-Houssaye), here is the site where the Hôtel Musard, Mme de Loynes had her literary meeting early in the 20C  with the critic Jules Lemaitre. And onwards on the avenue….

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Paris on avenue des Champs-Elysées :  https://en.parisinfo.com/transport/73130/Avenue-des-Champs-Elysees

Tourist office of Paris on what is around the avenue des Champs-Elysées :  https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/walks-in-paris/paris-and-its-neighbourhoods/paris-eiffel-tower/On-and-around-the-Champs-Elys%C3%A9es

Committee on the Champs-Elysées in charge of maintenance and projection of fame of the avenue in English/French:  http://www.comite-champs-elysees.com/histoire-de-lavenue/?lang=en

Information web page on the Champs-Elysées on businesses and events etc :  http://www.xn--avenue-des-champs-lyses-sccd.com/

And there you have  a bit more on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées! A must at least once to get the frenzy feel of Paris.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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