The Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris
Its full name is actually Avenue des Champs-Elysees and the name refers to the Elysian Fields, which is the place of the blessed in Greek mythology and the name also refers to the fact that originally this area was just fields with produce grown for the Paris markets.
The Champs Elysees is probably one of the most famous streets in the world and in France is called La plus belle avenue du monde, which translates to the most beautiful avenue in the world and with its elegance it is no wonder.
This famous tree lined avenue certainly did not start out this way, and there is a fascinating history of the Champs Elysees, that became one the popular places for aristoricracy to be seen, especially at the fabulous Hotel de Crillon.
But even today, this avenue is classed as one of the most expensive addresses in the world with many shop owners paying premium rental costs of hundreds of thousands, so it is no wonder that there are chic boutiques and famous names in perfume and fashion that are positioned down the Champs Elysees.
Located to the North West of Paris in the 8th Arrondissement, the Avenue des Champs Elysees goes from the Tuileries Gardens by the famous Louvre museum past Place de la Concorde, which is home to the oldest monument in Paris called the Luxor Obelisk, and then continues on until it reaches the Place Charles de Gaule, which is home to the Arc de Triomphe with the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal flame.
Being almost two kilometres in length with its cinemas, cafes, restaurants, hotels and luxury specialty shops, the Champs Elysees has become a major landmark in Paris, partly due to the fact that is very popular with the rich and famous, who will travel here just for a day of shopping in Paris.
But with the arrival of some global chain stores in more recent years, it started to alter the character of this famous avenue slightly, and so the Paris government went into action and put a stop to too many chain stores being able to have a presence on the Champs Elysees.
One of the main tourist attractions in Paris, the lower part of the Champs-Elysees is bordered by greenery and by buildings such as the Theatre Marigny and the Grand Palais along with the Petit Palais that are now home to French museums. But further to the West, the avenue is lined with cinemas, theatres, cafes, restaurants and luxury specialty shops where you can visit Benetton, Nike, the Disney Store, Zara, Gap and Sephora.
But Paris itself has traditionally always been the home of many luxury brands and on the Champs Elysees you can still understand why it has a world class appeal with its chic boutiques like Louis Pion, Cartier, Hugo Boss, Marionnaud the one of the luxury perfumeries, Pret a Porter and many more.
The Champs Elysees has also seen the opening of some new large upscale shops such as the biggest Louis Vuitton department store in the world, which even hosts an exhibition room and Citroen is back in their old premises where they were originally in the 1920s!
However, just off the Avenue des Champs Elysees you have the Avenue Montaigne where you will often find celebrities, as this extremely upmarket street is home to French couture boutiques and top designer boutiques like Chanel, Christian Dior, Versace and many more.
But when it comes to eating, you will be spoilt for choice with places to eat out in Paris and on the Champs Elysees itself you will find places like the Italian Pizza Vesuvio, the French Bistro called Atelier Renault, the flagship boutique of Haagen Dazs and Flora Danica famous for its caviar.
And then you have Fouquet’s, which is a famous French restaurant in Paris that is over 100 years old, the famous Laduree tea room, L’Alsace Bistro serving cuisine from the Alsace region in France that is open 24 hours a day and yet you cannot forget about McDonalds, which is a popular choice for the children!
However, just off the Champs Elysees you have the Jardins des Champs Elysees that were originally laid out by Andre Le Notre, but then fully restored by Hittorff with its four fountains and tranquil spaces, and it is here that you will also find the very elegant Michelin starred restaurant called the Pavillon Laurent.
Then it comes to entertainment in Paris, and there is always going to be something for everyone to enjoy, even on the Avenue des Champs Elysees. In fact, you have the Cinema Gaumont that has movie premiers, the famous cabaret show in Paris called Le Lido, the bar and club Montecristo, and a nightclub with some of the best DJs called Le Queen to name a few venues, plus within the Jardins des Champs Elysees you can discover theatres in Paris including the Theatre Marigny.
But you even have a luxury 5 star hotel in Paris called the Marriot Champs Elysees, that is literally on this avenue with incredible views along with Le Claridge hotel and apartments, or for luxury at the start of the avenue, then you have the Hotel de Crillon at the Place de la Concorde.
However, there are less expensive hotels located within walking distance of the Champs Elysees like the Hotel Galileo, but you will never find a great budget hotel in Paris that is anywhere near the chic and upmarket 8th Arrondissement.
Yet wherever you decide to stay whilst you are on holiday in Paris, then a visit to the Avenue des Champs Elysees is something not to be missed, whether you decide on one of the bus tours in Paris, or taking a leisurely stroll from one end to the other taking in the sights and boutiques on the way.
And whatever time of year you visit this fabulous city, you will be able to enjoy glittering lights along the Champs Elysees when it is lit up of an evening, however, if you are lucky enough to be visiting Paris at Christmas, then you have got to see the spectacular illuminations and decorations that are installed all along the avenue.
Now the main Metro station is of course the Champs-Elysees-Clemenceau stop, but the Avenue Franlin D Roosevelt and the Avenue George V are both very close and these also have Metro stations as well.
You could also start at the Arc de Triomphe on the Place Charles de Gaulle or at the opposite end at the Place de la Concorde and again, the Metro stations at these places also have the same names. But if you fancy a completely different stroll, then the River Seine lies to the South of the Champs Elysees and the Madeleine area lies to the North, although you do need to be a bit fitter to walk from these areas in Paris.