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Champs-Elysees (Paris)

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The Champs-Elysées, literally the "Elysian Fields") is a broad avenue in Paris. Its full name is actually "avenue des Champs-Élysées". With its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops, the Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, and the third most expensive strip of real estate in the world (first in Europe). The name refers to the Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed in Greek mythology. The Champs-Élysées has been called La plus belle avenue du monde ("The most beautiful avenue in the world"). The arrival of global chain stores in recent years has however changed the character of the avenue, and in a first effort to stem these changes, the Paris city government (which has called this "“banalization”) decided in 2007 to ban the Swedish clothing chain H&M from opening a store on the avenue. This street is very popular with many of the rich and famous.

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      07.03.2010 15:00
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      One of the most famous avenues in the world

      For the legions of visitors to Paris the enthralling walk from the Palais Royal, through tranquil gardens to the majestic Arc de Triomphe has become a pilgrimage. Despite the many competing charms the city has to offer, the history and the grandeur of the Champs Elysees is the highlight of any stay in Paris. The entrance to Palais Royal Metro station, the starting point for this walk, was redesigned by Jean-Michel Othoniel, as the "Kiosque des noctambules" (Kiosk of the night-walkers), it was completed in October 2000 for the centenary of the Metro. Made of glass beads coloured and threaded on a structure of aluminum the contemporary design representing day and night is in stark contrast to the surrounding traditional buildings. The court yard of the Palais Royal with its ugly black and white striped pillars and fountains with revolving silver spheres provide further examples of how modern works of art struggle to fit in against a backdrop of historical Paris.



      Long before it became a museum, the Louvre was a royal palace constantly growing in size under a succession of French kings. Even in modern times changes have taken place with the addition of the controversial glass pyramid in 1989. Have a sit down by the pyramid and marvel at the architecture of the Louvre, it is hard not to imagine the scenes of days gone by, horse drawn carriages clattering across the court yards carrying the French royalty as they go about their daily lives. Admire the Champs Elysees in all its glory with the triumphal arch of Arc de Triomphe shimmering in the distance before embarking on a journey along the nation's most famous avenue.


      Nestling between the out stretched arms of the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe de Carousel was built to commemorate Napoleonic victories and was once adorned with four bronze horses which have since been returned to St Marks square in Venice. The graceful arch stands at the entrance to the elegant and formal Jardin des Tuileries. This pleasant stroll takes you through the well maintained gardens with ornamental ponds and dozens of statues. Enjoy your picnic here whilst children take donkey rides and play with their yachts in the ponds or watch the Parisian gentlemen pitch their "boules" as they noisily try to outwit each other. The gardens were laid out by Louis X1V`s architect and quickly became the place to be see and be seen in Paris.


      Leave the gardens by the grand gilded gates, pass the giant Ferris wheel and head for the centre of the magnificent Place de Concorde with its fountains, statues and fantastic views in all four directions. The 3300 year old Luxor obelisk stands close to the spot where the infamous guillotine was once used to behead over 1100 unfortunate people including LouisXV1 and Marie Antoinette. The square itself has been all but ruined by the constant traffic roaring around. It is a danger zone for pedestrians eager to cross over to the safety of the tree lined pavements of the Champs Elysees. Take the winding path through the Jardins des Champs Elysees with its lush Lawns and pretty flower beds another lovely place to picnic. This area hosts a fantastic Christmas market in the winter months. With all the splendour you would associate with this area of Paris, smartly decorated stalls line both sides of the avenue as far as the eye can see. The air is filled with the tempting smells of roasting chestnuts, mulled wine and cheese fondue's. See Santa and his reindeer fly over head to the sound of jingle bells whilst you shop for unusual tree decorations, chocolate and Christmas gifts. It will be very hard to find a better Christmas market.


      Now it`s time to join the throngs of people and march up the dramatic sweeping incline of the Champs Elysees. The ideal setting for historic processions, from the sombre return of Napoleons remains to the victory parades of two World Wars. Although once an avenue where ladies would stroll, adorned in the finest fashions of the day it is now full of brash shops and fast food restaurants. The expensive "Le lido" renowned cabaret show and famous for its blue belle dancing girls typifies the modern touristy image of the Champs Elysees. It can be found amongst a parade of brand name shops and hotels which line the route to the end of the walk the place de Charles de Gaulle. Take the pedestrian tunnel rather than risk life or limb dodging the never ending traffic circling the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc dominates the central point of a web of twelve avenues, commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon it now shelters a flame lit daily at 6.30am and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, reminders of the less glamourous side of war. Before heading off back to your hotel take one last look down the magnificent avenue and think about its glorious history.


      Many tourists complain that Paris can be expensive; this is a lovely way to enjoy the city at its best for free.

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        07.01.2010 14:50
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        The Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre are probably two of Paris' most visited attractions, after the Eiffel Tower, and both for very good reason. However it is what links the two attractions that I find fascinating and that makes for a very enjoyable walk in the city. These two attractions bookend the famous Champs Elysees which offers shopping, history, culture and sight-seeing in one larger than life place.

        Begin your walk at the Arc de Triomphe, a grand arch that crowns the Champs Elysees and offers fabulous views of the city's other attractions as well as the fantastic 'Voie Triomphale', which is the nine kilometre axis of 12 roads which spreads out from the arch in a perfectly planned star shape. Underneath the arch is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is marked with an eternal flame.

        The roundabout that the Arc de Triomphe sits on is probably one of the busiest places in the world and is a logistical nightmare to navigate. In fact, it is so bad that no car insurance policy is valid here! So, when you cross from the centre of the roundabout to the Champs Elysees, do it with extreme care. Alternatively, use the underground tunnel that takes you, via the entrance to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, safely across to the other side of the road.

        Now you are at the top of the impressive avenue, you will see before you a glittering array of designer shops, restaurants and the world famous Lido cabaret club, considered by many to be even better than the Moulin Rouge. The avenue is a shoppers' paradise as well as being a motorists paradise - there are many shops dedicated to the major car brands here and each of them houses a fascinating selection of concept cars and even Formula One cars. It isn't so much a foodie's dream here though - there are mostly chain burger joints and mediocre restaurants that sell average food and very inflated prices.

        Continuing down past the shops you'll wander along the tree lined avenue that in winter plays host to a spectacular Christmas market that is presented in true Parisian style, with little boutique stalls offering an array of mouth-watering foods, hand-crafted gifts and Christmas souvenirs. There are also rides and attractions for the children and Santa himself flies overhead every hour after darkness falls.

        At the end of this avenue is the Place de la Concorde, which was where over 1300 people (including Marie-Antoinette) were beheaded during the Revolution. It's a much more pleasant place to visit now as it is the home of the fantastic Obelisk (which comes from the temple of Ramses in Luxor) and the popular big wheel which seems to be an addition to most cities in Europe now. It is also where the entrance to the Jardin des Tuileries can be found.

        The Jardin des Tuileries is the formal gardens that lead you straight up to the Louvre. The gardens are pretty, although very regimental, with straight avenues surrounded on both sides by rows of perfectly manicured bushes intertwined with copies of statues by Rodin and the like. There is a lovely pond with fountains in the middle that, in summer, is surrounded by children playing with boats and their families bathing on the many chairs that surround it. It is a lovely piece of tranquillity in a busy city and is a perfect place for you to stop and rest before taking on the almighty Louvre museum.

        As you leave the park, you'll walk under another arch that is exactly in line with the Arc de Triomphe in the distance and with the Grande Arche de la Defense behind that in the far distance. This arch marks the entrance into the grounds of the Louvre. The Louvre is possibly one of the most famous museums in the world and depending how much its contents interest you, you could devote an afternoon or your whole trip to its millions of exhibits.

        Stop first outside to really appreciate the size and grandeur of the place and have a look at I. M. Pei's controversial Pyramide, a colossal glass structure which offers a complete contrast to the intricate features of the rest of the building. Inside, you'll find most people making a bee-line to the Mona Lisa which is housed behind thick bullet proof glass. Even if you fight your way through the masses to the front, you'll find museum personnel preventing you from taking pictures. It's not to be missed though. You can also find works by Bottecelli, Rembrandt and Goya to name a few. Price-wise, it's about 8E to get in, with same day readmission allowed or about 5E after 3pm and on Sundays. It's free entry on the first Sunday of each month and is closed on Tuesdays.

        This is one of my favourite walks around Paris as the Champs Elysees offers something for everyone and it showcases a little of everything that Paris has to offer, so I would strongly recommend that first time visitors give it a go!

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          04.10.2008 14:48
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          An essential walk to do in Paris

          This is a very long road in Paris, it leads up to the Arc de
          Triomphe, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris.

          I walked from the Louvre through the Tuileries Gardens all the way up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. It is a long way, but you can see the Arc the whole way, and on the way there are a million roads to navigate your way across, avoiding the crazy french drivers. Theres also a lot of nice shops including Louis Vitton and other labels.

          On a sunny day its an essential walk to do, as you can really spend time looking around, stopping in a cafe (will be expensive) and soaking up the busy Parisian atmosphere. The pavements are really wide, so you can take your time without worrying about the cars. There are loads of cafes, cinemas and a few clubs. The best hotels in Paris are also situated on this road, and you can often spot a celebrity!

          The Champs-Elysees is also classed as an area of Paris, so there are large mansion houses of the politicians and many embassies. If you wander off the main road, you can find the Grand palais which is an old exhibition hall, and its still used as an art gallery.
          There are also some pretty gardens, that had a lot of sculptures in, both old and modern. It was nice to walk through these on the way to the Arc.

          I would recommend the walk here as part of your trip to Paris, as there is so much going on, and you really get a feel for the luxury part of Paris.

          You can get the metro with a day pass for 5.80euro, but we missed out that bit of the metro and got on after seeing the Arc de Triomphe on the way to the Eiffel Tower. The only annoying thing is the gyspy kids trying to trick you, saying that you dropped something, and if you take it they want a reward. We saw this happening to a lot of tourists so watch out!

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          15.12.2005 17:54
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          If you only have one day in Paris, spend it here.

          Champs Elysees ( Chomp elazy) Paris, France: Roughly translated, Champions of being Lazy.

          Whenever you watch the Tour de France (roughly translated, a tour of France.) or rugby from the Parc des Princes, (Roughly translated, park full of princesses in rugby outfits.) you always hear them mention something about this place and broad Yorkshire accents trying to pronounce it, which provides me with great mirth. So naturally, we had to see what the hype was all about when we arrived in the centre of Paris one cold but beautifully sunlit morning this December (2005).

          We walked uphill from the Eiffel Tower for about an hour as we stopped to amble through the fish and veg market around about the Palais Galliera (roughly translated, Playing in a gallery is wrong.) before ascending to the most notable attraction that C.E has to offer, le Arc de Triomphe. (Roughly translated: triumphant Arch blocks traffic!)

          Now the Arc de Triomphe (arc de treeumph) is a big marble Arch really, built by napoleon to celebrate his famous victories (snigger) but not finished until after he died. Story has it when he ditched Josephine for being unable to bear children for him, he moved on to a younger chick who had fertile land for hire and had a replica arc built so they could pass under it on their wedding days, the scandal eh?

          Well, the Arc has some excellent carvings in her stonework and a final resting place of the unknown solider. Strange, but people flock to the unknown soldiers tomb and prey, leave flowers and little gifts and generally worship him you know! Thing is, they do not know who he is, so he could in fact be a British spy who donned the uniform of his enemy to break through enemy lines and leave E-N-GER-LAND graffiti on the side of the Eiffel tower you know. Now wouldn’t that be funny?

          Looking down the Champ from here, you can see a perfectly straight road leading to a big spiky monument type thing called the Place de la Concorde (roughly translated; The place they landed the Concorde.) or something, but it had no wings so I was puzzled. Anyway I walked towards it to see if the wings were nearby. Crossing the extremely busy road, drive whichever way you want, whenever you want, ignoring traffic signals but not pedestrians and preying when I reached the other side alive, the first thing that you notice are the size of the designer shops, 2, 3 even 4 stories high, Gucci, Chanel Rolex etc, with doormen and valet parking, different class. We browsed at a few 25,000 Euro necklaces. Dreamed of the 10,000 Euro watches and bought some 1 Euro postcards.

          We sat and had a coffee at a small café some 200 yards down from the Arc and did not ask how much they were as we did not want to know. 1 Cappuccino and a black coffee came to 8 Euros, about £5 so I was happy as that is what I would expect to pay in Bournemouth to be honest. We sat for a while watching the people meander past, not the rushed hustle and bustle you would see in Oxford street but more a stroll and no necessity in their actions. Rather refreshing and relaxing I thought.

          Carrying on our journey, we walked past all the shops and into the first of the parks opposite the Grande Palais (Roughly translated; Great play time.) being winter, twas rather nippy and fresh so the trees and flowers were bare but you could see there was love in those there gardens. Clipped and pruned ready, for springs first buds and not a weed to be seen. Quite a few theatres popped up around here and one restaurant that we considered going back to in the evening with their menu of St Jaques (Scallops) tempting to my taste buds.

          Now the Place De La Concorde has to be one of the most astonishing pieces of roadmanship I have even seen. 4, 5, 6 lanes wide but no one sticking in a lane, it was a free for all when the lights changed and only the brave dared risk a red man rush here. However, what a beautiful place to be in. Sculpture, statues and fountains adorned the streets and the wrought iron gates were crafted with love rather than crass tastes. Walking into the Jardin Des Tuileries (Roughly translated; My Jaw’s been to hell these days!) and beyond the fountains to the mini Arc, or Arc De Triomphe Du Carrousel (Roughly translated; Triumph Arc on a roundabout) and you find yourself staring at a large glass pyramid which is the underground shopping centre and entrance to the famous Mussee Louvre (Roughly translated; Museum of old Loo’s). although out of place in a mainly 18/19th century period design, the pyramid adds a bit of fascination to the whole journey of about 2 miles in total, and looking back up towards the Arc De Triomphe, you have to catch your breath at the precision the inline design gives to all of the monuments along the Elysees in almost a perfect line.

          We trundled into the Louvre for a quick Pepe Le Pew at the Mona Lisa (Roughly translated; Moaning old cow.) and then walked on to the Notre Dame before walking the 3 or so miles through the Latin quarter, Luxembourg and back to P. Orleans to our hotel.

          I liked the Champs Elysees if I am honest with you, the shops were only an after thought to the fantastic architecture and magnificent views of the Seine and the surrounding Paris, with of course the Eiffel tower never out of sight. The romance seems to have seeped away from this once passionate city though, maybe it was the cold December air, maybe it was the barren trees and gardens or the murky Seine, maybe even cold hearted old me, I am not sure, but I do think I would love to visit here in June and see the colours that mother nature could paint her with and only then would I believe that I have seen the real Paris and feel the passion that so many before have devoted their literary life and times to.

          Paris in spring or summer and maybe an open air meal in one of her magnificent Jardins would make the Champ Elysees even more of a must be place.

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            07.09.2000 22:02
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            Before to go along the champs-élysées avenue, go to the former door just between Tuileries gardens and Louvre museum, La porte du Carrousel. If the weather is good, you will see how french monuments are on the the same line: Pyramide du Louvre, porte du Carrousel, Obélisque on concorde square, Arc de triomphe et Arche de la défense. A nice photo!! And you will understand why Paris is a so beautiful town: there is a incredible will of perfection! So take the direction of Arc de Triomphe through Tuileries gardens: before reaching concorde, you 'll find two museum, which on is "l'orangerie"(closed until 2001, i think. not sure) which contains some Monet and impressionists works. Go across Concorde square, and watch five minutes the sense of driving of the parisians: quite funny. So you are on the champs-élysées, under trees. Nice, isn't it? on your left, you will notice Grand Palais et Petit Palais, where you can find some interesting artistic works (expositions). You could sing "god save the queen" when you will see Churchill statue. You walk, you walk, and you arrive to shops. if you are rich, take your wallet in your hand, and be ready. If you are not rich, your glasses are enough. Champs-élysées are BEAUTIFUL, clean, incredible, full of all sort of people. While i'm thinking about that, take care to your effects, tourists are visible as a Eiffel tower in Paris and some young stealers are just waiting for you. Not violent ones, just pickpockets. But it's not really funny to be stolen. Eh, what are you doing? Ah, Ok, to go near Arc de Triomphe, take the tunnel, don't try to go across the road: to die in Paris can be romantic, but... You're at the foot of Arc de triomphe? Ok, you walked 4 kilometers, not so bad! Take your breath and watch five minutes the sense of driving of the parisians around the rond-point: still quite funny. Just another effort, climb up the a
            rch, push the other tourists above and you'll have a beautiful sight of Paris. Take métro to go back, cos your legs are painful!

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            17.07.2000 08:49
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            Champs-Elysees is probably the most impressive street I have ever seen in my life. The first good impression about it is that it is a perfectly straight and wide road, that stretches for about 2 km, linking the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. It was once popular with aristrocrasy as a stage on which to parade their wealth, but in recent decades, it has been partly taken over by fast-food restaurants and overpriced cafes. On both side of the Champs Elysees are pedestrian roads that are wide enough for pedestrians to stroll along the highly impressive street. It is also very well-known place for shoppings, though it can be very expensive. For prospective tourists, I suggest that you spend some time on this street and walk along the street from Place de la Concorde to the Arch de Triomphe. The shops along the street are very impressive especially those selling crystals. As you walk along the Champs Elysees, you will see lots of restaurants selling food at high price. But somewhere in the middle of the 2-km street, there lies a very reasonably-priced mussels restaurant. I'm sorry i forgot the name of the restaurant. But if you found this restaurant, I suggest you try it. It costs only about 6-7 pounds for a very filling mussels dish and some drink. I was very pleased with the delicious food and their services. Another impressive fact about the street is that it is very clean, something which is unbelievable for a crowded area. I suggest that, if possible, visit the Arch de Triomphe at night to take the night picture of it. Use a slow shutter techniques to capture all the light and you will be very impressed of the result. I took one myself which i treasure it till now. I am sure you will too.

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          ""The Champs-Elysées, literally the "Elysian Fields") is a broad avenue in Paris. Its full name is actually "avenue des Champs-Élysées". With its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops, the Champs-Élysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, and the third most expensive strip of real estate in the world (first in Europe). The name refers to the Elysian Fields, the place of the blessed in Greek mythology. The Champs-Élysées has been called La plus belle avenue du monde ("The most beautiful avenue in the world"). The arrival of global chain stores in recent years has however changed the character of the avenue, and in a first effort to stem these changes, the Paris city government (which has called this "“banalization”) decided in 2007 to ban the Swedish clothing chain H&M from opening a store on the avenue. This street is very popular with many of the rich and famous.""