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No sign of Pepe Le Pew, thank god.
Member Name: angusreid
Date: 15/12/05, updated on 15/12/05 (990 review reads)
Advantages: Breath taking sculptures, buildings and history.
Disadvantages: Traffic and the cold.
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.
Summary: If you only have one day in Paris, spend it here.