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All about the Champs-Élysées

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Discover the Avenue des Champs-Élysées: an icon of Paris

Although called ‘the world’s most beautiful avenue’, the Champs-Élysées was once a swamp. It was in the 17th century that André Le Nôtre, gardener to the Sun King, traced its original path.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is visited each day by nearly 300,000 people who come to marvel at its gigantic proportions, wonder at its luxurious boutiques and luxurious apartments, or get caught up in the excitement of festive events such as the pedestrian day on the 1st Sunday of the month, the New Year’s Eve fireworks, the July 14th military parade, and the arrival of the “Tour de France!”
By day or by night, there’s always something going on the world’s most beautiful avenue in the world.

History and fascinating stories of the Champs-Élysées

Located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the Champs-Elysées stretches on almost two kilometers, linking the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle (previously known as “Place de l’Etoile”), and has a width of 70 meters.
Tourists and even locals don't always know that the Place where the Arc de Triomphe stands on the top of the Chaillot Hill which was lowered by 5 meters in 1768. The works lasted six years and the earth and rubble were used to soften the slope of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. This explains the slope from the Roundabout to the Arc de Triomphe.

On the impressive Champs Elysées avenue, equally magnificent buildings deserve to be looked at closely. Here are a few examples:

Nos 52-60: The current building was built in 1933 in the place of the Massa hotel. Dating from the eighteenth-century and listed as a “Historic Building” the Massa mansion was moved stone by stone near the Observatory of Paris, 38 rue du Faubourg Saint-Jacques, Paris 14th. The mansion still exists; you can go see it and imagine how impressive it must have been, when on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées.
But that is not the end of the incredible history of this site. Abandoned for many years, the Hôtel de Massa was bought in 1927 by two businessmen, Théophile Bader, president of Galeries Lafayettes, and André Lévy, promoter. Once the stones, the frameworks, the paneling, the parquet floors and the least materials of the Hôtel de Massa were transported, the two businessmen undertook to build a store and bank complex. Because of the 1929 crisis, the Galeries Lafayettes Department Store failed to become real on 52-60 avenue des Champs-Élysées. Instead, the Citibank of New York, then Virgin Megastore and Monoprix succeeded one by one until Théophile Bader's unrealized project was reactivated and became reality with the opening of Galeries Lafayette-Champs-Élysées, in 2019!

No. 53: L'Atelier Renault: it was in 1910 that Louis Renault implanted on the famous avenue des Champs Elysées a large exhibition store for Renault’s luxury vehicles. Later it expanded its space by acquiring the No. 51. Then, the building was rebuilt in the early ‘60s with a large facade on the avenue. In 1962, the famous Renault Pub opened, becoming a cult place in Parisian life, because it was the first time that a commercial place had incorporated a restaurant. The site receives an average of 2.5 million visitors per year!

No. 103: The Hotel Elysee Palace was the first major travelers’ hotel built on the Champs Elysees. Then, the Crédit Commercial de France (now HSBC) acquired the building in 1919. The bank destroyed the original decor, however, the bank kept intact the old bedroom of the famous spy Mata Hari!

No. 124 (2, rue Balzac): for those who wish to see what a mansion on the Avenue des Champs Elysées looked like, go to the later address! Built in 1858 for Santiago Drake del Castillo, this “hôtel particulier” remains one of the few preserved examples of mansions that lined the avenue under the Second Empire.

The Champs-Élysées Gardens: a haven of peace in the heart of Paris

The area of the Champs-Elysées Garden was purchased by the City of Paris in 1828. The talented engineer, Adolphe Alphand, was called upon by Baron Haussmann to create the subsequent Gardens. The latter entrusted him with the creation of more than twenty Green spaces in Paris among which are the Bois de Boulogne (1855-1860), the Bois de Vincennes (1857-1865), and the Buttes-Chaumont Park (1864-1867).

The Champs Elysées Gardens, called “Carré” (Square), amount to a size of 13,7 hectares. Separated by the Champs Elysées avenue, these Carrés are the Carré Marigny, the Carré de l’Elysée, the Carré du Rond-point, and the Carré Ledoyen. Let’s explore the two most popular in terms of attendance:

  • The Carré Marigny with the renowned restaurant Laurent, the famed Stamp Market (appearing in Hitchcock’s movie “Charade”), and the Marionettes Theater called “Guignol”. For the anecdote, Carré Marigny was called after Marquis de Marigny, director of King Louis XV’s Royal Buildings, and the brother of Marquise de Pompadour whose residence was the Elysée Palace, no less. The Marigny theater was built in 1855, then was replaced In 1880 by the current building which was built by architect Charles Garnier. Do not wait to buy tickets to see the magnificent space and enjoy the latest musical comedy.
  • The Carré Elysées, as well as Grand carré du Battoir (facing Carré de l'Élysée), was commissioned by Marquise de Pompadour, whose wish was to have an unobstructed view from the Elysée Palace all the way to the Seine and the Invalides.

Luxury shopping on the Champs-Élysées: must-see boutiques

Strolling along the Champs-Élysées necessarily means shopping! Fortunately, there is something for everyone on this beautiful and luxurious avenue. Here are a few choices:

Finding Apple Store, Samsung, and Mi in the same avenue is a grand experience for all geeks. And it does not have to involve great expense. Apple store’s building is a sight on its own.

Entering legendary perfume-maker Guerlain is a sensual pleasure. Just like it is to go to Lancôme for a facial!
“Just looking” inside Cartier, Mauboussin, and Tiffany can be extremely expensive. But what fun to enter Louis Vuitton, Galeries Lafayettes, and last but not least, to savor and enjoy a delicious Hermé pastry,

Welcome to the Champs-Elysées, and to Paris Rental, the best address for your address!

Photo by Yiwen