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The Avenue des Champs-Élysées

Sunday, 06 December 2009

avenue des Champs-Élysées The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is likely to be the most legendary street in Paris. The avenue runs for 1.25 miles through the 8th arrondissement in northwestern Paris, from the Place de la Concorde in the east, with the Obelisk of Luxor to the Place Charles de Gaulle in the west, location of the Arc de Triomphe. This is the entire avenue in the center of the ancient city. The nameis French for Elysian Fields.

And the story began from the different point, though. The history of this street is not that long as compared with 2000 year old history of Lutetia, that became Paris. First data documented in this sphere dates back to 16th century. That time the place was half a swamp, half a forest on the border of Louver and Le jardin des Tuileries gardens). The French monarchs loved to hunter the ducks in the nearest neighborhood. And why was there a swamp in the center of the city? Though, that time the place was not a center but the settlement. And the Seine dividing Paris intotwo parts has its old course. And the idea to forget about the scrubby lands next to favorite gardens was not a royal habit and in 1616 under the decree of Maria de' Medici, the development and improvement works were performed on this area. The court landscape designer worked on exterior design. And soon three long avenues with elm trees appeared supervised by him. Some time passes and the way are secured for the passage of carriages and gas-jets were put by sides. This is the beginning of the story of des Champs-Élysées. First houses appeared some time later, close to the middle of 18th century.

And that was the time when the avenue got its legendary name. Since the time of ancient Greeks the des Champs-Élysées were acknowledged as the Gardens of Eden to accept the souls of religious people passed away.

Though, we come back to our history. There is the period of the Second Empire. There are elegant and magnificent villas and cottages in the Avenue des Champs-Élysées with concrete roads and wide pavements. More shops and stores are opened. And in 1815 the troops of anti-French coalition entered into Paris. They encamped here, in the gardens. And they caused a huge damage to the places when it took several years to clean and rehabilitate the place afterwards.

The following period of the most legendary street in Paris is related to the year 1828 when the French government granted this region to the municipality of Paris. And the only requirement they asked was the further improvement of the territory. There comes the time of mass development (in the early years of 19th century the living dwellings totaled 6 in number only ...). With the lapse of time the Avenue des Champs-Élysées get more and more popular. And in 20th century this place is named as the place for «national triumph ». That was the very place where the annual parade is held on July 12th to honor Bastille day. And the third of Paris citizens cam here to celebrate in 1998 the glory and victory of the French national team at the World Football Championship.

The Avenue may be divided into two provisional zones, namely parking zone and commercial zone. If you stroll from the Concorde Square, then the Avenue will start from the famous sculpture group by Guillaume Coustou. Starting from this point and to the Rond Point (Round Square) of the Avenue there is the park spreading to both sides of the gardens. Traveling to the Arc de Triomphe we can even encounter a Théâtre Marigny. On the left there is the restaurant Leduayen dated back to the epoch of Louis XVI. There is a bronze statue of the great politician there on Clemenceau Square who helped France win in 1918.

There is a perfect view to the Avenue Winston Churchill with the 'Pont Alexandre III'. The project was justified as it was accompanied by the structure of the present avenue Winston Churchill thereby giving an incessant road from Invalides to the avenue des Champs-Elysées. There are Grand Palais and Petit Palais along the Avenue Winston Churchill being the huge structures with high piazzas, friezes and sculpture groups. They were constructed in relation to the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. Though, there are three separate building in Grand Palais, this palace is famous as, first of all, the largest cultural and exhibition center.  The area of exposition halls is of approximately 5 thousand square meters. The largest artistic exhibitions are held here. There is the Museum of Science in the western wing of the building named as the Palais de la Découverte; the southern wing is occupied with a department of Sorbonne University. The Petit Palais is the museum the collections of which display decorative and applied arts and canvases of Holland painters, the sculpture works, though the most valuable and essential part of it is French art works of XIX century.

The Palais de l'Elysee is the structure that should be seen once not heard or read many times.

The first villa on the place of the modern palace was built in 1718. That was a classic two-storeyed building decorated in modest patterns with a garden attached. The villa was regularly extended, delivered and inherited, and among plenty of owners was Madame de Pompadour, Caroline Murat, the sister to Napoleon, his ex-wife Josephina, Napoleon III, when the building was developed and sophisticated during his reign. Since 1873 the Palais de l'Elysee is the residence to the President of the country.

Pavillon Ledoyen, one of the ancient French restaurants is located here. The Pavillon, the structure that remained till our times, built in 1848, played a great role in history, and many legendary people visited this place, namely Gustave Flaubert, Guy de Maupassant and Emil Zola would drink coffee here, Jan Cocteau with partners founded the famous and reputed NRF, La Nouvelle Revue Francaise.

And now we are close to Rond Point. This is the Theatre de Rond-Point where the cast of actors started working since 1980 founded by the reputed French workers of the Theater of France Madeleine Renaud and Jahn Barro, and the round square with 140m in diameter that completes the strolling part of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

The Editing House of Le Figaro newspaper is located on the right and on the left there is the Editing House of Jour de France. The big artery goes from this place in two pavements of 22m each and the roadway of 27m. Along the artery there are offices of airlines, banks, and auto pavilions. There are plenty of cinemas and commercial centers at the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the commercial centers of the largest automobile companies, the famous cabaret «Lido» (and opposite there is the most famous and expensive Russian restaurants- «Rasputin»), a huge store of Virgin Megastore products, tour agencies of various countries, the central tourism office to receive leaflets and booklets on sightseeing of Paris. When traveling to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, you are lucky to have a snack for $4-5 Euros if you visit Macdonald's, the fast food restaurant. It is the same as in every part of the world. Though, while the famous restaurant «Le Fouquet's» is the other place to honor. The Russians seized a small piece of luxury as well. Thus, the central office of «Aerolflot» is the part of exterior that adds some style to the place with black glass panels.

The most famous brands presented in the Avenue des Champs-Élysées are Benetton, Disney Store, Nike, Zara, Gap, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, Sephora, Yves Rocher, and Cartier. Plenty of stores are the largest in the world. In particular the Avenue des Champs-Élysées boasts the store Louis Vuitton and the biggest store Adidas opened in February 2007. And one of the latest brands worthy to appear in this street is H&M and it took several years to construct it.

Currently a rare French citizen may boast to live in the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

Though, businessmen are not scared with prices, since upper floors of buildings in the Avenue des Champs-Élysées are occupied by offices and lower floors are engaged with stores. In 2006 Cushman&Wakefield Company held the survey of the most expensive streets of world on renting. And during the survey Cushman&Wakefield performed the comparative analysis of the renting fee of 233 trading corridors in 47 countries. As reported, the most expensive street for shopping is in New York: the rent fare totals 11,4 thousand Euros for a square mater per year. It followed by the trading street in Hong Kong - Causeway Bay, the rent of which makes 9500 Euros for a square meter. And third place does for the Avenue des Champs-Élysées with the rent of 6770 Euros.

And still, this project gets more and more attractive for tourists, and the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the visited sightseeing of Paris by 300 to 500 thousand people. The logical is the fact that this place is the most criminal place in France. According to the police reports, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées became the real "champion" in the city in number of theft, 600 in total. This is the half of similar cases in Paris.

And still, Avenue des Champs-Élysées is "must have" to visit and pass.

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