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Paris - Around Town : Champs-Elysées Quarter (part 2) - International Connections, Events on the Champs-Elysées

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A Day of Shopping

Morning

The Champs-Elysées is an area for leisurely strolls. Begin by window-shopping along one side of the avenue Montaigne, where Prada, Nina Ricci, Dior and many more have their flagship stores – the area oozes money. Have a break in the Bar des Théâtres, where fashion names and the theatre crowd from the Comédie des Champs-Élysées across the street sometimes hang out (

6 ave Montaigne
01 47 23 34 63).

Return up the other side of avenue Montaigne to the Champs-Elysées, for the stroll to the Arc de Triomphe. Here you will find many flagship shops of world-famous brands. Break for lunch at Spoon, Food and Wine , but get there early to get a table.

Afternoon

Continuing up the Champs-Elysées, look past the showrooms and fast food outlets to note the many interesting buildings which house them.

Take the underpass to the Arc de Triomphe and climb to the top for the views, which are superb at dusk when the avenues light up. Walk or take the metro to the rue du Faubourg-St-Honoré, for more designer shops.

For tea and cakes, La Galerie at the nearby Four Seasons George V hotel is a wonderfully elegant experience (served from 3–5pm).

International Connections

  1. Avenue de Marigny

    American author John Steinbeck lived here for five months in 1954 and described Parisians as “the luckiest people in the world”.

    Avenue de Marigny
  2. 8 Rue Artois

    Here, in September 2001, the legendary Belgian mobster François Vanverbergh – godfather of the French Connection gang – fell victim to a drive-by assassin as he took his afternoon mineral water.

  3. 37 Avenue Montaigne

    Having wowed Paris with her comeback performances, iconic German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich spent her reclusive final years in a luxury apartment here.

  4. Pont de l’Alma

    Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a tragic accident in the underpass here in 1997. Her unofficial monument nearby attracts thousands of visitors each year.

  5. 31 Avenue George V, Hôtel George V

    A roll-call of rockers – from the Rolling Stones and Jim Morrison to J-Lo and Ricky Martin – have made this their regular Paris home-from-home.

  6. Hôtel d’Elysée-Palace

    Mata Hari, the Dutch spy and exotic dancer, set up her lair in Room 113 before finally being arrested outside 25 Avenue Montaigne.

  7. 37 Avenue George V

    Franklin D. Roosevelt and his new bride visited his aunt’s apartment here in 1905. He was later commemorated in the name of a nearby avenue.

    Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt
  8. 49 Avenue des Champs-Elysées

    Author Charles Dickens may well have had “the best of times and the worst of times” when he resided here from 1855–6. Ten years earlier he had also lived at 38 Rue de Courcelles.

  9. 114 Avenue des Champs-Elysées

    Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont planned many of his amazing aeronautical feats – notably that of circling the Eiffel Tower in an airship in 1901 – from this address.

  10. 102 Boulevard Haussmann

    Hypochondriac author Marcel Proust lived in a soundproofed room here, turning memories into a masterwork.

Events on the Champs-Elysées

  1. 1616

    Paris’s grand avenue was first laid out when Marie de Médici, wife of Henri IV, had a carriage route, the Cours-la-Reine (Queen’s Way), constructed through the marshland along the Seine.

  2. 1667

    Landscape gardener Le Nôtre lengthened the Jardin des Tuileries to meet the Cours-la-Reine, and opened up the view with a double row of chestnut trees, creating the Grand Cours.

  3. 1709

    The avenue was re-named the Champs-Elysées (Elysian Fields). In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields were the “place of ideal happiness”, the abode of the blessed after death.

  4. 1724

    The Duke of Antin, overseer of the royal gardens, extended the avenue to the heights of Chaillot, the present site of the Arc de Triomphe.

  5. 1774

    Architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot lowered the hill of the Champs-Elysées by 5 m (16 ft) to reduce the steep gradient, therefore making an easier and safer passage for residents’ horses and carriages.

  6. 26 August 1944

    Parisians celebrated the liberation of the city from the German Nazi Occupation of World War II with triumphant processions and festivities.

  7. 30 May 1968

    The infamous student demonstrations of May 1968, when student protests against state authority spilled over into riots and massive gatherings. De Gaulle and his supporters held a huge counter-demonstration here, marking a turning point in the uprising.

  8. 12 November 1970

    The death of President Charles de Gaulle was an immense event in France, as he had been the single most dominant French political figure for 30 years. He was honoured by a silent march along the Champs-Elysées.

  9. 14 July 1989

    The parade on Bastille Day marking the bicentennial of the Revolution, was a dazzling display of folk culture and avant-garde theatre. It was a distinct change from the usual military events, and was organized by Mitterand’s Culture Minister, Jack Lang.

  10. 12 July 1998

    Huge, ecstatic crowds packed the Champs-Elysées to celebrate France’s football team winning the World Cup. People came from all over Paris to join in the festivities that captured the nation’s imagination.

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