Those of you that read my reviews know I love Paris and anything Parisian, well, anything French! Oh, oh, you say, here she goes again, but when I noticed this category for the Champs-Elysees, I couldn't resist writing about another outstanding sight in this magnificent city filled with magnificent sights.
When the thought of Paris comes to mind there are many places that immediately rush to the forefront of your mind..The Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, and of course, The Arc de Triomphe at the end of the most famous street in the world, The Champs-Elysees.
How many times have we seen news documentaries first showing the disparaging films of German troops marching through the Arc de Triomphe onto the Champs-Elysées just before the occupation of France? And then, after the war was finally at an end, the cheerier films showing the victorious allied armies marching into Paris and parading through that most famous Arch, led by the towering figure of Charles de Gaulle, the crowds festive and happy for the first time in many years. I've long held the belief that one of the reasons Paris is as special as it is, is because it survived the war without being bombed or destroyed as so many other cities in Europe unfortunately were.. All of Paris's historic sights and places remained in tact for us to enjoy and relish with each visit....... This, ironically, in thanks to a few German generals who disobeyed their orders from Hitler to burn Paris.. Even they knew what a travesty that would be..
The Arc de Triomphe is at the end of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. The Arch and the Place Charles de Gaulle which surrounds it, together form one of the Paris's most famous landmarks. Twelve avenues radiate from the Arch which explains why it is also called Place de l'Etoile ( the Star)!
From the viewing platform on top of the Arch, there is another marvelous Parisian sight. As you look in all directions you can see the 12 avenues, emanating from the center, "(the star)" ... as well as all those other spectacular views of Paris........ Looking eastwards, down the Champs Elysées, toward the Louvre, there is the Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Gardens, and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Across the river Seine, la Tour Eiffel and Napoleons resting place, the golden dome of Invalides... In the opposite direction stands its larger and newer cousin, La Grande Arche de la Défense
Those are a lot of sights to see in just a few minutes.....well worth the climb up the stairs or the elevator ride to the top.
The Champs-Elysées, once the epitome of stylish shopping, is called the "main street of the Right bank". This wide boulevard was designed by the Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann who forever changed the looks of Paris by creating this and all the other Grand Boulevards of the city.
Once it may have deserved the title "The most beautiful avenue in the world" but now with it's car dealerships, a McDonalds on one of it's corners and a Planet Hollywood on another, along with other not too fancy stores along the way it may seem just a bit mediocre... but, there are some great cafes and restaurants and it's fun to just sit and people watch for a while as it is on any street in Paris . Occasionally a demonstration will take place along the avenue and the feverish pitch of the demonstrators makes for quite an afternoon or morning experience.
One of my favorite places to visit is the giant "Le Drugstore", caddy cornered from the arch.. This the granddaddy of all drug stores with every conceivable type of products for sale and the perfect place for last minute gift buying....
So, by all means, if you are planning a trip to Paris make sure to include the Champs-Elysées and the Arch de Triomphe on your itinerary, not only will it be a vocal point of your vacation for it's history and the sights you will see just being there but it is one of the stars of Paris and you wouldn't want to miss seeing this or any of the stars of this beautiful city, would you?
One more little tidbit, do not try to cross the square, the busiest traffic hub in Paris, instead take the underground passage. With a dozen streets radiating from the center star, the traffic hub was once called by one writer "vehicular roulette"
Happy and Safe Travels
Read all 25 Reviews
Write a Review
Best Time to Travel Here: Anytime