Paris Tourist Attractions - The Champs Elysees

Often a disappointment at first sight to the excited anticipation of visitors, the Champs Elysees has undergone a quiet renaissance in recent times. Blighted for many years by gaudy airline office signs, car showrooms, fast food cafés and other unsightly establishments of similar ilk, a serious effort has been made to improve the appearance and ambience of the city's most famous street. Part of this general makeover is due to the presence of the many upmarket hotels, restaurants and shops that have now staked a claim to this showcase location.

The initial stage of the great avenue was conceived by Le Notre in the 17th, century and was really an extension of the Tuileries gardens. By the time of the revolution, the entire length of the formidable avenue had been put in place.

It slowly gained eminence and prestige among the fashionable classes that took to frequenting it for weekend recreation. Later, apart from the easy leisure and elegant fashion, what was to stick most in the public memory was the great historical and military symbolism with which the Chapms Elysees is associated. The Prussian army used it to celebrate their military victory over France in 1871. Hitler made a similar point of marching his occupying troops down it in 1940 in a swaggering message to the defeated French. Naturally, after the liberation of Paris, the avenue was the joyous venue for the victory march by the allied forces in 1944.

At L'Etoile, towards the avenue's western end, you will find the Champs Elysees's great triumphal feature, the Arc de Trimophe. Originally commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 for his own grandiose purposes, the arch commemorates the dead of World Wars I and II and is also the resting-place of the Unknown Soldier.

Some of our best hotels near the Champs Elysees include the Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris Hotel, Hotel Duret Paris and the Hotel Etoile Résidence Impériale.

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Paris tips: Visit Eiffel Tower, Visit Arc de Triomphe, Visit The Louvre, Visit Sacre Coeur, Visit Notre Dame, Getting Around Paris